Sunday, February 13, 2011

Above Hemet

San Diego is a sunny nice place. Its that weird mix of rugged ocean coastline, hip and healthy urbane living, highways, and dry high mountains. We kept getting mixed reviews of the mountain biking prospects. Some said it good and some said it is lacking. And of course after riding in Sedona for a while, the possibility for let down was pretty high.

Luckily we had our buddy, Yo Andy, to take us around. As we all know, you can't beat riding with a local. Andy took us out to Noble Canyon the first day. It was a cool day up there at 6,000ft. The traction of Sedona, long gone being replaced by ball bearings. The climbing was a fun mix of swooping singletrack and downright steep rocky stuff. The downhills the same with rocks jutting out and weird angles and little gaps between those weird angles. There was a devestating fire here 10 years ago. It left some eerie burnt out giant trees standing amidst the lush fire inspired undergrowth. In Noble Canyon there was this section of trail that we kept flushing out all these birds. There were birds coming out of everywhere. Then minutes later, we were in frog canyon. The frogs sounded loud and strong. It was so weird for us to hear frogs in February because they are a summer time thing for us.

Then the next day we did shuttle runs at Steel Bridge. Yea, Nate you didn't miss a thing. I mean it was fun to ride Andy's Turner Highline and all but it didn't float my boat as much as going out on a cool big mountain ride. But, I think it does help to mix it up. I still don't jump well and downhill riding can encourage that. And there is a lot to learn with cornering out here on a trail like that. The weirdest thing was that it was on National Wildlife Refuge. I could never see this being tolerated in Canaan where the rangers see bikes as motorcycles. I have a feeling California has some weird recreational user relationships.

The next day we did the Mission Trails. These trails are the closest to the city and are really fun. They have some awesome steep loose climbs straight up or ones that meander up the hills. The downhills were really fun. And again its all about how fast you can corner to go fast on the downhills.

We have been sleeping in our van in Andy and Laura's backyard under this huge tree. I'm not sure but I think its a Yew. Its massive and we have been sleeping so well. We've been sampling the urban fare and loved the Mission House and El Zarape taco stand. Some of the mexican food is not spicy, its weird. California has such great veggies and great choices for people who are vegetarians and vegans and glutens free.

We are heading out for a ride with a small group including Jamie Dollar who is from Winchester, VA. It is weird how sometimes you have to travel far to see people who live close. I think we are heading out to San Juan Capistrano for a nice xc ride. And then I'm jonesing to go to Mexico and ride our dirt bikes and see a new country.

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