Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mt. Laguna: Beauty and Curiousities Abound

Truly one of California's best kept secrets of the outdoor world is the area on and around Mt. Laguna, the 6,000' peak in eastern San Diego County. The cycling there, on and off road, as well as hiking, bird watching, flower-spotting, animal-seeking, camping, and much more, are just unparalleled. Encompassing Anza-Borrego State Park and the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area of the Cleveland National Forest, it's a beautiful, gorgeous, wondrous place to explore, enjoy life, and get way out there - all the while just 50 miles east of San Diego! Here are a few shots and a video from this past weekend. That's right, all this beauty was captured on just one day, while road cycling on Kitchen Creek Road and Sunrise Highway and hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. ("Rough riding" plans were waylaid by "private property" and "park closed" signs. But stay tuned for some rough riding pix from other adventures out there!)

The odd first pic depicts a critter ignoring the "no spaceships" sign painted on the lower Kitchen Creek Road gate. Some of the other photos depict the "Spanish Bayonette" which is featured in the Rough Riders logo. As for the beautiful flowers and plants in the other photo, perhaps some expert out there can illuminate us as to their identity? (Click "Comments" below to enlighten us, please!)

All photos and videos ©Chris Kostman

Kitchen Creek Falls:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Any Way You Slice It

Any Way You Slice It
By Audrey Adler

How I yearn to go back to the pared down basics of real cycling, to cleanse my soul of worldly titanium temptations. Averting my eyes from the evils of accessories while innocently cruising through aisles of the devilishly chic local bike retailer, I sing the psalm of cycling over and over: “cycle strong and be free.”

My old tires have worn themselves to a pulp. I must seek out a sensible solution. Upon completion of his 15 minute dissertation on the 'classification and function of racing tires,' the young, erudite, tattooed, and pierced salesperson all but leaves me no choice to replace them with an enormously upgraded version of my old tires (which were clearly not suited for the type of riding I do.) Funny, they seemed to work pretty well. Once again, I succumb. K-CHING! goes the register as I produce that little magic golden card, the key to my success in hopes that this upgrade will secretly reflect a nuance of improvement in my cycling skills if not openly my latent air of component snobbery.

Two weeks later. I'm cycling on the road with my best friend. As we begin our ascent up a larger than life-threatening mountain I remind myself that it's all a mind game. "Stay calm, relaxed, even out the pedal stroke, go somewhere else, and just ride", I mutter. Surely this climb will be smooth as Kevlar on my spanking new pro tires.

Two hours later. Fatigue level equal to that of previous rides on the inferior set of tires. The Gospel preached to me month after month, year after year by my riding mentor, “It's not about what you have, it's how you use what you've got,” finally rings out loud and clear.

A light comes on: I'm reborn! Free at last of the binds of high-tech gizmos and gadgets. Lustlessly confident and content to merely admire others' colossal carbon concoctions glinting in the sun as they glide by me on my perfect fitting retro beauty.

Later. Here I am once again back again at the local cycling depot innocently weaving among the potpourri of parts simply for a refill on chain lube, a couple of spare tubes, a few tire levers. Dazzling displays of the coolest threads abound, the must-haves in trend-setting women’s technical wear, the hottest new shocks that put a charge through your wallet, that pair of shades with the perfect lens tint, an all new super duper aerodynamic helmet putting its Jurassic predecessor of six months ago to shame, oh, and let's not forget the latest and greatest reinvention of the bicycle weighing in at eleven pounds claiming to be the next best thing to sliced bread. Tempted no more by glitz and glamour, I near the exit triumphantly unswayed by temptation. Free at last.

OOOHHHHH, those shoes...did they just come in?

Above: Audrey crusing past Malibou Lake,
a well kept secret of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Above" How "The Rock Store" got its name: on Mulholland Hwy.