Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monthly (more or less) Semi-Epic Rides: YOU Are Invited!

Greetings, Fellow Rough Riders!

We tackle Semi-Epic Rides semi-regularly and sometimes we announce them in advance and invite YOU along This will be the main page with an archive of the "group" rides we've done, plus a preview of what's coming up in the future. Please join us!

Upcoming Semi-Epic Rides:

February 5, 2011: Mount Laguna Back Country from Alpine, CA. (Same route as July 5, 2009). Join us!

Semi-Epic Ride Reports Archive:

May 1, 2010: Rough Riding Descanso - Boulder Creek - Lake Cuyamaca
On May 1 I joined a group organized by fellow Rough Rider Dustin Sharp for a 42-mile adventure in eastern San Diego County (near Mount Laguna, of course) with 5600 feet of elevation gain. Officially, it was a ride of the "Southern California Rivendell Appreciation Society." We spent six hours out there, four of them actually riding (with a route this unusual and in the back-country, you have to regroup often so that some riders don't end up as vulture dinner.) The route was a version of the ride we did out there on July 5, 2009, except this version had even more dirt: about 80% of the May 1 ride was off-pavement, some of it on true "mountain bike trails" with rock gardens, mud, single-track, portages, and more.

November 21, 2009:
Rough Riding the Santa Monica Mountains ALL THE WAY
On November 21, 2009 ten Rough Riders embarked upon a semi-epic (borderline EPIC) excursion in the Santa Monica Mountains. The ride leader was Chris Kostman. Six riders completed the full distance. It took eight hours to complete this route with a total distance of app. 45.7mi with 6110’ total elevation gain.

July 5, 2009:
Rough Riding the Mount Laguna Back Country
Eleven riders enjoyed a fantastic day of cycling
in the first real hot weather of 2009: It hit about 100 at some points. The route featured "the greatest hits" of the Mt. Laguna back country: Viejas Grade, Boulder Creek, Lake Cuyamaca, Descanso, and Wildwood Glen Ln (AKA "Mad Max Road") with a start/finish in Alpine, CA. Total distance: 58 miles with about 5000' of elevation gain.

June 14, 2009
: Rough Riding Mt. Palomar via Nate Harrison Grade
After first riding this route on November 6, 2009, we invited others to join us for a Rough Riders Semi-Epic Ride up Palomar Mountain via the unpaved Nate Harrison Grade on June 14, 2009. Twelve riders showed up for a fantastic day of cycling in uncertain weather.

May 17: 2009
: Rough Riding the Santa Monica Mountains
Five illustrious Rough Riders turned out for a 40-mile excursion in the Santa Monica Mountains on May 17, 2009, including Matt "Desert Locust" Ruscigno on a Bianchi 'cross bike, Ken Kistinger on a suspension-less Cannondale Killer V, Gary on a Bianchi single-speed 'cross bike, Chris Kostman on a 1984 Holdsworth road bike with 32mm 'cross tyres, and Jennifer Klausner on a suspended mountain bike. The route was 40 miles with 4850' of elevation gain, though 4500' of the elevation gain was in the first 25 miles.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Semi-Epic Planned for Sunday, July 5: YOU Are Invited! Route Sheet Now Posted!

Mark your calendars and join us for a most excellent Rough Riding adventure! This semi-epic ride is planned for Sunday, July 5. The 58.4 mile loop we will ride starts and finishes at the relatively new Starbux located at 2963 Alpine Blve in Alpine, CA 91901 (along the I-8 corridor in eastern San Diego County). (Start location and mapping here.) We will meet there at 730am and roll out no later than 800am.

The route will include the dirt sections (and some paved sections) from two different rides we've done out in this amazing area before. Basically we'll ride a sort of "Greatest Hits" route which includes the dirt sections at the start and finish of this route (click these links for the full reports, but also check out the videos embedded below):


along with the entire dirt Boulder Creek section featured in this route:


We're hoping you will mark your calendar and join us for an AWESOME ride!

Note: This ride is unhosted, unsupported, and everyone who shows up is on their own. Neither we, nor anybody else, is responsible for anyone who rides. If you ride, YOU are responsible for YOU and YOUR bike. This is not an "event" - it is just a ride on dirt and paved roads for like-minded people.

Recommended Bikes / Tyres: In our opinion and experience, this route all rideable on a road bike with 28mm or wider tyres, although we have used 32mm and 35mm tyres. The wider your tyres, the more comfortable and safer your ride should be. Certainly a full-blown mountain bike will work, too. "Any Bike, Anywhere!"

Route Sheet Is Below (If you plan to ride this route, we suggest you print this section and bring it along. We will not be "guiding" this ride, as we are not in charge, nor "hosting" this ride. This route sheet should be about 98% accurate, but we make no guarantees. We suggest you consult a map and your own sense of direction. We accept no responsibility for safety, utility, nor legality of this route!) Dirt sections are noted in bold.

0.0 Start at Starbux in Alpine and head east on Alpine Blvd. (El. 2080')
1.1 Cross over I-8 at West Willows Rd.
1.3 Continue east on the opposite (north) side of the freeway.
2.1 Veer left shortly thereafter on Viejas Grade Rd. into the Indian Reservation.
4.7 Road turns to gravel - head uphill into Rough Rider heaven!
8.6 Summit Viejas Grade (still gravel).
9.0 Pavement resumes: Continue straight and downhill to Descanso.
11.2 Left on Oak Grove Drive (at Perkins Store in Descanso: GET WATER!)
12.8 Right on Boulder Creek (but first check out the llamas on the left at the turn).
16.6 Pass Sherilton Valley Road (Need to investigate this road. Looks interesting.)
16.9 Pass Dubois Truck Trail on left (Need to also research this dirt road). (El. 2780')
17.9 Pavement ends! (El. 3340')
23.6 Bottom of the canyon. Careful for water running across the road. (El. 2500'; 2:30 elapsed time)
24.0 Pass Ranchita Margarita: watch for ostriches.
24.5 This is the very bottom of Boulder Creek Canyon, during 1/3 mile of pavement.
25.7 Pass two truck trails on the left at a hairpin. (Need to research them, too!) (El. 2780')
29.5 Tiny church and a cemetery on the right, within the Inaja Reservation.
29.8 Mile Marker 17. (El. 3630'; 3:40 elapsed time)
30.8 Pavement resumes: Right (uphill) on Engineers Road at Pine Hills Fire Station (where you can get water if you need it).
34.7 Summit.
36.0 Right on SR 79
(Stop Sign, T-Int.): Go around Lake Cuyamaca.
36.6 Lake Cuyamaca Store on left; Food and drinks for sale. Bathroom down and around in back. (El. 4410'; 4:50 elapsed time)
39.0 Pass the Paso Picacho State Park on right; begin descent.
44.3 Pass East Mesa Fire Road on left (Must research this dirt road!) (El. 3770')
45.0 Pass Oakzanita Springs / 1000 Trails on left. Bathroom and store.
47.7 Pass Viejas Blvd on right (or you take it and get to the same place after passing the Perkins Store in Descanso); fruit stand.
47.9 Right to continue on SR 79 (Stop Sign, T-Int.). (El. 3390')
49.3 Pass Riverside Drive (our outbound route earlier). (El. 3210')
49.8 About a mile before hitting the I-8, turn right on Wildwood Glen Ln (AKA "Mad Max Road").
50.8 About a mile later, there is a gate across the road and then the pavement starts to disappear: keep going to the end!
52.1 Hike down onto I-8 and continue west on I-8 (this is a bike-legal shoulder).
53.5 Take first offramp, then left over the freeway, then right on Alpine Blvd, continuing west back to Alpine.
56.8 Cross West Willows Rd. (the way we headed out this morning); continue straight west.
58.0 Finish at Alpine Starbux.
(El. 2080'; 6:20 elapsed time)

Video of 2008 Rough Riding (cycling) Viejas Grade and Eastern San Diego County:
(Note: YouTube disabled the soundtrack. If you want to hear the music, and see the video much bigger and clearer, watch it here instead.)

Video of 2008 Rough Riding (cycling) Descanso - Boulder Creek - Lake Cuayamaca:
(Note: YouTube did not disable the soundtrack on this video, but if you want to see much bigger,and clearer, watch it here instead.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nate Harrison Semi-Epic Ride on June 14, 2009: Ride Report, Images, and Video

After first riding this route on November 6, 2009, we invited others to join us for a Rough Riders Semi-Epic Ride up Palomar Mountain via the unpaved Nate Harrison Grade on June 14, 2009. Twelve riders showed up for a fantastic day of cycling in uncertain weather. Below is a video slideshow and selected images of the day.

See the 11-6-08 video on YouTube when the weather and views were much better than today and the 11-6-08 ride report elsewhere on this blog with far more detail about the route and the road itself.

The dirt road itself, which goes literally all the way up Palomar Mountain, is 9.5 miles long and ascends about 4000 feet - from about 700' to about 4700'. Once you add in the last, paved, climb to the Boucher Fire Lookout, you've climbed 11.1 miles and ascended to 5438'. Then you have some rolling paved miles across the top of Palomar Mountain through the State Park to Mother's Kitchen, the General Store, Post Office, and bathroom. (We all hung out at Mother's.) There you head over to the stop sign where you can take South Grade back down to where you started, for a total of 33 miles with 5500 feet of elevation gain. Plan on five hours, to allow time to enjoy the views along the way and especially from the top, plus the water / food / bathroom stop at Mother's. Though the route can be climbed by an accomplished rough rider on a road bike with 28mm tyres (as one did as you will see here), we definitely wouldn't recommend descending Nate Harrison without a full-on mountain bike. South Grade can have a lot of "crotch rocket" motorcyclists on weekends, so go on a weekday if you possibly can. This is really a phenomenal ride and we highly recommend it!
"Heading out to where the pavement turns to sand." - Neil Young
Above: All three of the actual "mountain bikes" in the group: L-R: Greg on his Bridgestone MB-1, John on his GT, and Brad on his Miyata.

Above: Andy on his Atlantis by Rivendell
Above: Peter on his Merlin Extralight road bike with 28mm road tyres.Above: Esteban on his Protovelo (a Rivendell prototype) with Acorn bags
Above: Dustin on his ti Black Sheep with Rohloff rear hub with internal gearing
Above: We climbed into the forest and into the fog as we approached the summit.
Above: Rob M. with his Sam Hillborne by Rivendell
Aboe: Eric with his Bianchi Volpe

Above: Enjoying food and camaraderie at Mother's, high atop Mt. Palomar

Route Sheet:
0.0 Start at Pauma Casino at 777 Pauma Reservation Rd, Pauma Valley, CA 92061. (This is 12 miles of east of I-15 along SR 76: Go north from 76 on Pauma Reservation Road. Don't miss the turn from SR 76: it's at Jilberto's Taco Shop.)
0.2 Left down Pauma Reservation Road
0.8 Left on State Route 76 East: Watch for traffic!
1.9 Left on Nate Harrison Grade Road: Begin climbing. Pavement ends soon.
11.2 End of Nate Harrison Grade at a five-way intersection. Make a hard right uphill. (2:04 elapsed riding time | 5100' elevation | 4320' total elevation gain)
11.9 Boucher Fire Lookout (2:12 elapsed riding time | 5340' elevation | 4560' total elevation gain)
12.7 Back at that five-way intersection: Make a right onto the uphill paved road through the State Park.
16.0 Mother's Cafe on left, at intersection with South Grade. Enjoy the great food and ambience!
16.1 Head down South Grade (paved road): Watch out for speeding motorcycles! (Merge straight onto State Route 76 west at the foot of the mountain: Watch for traffic!)
31.8 Right (at Jilberto's Taco Shop) on Pauma Reservation Road. (3:10 elapsed riding time | 900' elevation | 5190' total elevation gain)
32.4 Right into Pauma Casino
32.6 Pauma Casino Parking Lot

Ride Data
32.6 miles
5500' of total elevation gain
3:15 total elapsed riding time (but plan on a total of five hours to allow for photography and spending time at the Boucher Fire Lookout and Mother's Cafe)

Riders and Bikes
Brad Zlotnick on his 1989 Miyata Elevation 5000 mountain bike (fully rigid)
Peter Bridge on his ti Merlin Extra Light with 28mm road tyres
Dustin Sharp on his ti Black Sheep with Rohloff hub
Greg on his Bridgestone MB-1 mountain bike (fully rigid)
Esteban del Rio on his Protovelo (Rivendell prototype)
Rob M. on his Sam Hillborne by Rivendell
Calvin Mulder on his Felt cyclocross bike
Andy Mari on his Atlantis by Rivendell
Chris Kostman on his 1984 Holdsworth road bike with Ritchey 32mm cross tyres
Elizabeth Jefferson on her 1974 Williams road bike converted to 650B wheels
Eric on his Bianchio Volpe cross bike
John Byrne on his GT I-Drive with 6" of travel, front and rear mountain bike (dual suspension)

Video Slideshow!

Thanks for your enthusiasm, everyone, and thanks especially to all the Rough Riders who rode today! We look forward to seeing you "out there" soon! (Stay tuned for the announcement of another Semi-Epic Rough Ride in the near future!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deanna Adams tackles Tour Divide

Deanna Aye-Aye Adams, age 20, female, and vegan, a veteran of the 2007 and 2008 Furnace Creek 508 and 2008 and 2009 CORPScamp Death Valley, will tackle Tour Divide starting tomorrow, June 12, 2009. We wish her, and all the competitors, a safe and successful race out there!

Above: Deanna at Death Valley Double Century - Spring 2008
Above two pix: Deanna at CORPScamps Death Valley, February 2009,
en route to Scotty's Castle on her fixed gear
Above: Deanna at the 2008 Furnace Creek 508 finish line.
Yes, she brought a sword with which to break through the finish!

Tour Divide is a solo, self-supported mountain bike race on all 2,745 miles of Adventure Cycling Association's epic Great Divide MTB Route from Canada to Mexico. With an average time-to-completion of three weeks in the saddle, this grand tour is the longest, most challenging MTB race on the planet. It's a contest for the ultra-fit but only if ultra-prepared for myriad contingencies of backcountry biking.

Tour Divide is born of inspiration from John Stamstad's watershed `99 Divide ITT, and the US border to border challenge known as the Great Divide Race (ca.`04). Tour Divide observes all the historical divide racing controls save length. It pushes the envelope further by staging opening day racing from the top of the GDMBR in Banff, AB, where MTB-legal wilderness of Banff National Park serves as an immediate test of mettle. The Canadian section adds only 10% more trail, yet delivers unforgettable geography, abundant wildlife, and the international flair cycling has come to expect from grand tour racing.

Whether voyager or voyeur, Tour Divide is the ultimate to tribute to both the human capacity to endure and Adventure Cycling's brilliance in crafting the crown jewel of off-pavement touring routes.

As for Deanna, here's an excerpt from the "Sieze the World" blog report about Deanna:
Doubt Kills Dreams. This idea is a way of life for Deanna Adams. Deanna is a twenty year old cyclist, adventure racer, student, and athlete from Prescott, Arizona. She also has epilepsy. Deanna has been racing bicycles competitively for the past four years, and has met with great success. Just a few months ago, she finished the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile road bike race which has a 48-hour time limit. Known as, "The Toughest 48 hours in Sport," the 508 follows roads North from Santa Clarita, CA through the heart of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley to a very distant finish in the small town of Twentynine Palms, CA.

When Deanna crossed the finish line after 43 brutal hours of racing, she became the youngest female finisher to complete the race, (in fact the youngest female to have started the race) and the youngest finisher with epilepsy to have completed the race. The 508 is a grueling two-day affair in Death Valley which pits riders against other racers, themselves, and mother nature as they find themselves riding through hundreds of miles of heat, exhaustion, and darkness - it is necessary to ride much of the race at night. Deanna's seizure disorder did not cause any problems for her during the event. Full story.
Deanna's Bike:
While all or nearly of the field will compete on mountain bikes, Deanna will compete in Tour Divide on a road bike converted to fixed gear and shod with Ritchey cyclocross tyres. Here is her blog post from when she first built up the bike. Below are some photos taken two days before the start of Tour Divide in Banff.

Go, Deanna, Go!