Friday, May 25, 2012

Rough Riding Mt. Diablo with Sean Virnig of Rawland Cycles

This was multi-surface cycling at it best, in the backyard playground of two of cycling most's innovative and exciting bicycle brands: Rivendell Bicycles of Walnut Creek, CA and Rawland Cycles of Danville, CA.

I rode with Sean Virnig, founder and designer of Rawland Cycles and we both rode the Rawland rSogn model. Both bikes have 650B wheels: Sean had Pacenti Quasi-Moto 2.0" (with small knobbies), while I rode smooth-treaded Grand Bois Hetre tyres, 42mm wide.

This was a fantastic mix of paved road, single track, and fire road: Rough Rider Paradise! Nearly ever rider we encountered off-road commented favorably or asked questions about our bikes. The folks at Rawland, and at Rivendell, are really lucky to have this outdoor multi-surface paradise right in their backyards. What a great region for fun and adventure, as well as testing new designs and equipment!

It was a pleasure to ride with Sean, who, along with his family, is now a California resident. I had ridden many times on Mt. Diablo with Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycles in nearby Walnut Creek, but this was my first time to ascend the mountain from the south side, which is where Danville is located.

Sean honored me by wearing his Rough Riders jersey, which was really neat! Sean and I last rode together during the Rough Riders Rally in Marin County in July, 2010, at which event his Drakkar model won "Best Of Show" at the Rough Riders Shindig. Now hopefully we'll be able to ride together more often.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rough Riding the Santa Monica Mountains: Ride Planned for May 27

You're Invited: Multi-Surface Semi-Epic Ride in the Santa Monica Mountains on Sunday, May 27

I'm planning to string together a bunch of trails, fire roads, and paved roads in the Santa Monica Mountains for a nice adventure ride on the Sunday of Memorial Weekend. You are welcome to join in the fun, so please help spread the word. The emphasis will be on quieter, more remote trails and as few paved roads as possible, to avoid holiday weekend traffic. Stay tuned to this webpage for further details.

Route: It's about 50 miles with about 7500 feet of elevation gain, so figure 5-6 hours. There will be some bail-out options for those who want to do less. We'll start on the edge of The Valley and head up high from there, enjoying views such as those featured on this previous semi-epic ride preview and post-ride report from the same region.

Here is the intended Route:
South (uphill) on Topanga to "Top of Topanga".
Right on Summit to Summit Motorway, taking it across the summit of Old Topanga Canyon Road, then straight onto Calabasas Peak Motorway.
This drops down to Stunt Road, then ascend Stunt Road to Schueren. (Bail Out Option 1: turn right on Stunt instead and then right on Mulholland, back to the start)
Take Schueren to Piuma, and descend Piuma.
Turn right, briefly, on Malibu Canyon / Las Virgenes. (Bail Out Option 2: continue on Las Virgenes to a right on Mulholland and back to the start.)
Turn left, UPHILL at Tapia, straight up Mesa Peak Mtwy to the Backbone Trail.
Go west across the ridge on Backbone Trail, crossing the top of Corral Canyon.
Continue west on Backbone Trail, then descend Bulldog Trail.
At the bottom of Bulldog Trail, turn right and traverse east through Malibu Creek State Park. (If this seems too full of hikers, we'll instead go left and exit the Park via Malibou Lake and then Mulholland.)
At Las Virgenes, go right towards the coast to Piuma. (Bail Out Option 3: go left on Las Virgenes and right on Mulholland, back to the start.)
Turn left on Piuma, then left on Cold Canyon Road.
Continue on Cold Canyon / Dry Canyon as much as possible, otherwise Mulholland, back to Topanga Canyon and our start/finish at the Dumetz Starbucks.

Here is a RideWithGPS preview of the route (Thanks to AllRoy71!): Click

Note: On May 17 I rode a loop that featured the first ten and the final eight miles of this route with 2500 feet of elevation gain. Here is the Strava page. Based on that brief recon, I am going to raise my guesstimated elevation gain to 7,000-8,000 for the day and six hours total time. My low gear was 34x30 and I could just barely hold traction (while necessarily seated) with 650B Grand Bois Hetre tyres on the super steep uphills at 60 psi. I am probably going to run 50 psi on the 27th, at least for the dirt stretches. Here is a shot of Stunt Road in the distance and the downhill part of Calabasas Peak Motorway (fire road) which leads down to Stunt:
Down down down then up up up

Meet-Up (start/finish): 730am, Starbucks on Topanga Canyon at Dumetz: 4900 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA 91364: Google Map of the location.
Departure: 800am sharp.

Bring: Three water bottles and/or hydration pack, plus food, two tubes, patch kit, tools, and more. It will probably be hot out there and water only occasionally available along the way.

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.

Remember: We Rough Riders enjoy getting "out there" by riding roads, dirt roads, trails, and paths on whatever bike we happen to be on or have handy. Sometimes the pavement's long gone and we're still on our "road bikes" or some bike that would be commonly considered inadequate for the job - and that's just fine by us! Rough Riding is not defined by the type of bicycle or type of riding surface. Rough Riding is a state of mind, a riding style with limitless freedom and an all-pervasive sense of adventure. I will be riding my Rawland rSogn, probably with knobby tyres or possibly with treadless 42mm Grand Bois Hetres.