Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dirt Jumps & Anderson

Headed out early this morning with four people and five bikes. Our crew consisted of Scott, Andy, Ashton, and myself. We hit the dirt jumps near Best Buy first. Scott was tearing it up right off the bat, eventually clearing the entire line. I was having trouble with the first jump for a bit, but ultimately got the hang of it and even went for the second double (didn't reach the landing though).

Got a short clip of Scott clearing the entire line:

Andy shot photos for a bit, then grabbed his BMX and started hucking off the first lip. Reaching the landing took some practice, but he too figured it out and started focusing on the second set, which he nailed.

We met another rider there named Richard, who was visiting San Diego from LA. He was more of a street rider, rocking a brakeless BMX, and his style in the air was evident. The landing evaded him also, but in time he reached that tall berm.

After our session at the Best Buy jumps we headed for Anderson Truck Trail. Since we had only two mountain bikes, Andy and I paired off with Scott and Ashton to shuttle the trail twice. Andy and Ashton went first.

This was Andy's first ride on his new bike, but he adapted to it quickly and even dropped the feature that broke his last frame. Ashton was completely new to mountain biking, my bike, and the trail; but after a couple spills and encouraging words from Andy, he got the hang of it and managed to ride one of the most challenging trails out here.

Scott and I picked up those two and then started our descent. Scott was the big man at the dirt jumps, but I got to lead him into my domain at Anderson. In usual Scott steeze, he conquered it all and cleared the trail with no problem. As we loaded up the truck and drove home, the sun was dropping below the horizon - just another day in paradise.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anderson Truck Trail (Alpine, CA)

I taped my old camera to the stem of my bike and took a trip to Anderson today with the hope of getting some SICK FOOTAGE! Too bad - the video's shaky enough to induce motion sickness, so I chose not to add it to the blog. The ride was great, though.

In other news, Andy's frame came in yesterday, so he'll be able to get out there with me and shred the gnar!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best Buy Jumps (Chula Vista, CA)

Scott and I took a drive to Chula Vista to check out some dirt jumps named the "Best Buy Jumps" because of their proximity to a strip mall [and Best Buy]. They had been built up since the last time Scott had seen them, but he wanted to see if he could still clear them.

The first jump was the main challenge. It's a step-up that's pretty large. If you can even reach the landing, then you have to deal with its pitch, which is basically straight down.

Scott gave it a few shots and eventually nailed it. He then set out to land the rest in the set, which seemed easier to him after tackling the first double. He nailed almost the entire line, but never quite reached the landing on the second to last in the set.

The transitions are built for BMX's and Scott tried to talk me out of attempting it, but I just had to try. Gaining enough speed for it became the main challenge, but I did manage to land it, which felt great since I expected to just get thrown off the lip, flailing my way to a hard wreck.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Come Down

Scott, Sarah, Andy, and I gathered this morning with a shared feeling of joy over last night's decadence. The pulled beef that Sarah prepared was heavy in our stomaches and Andy's birthday drunk could only be cured by coffee. We sauntered to Twigg's to grab a hot cup and then we basically just hung out at home, enjoying some hair-of-the-dog and riding bikes in the street.

Somewhere around 3pm we rode down to Balboa Park to check out some jumps that Scott knew about. They were pretty fun, so Scott and I rode them for a bit.

Scott was demo'ing a Jamis Parker from his shop, which broke at the chainstay during our session. I let him get a few runs in on my GIANT Reign X1, which has been bombproof thus far.

We made our way home and then had dinner nearby at Chevy's Mexican Grill. Sarah works for the corporate office, so our dinner was complimentary. It was the perfect meal to end our weekend of over indulgence.

Birthday Boy

This is Andy's birthday weekend. Saturday morning we cleaned up the apartment and then Andy and I went to Penasquitos Canyon to ride the tunnel trails. They're winding singletrack trails with thick growth on both sides and above, which creates a tunnel. They're the first trails that we rode when I arrived in San Diego.

Unfortunately, just before we headed down the trail, we ran into a Ranger that informed us about a park-wide trail closure. Yeah, bummer. We talked to him for a while about the reasons behind the closure, but it sounded doubtful that they'll open them up again. Super bummer.

After the ride we had a few people over to the apartment for food and drinks, then walked down Park Boulevard to a few bars to celebrate Andy's 21st birthday (31's the new 21). We live in a predominately gay/lesbian community, so you don't exactly go to the bars expecting to cruise for chicks. Sarah and I made the most of it though, as we jumped up on the pole and made fools of ourselves. I even got a group of rando's to sing happy birthday with us outside of one of the bars. Good night for sure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sitting One Out

Tuesday's ride left me pretty worn out, so I've been taking it easy the past two days. Figured this would be a good time to start the clinical trial at UCSD by picking up a blood pressure arm cuff, which will take my blood pressure every 15 minutes for 24 hours total. It doesn't pay much since there's no risk, but at least I get to sit around and recover.

I also sent in a application for Wipeout. James thought I'd be a shoe-in, so I emailed them for an audition. Doubt I'll still be here during the eventual taping, but who knows, maybe I'll be back in California sooner than I'd expected.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration & Anderson

I'm hobbling around like an old man. Knee's cut up and my left wrist is JACKED. Oh well, just comes with the territory I guess.

Tried out my bus route to get to Anderson Truck Trail today. It takes a while and you have to transfer between buses and the trolley, but it does get you pretty close to the start of the World Cup section. There is a short, but heinously steep climb on the road before the trailhead, but it's well worth it. I was alone, so I decided to take my time and just learn the individual features of the trail instead of just tearing down as fast as possible.

Some of the drops and jumps are out of this world. I surprised myself, though, as I attempted and landed most of them. I fell a few times of course (hence the sore wrist) but felt comfortable overall. Once I'd made my way down past the majority of the jumps, I turned around and hiked back up to the top, where I'd left an Arnold Palmer for motivation. After taking a short break, I geared up one last time and headed down to the bottom, linking all the areas together and tying together a killer run. Just as the World Cup section ended I came upon two other riders. We chatted for a little while and then rode the rest of the way together. I was able to catch a ride with one of them back to San Diego, so I didn't have to sit in a bus for two hours looking like I fell off a train.

I didn't photograph much, but did get a couple video segments before the battery on my camera died. Now I'm going to watch the inauguration online, soak my sore bones, and eat some tacos.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Day at the Beach (Pacific Beach, CA)

I wanted a way to introduce the people I know (and have met) in San Diego to each other and last weekend I figured out a way - a game of beach volleyball.

Our group consisted of Miles & Claire, their roommate Zack; Andy, Nina, and myself; and Ashton & Beth. We played a few games with mixed teams and had a great time. Even broke out the horseshoes and jumped in the bay a couple of times.

After the beach, we headed to Miles, Claire, and Zack's house to cookout. The feast was magnificent, naturally, and we topped it off by watching the last quarter of the Steelers/Ravens game.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Park riding, Surf watching, Mountain biking

We got an early start to our Saturday - 6am. Apparently all of the skatepark attendants were laid off due to the recession, so previous "skateboard only" parks are wide open to whatever. We decided to go early to have the park to ourselves, but had to jump the fences since the park wasn't open yet.

Andy and Scott ripped it up for awhile and then we headed to Ocean Beach to get some breakfast. We ate at the Pier Cafe and got to see some surfers catching some pretty epic waves on our way there and back.

After relaxing at home for a bit, Andy and I headed to Noble Canyon, about an hour's drive from San Diego. The ride was about eighteen miles, we'd estimate, and offers some rolling, beautiful singletrack. It's a change from the usual mini-DH that you'd find at other trails, but did have one great stretch of blisteringly fast trail into the bottom of the Indian Creek Valley.

Friday, January 16, 2009

RIP Cuyamaca (El Cajon, CA)

I took the city bus to the Cuyamaca jumps this morning, but found a sad sight when I arrived. In an earlier post, I received comments about some 50cc dirt bike riders vandalizing the jumps, but didn't think it would be that bad. It was.

All of the jumps were destroyed. Even the new ones that were almost finished the last time we went to Cuyamaca. I guess we'll just have to wait for the next rain to rebuild them. It's a bummer, though, since there were two other spots that we'd planned on rehabbing during the next rain.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anderson Truck Trail (Alpine, CA)

Andy arrived at the airport this afternoon at 12:45pm. I decided to load up his truck with our gear and my bike and see if he'd want to take a shuttle run on Anderson Truck Trail when I picked him up - of course he was glad to get a run in.

We grabbed a bite to eat on the way at the In-N-Out Burger and then headed to the top of Anderson. I went first while Andy drove to the base to meet me there. Those trails are my favorite in the area - they've got berms, jumps, and rock drops all over the place.

When I got to the bottom, I threw the bike in the truck and we headed to the top again so Andy could get a run in. Since his bike is broken and we're still waiting for the replacement frame I let him take the run on my bike. I drove down to the base and about the same time Andy popped out of the trail. A great way to end what could have been just another weekday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Dirt Jumps (Vista, CA)

While I was searching online for veggie oil "greasers" in San Diego I came across a guy in Vista, CA that mountain bikes also. Today I drove up to Vista to check out his vegetable oil conversion and the dirt jumps that he and his roommate have built behind their house.

I brought along Dignon too, so he could run around while we sessioned the jumps. There were two different lines to choose from. One started with a small lip that transitioned to a step down, then a left-handed berm which shot you to about a four foot tabletop. The other line began with a small berm, then two tabletops on a slight downhill, followed by a berm that shoots you out into the driveway.

This is all just the beginning stage of their build, since the lines need to be perfected and gradually transformed. There's also a lot of space, considering the unbelievable amount of jumps that I've seen Evan fit into half the square footage. I told Devin that I'd get Andy and Scott to come along the next time it rains for a day of building, which will probably turn into a great weekend of collaboration and cooking out.

Oh yeah, I completely faceplanted on my last run. Fortunately I always wear my full-face helmet (especially since the chin and visor took the entire impact). UNFORTUNATELY there's no video of the crash.

After I knocked the wind out of myself, Devin schooled me in a couple games of foosball and then I headed to Oceanside to see one of my cousins [that I've never met before]. When I got to the house she was still at the beach with her toddler, so I got to meet her husband first. He's a pro windsurfer and had a lot of interesting stories to share about living in California, travelling in and out of Mexico, and general "dude essentials." Jenna (my cousin) showed up soon after and I got to hang out with all three of them (don't forget the kiddie) for a bit before driving home to San Diego to wash my wounds.

Monday, January 12, 2009

RVA transplants

I hung out with some Richmonders tonight. I'd never met them back home, but somehow I stumbled upon Ashton and Beth's blogs the other day and found out that they lived not far from Andy's house. We met for the first time tonight and went to a hardcore show in Pacific Beach. The show was decent, but we decided to adjourn to Live Wire Bar for a more relaxed hangout. It's amazing how many Richmond people you can find all over the country and I guess San Diego's no exception.

Velodrome Lurking (San Diego, CA)

Went on a short road ride today. I just spun around town and ended up at the San Diego Velodrome. No one was there and the gates were locked, but it was still cool to see it. Apparently they have recreational riding periodically, so I might take a spin around the track before I leave town.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Oh my God - the weather here is so great! Andy and I returned from our ride this afternoon with a second wind...maybe it was those gigantic slurpees; I don't know. Whatever the case, as soon as Andy found a hidden Sam Adams in the fridge and drained it, we decided a bike ride to the local Von's would be necessary. With a 24-pack of PBR under my arm and four limes in Andy's bag, we strolled through the streets back to his house. Once back we chilled...and chilled...until dark was upon us.

I think a showing of the best movie ever is about to happen.

Martha's Grove (San Diego, CA)

Andy got a new hardtail Yeti a few weeks ago and today was his first ride on the new rig.

The ride was more of a cross-country trail instead of our usual freeride/downhill session. After taking the dogs to the Ocean Beach Dogpark, we headed over to the trails.

The heat was on! About 78 degrees right now as I write this post, and it was even hotter earlier. Yeah, I know, what a crybaby right? The ride was cool though. We couldn't find our way that well since the area is basically surrounded by a military training area. If you wander into their territory they're allowed to shoot first and ask questions later. Needless to say, this was as close to the border as we ventured.

Since we kept running into dead ends, our ride was fairly short. The run down the ridgeline was a blast though, even if it was on a fire road. After we got back to the truck we searched for the closest 7-11 and pounded a couple HUGE slurpees to cool down after the hot ride.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cuyamaca, Bearcat, & Legacy Dirt Jumps

I want to go right back out there and ride some more!

Scott, Andy, and I headed for the dirt jumps this morning around 10am. They brought along the BMX's and I brought my mountain bike. The first spot was the Cuyamaca jumps in El Cajon, CA. The jumps there are relatively small, but great for learning - and that's definitely what I need. There are some large jumps, but they're being built up right now, so we couldn't ride that line. The set that we rode started with three rollers, a decent sized double, banked turn into a step down, out of the low area on a step up, then back down another step down and finally ending with a step up to flat. Yeah, I know, it hardly makes any sense to me either, but that's what they're called.

The next spot was strictly for spectators. It's called Bearcat and those jumps are HUGE! We walked the area and just imagined how fast you'd have to go to clear the jumps. No one was riding that spot, but we did meet a couple other mountain bikers that were walking the jumps too. They told us about another area, so we decided to check that out instead of going to Chula Vista for our last planned stop.

The last set of jumps were called "Legacy." They were in a canyon, so the run snaked down in between the canyon walls. It was definitely the coolest area we'd been to.

For some reason my derailleur hanger snapped off when we were riding down into the canyon, so I just watched Andy and Scott ride. Legacy's real close to the house and needs some TLC, so we'll probably start going down there at least once a week to build and ride it.