Of Cliffs and Condos

In this post:

  • I converted my 29 plus bike tires to tubeless
  • I got a new camera and repurposed a phone holder to carry it in so I can take lots more pictures
  • I have continued to fine tune my local homey epic loop, which is a process that I don’t think will ever end

Tubeless Conversion

I used my homemade bead seater blaster:

More on this beast in a future post. It makes easy work out of any tubeless conversion. My Mulefut 50SL / Panaracer Fat B Nimble 29×3.0 set up went well. This was motivated by my recent “Lake Dixon Flat Fest” documented here.

The new camera:

It’s a Panasonic that is waterproof and also impervious to dust, shocks, cosmic radiation, tactical nukes and solar flares. I think Ironman, the Hulk and Sasquatch all use it. And to access it easily I have added a shoulder strap pocket to my Camelbak, all in the name of better blogging:

It is from a company called Bikase, but it looks like they don’t make it anymore. It lets you easily unzip the pocket and use the camera. It is a little bigger than needed for my camera since it is made for the newer big smartphones. I have a smaller pocket on the way from Amazon. In the long run I may try the Peak Design quick release mount.

The Ride

This is another iteration of a loop I have been doing a lot lately and tweaking:

 

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
03:42:04 03:01:27 23.36 7.73 32.66 2,386.48
hours hours mi. mph mph ft.

The ride goes along San Juan Creek in areas where it has not been tamed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Recent rains have caused the creek to meander a bit it seems.

San Juan Creek changes course

Ironically, the area still shows the signs of a long term drought. Many local golf courses have reduced watering dramatically as can be seen here at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course, which was also along my route.

Maybe we should start calling the “greens” “yellows” instead

Further along I found a scenic overlook at a strategically placed bench as I departed Ladera Ranch and dropped into Sendero below.

Rest stop atop Ladera Ranch

Rest stop atop Ladera Ranch

The view gave me a look at the alternate route down, which I have taken before. Unfortunately the switchbacks at the bottom are paved and not much fun that way.

The alternate descent into Sendero, which I did not take.

The alternate descent into Sendero, which I did not take.

The view from here is the good, the bad and the ugly. I personally will benefit from the completion of La Pata road into this area. And there are plans for a riverbed trail up San Juan Creek which I would also appreciate. But the downside is more development, the pictures speak for themselves.

A good look at Sendero and other development taking place in Rancho Mission Viejo

A good look at Sendero and other development taking place in Rancho Mission Viejo

The descent I did choose was fun but could be more so. There are a handful of switchbacks that are set up just right, then the trail follows the direct route down. The switchback pattern should be continued all the way down the hill in my not so humble opinion. After the switchbacks I got going so fast that I could smell the aroma of burning brake pads. Switchbacks reduce erosion from run off and protect the trail and the hillside, so long as riders do not use the “lock up the rear wheel and slide” technique of negotiating them.

This is the downhill option I did take

This is the downhill option I did take

A day of riding wilderness trails through suburbia makes for interesting contrasts. While riding along a rugged overgrown creek bed you can turn a corner and find yourself entering a manicured neighborhood feeling oddly out of place. The comfortable safe streets that are so relaxing to return to after a day at work suddenly look strange, as though they were but a thin veneer over the earth, which I suppose they are. Near the end of the ride I was able to look back at the cliffs along San Juan Creek and realize they were formed by the creek eating away at the hills, just as I saw signs of earlier that day, albeit on a much larger scale. Suburbia is sprawling all around it, meaning that someday the banks of San Juan Creek will need to be turned into concrete to protect the homes and businesses along its banks. I am glad to experience it now as gravel, dirt, trees and trails while I still can.

Cliffs and condos

Cliffs and condos

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