Sycamore Canyon and the Black Bitch at Noon!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, Jul 4, 2014.



  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Well with a title like that?!?!? . . . this is gonna get hits, but there was a black bitch at noon, just not what you most likely initially think... :D

    Scottay posted that he was looking for a Wednesday/Thursday/or Friday ride option and that's pretty wide open, and with Friday being the Fourth of July, I knew for sure I had it free. Then UPSed (UPS Ed) chimed in options of either a Cheeseboard ride or a Sycamore Canyon ride. I didn't really care which one, I just want to get out and get some serious riding in!

    I had this very unfavorable streak of crappy rides I was trying to break, and so I have been getting out and training more and attempting to perfect my eating habits both before and during the rides. About the last 4 rides have gone really well, and this one was no exception...

    Meet time was at 7:30 down in Newberry Park, we were going to do Ed's version of Sycamore Canyon. I was meeting Scottay at the Park and Ride off the 14 Freeway and Newhall near Santa Clarita at 6:45am meaning I leave Lebec at 5:45am :| . I had no idea what was in store, I just wanted to get a long ride in with a lot of climbing. Ed delivered a nice route!


    http://app.strava.com/activities/161774182
    sycamore_canyon.jpg

    I'm a country boy, I live in the sticks... If I can hit a house with a rock anywhere near my house with my best throw then they are waaaaaayyy too close so the thoughts of heading towards L.A. is very foreign to me. I think Ed calls it Urban Singletrack so I picked up on the verbiage.

    We met at the "T" intersection of South Wendy Drive and Potrero Road just off Highway 101. When Scottay and I pulled up there was a line of cars parked in the dirt on the side of the road at the trailhead, many with bikes and many day hikers as well. At least it was a popular spot. As Scottay and I slowly pulled our gear on Ed (UPSed) pulled up. He had a couple of buddies named Mike and Peter that wanted to ride as well. Hey, the more the merrier (too a point)...


    The Time Machine and Scottay. Getting unloaded.
    IMG-20140704-01723.jpg

    Taking off immediately on singletrack we dropped down to the creek ravine and then headed West towards the coastline for a mile or two and then came to this wicked drop (on pavement) down into Sycamore Canyon. That paved road was steep!

    At the bottom we again headed west but now we were on this paved bike path (really?). I drove an hour and 40 minutes to ride a paseo? Keep an open mind Mikie!
    Thank gawd we pulled off that onto some singletrack and the speed picked up and the ride was on. There was never really any chunk today, all the climbing and descending could easily be done on a hardtail; I almost felt I brought a bazooka to a knife fight (at first)...


    Mike and Peter.
    IMG-20140704-01724.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01726.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01727.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01728.jpg


    We finally got into a singletrack climb and there was nothing difficult about it it was nice and long and at the summit it turned into a fire road which was cool. It was warming up and the slow breeze at the top was most welcome. It was an onshore breeze so when it was there it was nice and cool!

    IMG-20140704-01730.jpg


    This singletrack is totally clay. So when it's dry, it is hard pack like concrete. Yeah, it rolls very fast!
    IMG-20140704-01731.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01732.jpg
    IMG-20140704-01733.jpg
    IMG-20140704-01734.jpg



    Yeah, real rough down here. They actually have water stops on the trail... W. T. H?
    IMG-20140704-01736.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01737.jpg


    We dropped down this fire road to a junction to find 5 guys dressed in yellow jersey and were volunteers for trail patrol. Pretty cool guys! Should have got a pic of them. :thumbsup:

    But the next thing that happen was we hit this singletrack that rocked! I think it was called the Sycamore Backbone Trail and it was fast, twisty and fun! You could easily lose it on this, as the speed was up there. If I remember correctly Scottay blasted off first, then UPSed, then myself and then Mike and Peter. Not much technical, but the technical in it would be how fast you could negotiate the parallel rain ruts and the sharp turns as it dived down hill. NICE!


    IMG-20140704-01738.jpg



    Life behind bars... What a felony! Ahhhhhhh....
    IMG-20140704-01740.jpg



    My piddly 26" wheels.
    IMG-20140704-01741.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01742.jpg


    UPSed!
    IMG-20140704-01743.jpg



    Scottay!
    IMG-20140704-01744.jpg

    At the bottom, Mike and Peter decided to peal off and head back. Mike was in charge of the bar-b-cue for a 4th of July party and Peter wanted to spectate that and other things... ;) We then hit a fire road that followed Sycamore Canyon towards the ocean, however we turned right and headed up Overlook, a very long grind climb up a fire road that put you in a position to see the Ocean breaking on shore to the West, and "Boney" a gnarly ridge line to the East. I took off in my endeavor to train back to endurance and pushed my self riding up and over Overlook. Scottay and UPSed cruised it.


    Yeah... The views are not bad.
    IMG-20140704-01745.jpg


    IMG-20140704-01746.jpg


    Ed "claims" he is smiling...
    IMG-20140704-01747.jpg

    IMG-20140704-01748.jpg


    Dropping back down to Sycamore Canyon we were on our way back. Now keep in mind, the whole time we are talking MTB smack about each other, and as funny as it was that kept us laughing at ourselves and each other, I can't really remember any of it . . . typical.

    Back up a fire road to a singletrack we climbed earlier that we now got to fly back down (It was good stuff! fast!) and then back onto fire road and then onto the paved Paseo where we stopped at a fire hydrant that had a hose bib on it so we could replenish some of the 100 ounces of water we had consumed.

    But then I was beginning to get curious about this "Black Bitch" we had to climb. Yeah, I know, sometimes I'm real dense. What I didn't realize was that UPSed was talking about that ridiculously steep paved drop we flew down to get to the bottom of Sycamore Canyon. Now we had to climb back up it. Right at high noon. :eek: . It was hot, it was steep. The vapors were just billowing up off the pavement as it gave the illusion the air was rippling up off in the distance. I just put my head down and charged it. I wanted to get it over asap... I don't think it is as steep as the last asphalt climb you had to dig deep to climb out of Gabrialino Trail back to the parking lot over at Chantry flats, but it was steep and 10 times as long, and at noon, and with a lot of humidity in the air. o_O


    The Black Bitch... at Noon.
    IMG-20140704-01751.jpg
    IMG-20140704-01752.jpg
    IMG-20140704-01749.jpg

    When I got to the top we were basically done . . . and, so was I. We had about a mile and a half left to get to the trailhead and I could tell we were working on cooked. At least I was. We made the drop and back onto the last singletrack that rose and fell gently and then the last little climb to where the Mini Cooper was parked. I was going to pass UPSed up on that but he got up out of the saddle and gave me the impression he had some left, so I just sat back down and hung on to his wheel. At the top he said he was ready to puke.

    Back at the vehicles we loaded up taking our time. Shot the breeze and debated on getting some grub and brew, then just decided to head out. We got our last parting shots in on each other, and then climbed in, and took off towards home.

    What a great ride! Over 30 miles for me and over 3600 feet of climbing it was a great day! Felt stronger than ever and glad I have been working on a feed program to get back my obnoxious self! :sneaky:

    Thanks Scottay for carpooling with me, I had a great time shooting the breeze on the way down and back. And thank you UPSed for hosting a fantastic ride today!

    Until next time...
     
    Cyclotourist likes this.
  2. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    I'm finally in one of your ride reports! Awesome ride Mikie!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    I would be extremely happy if we rode a ton more together...
     
  4. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    All fine and well and everything, but you descended the BB?!?!?!?! Noooooooooo! Why roll down that awful asphalt when there's a fantastic descent off to the west? I am apparently going to have to show you that one day. Comes out right at the top of Sin Nombre (I Sh!t you not!). Someday...

    You can see it here on this ride from back when:

    http://app.strava.com/activities/49953706/segments/884289484

    Note Wendy Connector / Mule Train / Barbed Wire, etc.

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  5. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    Is that OLTB?
     
    Mikie likes this.
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    YES! You ARE going to show this unkown wonder of Geography....
    I just want to know when?????
     
  7. BBJohn

    BBJohn Active Member

    Name:
    John
    Great RR Mikie!
    Been years since I've been out there, need to get back.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  8. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    Ed, if you mean Outside Linebacker Tail Back, then yes. Otherwise, OLTB?...

    Mikie. All we need to do is set something up, right? I'm just bad at that stuff. I want to ride tomorrow morning, but what you think?

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    The rest of this weekend belongs to Mrs. Watson. Her birthday is on Monday. Next Saturday I am attending a Wedding.

    I think I can ride next Friday or next Sunday most anywhere (accept China, Africa, the Canary Islands, most places in Australia...)

    ~Mikie
     
  10. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    For some reason I thought bikes weren't allowed in that area.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  11. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    I am not knowing about any of that. I just followed the trail, Ed. That may certainly be the case, but the trail is good and well worn. There is one point along the way that becomes questionable, but still I am not knowing. Beats the black bitch down by a country mile though.

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  12. bigringrider101

    bigringrider101 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnetka CA
    Name:
    Berni Avila
    Current Bike:
    Jones Space Frame Ti truss for
    It is off limits to bikes.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  13. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    F'r real, Berni? I've not seen any signs down it... I usually stay off of anything marked NO BIKES, but I've never seen any signs out that way. I've seen a fence, but no signs...

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  14. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    "That makes it even better!!!" (Did I use my outside voice? :? )
     
  15. scottay

    scottay Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gods Country
    Name:
    Scottay
    Maybe next time fer sure.....we had a nice convo with a cool Ranger that morn, would have been bad karma to poach that day.....
    .
    .
     
    Mikie likes this.
  16. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    Well, sheet, boyz. I really dint know I was poaching. Again -- never seen any signage out that way saying you could not do the ride that particular route. There IS a gate on a fence you must circumnavigate, yes. Maybe I should take that as a sign? :roll:

    - shud, not a poacher, really
     
  17. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    Poach? Not much of a hunter. [emoji41]
     
    Mikie likes this.
  18. BBJohn

    BBJohn Active Member

    Name:
    John
    A gate you say. Well in that case it must not be off limits, otherwise it would just be a fence. :D
     
    Mikie likes this.
  19. bigringrider101

    bigringrider101 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnetka CA
    Name:
    Berni Avila
    Current Bike:
    Jones Space Frame Ti truss for
    Yes, signs are long gone but that doesn't mean it is open. Part of it is the Hidden Pond trail. I rode that one once, right after someone took the signs down. From the old water tower at top of Wood Cyn. It was like a horse shoe and came out at top of Sin Nombre which is where you exit it. Or at some point if you made a left you would end at botton of black bitch.
    Don't get me wrong I don't really care if people ride bikes on trail that are "off limits". Just ride, have fun and be safe of course.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  20. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Okay guys, you heard it first from Berni....It's okay to ride that section....I never really saw a problem... :roll: :roll:
     
  21. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    So, instead of heading to Newbury Park and riding Sycamore today, I opted for the Encinal to Misha Mokwa singletrack ride. It's a keen, buff piece of the backbone (I wrote up RRs on this ride with plenty o' pics on STR over the years, as have others) and I thought it would be good for me since I am still not back to where I once was (and I don't suppose I ever will be to some extent -- gotta be super careful with the new back and all... it was rather costly...).

    http://www.strava.com/activities/162677498

    Turns out the ENTIRE Etz Meloy FR is OUT OF BOUNDS. This, according to the Park Rangers I checked in with post-ride. Yeah, I drove over to the visitors center at King Gillette ranch when I found the gate at the Yerba Buena TH was friggin' LOCKED, which pissed me off because it has ALWAYS been open in the past. I always thought it was there just to keep cars from entering the fire road. But as it would happen, the priv prop owner got sick of everyone riding through his gate, so he locked it off, and posted up signage (see attachment).

    So, I've been poaching that trail for going on a decade now, as has everyone else. Sometimes chit just happens, I guess. Damn shame.

    On the positive side, the ranger I spoke with mentioned that due to this current strife with the prop owner, the SMMC are considering cutting a trail to bypass this gentleman's vast and oh so importantly private property (it's a friggin' fire road f'r chrissake!) so that the Backbone can extend from the top of the Encinal climb all the way over to the Yerba Buena TH. That would be something! No timing on it from what I could gather, so who knows...

    - shud

    photo (31).JPG
     
    Cyclotourist and Mikie like this.
  22. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    Sadly the new gate has been there for over a year now but sometimes it's open. Unfortunately I'm not willing to ride all the way there just to find it locked. It's a great ride when you don't feel like doing a lot of climbing.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  23. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    Yeah, I have not been out there due to my back surgery, so it was a surprise.

    That said, I still got 2,614 feet of climb over the 18.1 miles, and that ain't bad!

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  24. scottay

    scottay Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gods Country
    Name:
    Scottay
    Insert backhanded comment here: "It's a great ride when you don't feel like doing a lot of climbing."
    .
    And slightly terse response[/quote]: " I still got 2,614 feet of climb over the 18.1 miles, and that ain't bad!"
    .
    Play nice kids! :lol:
    .
     
    Mikie likes this.
  25. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    Ya wanna step outside, Ed!?! :eek:

    (that way I can close the door, turn off the lights and hide behind the curtains..)

    I was not being terse, Scottay, just indicating that though there are no great big burly climbs on this trail, you do actually get some good footage in on the ride (plenty for me and my back these days). If you go all the way out to the Mishe Mokwe parking lot, which I didn't do yesterday due to time limitations, you get another 318, so almost 3k feet all in for the total 19.8 mile roundtrip. Seriously, that ain't bad (is it?).

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
  26. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    What Shud said!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  27. BBJohn

    BBJohn Active Member

    Name:
    John
    On another note. Congrats on getting back on the bike Shudder!!

    Back to your regularly scheduled RR, sorry. :)
     
    Mikie likes this.
  28. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    Thanks, John. I was fully expecting it to be a year off the bike—that' what my doc had told me back in December—but at my 5.5 month CT scan, he said "your back looks fantastic." He didn't want me to get back on the bike (he had his reasons... mostly having to do with not wanting his work getting messed up), but he said he had "no medical reason to keep you off the bike." He followed that up with a terse, "JUST BE CAREFUL!" So, I've been getting back out there, but I sure am outta shape -- felt real good to pass a bunch of peeps on the trail yesterday. :cool:

    - shud

    P.S. Here's a shot of my CT -- looks like an angry norseman, I know, but really it's L4 up top, then the disc between 4 and 5, then L5, then the fusion cage filled with dvx (now solid bone) with S1 on the bottom. Pretty cool. The angry eyes are parts of the screws holding the cage in place. You can't see them, but there's two stabilization bars on the back side. Lots going on back there nowadays...

    photo-3.JPG
     
    Mikie likes this.
  29. hill^billy

    hill^billy MTB Addict

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    I was thinking, wow he is back on the bike already? I can only imagine how good it must feel for you to be back riding again Shud. Good to here about a happy ending to a new starting point in your life! Hope you still have a passion for the pics? :cool:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  30. shudder

    shudder Member

    Name:
    Michael McClure
    I haven't started carrying my rig with me as yet, Doug. I'm just trying to get my feet wet aboard the camel again these days. In time I will start carrying it again, I think.

    Great to be back on the bike though! That's the best of all!!

    - shud
     
    Mikie likes this.
Loading...