RR: The Back to Business as Usual Lake Piru Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    It's been nearly 8 1/2 weeks...
    ...Forced to be off my bike due to a very unexpected mtb accident on McGill Trail on July 11th, (The Mikie Bermuda Triangle of Death Trail for Me) I really needed "something" to make me feel better. @Voodoo Tom and I rode on Saturday for my maiden voyage back on the bike which went pretty good! We ended up at the very end of Hasley Canyon Road when Tom shared with me (again) he really wanted to put a route together to ride from his house to Lake Piru. I never realized I guess just how relatively close it really is!

    So Tom is always willing to jump on my hair brain ride adventures so I wanted to figure this out with him and just do it. So we did...


    upload_2018-9-3_15-21-27.png

    I spent several hours the night before scanning Google Earth, then Tom sends me a link to someone else's STRAVA who had already done the ride. Dang it! So, in essence I used it to build a route on STRAVA then uploaded it to my Garmin. I’m REALLY glad I did that!


    Arriving at Tom’s at 7:30 this morning, we again confirmed it was the ride we were going to do so we headed out right from his driveway. Just before we left I made the dumbazz decision to remove my GoPro from my helmet and stick it on the mount facing backwards under my seat. Never was there a ride where I should have had my GoPro going! You will understand as we go…


    We were dropping down Sloan Canyon and we were talking and I’m looking over at Tom and I see a Bobcat in the brush running away from us. Tom missed it so we went over to the edge he went over, and there were TWO Bobcats. I grabbed the camera as fast as I could but I only caught one of them from a distance. Missed GoPro vid number one.


    Almost dead center of what may used to be a square coral.
    DSCF2333.jpg


    Just heading into the bushes.
    DSCF2334.jpg




    Got to the end of Gilmour Canyon road where the goods started.
    So just so you know this is a county gate. Not that, that makes it any better, but I assured Tom I scoured the route and that there should not be any more gates ahead of us…


    DSCF2337.jpg


    Gilmour Canyon was steep, we did see a couple of sets of mtb tire tracks. Passed a very friendly lady out on her walk. When we reached the Gilmour Pass we had a wow of a view! Uh, and another gate, whoops, that's two...
    DSCF2339.jpg DSCF2341.jpg

    We will be hugging that far mountain heading to the left (west).
    DSCF2338.jpg

    Dropping down into that valley we discovered some pretty good size rollers, and some pretty good size cow patties, hmm, cattle country.
    DSCF2343.jpg

    That zig-zag road is where we dropped from the summit of Gilmour.
    DSCF2344.jpg

    Lots of dead windmills from a different time in history.
    DSCF2345.jpg


    It's a good thing VT's bike is so stealthy! That was sarcasm just in case you didn't catch it...:coffee:
    DSCF2350.jpg

    Hmm, Dead Steer Canyon. We have been transported back in time and I was not packing heat!
    DSCF2349.jpg

    Rattle Snake Canyon.
    DSCF2352.jpg

    Then we came across this congregation. It was a bovine experience and they were not happy with us. Pretty confident they had never seen mountain bikers before! We came down the road behind them and circled round and they were very skittish...
    DSCF2347.jpg


    These guys flat out stampeded! We tried so hard to stop it by getting in front of them on the road as they were cross country-ing it on our left down the canyon. I could just picture a rancher in his pick-up come around the corner and totally get the wrong impression from this scene!
    DSCF2351.jpg

    Finally passing the cows, we continued on our way in the pursuit of Lake Piru. We were past most all the big rollers in the back country and rolling along at a steady pace. The high humidity was beginning to dry up and the skies were getting bluer ahead as we rolled west.
    DSCF2353.jpg


    Then we came to our first... Uh Oh?
    We seemed to be rolling up on a ranch where the road went right through the middle of it. Even dumbazz me was a little nervous, from afar it did not look abandoned but it was. Probably not for working cattle, but for living. That's where we encountered, gate number 3.

    DSCF2354.jpg

    We didn't know the place was abandoned until we rolled through it. i held my breath and we were both very quiet. But as we rolled through it became clear there was no vehicles. I secretly sighed some relief.

    I have no idea, so I included it...
    DSCF2355.jpg

    Looking back on the abandoned ranch... Now not sure what was ahead.
    DSCF2356.jpg

    Naturally off to our right was another Zombie Apocalypse house as Jennifer @MrsUPSed
    pointed out on another adventure ride I took them on... I think she is right! Strategic locations. They are coming.... it was, eerie.
    DSCF2357.jpg


    The dirt road had turned to a fresh gravel road so I'm thinking we were in the clear! Tom had a bigger smile on his face and I was starting to feel safe!
    DSCF2361.jpg

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    Uh..
    That is when we encountered, Gate number 4. Dammit!
    DSCF2358.jpg

    We saw tons of these...
    DSCF2359.jpg

    According to my planned route on STRAVA, we were getting close to Lake Piru! A couple more miles and several more corners and it peeked out from around one of them!
    DSCF2364.jpg

    Wow! pretty anti climatic for a lake. Lake Piru was looking more like a really large mud hole. It looked to be about 100 feet below peak.
    DSCF2366.jpg

    We pressed on to the Dam as that is where I routed us to on my Garmin. A few more little grind climbs and we arrived!
    DSCF2367.jpg

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    Looking south towards the little town of Piru and the Hwy 126 corridor.

    DSCF2369.jpg

    We actually debated heading down the road to the 126 and cruising it back home. Hopping so many gates had us wondering what we should do as we now had to back track to the Zombie Apocalypse abandoned ranch as that was the junction for the return segment. Surely we had hit all the gates there were. So we manned up, and we headed back the way we came!
     
  2. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Continued...

    Heading back we had a nice grind climb out from the dam. It was getting warm so I pulled off those wretched baggies I had on to reveal my manly roadie lycra spandex. MAN! It was so much cooler the second I took them off. Uhh, the baggies, not my lycra...:rolleyes:

    Tom and I were making the climb from the dam when the most bizarre and inspiring thing that happened on this adventured revealed itself...

    We were heading into a sweeping slightly uphill left turn when Tom noticed it first.
    It was a mule deer, maybe a three point, was flying down the road at full gallop! I had no time what so ever to pull out a camera. It was at full speed! It totally had the plan to make the corner heading right at us when at the last second saw us, went wide around us. How it had traction to make that outside corner, I have no idea. Instead of continuing down the fire road, it shot wide and headed up the side of the mountain. It climbed up a virtually vertical section of barren rock and just disappeared! I was totally dumbfounded, it was flat out amazing!

    This is a pic of where that Buck shot off the trail. You can kinda see in the lower left of the pic what "could" be the start of a singletrack. That rock face in the upper middle right is where he just continued straight up. That was another wow! And... another GoPro moment that would have gone viral on the internet...
    DSCF2371.jpg


    We moved on...
    Got past the gate we had to hop to get back to the abandoned ranch surviving the sleeping zombies. That was where we had a more direct path home as planned. It was beautiful!
    DSCF2373.jpg

    We were home free!
    Yeah, that's when we encountered gate number, I'm losing count...

    DSCF2374.jpg

    DSCF2375.jpg

    As we were climbing that awesome section of the rode, off to the right I spotted and share with Tom a Fox! Dang it! Another Kodak moment missed! Boy does THAT phrase date me!

    I was feeling pretty confident we were through all the gates now. Whew! We were now starting to see a very Ozark Mountain Daredevil community of houses spread out here and there on both sides of the road! Some of them we could have swore we heard banjo's lightly in the background. The road was gradually getting steeper as we figured.

    Came across this odd grouping of old equipment. Naturally we had to play some!
    DSCF2376.jpg

    DSCF2377.jpg

    Ain't much built better, than a "Wheeled Scraper Company" Grader!
    DSCF2378.jpg

    DSCF2379.jpg

    ...And if you need to spread the BS! Like we do here on imtbtrails, there is always this...
    DSCF2380.jpg

    There was quite a few more unique pieces but these were the coolest.

    The dirt turned to pavement so we knew we were getting close to what we knew was going to be a mini Black Bitch (paved steep climb). @UPSed knows what we are talking about. I can't remember what the percentage was as we climbed it but I still felt pretty fresh and just saving some to get home. But!

    Not before we hit one more gate. Cheese and Rice! Gate, what... Number 7? What was worse there was a truck passing through it coming toward us and there was a lady out closing the gate for her driving husband as we approached. Yikes! Obviously no pics of this moment.

    No getting out of this one. We were coming out of where they were coming in to. We just cruised by them very slowly kind averting our eyes. I gave my biggest Mikie smile and and said "Hi! Have a great Labor Day!" I can tell she was processing... But she was a reserved nice and made some noise of acceptance...

    It was immediately after that the road went vertical into the mini Black Bitch. We knew it was short, like a mile and a half, but steep.

    We also knew that at the top it was mostly down hill to Hasley Canyon road with a few ups and downs and one last easy grind climb before we descended to Tom's. I gotta be honest. I felt fantastic. I have lost over 15 lbs on the recovery adventure and it paid off.

    We cruised on down and did a little round about, the way we went out that morning. Did our last climb out and descended towards Toms. Realized we had the opportunity to call it 30 miles so we did a round about to get to Tom's.

    Loading up to head home Tom pulled out two perfect cold Shock Tops and we sat on his front porch to "bottom's up" those bad boys!

    These are the rides I long for! The adventures. The "one off's" with (hopefully epic) ride reports. Getting back to my roots of writing up big reports.

    Tom was amazing today. Kept the pace awesome, and is one of those guys that is solid true blue! One of the greats riding partner!

    Thanks Tom, for letting me be a part of one of your epic dream adventures. With many more to come!

    Bike...... On!
    :thumbsup:Mikie
    I'm Back!

    DSCF2381.jpg
     
    H2oChick, HBkites, OTHRider and 32 others like this.
  3. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Pick one, got a few
    We ran in to some more gates...
     
  4. Poofighter

    Poofighter Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Noel
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Shortboy
    Great RR, but even better that youre out riding again! Good thing you brought VT, in case of another predicament.
     
    Tom the Bomb, Luis, mtnbikej and 7 others like this.
  5. levity

    levity Member

    Location:
    Irvine
    Name:
    Larry
    Current Bike:
    Stumpies (+/- e)
    Nice report and pics, Mikie!

    Great to see you back in the saddle and enjoying life!
    Knew it wouldn't take ya long, but that's a pretty damn good second outing!
     
    Tom the Bomb, kioti, Danmtchl and 3 others like this.
  6. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona
    I sure hope that abandoned ranch isn't owned by the Sierra Club. :whistling:
     
  7. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Very nice! So are you approved for normal trail riding again now, or just "mellow dirt road cruises"? :whistling:
     
    Tom the Bomb, kioti, Danmtchl and 3 others like this.
  8. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara Well-Known Member

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara Ford
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz 5010
    Ok, I’m new at this techy stuff, just click on the link plz ;)

    So crazy stoked for you Mikie, what an epic ride! And @Voodoo Tom , you must be so freaking elated to have your bestie back on the trails! Happy for you both!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Tom the Bomb, Luis, Grego and 5 others like this.
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Umm,
    I told Dr. Bob I was going to take my road bike to work and ride the California Aqueduct in the Antelope Valley. Yah know, maybe 7 miles out and back?
    I guess I kinda blew it!
     
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Yes! We are waiting for the third amigo.
    Take your time... but hurry up!:inlove:

    No wait... take your time!

    Thanks Sara!
     
  11. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara Well-Known Member

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara Ford
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz 5010
    What does “take your time” mean?? I don’t know these words:whistling::thumbsdown:
    Ok, I will:thumbsup:
     
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    I just KNOW, there is a reason I said that...:sneaky:;)
    We will be here, when you are ready...:inlove:
     
    mountaingirl sara and Voodoo Tom like this.
  14. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Ummmmm @Mikie ... Impressive and all, but by my count you've now put over 9000' into that barely-healed hip of yours in two days. Please give yourself time to recover and heal. :thumbsup:

    Someone's gotta nag him.
     
  15. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Yoooooo Mikie you badazz you. Good on ya!
     
  16. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Ha, that's what I've been telling mine for 3 months. Have appointment tomorrow and supposedly should get clearance for normal trail riding. Retroactive to June, of course.... :whistling:
     
  17. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Fair enough...
    Dr. Bob DID say to go at my pace and just focus on not getting hurt. I think @Voodoo Tom can vouch I have been conservative in regards to reckless abandon... VT, look... I'll pay you to agree! :whistling:
    No really we have done nothing but cruise all of it.
     
  18. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona
    :Roflmao
     
  19. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Pick one, got a few
    Trust me nobody has been more surprised by his heroic comeback than myself. Pace has been left completely up to him and at least his first ride was designed with every bailout option imaginable. Last thing I want to see is for him to suffer a setback.

    I think I've got Mrs VT talked in to seeing Dr Bob this week cause of her painful back & shoulder. I'll forward the cash to her so she can zip it...:speechless:
     
  20. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Pick one, got a few
    Sorry, didn’t really get a chance to properly chime in yesterday for such a great ride. Almost too late now but I’m going to anyway. After re-hydrating we had a mellow family afternoon involving movie time then BBQ. Then I showed up to work early this morning and actually had to work.

    @Mikie hit it all with his report. This ride was awesome beyond my wildest dreams. For years I’ve been riding from my house and hitting every road and trail there is. Then I’d get home and look at the map and keep telling myself dang Lake Piru is just right over there. Set out a couple times solo thinking I had a secret way there only to find dead ends with serious looking gates. So the other day when Mikie was down doing his shakedown ride with me on some of these said roads I mentioned to him hey when you get home look at the map and see how close we are to Piru. I’d certainly mentioned this to him before but now that he’d ridden some of my turf it had new meaning. So naturally after getting home from his first ride and him feeling great I get this text later saying “Lake Piru? I’m in”. Apparently he had been doing some mapping and I had been doing some scouring myself haha. Great minds think alike.

    We knew there was a big gate to start the Gilmore climb. No biggie, road is in great shape you can tell people have been there. I told my partner that I thought it was against the law to shoot mountain bikers on holidays and he seemed good with that. Grind climb to the top and when we crest it was like “oh wow look at that” The view was incredible. Gate #2 became a moral imperative at this point. Once past that it just kept getting prettier and we both had ear to ear grins. Many spots were deep sand/silt beds which made us glad we were going the direction we were cause climbing back out wouldn’t have been fun at all. Then the cattle, they were big, and skittish and everywhere at times. About now is when I really started thinking and praying we didn’t see another soul cause there wasn’t going to be any way to explain our way out. Then we rolled up on the ranch and I thought to myself “gulp this aint good”. Rolled thru as stealthy as possible and luckily it was abandoned phew. Yep then another gate but at this point it seemed safer to keep going that direction. I think that was the last roadblock going towards the lake but there may have been one more I’m not sure. Kicked it at the dam for a few and discussed our options (or lack thereof). With all we had seen and experienced getting to the lake I don’t think either of us was in need of anymore excitement on the return trip. Phone didn’t work here or at any other point in the ride for that matter. I asked “where’s that road go” and Mike responds down to the town of Piru about 5 or 6 miles. I thought crap 5 miles there and another 15 or so flat blacktop miles back to the house that doesn’t sound fun and a “call of shame” if my phone ever worked sounded even worse.

    So back we went. Didn’t take long for more excitement to happen. Mr mule deer was flying towards us for some reason and made a split second decision to alter his course when he saw us. I’ve never seen anything like what this guy pulled off navigating his way up the embankment. I don’t think a bighorn sheep could have taken this guys line. Then there was a gate, then another one, but we knew about those. Scenery was stunning as we rode thru tunnels of trees in a couple spots. I never said anything but I was on “bear watch” at this point cause that was about the only thing missing so far. Coming across the old farming equipment was pretty cool so we had to stop and check it out. A bit farther along we start rolling across some residences which let me know we were getting closer to familiar territory. Not exactly sure this made me more comfortable though so I rolled along as stealthy as a guy on a mango Hightower could. Then as luck would have it we cross paths with a vehicle with people right at the location of our last gate. Mikies attempt at killing em with kindness sorta worked a little so I kept my mouth shut. Once past this we were now staring at a wall of a climb that we both knew was coming. I was never so happy in my life to see a 15% mile plus long grade. This meant I knew we were home free and just might live to tell about this.

    Will I do this one again? Nope I think I pushed my luck about as far as I can get away with on this one and I’m perfectly happy to have checked it off my list and experienced it with my best pal. Adventure rides are the best cause you really don’t know what to expect. This one blew me away though, who knew? Now it’s time to start planning another one.

    Took some pics but most all were terrible. Here's "Rocky Balboa" about to crest a steep mutha of a climb. Sram Eagle for the win.
    IMG_7909.JPG

    This one turned out perfect:confused:...
    IMG_7912.JPG
     
    H2oChick, Maddog, littlewave and 15 others like this.
  21. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Even if you went at MY pace (snails pass me), 9000' is a lot of effort and pressure on a recovering body. But hey, I've always been a little cautious.
     
  22. MrGreedom

    MrGreedom Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Name:
    Ryan
    Current Bike:
    BH Lynx6
    Hopping gates, poaching trails, true blue IMTB Hooligans :D
     
  23. Ebruner

    Ebruner Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Erik Bruner
    Current Bike:
    SC Hightower, Kona Hei Hei
    awesome ride report. I can't believe you're back on the bike already. I remember what a relief it was to get back on the bike after my issue, it was like the fog lifted and everything finally felt like it was going to be ok. I need to head up your way to get a ride in with you soon.
     
  24. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    Sounds like a @Mikie comeback get together ride is in order.
     
  25. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    You guys re always so kind to me!
    Naturally I would love to host a GE ride. I think it's either a really good time of year, or a really bad time of year for Golden Eagle as it is now deer season. yuk! Nothing against hunters, other than the usual clean up after them, but I would hate for one of you to get bagged and tagged! :bang:
     
  26. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Just so you guys know...
    BFF Robin @Mikie Robin Mcguire just "Liked" my ride report. She also just popped up in the Picture Slot machine...:inlove: Coincidence? I think not!
    fb_img_1464226372962-jpg.17026.jpg
     
  27. Mikie Robin Mcguire

    Mikie Robin Mcguire Well-Known Member

    Name:
    mikie and robin
    Love you BFF Mr. Watson.. We miss you and when we see you we will have some of my homemade cookies just for you, hugs from us both XXX OOO IMG_20180903_074236_197.jpg
     
  28. CBone

    CBone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Antelope Valley
    Name:
    Tucker
    Current Bike:
    Intense Primer
    I guess we know why old Smoky can't lose that weight. I guess he needs to fatten up before winter anyway.
     
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