Sisar to Red Reef Trail - Ojai Ca.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, Sep 2, 2014.



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  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    To Ojai or not Ojai? That is the question... :?

    Back in the day when I raced XC there was a dood out in Ojai that worked (and probably still does) construction. If I remember his name, it was Craig. He was a pretty fast Cat 1 XC mountain biker and we raced together, and against each other for several years.
    I always wondered where he would train and if there were good trails out in the Ojai area, but never got out there to take a look.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    Enter a last minute post on Trailhead by Tony Arnold aka AKAKTM about an exploratory ride out on Sisar Road in Ojai on Labor Day.
    Exploratory ride in Ojai? :rolleyes:
    What exactly does THAT mean? So I immediately pictured dead ends, massive hike-a-bikes, lots of stickers in my bike socks . . . you get the picture.

    Nobody was responding to the post. I was sorta feeling bad for Tony.

    So I go on Facebook to surf around and I posted a picture of a Bobcat in my backyard. People were responding, "How Awesome", "No Bar-B-Cue, huh?" and other nice things.....Not Tony. "Hey I posted a ride for you to go on", he posts on my Bobcat Facebook...huh?

    Then I checked my phone and there is a text,"Posted a ride for you tomorrow". Wow! Tony REALLY wants me to ride this. So I thought, "Why not", and I responded, "I'll be there". Late that night I had to hook up the ultimate power source on my bike. It was the Vaporman Power Bell. rossage told me it had super powers, so I couldn't resist...

    Gives you Supah Powers! (or it's a bong in disguise, I'm not sure which)
    IMG-20140831-02178.jpg

    We were to meet at Interstate 5 and the 126 at 7:15... On the way down I'm texting and calling trying to contact Tony to tell him I was in. I replied on Facebook, my Text, and the post on Trailhead. Finally, I'm half way to the meet point and Tony calls (he sounded half asleep), hey I'm bringing Parker and we will meet you at such and such cul-de-sac. "So, it's the 3 of us, sounds good", see you there.

    I'm early (Cuz I'm always early) and so I park it. Then a red pick up pulls up behind me (so it's NOT just Parker, Tony, and myself. I wave , he waves. I get out and think be Mister meet and greet... :D I say hi and he says hi, but he says hi in a way that we know each other. Oh crud, so I act like I know him (but I don't know him). Then another vehicle pulls up. It's Danny! I met Danny on a MTBHotRod ride just a couple of weeks ago and he killed it on the climbs....crud :confused: . This may not be what I thought it was. He has a friend with him named Richard (cool dude!)

    So now I'm thinking this is turning into a hammer-fest... these are all great riders . . . then MTBHotRod pulls around the corner! Holy Fashizzle Batman! What the? Awesome!!! This is a full deck of cards...

    Now we are all sitting around waiting for Tony and Parker to show. When Tony arrives we talk a little MTB schmack (my kind of guys), when I discover that the guy in the red truck is Fadi Ahad. THE Fadi Ahad? The guy kicking my boo-tay on my home turf McGill Trail. Like, by a lot!!! :eek:

    ;) NICE!

    So we all load up, I get lucky and Rodney aka MTBHotRod shotguns with me in the revamped (AGAIN) Time Machine and we all hit the 126 Westbound and caravan to Ojai...
    We exit on the very cleverly named Ojai Santa Paula Road (aka Highway 150) and head North to Sisar Road where we park at an elementary school parking lot. We hit the trail at 8:23am and it is already getting warm.

    sisar.red.reef.jpg

    School parking lot.
    IMG-20140901-02181.jpg


    MTBHotRod aka Rodney, and Danny Lee aka Uh, Danny Lee!
    IMG-20140901-02182.jpg


    Richard!
    IMG-20140901-02183.jpg



    AKAKTM (Tony) and his incredible mountain biking son Parker.
    IMG-20140901-02184.jpg

    IMG-20140901-02187.jpg

    Sisar Road starts out as well, a road. More like a single lane paved neighborhood road and you travel just a mile or two up and begin to climb where it turns into a dirt road. This section is real nice! Heavily shaded as you ride along a tree infested canyon that sports a small stream. In some places the canopy is so heavy that it seemed dark. Sisar Road is a long haul... I heard them sayin' it was 6 miles, but it was an easy 10 miles of climbing.

    The climb is not all that difficult as well, but it is long and when you pull out of the canyon and the protection of the heavy shade trees it got warmed. I like the heat so it was not a big deal to me.

    Tony took off and I thought oh-boy this is going to be a climb-fest, but he stopped at a gate to adjust something on his bike. I was just pedaling along settling in for the long haul when I noticed I was by my self. Huh? So I kept going cuz I knew I needed to keep a pace to keep motivated. For a long time I pedaled it was several miles, when all of a sudden (and I mean that most sincerely), Fadi BLOWS by me. As he passes, he says, "Are you the leader"? and I said, "Nope! Your are". He says, "Cool", and just continues to blow by me. Yeah . . . I died a little.

    An Ojai "Life Behind Bars". These never get old...
    IMG-20140901-02188.jpg



    Looking back at the road climb up. Not really bad if you cruise it, and it can be cruised.
    IMG-20140901-02189.jpg


    IMG-20140901-02190.jpg


    IMG-20140901-02192.jpg


    Porn...
    IMG-20140901-02193.jpg


    Mysteriously large rocks that happen to be at the edge of the road...
    IMG-20140901-02194.jpg


    Yeah, we climbed from down there.
    IMG-20140901-02195.jpg

    No one in sight behind me, a few corners later, no one in sight in front of me, it was going to be a looong climb alone. I came to a couple of large rocks that were strategically placed, stopped and took some pics. Saw another place and stopped and took some more pics and then headed for the summit (where ever that was). A few minutes later down comes Fadi. I hate when people crest and then come back for you (That's what I do... :x ). He had not topped out yet but was getting concerned with the distance out. We had passed a trail on a sharp bend and thought maybe we were suppose to wait there. So we headed for the top and stopped short in some shade to wait for the others. We talked quite a while when I said, "Maybe we should go look for those guys. I bet the minute we take off, someone will roll around the corner." The second we hit the pedals, Rodney rolls up. Ha hah!

    So the 3 of us cruise up to the summit and wait for the others to show.


    MTBHotRod and Fadi.
    IMG-20140901-02197.jpg



    Red Reef Trail. The way we are heading.

    IMG-20140901-02198.jpg


    LBB
    IMG-20140901-02199.jpg


    All of us regathered and getting some food, we head East another 2.5 miles. Fadi takes off with Tony on his tail. Tony just pulls away from me and I thought, "Oh boy...here we go". Tony was gone! Still a climb with some slow rollers we get to a trailhead and Fadi says he wants to ride it and meet back up with us at the intended trailhead Red Reef. So we roll on and get there and wait for Fadi. Kicking it we ate some more and sat in some shade under some large bushes and trees. Fadi rolls up and we get ready to descend....

    IMG-20140901-02203.jpg

    IMG-20140901-02204.jpg


    Un-Expectantly... our horses died. We thought it was the heat, turns out they were not actually dead... We were just resting.
    IMG-20140901-02205.jpg



    It didn't look like much for a trail head.
    IMG-20140901-02206.jpg

    Still...not much...
    IMG-20140901-02207.jpg


    Great Rock Formations off to the East.
    IMG-20140901-02208.jpg


    Parker! He is one of those guys that pulls up next to you on the trail and lifts the front wheel and rides a wheelie while you are struggling to stay on the trail...
    IMG-20140901-02209.jpg



    Horses not dead...
    IMG-20140901-02210.jpg


    ...It was just us waiting for Fadi to go explore a trail and meet us at the trailhead.
    IMG-20140901-02211.jpg
    Fadi leads with Parker right on his tail. Tony goes, then I go, then Rodney, Danny and Richard. Around a few corners, Tony stops and decides to get on some Armour (uh oh...). I pass by and about a mile in I let Rodney go by. We are flying but I don't know the trail and there was a lot of whoops trails in the hairpin switchback that lead straight into bush. Rodney was so tight on my backside I was concerned I might lead him off the trail. I give him some space and we are flying! The trail is kind of a decomposed granite but larger granules. soft in some sections over hard pack. A lot of speed sections that drop you right into a tight switchback, the brush is high enough you can't see around most of the corners. Some switchbacks have railroad ties as water bars or drop offs. Not a lot of chunk on the upper section, but LOTS of off camber outside corners with a lot of tight narrow sections. Lots of opportunity to lose traction on the back end in the corners. Also a lot of upper body work cuz you are pushing the limit of traction on off camber while at speed. Good stuff! For the most part I stayed pretty tight with Rodney and Danny was right on my butt! I like that kind of riding. One guy makes a mistake and it's a pile up! Tremendous trust in your fellow rider.

    At one point Rodney got out of sight so I was letting go of the brakes to catch him. Came around the corner to see Rodney flailing to get back on his bike.! Went in a little too hot and got out of whack because of a Railroad Tie. Hah! Rodney is fast, an was back on it in no time.

    Then the coolest thing happened...
    We plunged into a canyon and it went dark from the trees. We pulled right into a small campground, regathered, and then hiked a small section of trail to continue in a different world all together! Instead of dry dusty chaparral, it was now mega green thick plants on chunky large smooth river boulders! This is an awesome trail! Winding around to continue with tight switchbacks now the added chunk made it very fun and interesting. A couple of 4 to 5 step "no way you can clean that" hike-a-bike rock sections and we were flying again!

    But then... it came to an end. Ironically at the same trailhead we saw on the climb Fadi and I thought we should have waited at. We waited to regroup and then sprinted on down the remainder of the fire road the way we climbed. It was fast, it was at times very sketchy. Dry stream crossings with 12 inch boulders to fly over, some fast traction breaking corners. Fadi led and I was close behind him, he went into a corner so hot the back end of his bike broke loose and he slide around the majority of the corner TT style. Wish I had the GoPro on me!!

    What a surprise trail!
    IMG-20140901-02212.jpg



    IMG-20140901-02213.jpg


    It's official. Richard thought the trail was a thumbs up as well...
    IMG-20140901-02215.jpg

    At the bottom we cruised back through the single lane neighborhood. People that were outside all waved. Nice folks. Got back to the vehicles and loaded up and went about 3 buildings down to a hamburger stand. they were not even officially open but they made hamburgers anyway. They could not actually take money but we tipped them very well.

    IMG-20140901-02217.jpg


    Fadi, Parker, Tony, Richard... Rodney, and Danny.
    IMG-20140901-02218.jpg


    Fadi took a pic so I could jump in. I never smile...
    IMG-20140901-02219.jpg

    IMG-20140901-02220.jpg

    Shot the breeze for quite a while, loaded up and we headed home.

    Was Red Reef Trail worth the long haul climb? If you are a climber and like climbing, then it is a resounding yes! In that first 10 miles we climbed a solid 3,500 feet. But I like to climb. This ride might be best suited for Fall or Spring, or even Winter due to the exposure. Anyway you slice it, the Tony Arnold exploratory Mountain Bike ride in my opinion was a huge success! There is no doubt I will be back for this one!

    OH! and the Vaporman Power Bell? . . . . . . . . . it DOES have Supah Power!!!! You got to have one!
     
  2. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Prescott
    Name:
    hill^billy
    I've been wanting to explore that trail for a few years now! Sorry I missed it! But glad you did yet another excellent RR so now I know to ride it soon. Thanks.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  3. AKAKTM

    AKAKTM Member

    Location:
    SCV
    Name:
    Tony A
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Mike, great write up as usual. We had a wonderful time and it's always a pleasure riding with you. This ride turned out better than I expected and I hope we can all (those that like to climb and explore) go and explore all around. I love to use the Strava Heat Map (check it out) to look for trail opportunities and there are several there that none of us have done! Thanks for a fun 49th birthday.

    I hope to be able to join you on the next ride/explore and I'll be trying to dream up the next one I want to do. I'm thinking Los Olivos back country area! Rodney, Mike, Scott, Fadi, Doug are you guys in?

    AKAKTM
     
    Mikie likes this.
  4. El Immigrante

    El Immigrante Member

    Location:
    SFV
    Name:
    Montalvo
    Current Bike:
    Ibis
    Another great ride and report!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  5. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    Would have been there with more notice. Great report Mikie. Let's explore next week.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  6. AKAKTM

    AKAKTM Member

    Location:
    SCV
    Name:
    Tony A
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Has anyone ridden the Santa Barbara/Los Olivos back country? That's another area I'd like to explore. Of course, I'd love to head to Sedona or Utah again too! Below are a couple of maps of the area I am asking about:

    The area in the upper right half of this image:


    On Strava Heatmap, I see signs of activity in this zoomed in view of the area:


    I'm not ready to call the ride yet, but it's an area I am interested in.

    Who's going to call the next explore ride! I am ready.

    AKAKTM

    Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 8.05.53 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 8.02.23 AM.png
     
    Mikie likes this.
  7. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    Jennifer rode there for 10 years while she was racing XC. Not sure of her current knowledge of the area though. Would definitely like to explore there.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Default answer: I'm in! :cool:
     
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    I'm in...Let's do it...
     
  10. El Immigrante

    El Immigrante Member

    Location:
    SFV
    Name:
    Montalvo
    Current Bike:
    Ibis
    Yes, I rode the area (more like shuttled) the area last year in March. Although the climbing was minimal, the dh was epic. I love the challenge of a climb but very much enjoyed the dh, just sayin'. :lol:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  11. El Immigrante

    El Immigrante Member

    Location:
    SFV
    Name:
    Montalvo
    Current Bike:
    Ibis
    I'm in too!!!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  12. rossage

    rossage iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Great ride report! Thanks for the invite. .. :oops: ha ha!

    And Thanks for plugging the bells. PM me if you want one.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Dude! I thought you said you were busy the rest of the weekend!!!
    My bad if I got it wrong :oops:

    Seriously, the bell is dah bomb!
    You gotta get one from Rossage.

    No wait, Ross...then they would have the same supah powers!!! :eek:
     
  14. BBJohn

    BBJohn Member

    Name:
    John
    Another great report, you never fail to nail these thing! Thanks
    Like Dougie I have wanted to ride that area for awhile, but always think of it when it is blistering hot. Not going to be any excuses now that I see the ride, a must do. Yea I like to climb, we are a sick bunch. :D
     
    Mikie likes this.
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