UPSed's Death March! Taco Plaza- O'Neill- Harding- Santiago Peak- Upper Holy Jim to Trabuco

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Faust29, Feb 11, 2018.



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  1. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    https://www.relive.cc/view/1401496986

    It's very rare that there's any interest in a death march. We occasionally get some takers who are not on the forum. Amy, Hugh, and that's about it... @UPSed has been hinting at a death march for awhile now, and the stars finally aligned for it to happen and he made the drive down.

    With the forecast of cooler weather on Saturday, a 7:00 AM start time was possible. There was a slight chance of rain, but it held off and we were lucky with the weather the whole day. :thumbsup: 50 at the start... With a thick cloud cover on the mountains, so I couldn't even point out where we were headed.

    The taco plaza start is ideal for some of the bigger loops, but it adds 10 miles of O'Neill dirt and pavement at the beginning. Luckily, with the later start, the O'Neill gates were open, and we were able to drop down Twisted Tire into the Canyon. For those of you who have done Rwanda, Twisted Tire is done as a climb to get back to the top of the mesa in RSM after descending the Vista DH.

    From there, it was a quick romp down the lower part of the Hoffman Homestead Trail to Monastery Road. :whistling: On the way through O'Neill I pointed out a few single tracks that are awesome... And all off limits to bikes. :thumbsdown: I haven't poached any of them, and won't... But I see people riding them all the time. Up Monastery and down the lower part of Live Oak to Santiago Canyon Road for a roadie spin past Cook's Corner and up Modjeska Grade, pointing out STT on the way. The back side of Modjeska Grade is good for over 40 mph as you roll into the canyon. :thumbsup: I think @UPSed was well over 40 mph headed down.

    At the dog park, it was time to shed the wind breaker, and go with just the lighter arm warmers. I also forced myself to drink 1/2 of a bottle and top it off. This is the one and only water stop for the day. Mile 10/1200, with 35 miles and over 6000 feet to go. This is definitely a "bring what you need ride". One of us made it on two bottles. :confused: :eek:

    We rolled to the base of Harding, past the flyers for next week's time trial, and into the first mile. We gave Ed a brief run down of the elevation. Mile 1 usually shows 520 feet on the Garmin :gag:, while miles 2-4 mellow out a little bit, and then it is significantly easier from mile 5-9. 3300 feet of gain just over 9 miles, but only 7 miles of climbing. The Harding downhills are just there to tease you and give you a swift kick in the nuts... :gag: We were pretty relaxed on the way up and talked most of the way, keeping an easy pace. At one point there may have been a slow speed tip over, but if there are no pictures, I'm not sure it really happened. :whistling: I'm pretty much over the Ardent Race. :whistling: Just before the gate at the top, we ran into @Old&InTheWay , who was probably out there for a monster loop of his own.

    Still smiling 20 miles and 4500 feet in!
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    Chatting with Mr. @Old&InTheWay at Four Corners
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    The 4x4 crowd was out in full force at Four Corners and most of Main Divide. No issues, though... And we rolled up the rocks to Modjeska. Keeping momentum through apple sized rocks is a balancing act on the single speed, but it's over soon enough.

    A little Break at Modjeska, after climbing through the scree...
    IMG_1995.jpg

    From Modjeska to Santiago Peak is another 3 miles of mostly climbing with a couple mini rock gardens, but we knocked it out pretty quickly, and arrived at the first real sustained descent of the day- the 3 mile downhill to Holy Jim. Ed was still smiling after 25 miles and 6000 feet! We didn't hang out at the peak long, and headed down through the chunkiest section of Main Divide. Bomb craters that could easily hold a Prius, and loose baby heads.

    At the Upper Holy Jim trailhead the decision was made to veer from the script! On a good day with perfect conditions, I can ride maybe 85% of Upper Holy Jim. That wasn't the case today... Not even close. I had heard from a reasonably reliable source that it was in good shape at the New Year- The best ever! :cautious: Uh huh... The Death Star ruts are forming again. And there was a lot of basketball sized rockfall, which prevented any momentum. Some of you rockhounds could easily spend all day up there sessioning things... I did not get any pictures, but I think Ed did.

    Shortly after popping back out on Main Divide, I pointed back at the peak, and said, "We were just up there.". Ed was in a bit of disbelief that we had dropped so much so quickly. :thumbsup: On one of the faster rockier sections, I picked up a piece of scree that slammed perfectly into my left shin. Damn, that hurt! And it happened right in front of an ultra runner. Thankfully it was just a small puncture, and a goose egg. It feels great today! :whistling:

    IMG_1999.jpg IMG_2006.jpg

    Main Divide is Main Divide... Parts are smooth. Parts are littered with scree. Some shade, some exposure to the wind and the sun. Some ups and some downs. One big loose up on this section that we all walked. Taking the Upper Holy Jim trail shaved off some mileage, making it slightly less than 10 miles from Santiago Peak to Trabuco Trail. At the top of West Horsethief we ran into a mirage... lots of water in gallon jugs. I had enough to make it, but an extra helping is like Christmas out there! :D Three more miles of ups and downs to Trabuco...

    We took a pretty decent break at the top of Trabuco... Jason checked out the front end of my bike trying to track down a creak. Still not sure what it is... We also pointed out that San Juan Trail is only 3 miles, mostly downhill, from the top of Trabuco. Ed probably could have done it yesterday, but I'm not sure I had it in me to add another 20+ miles and 3000 feet. Maybe for Ed's next death march? Shoot for 65 miles and 10000 feet?

    I love Trabuco... It and Motorway are my two favorite descents around here. Fast and flowy up top, exposure with loose scree in the middle and then another fast romp along the creek. Yesterday was just not a great day though. Between my throbbing shin and total lack of confidence in my balding race tires, I went slow. Strava says I was about 12 minutes slower than my PR pace. That's pretty damn slow, and I kept hearing @herzalot in my head telling me to look further down the trail! :D But, I still had fun... I love being up there. :thumbsup:

    The Trabuco wash was littered with morons from end to end, but we made it out unscathed- no thanks to the jackass in the Lexus SUV who was undoubtedly discovering nature for the first time. :mad:

    You know where we ended up... :p

    IMG_2007.jpg

    death march b.jpg

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    IMG_2002.jpg

    IMG_2005.jpg
     
    Stkx66, Redman, RS VR6 and 34 others like this.
  2. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    What an awesome day! I saw their Death March last weekend and for some reason thought I was finally ready to do one myself. I said this or next weekend would be good as I would be on vacation and have time to recover. Well @Faust29 took it upon himself to tag me in the ride invite. I did say I was interested. I actually looked forward to it all week long. I had my alarm set for 4 a.m. though got up at 3:22 I was so excited! It took me less than 90 minutes to get to the meet point and when I pulled up @mtnbikej was already there ready to go. Steve showed up a few minutes later. We rolled out a few minutes later and knowing it was a long ride I just paced myself. For some reason I thought they would be hammering all day but the pace was very nice. As Steve said I think I could have gone further but this was just enough for my first Death March. Highlights for me were the chunky fire roads and the run down Trabuco Canyon. Trabuco was very similar to the Gabrielino Trail. The ride out on the dirt road wasn't horrible beside from eating dust from all of the cars. And for those of you that doubt Tailwind it works. Six and a half hours in the saddle and my legs felt great the whole time. I did feel hungry a couple of times but J assured me it was in my head. I believe him as as hungry as I thought I was I had to force down that monster burrito at the end. Can't wait for the next one!20180210_122306-1944x1458.jpg 20180210_135629-1612x1209.jpg 20180210_140040-1944x1458.jpg 20180210_082854-2016x1512.jpg 20180210_103126-2016x1512.jpg 20180210_120956-1612x1209.jpg 20180210_122226-2016x1512.jpg 20180210_110737-3024x2268.jpg
     
  3. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Nice... I thought for sure there'd be a review of Upper Holy Jim in there. :whistling: I'm glad you snapped a picture, though. I didn't even think to get one there. There's enough unrideable chunk and death star trenches to make even a wolf man (@DangerDirtyD) happy.

    It's amazing how much it's changed in a month and a half with just a little rain...
     
  4. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Addict

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    Maybe.
     
  5. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Yay.....we initiated another into the Death March Club.

    We rolled from Taco Plaza @ 7am and it was already warmer than I thought it would be. All I brought along with me was my sun sleeves and windbreaker. It was nice to roll through O'Neil singletrack for once....I even got a PR on Twisty Tire. The pedal over to Monastary Rd. went by quickly....this isn't always the case. Down the backside and before we knew it we were playing roadies on the way to Modjeska Grade.

    Up and over, then into Modjeska Canyon. Then there we were, at the beginning of Harding TT. Lots of cars in the lot at the Wildlife Sanctuary. Began the climb. Just took it easy. Lots of hikers out. The pace stayed social, thus the climb seemed pretty easy today. As we ascended, @UPSed would fall back from time to time....no problem, we had bigger gears and knowledge of what was ahead. Only had 1 other rider pass us, and he didn't say a word. Did catch @Old&InTheWay just as I hit 4 Corners. @Faust29 and @UPSed took off after a short break while I was catching up with @Old&InTheWay . They got a good headstart on me. From 4C to Modjeska Peak is not a section I wanted to sprint. Finally caught Ed in the crappy scree section. I was able to clean it today...but it was not automatic. Caught up to Steve just before the hairpin at the end.

    Quick break and we continued on our way into the saddle before making the climb to Santiago Peak. This section was in pretty rough shape today. Good thing it felt like it went by quickly. At this point we were above the clouds, but even in the sun the temps were nice....even better when there was a breeze. Santiago Peak was really busy between the hikers and 4 wheelers, so we didn't hang around.

    Down the backside of the peak and down Main Divide. Rough and torn up....once again, not all fire roads are created equal. We did get hung up behind a Jeep that was crawling down. At the clearing we discussed our options.....deal with the traffic and continue down Main Divide....or skip the traffic and go down Upper Holy Jim. We went with the no traffic option. Now for the disclaimer. When I rode this over New Years with @mike and @rossage the trail was 100% rideable and in great shape. We dropped in and immediately there were hikers coming up....lots of them. There goes the no traffic issue. It's true, the ruts seem to have returned, as well as the large rocks. What little rain we have had, has not been kind to the trail. I found myself walking sections I rode last time. Don't get me wrong....it was still a blast, but I think I'll remove it from the rotation for the time being.

    Back on Main Divide we continued on towards Trabuco. Again, lots of vehicle traffic today. We went past Indian Truck Trail and began the climb up the Wall. Pushed it p a little, then gave in....too loose and rocky. Quick break at the top, then more ups and downs. Now I only packed 2 24oz bottles figuring on it being on the cool side up there. For the most part it was. I would have had no problem completing the ride with what I had. However when we reached the top of West Horsethief....there was a large leftover stash of water bottles. So we helped ourselves. From there it is about a 25 mins of up and down before we reached the top of Trabuco.

    All the hard work was over, now all we had in front of us was 9 miles of downhill. Trabuco Trail does not disappoint. Felt great going down. The bike seemed to always be in the right place at the right time. It seemed to be a little rockier than usual, but it didn't effect us.

    At the end of Trabuco Trail it was back onto Trabuco Creek Rd. This seemed extra long, extra dusty and extra bumpy today. It was all good except for the Lexus SUV that jut kept going farther and farther left as we tried to get around, eventually pinching me off the trail....I stays on the bike, but yelled at the lady driving. It was about here that Ed dropped Steve and I.

    Quick spin back up Plano Trabuco to finish it off.

    Good ride out there. Good to ride with Ed again. Glad you came out and joined.

    Fun times.
    IMG_3466.JPG IMG_3467.JPG
     
    Redman, Mikie, knucklebuster and 24 others like this.
  6. Cornholio

    Cornholio iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    _
    Name:
    _
    Bravo! Bigger than I can do but I’ll try and do a quarter of this tomorrow.
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Old&InTheWay and 8 others like this.
  7. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    2018 Trek FEX
    I see that our two main SSers have the same frame. I am still wondering why this frame is only available in one color scheme, why, oh why? :mad:

    I see that @mtnbikej has a RS fork on his and that @Faust29 has a Fox fork on his (Hey Steve, Fox is better! :thumbsup:). But they are both SS bikes and and from not far away, they look quite alike. :whistling:

    So a question has developed in my mind. I wonder if these two have accidentally thought the other's was his, even if only for a moment. If it hasn't happened yet, it's bound to happen eventually. :rolleyes:
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Old&InTheWay and 7 others like this.
  8. Grego

    Grego iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    Looks like a fun ride. Love the pic's above the clouds.
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Old&InTheWay and 5 others like this.
  9. Danimal

    Danimal iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Mission Viejo
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    GG Trail Pistol!
    Good RR guys, TFPU!
    and the bikes are different colors. The grips anyway.. :)
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Faust29 and 3 others like this.
  10. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    2018 Trek FEX
    But in the dark they look identical. ;)
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Old&InTheWay and 4 others like this.
  11. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    To a non single speeder they may look identical, but one is running 45.09 gear inches, and one is running 43.63 gear inches. This would be obvious to a single speeder. :p :D:cool: As far as color goes, I'd look for a change in one of the frames in the near future. :whistling:

    My fork- I love it... It's a tank compared to the Recon on the Highball. I may lighten the bike up some, but I'll keep the weight penalty in the fork. :thumbsup:
     
  12. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    Nice clinic on how to tour the Santa Anas :thumbsup::thumbsup: Well done! TFPU!
     
    Mikie, UPSed, mtnbikej and 1 other person like this.
  13. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Your name was mentioned yesterday when we were at the top of Upper Holy Jim! I was leaning towards the fire road down the rest of the way to LHJ, but I did mention that mike would consider it a criminal act to skip UHJ. :D

    It is beat up again... And the ruts are forming. At one point I was in a rut that was deeper than the hubs, with the pedals hitting on both sides. :confused: You'll probably love it...
     
  14. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower

    They are different....

    One has a normal saddle, the other has a lobster claw for a saddle.
    One has pink hubs, the other has 350 hubs
    One has a faster descender, the other has a slower descender

    They are like your kids....you just know which one is yours, even in the dark.
     
  15. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    And one will most likely be intact in 6 months!
     
    Mikie, kioti, DangerDirtyD and 9 others like this.
  16. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    :laugh:


    :cautious:


    :unsure:


    :eek:


    :sick:


    :(
     
    Mikie, kioti, DangerDirtyD and 8 others like this.
  17. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Redman, Mikie, Derkderkall and 9 others like this.
  18. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Ok.....so the wall was the steepest section.
     
  19. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    That's what I saw while looking up at the mountains from the parking lot. :D
    On my ride today while looking up at the hills I was about to climb I thought about Saturday's ride. It really put into perspective how much we climbed.
     
  20. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Steepest section going up, and UHJ was the steepest sustained downhill section...
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej and UPSed like this.
  21. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    That's a cool feature!
     
    Mikie and UPSed like this.
  22. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Pic Slot.........

    Foreshadowing perhaps?
     
  23. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    I can't believe it was already that long ago!
     
  24. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    I was right... I never said which one would be intact! :whistling:
     
  25. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    I think you need to come down for a double Motorway ride. Lots of suffering with two great downhill runs...

    Edit: It's sad to see the rides with all the trails that were in the burn area. Upper Holy Jim and Trabuco on this one. :thumbsdown:
     
  26. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Ed Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    And it wasn't yours! :eek::D
     
  27. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Manufacturer's defect.
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej and UPSed like this.
  28. singlespeedrider

    singlespeedrider Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Irvine
    Name:
    Mark
    Current Bike:
    On One Lurcher Single
    Keep me posted on the double motorway. I have wanted to do that ride for a long time.
     
  29. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    I think that's one we'd post here under "only the insane need apply." :thumbsup:

    I'd like to check it off the list, though...
     
  30. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    You've done it before haven't you?

    I'm crazy enough, but not sure I'd be anything other than a boat anchor. If nothing else I could make the 1st one and keel over on the way up MS. :whistling:
     
    Mikie, UPSed, mtnbikej and 2 others like this.
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