Note to self... Use the "save draft" button frequently, just in case a window is accidentally closed. I'll call this version 2... The plan was to combine the hardest climbs in two county parks, and then bag Santiago Peak... I guess I've been reading too many of mtnbikej's reports, and maybe a few of Eric Foltz's... I thought I'd try and hang with the big dogs today. The climb up to Vista in O'Neill. A great place to start the ride, considering that I couldn't climb this three years ago. I used to struggle to make it to the bench, which is only 1/2 way. The plan was to just sit and spin, and not worry about speed today at all. This usually isn't an issue, anyway. O'Neill is a great warm-up for longer rides... Even at the slow pace, I managed to pass a few beginners who were walking up. I can empathize, and I gave some encouragement... After O'Neill, I dropped out the back side onto el Toro road for a quick stretch on the Aliso Creek bike path. A quick climb up Glenn Ranch Road and I drop into Whiting. The parking lot has quite a few cars, which is unusual for this end. I don't see a single bike rack, however... I try to climb Dreaded at least once a month, but I wasn't shooting for time today. I managed to finish in 16 something, which is faster than I expected. I usually do the bottom section out of the saddle, but today was a sit and spin up the 24% grade. Thankfully, that level of steep doesn't last long. They have been working on the hill, so there were some loose sections. For the northerners in the group, Whiting is a very scenic park, and a joy to ride. There are quite a few combinations. Just avoid it on the weekends... I ran into over a dozen hikers on Dreaded, which is unusual. I usually see one or two at the most, and I've never run into another biker. I stopped at 4 Corners briefly, but the water fountain wasn't working, so I pushed on with 3 full bottles remaining. I had hoped to refill the one I used getting this far. On to Modjeska Grade... I seriously considered making a detour, and heading for Santiago Truck Trail for an Old Camp run. After reading Herzalot's ride report, I'm not sure I made the right choice. He had fun, and the wife keeps offering me Advil and Bengay. I've been riding Backstar Canyon quite a bit lately, so it's nice to see Canyon dwellers who aren't batsh!t crazy. No barbed wire, no security cameras, and everyone waves and smiles. Harding is a grind, but it's one of the most scenic climbs around... There is a poster on the fence for the Harding Hill Climb in February. There were a few wet spots at the bottom, but most of the ride to 4 Corners was bone dry. 4 Corners... I don't usually do selfies... And I think I'll stick to that. It wasn't a good hair day. I didn't take any photos between 4 Corners and Modjeska Peak, because I was too busy dealing with all of the fresh rock that slid off the mountain with the snowfall. This section is usually rough, but today I walked the last 200 yards of the chunk for the first time ever. It was also the only point in the ride that I was thinking about the FS bike in the garage. The view from Modjeska Peak was worth the sore behind over the last mile... My house, and starting point, is down there somewhere. The downhill after Modjeska is usually a lot of fun. It was still nice to have a break from pedaling, but it wasn't as smooth as it was a month ago. Almost there... Santiago Peak in the distance. And into the shady section just before the peak. I know we had a lot of snow at New Years, but I never expected to see some still on the ground! View from the peak! And it was absolutely perfect today... I decided that I didn't have the legs to attempt Trabuco, so I made the decision to bail out at Holy Jim. Main Divide was pretty uneventful... I saw a lot of hikers, but no bikers the whole way down. I did stop off at Bear Springs, which was flowing pretty nicely. There were quite a few trees down on the "hiker section" of Holy Jim, but most had been cleared. There were a couple spots where the trail had been diverted. The ride out Trabuco Creek Road was insane. I passed the usual amount of cars on the way down, but the road was in worse shape than it was just a month ago. There were several spots on the lower section where the oncoming cars were completely on the wrong side of the road. I saw one gentleman in a Mini Cooper who needed a few kind hand gestures before he moved out of the way. His window was open, so I gave him a few more encouraging words as we passed. The Garmin died as I was climbing out of O'Neill to get back home. After resurrecting it, Strava tells me that I managed 41 miles and just under 7,400 feet of climbing.