Monday, May 30, 2011

Little Pine Mt

On Saturday I did a nice mountain bike ride to a place called Little Pine Mountain. It was a grueling two and a half hour climb up a fire-road. This is the same ride I did last Memorial Day, and I crashed (HARD) which is rather rare for me. I've been jonesing to get back there and give it another go, and the opportunity was here so I took it.

I didn't wreck  thankfully, though it was QUITE WINDY as it has been for seemingly ages here. But it wasn't too cold back in the canyons, I didn't hit the big winds until I climbed up high. I saw a few mt bikers early on and that was it. This area is off limits to the usual myriads of off-road vehicles that usually populate it due to the water level at the crossing still being too high for vehicles. I crossed that at the very beginning carrying my bike and shoes/socks. It's down to about 14 inches or so now, but will still be closed a few more weeks until it gets down to about 8 inches I was told. After the crossing it's a short road-ride to the upper campground which was completely uninhabited right now, which is quite a sight for Memorial Day Weekend. It was SO quiet, it seemed like I was on another planet.
From the very start the road goes up up up.

At 11 miles is the turnoff for the Little Pine peak, and is also the connector trail that crosses over to the Santa Cruz trail. I passed this point and rode up for another 3 miles until I was fairly close to where my crash happened last year.
My turnaround point at the far right going around the point
The views back here are stunning, it's just SO remote. And things are still somewhat green due to all our rains and the near lack of any hot weather to date this year. AND, as an added bonus, the fireroad is in great shape due to the fact that the quads and dirt bikes haven't been allowed here all year. Any other time I'd be constantly greeted by the roaring sound of the quads and dirt bikes doing what they do best: roosting the road, shooting up plumes of dirt and dust with a simple twist of their wrist cracking open the throttles on their exhaust spewing noise machines. If you get the notion that I don't care for them, you are right. They devastate the trails and pollute the environment something fierce. Also they scare any wildlife away to the next county. But we must share the trails, and I support their right to choose their method of fun.

After I took the connector trail to the Santa Cruz trail I realized this piece of singletrack was a definite black-diamond piece of riding. I'm not averse to technical riding, actually I LOVE this kind of stuff....but this was technical AND scary, especially in the first mile.
Coming over the top of Little Pine headed for the Santa Cruz trail, looking down to the start of the ride.

The trail works it's way along the side of a very steep mountain (the one I just came around and over) and it's very narrow and quite overgrown at this time.
This is a NOT scary section. You can see the trail ahead on the ridge, and soon after that it starts to switchback down the face and it gets quite uhm, er, cheek-clenching fun.

It's the kind of trail that if I were to make a single mistake and my front wheel were to go off the trail, it would result in a long and horrible tumble down the mountain. In fact, it would most likely require a helicopter rescue to get someone out of here if you were hurt. I don't see any other way they could get to you and get you out. The basic premise here is DON'T CRASH.

The trail was a bit wider here, but the penalty for a mistake would be very high.

  I took lots of pictures but they just don't do justice to the scary-factor of this section, but they do show the beauty of Santa Barbara County back-country.
I just love this panorama. I need to go camping back here someday.

The scary factor doesn't stop the mt fact, maybe because of it's difficulty they are drawn here...both groups I came across today were going to come down this very trail. I'd surely never bring someone on this trail that wasn't a very good mt biker.
Looking back up at the mountain I came over (the peak left of center). The ridge trail goes down to the left  edge of the picture, and then works it's way down/across this entire ridge to the right. AWESOME!

By the time I got back to my car it ended up being four and a half hours of actual pedal time, almost five and a half hours elapsed time as I stopped to take a lot of pictures and also chat with the other mt bikers en-route. It was a great day and I didn't crash....thus wiping the slate clean on this trail. I believe that makes us even.

And so. Memorial day is upon us. I had hoped to go for another ride today but elected to have lunch with Jeannie and her friends, and also do some 'clothes' shopping (ACK!) That my friends is the topic of my NEXT post, I won't go any further here. Have a WONDERFUL DAY!


  1. please read my comment in the previous post. cat

  2. It wouldn't let me comment on the last post for some reason, but I'll try again here :) Hope you got my email, Matt. I'll be wishing you well with your operation and, just for the record, think that the eye patch is a great idea!!

    Those photos are just stunning, Matt! What an amazing place to ride. I'd never personally make it up that mt on a bike, but I would LOVE to take the horses some place like that. Sounds like a great day!

    Quite the conversations going on over at Rant's place! You are admirably holding your own over there, Matt. There are some highly opinionated folks who frequent the ranks and I'm always cautious (not sure why exactly) when posting something. I've enjoyed your part (and Susie's)of the dialogue. I must say though that when some of the comments are 3X the length of Rant's original post - I "fast forward" through them. I do enjoy the wide variety of opinions of the posters there, however.

    Speaking of other blogs, when I went over to Fatty's I was literally bursting out laughing. You sent him COOKIES at the height of his weight loss pressure? You ARE wonderfully evil! What a brilliant ploy!

    I was THRILLED to see that DZ will resume his Captain America role in the TT! Go Dave! Busche took the road title today and it looks like a matter of a couple of inches over George. I would have loved to see George with the jersey again, but Busche did SO much work in the ToC that I was also pleased to see him take it. I don't know much about him other than what we saw in CA. Any other good info Cathy?

    It's not letting me post again today with my Google account (which I have always used here before) - so I'm going to try it here using "anonymous" and see what happens.

  3. Just read and saw the photo-finish of the mens road race. Gosh, I SO wanted George to win that...but hey, can't complain at all about Busche...he is a real up and coming racer, so good for him AND the Shack! I just know that GH must be getting very near the end of his amazing career...and one more win like that would be so very cool. Oh is what it is. And DZ back in the Stars n Stripes again, that is cool too. Go Dave!

    (you should have heard Bobke talk about DZ when he was giving his chat 2 weeks ago...someone asked about who is the best and worst riders to interview...Horner was one of the best of course (and he does a a really funny Horner imitation btw), and then DZ. He realy cracked us up doing his best 'DZ' immitation. Then he would say what he's thinking while doing the interview "PLEASE HELP ME" in his shrieking Bobke voice...

  4. Hey submit my last comment I tried the google acct...and it took about 7 tries ( entering the scrambled up word-code each time), and finally it took. Don't know what's up w/ that.

  5. Oh Matt, I'm so sorry! Sure, it COULD be worse, but still. I'm so glad Cat is still here so she could give you some medical type info/advice as I know nothing. Please keep us updated & do NOT do anything the Drs tell you not to! (And vice versa :) And just rest & recover when the time comes.

    And wow, I don't remember you mentioning anything about the Alaskan cruise before! Wow, have a GREAT time! Please take lots of pics & post 'em here. Who needs the Tour de Suisse or the Dauphine when they'll be watching Orcas (right?) & ice things splashing into the water.

    Speaking of cycling, guess ya'll have seen that Pistol Punk's hearing has been delayed so it looks like he'll ride the Tour. I am DISGUSTED. For the 1st time in 6 years, I didn't watch any of the final week of the Giro live online in the mornings (well, usually just the last 40-50k) as what was the point? Punk was so far ahead that the ONLY drama was to see who else could get on the podium & to see if there'd finally be a Menchov sighting. (I did finally read something about him after the 1st individual TT that he'd been suffering from allergies the whole 1st week). Anyway, none of that was enough to induce me to sneak peeks here at work nor to even listen to the Eurosport guys as I usually do. I didn't even watch the Universal TV coverage the last week except for the final TT on Sunday. Yeah for David Millar. Was THRILLED that he beat Contador even if Punk wasn't really gunning for the win.

    I'm not sure which disgusts/enrages me more : the Lance witchunt or that Pistol Punk not only rode the Giro but made a mockery of the 'competition' AND that it looks like he'll now be riding the Tour. WHEN HE'S A POSITIVE DOPER! Heck, I'll root for FRANK over AC! And please, save the tainted beef defense. If you REALLY believe that lie, I have some Chinese small cap stock to sell you.

    As for Lance's situation, I just don't see the point. And Janann, I'm sorry but I just can't disagree with you more. We will NEVER know "the truth". The people involved don't know the "whole truth". And what GOOD does it do now? It will NOT "clean up" the sport. Someone please explain to me how the destruction of THE biggest worldwide (not just European) star this sport has ever had will HELP the sport? And if you believe he doped, do you also think he did ANYthing else that the rest of his competitors were NOT? Plus, what IS the point? Besides taking down Lance?

    And then there's the money aspect. What a JOKE! This is a TINY sport in this country. The ENTIRE Postal team budget for 5 YEARS is barely more than what ONE superstar baseball player makes in a single YEAR. And speaking of baseball, where are the suspensions let alone indictments for all those guys who doped THRUout the 90s? The sports media doesn't give a rats ass & neither do most of the fans. And can someone tell me exactly how much testing those players have now? Once a season? I'm 'sure' on the morning of each World Series game, the dope testers roll into their hotels & command them to drop trou...Suuuuuurrrre.



    Meanwhile, NONE of the guys/companies who basically caused the WORLDwide economy to almost COLLAPSE have even been indicted. Heck, the only investigation so far has NOT been done by the Dept of Justice but by one small Congressional committee. And, boy oh boy, don't you feel better knowing that YOUR tax dollars are instead being spent to take down a bunch of a guys who ride/rode bikes for a living?

    Seriously, I would like to hear what you all think is the REAL endgame here. And what you think will or could come out of an indictment/conviction of Lance Armstrong. Do you really not think it would DECIMATE American cycling? There is NO pro-Tour American cyclist of the 80s, 90s & even last decade who will NOT be touched/reputation ruined. Plus, Livestrong would eventually cease. And that would be a tragedy. A TRUE "American Tragedy".

    Meanwhile, I'm sure the still mostly European sport of pro-cycling will COMPLETLY overhaul its drug-using ways because of some American legal hooha... Hey, did you see that Slitherin, the dope-positive guy thrown out of the Tour 3 years ago & who almost DIED a few months ago (& whose Dr says he told him he had been blood doping) is now back on a cycling team? Oh yeah, this sport will surely be shaking in their bike shoes over what's happening in the USA.

    (Had to break comment into 2 parts as the blog said it was too big! ;)

  7. Matt, my son and his friend backpacked Sat thru Tuesday at 4 Bush Flat (near Little and Big Caliente). They were quite alone too, same reason as you in that the gates are still closed to many areas. They saw lots of wild life and flowers, had a good time.

    Your surgery does sound scary since it's on the eye, but I'm sure it will be easy breezy. I've had several of those on other body locales, namely neck, back and's the price we pay for being fair skinned and living in sunny California! But this WIND HAS GOT TO GO! Every freaking day it is blowing so hard. My hubby usually sails on Wed nights but predictions are for 35 knots tonight so he won't be going out. They've cancelled probably 4 times in two months and in 28 years I can't remember them EVER canceling before this. Yuck!!