Sunday, May 25, 2008

Did It Snow on LIttle Pine Mtn This Weekend?

Unfortunately not. I rode up there today thinking this cold storm might have dropped a bit of the white stuff. It felt cold enough to snow at Happy Hollow and was probably only 40 degrees at most. My hands and feet were both numb on the way down. This was quite a contrast from last weekend at SGDC where it was probably well over 100.

I again brought my little friend to fix the crib wall. Last time I cleared two out of the three slides and to my surprise they were still rideable. I spent a couple of minutes touching them up and then focused on the big problem. The third slide is so far backed up most of the time is spent just bringing shale down from above the trail. After about 20 minutes the big slide was rideable.....barely but rideable. I should have the third slide even more rideable next time I head up there. This would pretty much make the entire Santa Cruz Trail doable from Happy Hollow to the parking lot without stopping. The shrubbery is a little wild in places but it isn't that bad. The trail overall is in good condition but in need of care in places. Unfortunately the FS can't always give that care. A piece of advice: Don't go see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull- it sucked!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

That Damn Little Pine Crib Wall

I wanted to get out of the grey crappy weather today so I rode up Buckhorn Rd. to do the Little Pine loop. As expected the weather was sunny in the SYV and warmer. The first thing I noticed while acsending the road was that there was some growth coming out of the Zaca Fire burn. This was a big change since that last time I rode this loop 3 weeks ago. Also there had been some bulldozing going on the road which unfortunately had loosened up the soil and made pedaling a little more difficult. There also appears to be some logging taking place in Happy Hollow to cut down every tree that was burnt, which was pretty much every tree.

The Santa Cruz Trail is in good condition for as tough a year as its been through. Recent trail work cleared slides after the fire took the plantlife and rains did the rest. The only thing left making this rideable top to bottom is that damn crib wall. Always sliding over the trail, gets in your shoes when you walk over the slide. Never gives up and comes right back when cleared. As long as I have used this trail, the crib wall has been a mess.

I decided to bring a friend along with me this ride, my new folding shovel tool. It is basically a military issue style shovel but a newer and lighter design. It only weighs 1.5 lbs and folds up to about the size of your hand. I have to say I it did good and I am glad I brought it with. Ideally for working the crib wall bigger mcleods might have been the best tool, but they can't quite be packed to fit in a camelbak quite as easily.

After working 3 of the sections of this crib wall for about 3/4 hour I was out of water and covered in shale dust. It didn't take that long to clear 2 of the sections and make them less dangerous and rideable, but the obvious problem still lingers. The retaining wall just can't hold all the shale back and the drainage tube gets clogged real quick. The third and largest slide section was a complete disaster. There was so much sliding down that after working on it for a while I saw almost no difference. Next time I hope to get a little more knocked off that third slide and get it safe and rideable again too.
Is there any way to end the problems with the crib wall? Suggestions are appreciated.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Bell Program

The Santa Barbara Mountain bike Trail Volunteers (SBMTV) supplies bells for mountain bikers on the front country trails. The purpose of the bells is to alert other trail users of their presence so they are not suddenly surprised to see an approaching rider out of "nowhere". It is a method to improve trail user safety and seems to be working satisfactorily for several years now. Bell boxes are placed at the tops and bottoms of popular bike riding trails. Here's a little video of the bell program. It may take a few minutes to download. (Best to let it download completely then watch it.) for more info and for donations to the program. SBMTV raises their own money to buy bells and supply them for use at no charge .