I got an invite from Erik to ride on Sunday around Strawberry Peak in Angeles National Forest. The area has been closed for a few years since the Station Fire in 2009 but has recently re-opened, which is exciting news. The loop was going to be mostly singletrack with only the first part of the climb on a fireroad. We parked the truck at the parking lot for Switzers and rode up the highway to the start of the dirt. Right at the start I had an issue with my bike. My derailluer hangar was bent and I kept throwing the chain. Erik helped to get it back aligned and while it was finicky, it managed to make it the rest of the day without any issues.
After the fireroad we started up the singletrack. I was admittedly out of my element, but that’s why I was out there. I wanted to push myself and spend time learning to ride tight singletrack better. I was pretty nervous for a chunk of it and had to walk a few sections. Either because I lost momentum and it was steep, or because I looked down. Don’t look down! Look where you want to go and not where you don’t want to end up!
We made our way around the peak and on the backside we dropped down to a sandy flat. The descent was pretty sketchy with all the loose sand and exposed dropoffs so we walked parts of it.
After the meadow we climbed pack up to the saddle. It was slow going at the start. Lots of pushing and hiking and the Stoke Meter was dropping into negative numbers on that section. It’s funny how a ride can so quickly change when there is not much riding happening. It wasn’t long before we made the saddle and the Stoke Meter started to climb back up again. The descent down the 2 near Red Box was super fun and fast. I felt like I was figuring things out and was feeling more confident. What a blast!
Look closely and you can see Erik.
We made it to Red Box where I enjoyed a refreshing beverage as Serbrina calls them. From there it was about 4 miles or so more back to the truck. This final section of single track had it all. Rock gardens, sand, drops, rock steps and fast sections. It was the most fun and also the most challenging section. It was also the section where I started cleaning more obstacles. Confidence inspiring was how I would describe that section. Only problem was that I was having so much fun I didn’t take any pics! Guess that means I’ll have to go back. Thanks for a great day out on the bike Erik!
On my recent ride out with the Topanga Creek Bicycle gang I was riding the Salsa Spearfish. This was the first time sportin’ the new frame bag. I gotta say it worked out pretty good. Maybe an extra flare at the front would be good for a little bit more space, but overall I’m pretty stoked. Go make something with your hands!
I haven’t experimented with B&W for quite some time. Always inspired by the famous Imaginegnat so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m pretty happy with these two images. Click the pics to enlarge them. New feature!
I need to get some prac with the singletrack. Yeah, I just rhymed that. So in an effort to gain some skills, I drove out to join the Topanga Creek Bicycles Shop Ride. They have a ton of trails around there, and some really fast and skilled riders. I tried with all my might to hang on, and rode some of the scariest trails I’ve ever ridden. Narrow, exposed trails. Steep descents with a ton of rocks thrown in. I was above my comfort level, but I tried it. I cleaned somethings that made me pretty nervous, and I left some on the table to go back and work on. Rome wasn’t built in a day right? Seems like a good reason to keep riding. More prac with the singletrack. Yeah, I just did that again. Apologies.
I’m headed out this weekend on an overnighter with a couple of friends. After some local intel from Brendan at The Hub Cyclery I’ve decided to ride the Salsa Spearfish for this trip. The Spearfish is not a bike that I’ve ever used for bikepacking, and to be honest I’m still figuring out how to ride it. Having suspension is a foreign thing to me. I know it’s working, but it just feels weird. Who cares about that though.
The main issue for me is that the frame makes it tough to carry gear inside the triangle. I don’t like gear on my back, so this has been a concern for me. Also, the forks don’t have bottle mounts like my trusty Fargo does. So I made a custom framebag that is just big enough to carry a water bladder, which will equal the amount of water I’m used to traveling with The problem of course is that all the gear that I carry in my framebag will have to go somewhere else. That’s for another night though. Here are some in progress shots of the framebag and the payoff is the framebag mounted up. I still need to trim the straps to the right length, but the hard work is done. Now it’s time to ride it!
I’d been itchin’ to get out and pedal. Been a while since I’ve been wrestlin’ with a cold and an annoying cough. Friday was lookin’ good but we woke up to some rain on Saturday. I wasn’t really looking forward to riding in the rain, but Bruce wanted to break in his new Fargo. I guess we were riding.
We left the truck with a steady down pour and headed up. I felt like I was back on the Divide. The constant wet, the creek forming on the side of the road. I sure didn’t feel like I was in Los Angeles. I was though. I love this place.