Monday, May 3, 2010

MTBing Sylmar

Who's got two thumbs and the best girlfriend ever?

Yeah, you guessed it.

Because my usual network of trails burnt to a crisp last fall and then slid into nothingness over the winter, I've been looking for new places to ride. Something that's been on my list to check out for a while have been the very western edge of the San Gabriels above Sylmar, north of LA. This weekend Carie got back from Texas and needed some exercise to get the awfulness out of her system, so I used the opportunity to take her out riding. She's using my old mountain bike and not surprisingly it fits her way better than me. I'm using my new bike and love it, rigid carbon fork and all. The 29er wheels are amazing; it's hard to get used to them just rolling over everything even with a rigid fork.

As it turns out, the hills out there are pretty with a great network of trails. Less rocks than I'm used to, but a lot of loose stuff and very challenging. Very sandy in many parts. We had a great time exploring and will be going back to ride more soon.

Very nice hills for riding in the Sylmar area. The wildflowers are going crazy this spring.

Blooming wildflowers! The "wet" winter has given us a very nice spring this year.

At this point, I will issue a PAT STOP READING NOW BECAUSE IT MAY CONTAIN SNAKES notice. If you are not Pat, please proceed:

This little guy was lying across the sandy trail apparently unable to get traction. Once he got to the leaves he slithered off just fine, but his little "dance" was so funny.


  1. nice! what 29er did you get? how how wide are tires? 1 x9? been debating getting one. did they close trails down in burn area? I enjoyed riding thru fire burn area here, interesting watching it do its thing. Kind of unique. yours was way worse though so maby a sadder experience.

  2. I got an Access XCL 9r frame from Performance their house brand alu frame, and built it up with a rigid carbon fork mostly easton components. The frame was only $100 so why not? Been very impressed with it, actually. Quality tubing and good welds. Got Geax Saquaro 2.2" on there, which actually are a true 2.2". Definitely 1x9; I haven't had a front shifter on a mtb in a couple years and I loves it. I've got everything to convert them to tubeless, I've just been slow on getting to it. Could use an air compressor for that.

    Most of the trails are still closed and are supposed to be through October, by which time I'll kind of stop caring. The other close by ones are overrun by hikers (because they also have nowhere else to go) and much less fun.

    It riding season yet where you are or still touring season?

  3. Still thinking of getting a hardtail 29er(been thinking about it for 2 years now) I rode a 1*9 and loved it (less chain slap) but im old and need my granny gear to rest. I was never fast, but am starting into tiptoeing thru the tulips stage. To ride a 1*9 or a ss in mountains, you gotta be in better shape than i. Ill have to look at the performance frame. Ive been out 3 times, may snow this week so may tour if so probably last of year. I got a tubeless tire, might be nice with rigid fork. run lower psi. Is tougher fixing flats though so probably adds to $/mile ratio. You ever come thru town, I can put us on some fun trails.

  4. I like the 1x because I think it's a good compromise between gears and SS. Most of the security of SS with much less pain. I am also not in shape to ride SS in the mountains.

    If you're going 1x9 there are more options these days, especially for 29ers. Shimano makes a 12-36 9spd cassette that gives you a little more granny out back. There's also 1x10, if you get any of the new Shimano or SRAM stuff. the big wheels complicate that by increasing your effective gear ratio, but with a 32T chainring you can still get pretty low gears with a 1x.

    Before I moved to 1x, though, I just dropped my big ring and replaced it with a bashguard; 2 rings are easier to maintain than 3, and I never missed the big ring.