"Not all those who wander are lost." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Archive for September, 2013

Ride Report: Hard Core Trail / San Joaquin Ridge

Hard core.  Yes it is.  If you like to punish yourself and feel your lungs squeeze through your ribs, this is the ride for you.  It’s a brutal climb – over 1,000′ gained over a mere 2.5 miles.  You’ll be worked, especially if you’ve already pedaled up other rides (like Mountain View Trail) to access it.  If you really wanna punish yourself, consider combining this ride with the Double High Five Y.  On the bright side, you are rewarded with spectacular views for most of the ride and the vantage point at the top of the ridge makes you forget the pain.  360 views – Mammoth Mountain, The Minarets, Mount Ritter, Mount Banner, San Joaquin River Canyon, June Mountain, White Wing Mountain, Mono Craters, Mono Lake, Glass Mountain Ridge, etc.  There used to be a fire lookout up here, and you’ll know why.

  • Ride Type:  Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Extremely Strenuous climb with mach speed descent
  • Terrain/Conditions: Jeep 4×4 road with some soft, sandy, and rutted sections.
  • Access: From town, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  Continue on, going all the way up towards Minaret Vista.  Just before you reach the US Forest Service guard shack that accesses Reds Meadow, make a right turn towards Minaret Vista.  Then make another quick right into a dirt parking area.  Park here.  Jump on your bike and start heading down the dirt road, which leads you to the Mountain View trailhead in 0.15 miles.  Instead of going down Mountain View, turn left on the jeep road.  Hard Core trail starts here.  After doing Hard Core, you might want to jump on Mountain View and ride it to Downtown if you didn’t drive up.  Lot’s of good options for combining trails with Hard Core.  Contact us if you’d like some options that suit your riding ability/ style.
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 9,159′
  • Highest Elevation: 10,239′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,082′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike

Turn By Turn (in miles):

0.0 – start pedaling up the 4×4 jeep road.  it’s gradual at first, so get your legs and lungs ready now.  2.5 – reach the summit, and the “Wilderness Boundary” sign.  You can’t go any further than this.  Enjoy the moment, and then return the exact way you came, reaching the Mountain View trailhead at 5 miles.

Hunter heading up towards the last major climb

Hunter heading up towards the last major climb

Hunter approaching the summit

Hunter approaching the summit with Mammoth Mountain behind him

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Little Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is an fairly easy ride for most riders.  You can ride it by itself if you’re short on time, or use it as a warm-up for Big Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain LoopAlso nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride if you want an epic day of riding in this area.  You can ride two or all three of these together if you seek a little more challenge.  They all use the same staging area.  No matter how you do it, Little Smokey offers up some majestic views of the Sherwins, San Joaquin Ridge, The Minarets and Mammoth Mountain area.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (clockwise as we describe it)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,627′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,921′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 332′
  • Bike Recommendation: XC Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, 29+, pretty much any bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

This ride starts off very moderately, and continues that way.  The climbing is gradual, and the descending is fun with a couple sandy areas here and there.  Once you turn right on 3S13 (at 1.2 miles), the views open up, and you’ll forget you’re climbing. Don’t forget to gaze to the right and remember why you’re in the Eastern Sierra!! Turn by Turn (in miles): 0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left .34 – continue straight on 3S04 .54 – continue straight on 3S04 .89 – continue straight on 3S04 1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Go right on 3S13 (continuing straight on 3S04 will take you on Big Smokey Loop and Lookout Mountain Loop) 1.8 – hit a junction, stay right.  There are some gorgeous views to your right, don’t forget to look!! 3.54 – veer right and head down the sandy Power Line Rd 3.75 – veer right again, staying on the Power Line Rd 4 – veer right on 3S38 4.1 – continue right yet again, staying on the main road from here on out – you will descend into Smokey Bear Flat and return back to kiosk where you began – 6 miles total.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

Map

Map


Ride Report: Big Smokey Loop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

This is a moderately strenuous loop for most riders.  However, if you want more, you can combo platter it with Little Smokey Loop or Lookout Mountain Loop.  Also nearby are the Little Antelope Valley Loop and Casa Diablo Overlook Ride which could make an epic day of riding in this area.  All three rides stage from the same area and you can craft your own super duper loop.  Big Smokey offers up fantastic views of Bald Mountain and the Owens River Valley early in the ride.  The classic way to ride it (and the way we describe it) is to do it clockwise.  As you head farther south, you see a chalk mine to your left as well as Antelope and Glass Mountains.  Later on as you start heading back west, The Sherwins, Laurel Mountain, McGee Mountain and Mt. Morrison present themselves.  Overall, a relaxing ride with moderate climbs to and descents to keep you alert while you zen out.

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderate Climbing and Descending
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 13.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,256′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,815′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,096′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or 29+ for the sandy sections, but pretty much any mountain bike will do
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction.  Continue straight (going right will take you on Little Smokey Loop).
1.45 – stay straight/left during descent
2.5 – stay straight and start climbing
3.55 – stay straight on 3S12
4.4 – continue straight
5.85 – make a right on 3S43- it comes up quick during a fast descent, don’t miss it!  start climbing…
6.45 – veer right
7.0 – curve left, stay on 3S43
7.34 curve left again and climb
8.66 – go right
9.54 – right on 3S59
9.9 – go straight then curve left
10.4 – go straight/left
10.8 – at the T make left then quick right, head down power line rd.
11 – veer right continue following the power lines
11.2 go right, continue on this trail and it will take you back to Smokey Bear Flats and eventually the staging area
where the ride ends at 13.2 miles

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

View of the Long Valley Caldera and an old chalk mine

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Taking a break on a chalk bluff

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Gorgeous views of the Sierra to the southwest

Stellar Views

Stellar Views

Map

Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Ride Report: Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop – Mammoth Lakes, CA

You read it right.  Double Lollipoop.  A loop within a loop with a lollipop.  We’ve taken the traditional Inyo Craters Loop and thrown some extra mustard on top.  First, we tacked on the Inyo Craters Singletrack at the beginning and end (it’s a ton of fun, and worth riding both ways.)  It’s a win-win.  You cut off a couple miles of bumpy dirt road driving, and you get a fun little section of flowy singletrack as the reward.  Second, we threw in a mini-loop, that has some sandy climbing and descending – and rewards you with some great views before linking back up with the bigger loop. This mini-loop is perfect for a fat bike, but has hike-a-bike spots for mountain bikes.  So now you know why we named it the Inyo Craters Fat Double Lollipoop.  Here are the details to get you riding:

  • Ride Type:  Loop with Lollipop
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous with one tough sandy climb
  • Terrain/Conditions: Singletrack first and last mile, otherwise double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From Mammoth, drive up Highway 203 towards Main Lodge of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  Make a right on Mammoth Scenic Loop.  At 2.75 miles, turn left on 3S30 at the “Inyo Craters” sign.  Go 0.3 miles.  The road will split and there’s a dirt parking area on the right.  The ride starts here.  The singletrack is to the right, and there’s a small sign with no trail name (see photo).
  • Length: 17 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 -3 hours (it’s fairly flat, other than the one steep climb – but it can be sandy in spots)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,552′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,144′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,332′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike (a little hike-a-bike maybe, but otherwise super fun)

This ride goes around the two Inyo Craters.  If you want to see them and their lakes up close, you’ll need to leave your bike in the main parking area (you pass through it after the beginning singletrack section) and hike up – no bikes allowed.  FYI, these craters were formed from a volcanic explosion 1,500 years ago.  Pretty cool.

Soon after finishing the singletrack section, you ride out of the forest and a huge pumice flat opens up in front of you.  360 degree wicked views await, including San Joaquin Ridge and White Wing Mountain.  Next you enter a Jeffrey Pine Forest and cross Deadman Creek before paralleling the creek and curving around and starting back towards the craters.  The mini-loop climbs part of the way up Deer Mountain offering more perspective of the area, and of course, more views.  Then you meet back up with the main loop and make your way back towards the craters.  After a peaceful ride through the forest, you arrive at the main parking lot.  Lucky for you, you get to ride the singletrack back the way you came.  Nice!

Turn By Turn:

0.0 start at the trailhead sign (see photo), going up the Inyo Crater Singletrack
.72 cross the road and start grunting up the short, steep, soft climb- don’t worry it levels off quickly.
.9 arrive in the main Inyo Craters parking area.  go left past the bathrooms, and head out.  you are on 3S30.
1.2 go right on 3S22 at intersection
1.48 stay left
1.96 stay right at Y as you go out into the pumice flats, and the beautiful views open up to you (see photo)
3.0 veer right
3.8 go straight
4.2 cross a dry (usually) creek
4.85 veer right, take bridge over deadman creek, continue right
5.0 continue right at T then stay straight- views to your right, creek below you to right- sweet descent
5.5 continue straight at intersection
5.95 notice upper deadman campground on right, obsidian flat campground on left
6.0 go right, then veer left on 3S105 (lower deadman camp is to your right)
6.3 reach a big open area – veer slight right (not the dead end sign)
7.1 veer right at intersection and start the big, soft, annoying climb of the mini-loop
7.85 start short descent, be careful, then keep to the right.  you’ll climb some more, and have some views before descending back to the original trail you rode earlier
8.8 go right at T, rejoining 3S22 – you’ll now re-ride some of what you rode earlier
11.1 go straight (different than the first time you were here)
11.6 go right on 2S29 – then stay on main rd through forest
13.1 go right
14.5 veer right then stay straight towards inyo craters rd
15.1 left at T
15.5 veer left
15.8 right at T climb back to the main parking area, and head right to the singletrack
16.1 enter the singletrack to the right, and head back down to the staging area
17.0 done!!

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Inyo Craters Singletrack trailhead

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Pumice Flat area with views to White Wing Mountain

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Taking a break near Deadman Creek

Ride Map

Ride Map

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile


Lower Rock Creek Trail Day – Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2013

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

Having fun on the third section of Lower Rock Creek

This year, National Public Lands Day falls on Saturday, September 28th.  To celebrate, we are co-sponsoring a great trail work day on one of our beloved local trails – Lower Rock Creek Mountain Bike Trail.  We are collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Friends of the Inyo, and International Mountain Bike Association.

We need volunteers- especially mountain bikers: So we can prove that we care about our trails, as we try to foster a relationship with land managers in an effort to expand and enhance our riding opportunities in the Inyo National Forest.  This is a great opportunity to give back, and demonstrate solidarity in the mountain biking community.

Fat Bike Mammoth will be providing sandwiches and beverages (beer, soda, water) for lunch.  We are offering shuttles to the top of the trail for anybody that wants to ride the trail after work is done.  So bring your bike and get shreddy!!

We will also be coordinating carpooling efforts by meeting in the Footloose parking lot at 8am, where we’ll sort out transportation, etc.  If you’d like to carpool, please let us know.

Event Details:

  • When: 9/28/13 – Breakfast at 8:30am (bagels and coffee provided).  Trail work from 9a-12:30p
  • Where:  Staging is at the lower parking area of Lower Rock Creek Trail (former Paradise Lodge)
  • What:  We’ll be focusing our efforts on the lowest section – cutting back brush, clearing tread, maintaining wooden bridges, clearing trash, etc.

Other Notes:

  • Water and snacks will be provided (in addition to breakfast and lunch).  Please bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Please wear hiking shoes or boots, long sleeve shirt, and long pants.  If planning to ride your bike after, bring riding clothes to change into, helmet, etc
  • For more info, contact: Kirstin Heins, BLM Recreation Planner: 760-872-5034 / kheins@blm.gov

Click Here to Download the Official Event Flyer

See Ya There!!!


Fat Bikes and Enduro Racing Do Mix

Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

I’ve never raced an Enduro.  I figured there’s a reason why they’ve become so popular.  Timed segments that test your downhill descending skills (of which mine are mediocre) mixed with some un-timed climbing segments (of which I’m decent at).  The Kamikaze Bike Games were in town, and racing was in the air.  I rode the Fall Century on Saturday with a Wounded Warrior for Disabled Sports, so I wasn’t able to race the XC Mountain Bike Race (unfortunately, the schedules conflicted).

The Enduro was on Sunday, and I was jonsin’ to get dirty – so what the heck?  I decided to do the Enduro on the fatty bike.

I inflated the tires to a whopping 12psi (I pinch flatted a couple weeks ago riding hard on Richter at 5psi – so I wanted to play it safe).  I kept my 32:21 gearing, which in hindsight was a mistake because…

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Ride Report: Lookout Mountain Loop

Depending on the time of year, and how many motorized vehicles have been on it, this trail can tend to be sandy in parts, but usually almost completely rideable.  The Power Line Rd. back towards the kiosk/ride start usually has the worst sand.  If you have a fat bike, this is a good ride for it.  You’ll get some stunning views at the top:  Mammoth Mountain, The Ritters, McGee, Mt. Morrison, San Joaquin Ridge, Deadman Summit, etc – you get the point.  If you’re looking for more riding, you can combine this ride with Big Smokey Loop and/or Little Smokey Loop which start at the same staging area.

  • Ride Type:  Loop with an Out and Back portion on Lookout Mountain
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Moderately Strenuous Climbing
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth double-track and fire road with some soft & sandy sections.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 203 and Highway 395, go 4 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and turn right into Smokey Bear Flats.  You’ll see a kiosk and a small parking area.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 11.8 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5- 2 hours (this ride is short in mileage, but has some tough climbing – don’t take it lightly)
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,375′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,350′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,399′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike, XC Mountain Bike

This ride starts off very moderately, with a gradual climb to get the legs warmed up.  Once you pass the turnoff for Little Smokey Loop you have a fun descent that takes you to Dry Creek where you squiggle across the valley and start gradually climbing again.  Enjoy this this easy portion of the ride, because once you hit the sharp right turn for Lookout Mountain, you’ve got a couple miles of tough climbing and then you hit the top!  The views along the way and at the top are well worth the grunt.  At the top, remains of what used to be a summit sign is now just smashed concrete with a Jack Daniels bottle on it (last time I was there).  Regardless, it’s worth drinking some water and soaking in the views for a bit… before descending back down at warp speed and navigating through beach sand on the Powerline Rd as you complete your loop.  Salute.

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – head out east on 3S04, it will go straight for a bit and then turn to the left
.34 – continue straight on 3S04
.54 – continue straight on 3S04
.89 – continue straight on 3S04
1.2 – hit a trail junction- continue straight/left on 3S04 (going right on 3S13 will take you on Little Smokey Loop)
2.5 – veer left and cross the Lower Dry Creek Flat open area (going straight will take you on Big Smokey Loop)
3.54 – go left at T (3S06), where there’s a sign directing you towards Lookout Mountain (see photo).
4.7 – veer right, continuing on 3S06
5.2 – keep your eyes peeled for a faint “Lookout Mountain” sign (see photo).  Make the hairpin right turn on 2S02, and begin the climb to the top of Lookout Mountain.
6.7 – continue straight (don’t veer right at 3S02A/ dead end sign)
7.28 – reach the defunct summit sign which is now just a pile of rubble.  Continue looping around to left and start descending the way you came.
9.4 – merge with 3S06 and go right
9.54 – continue straight on 3S06 at 4-way junction
10.3 – go left before you hit Highway 395. You’ll soon merge with a sandy power line road.  Continue up and down some short climbs, until you arrive back at the kiosk at mile 11.8

go left at this T, following the sign towards Lookout Mountain

go left at this T, following the sign towards Lookout Mountain

The sign at the hairpin right turn that starts the climb up 2S02 to the top

The sign at the hairpin right turn that starts the climb up 2S02 to the top

lots of obsidian rocks all over the place at the summit

lots of obsidian rocks all over the place at the summit

at the summit, with a broken Jack Daniels bottle where the sign used to be

at the summit, with a broken Jack Daniels bottle where the sign used to be

lookout_mountain_maplookout_mountain_elevation