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

Author Archive

Fun in the Summer – Calendar, Updates, ETC

mountainbike

Man, it’s so fun seeing all the mtb buzz in town this week for natty’s and all summer long – hope everybody is enjoying it!!  Here is some important stuff – spread the word:

1.  TODAY/TONIGHT (tuesday, 7/14) – High School MTB “Ride With a Pro” followed by pizza and Singletrack High Movie Screening.  Register at Canyon Lodge 3-4pm, ride from 4-5:30 followed by pizza and screening up at Grizzly Theatre.  FREE for all kids ages 10-18.  please spread the word to anyone you know with kids – lets get them out there on bikes and get stoked to ride!!
2.  good luck to everybody racing in Natty’s – i’ve got two words for ya: GET SOME!
 
3.  Sierra 7500 Redux – 27 and 50 mile course — registration is open and free, we’ve got a handful of people signed up already – this ride will get you fit!!.  Click here to join the madness on August 16th.
4.  Caldera 250/500 Update — I’ve been fielding a bunch of emails lately about gpx, cues, etc — everything is pretty much done for both routes – gonna be finalizing in the next couple of weeks.  I’ll write up a detailed blog post with much more info soon – it’s happening yo!!
5.  Mammoth Lakes Big Friggin Loop – mark your calendars now for Sept 6th.  the best 50 mile loop of Mammoth singletrack is back.  new for this year – the “Mini Friggin Loop” – still finalizing it – but if 50 is too much for ya, this will be a great route.  We’ll cut down some of the stuff in shady rest, and lose the san joaquin ridge climb, etc – goal is to make it around 25-30 keeping all the best elements… stay tuned…
calendar of upcoming local riding –
ride hard, smile harder.

 


Caldera 500 Update – Throwing a 250 Option in the Mix

excuse

It is true.  After consideration, mucho feedback and input, we’ve decided to make a ~250 mile route that’s basically the southern half of the Caldera 500.  Guess what we’re calling it?  Yup.  The Caldera 250.  The Grand Depart will be the same for 250 and 500 riders.  The routes are identical through the Glass Mountain Traverse, at which point 500 riders continue north, and 250 riders head west and back to Mammoth.

Our hope is this will be a viable option for riders with time constraints or who might not want to commit to the full 500 for whatever reason.  Spread the word!!

More riding.  Less couching.


Are you Kidding me? This is gonna be INSANESWEET!!

The Caldera 500 route is coming along sweet azz sweet.  September 18th is still a ways off, and we’ll probably go quiet for a bit after this update – just figured we’d throw a quick shout.  The southern half of the route is pretty much dialed in.  We’ll have to wait a couple months for snow to melt out of the Sweetwater and Glass Mountains to finalize a few bits on the northern half of the route.

Preliminary Map of the Caldera 500

Preliminary Map of the Caldera 500

All in all, Topofusion is telling me that we’re at 500.89 miles with 71k climbing at the moment. Maybe that’s accurate.

We posted a “Photo Gallery” page with a few images to give a little idea of what to expect on the route – we’ll be adding more pics soon.

We also posted our “Rules Page” – give that a looksy as well.  It’s a work in progress, and I’m sure it’s gonna ruffle some feathers – but hey, we’re doing our best to make this fair and keep with the spirit and principles of self-supported racing that have inspired us to create this route.

What else?  We’ll make a sign up page probably around July 1st.  We’ll probably recommend a $25 donation to Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (where I’ve volunteered for the last 6 years and seen so many smiles).  We will limit the field – probably to around 50.  Who knows, we may only get 5 people to show up, but just in case… Oh yeah, we’ll be on trackleaders.com, and SPOT Trackers will be available to rent.

Okee dokes.  That’s it for now.


Caldera 500 – Eastern Sierra Bikepacking Route Announcement

After a mapping, day dreaming, and beer drinking between bike folk, we’re stoked to officially announce “The Caldera 500”.  Mark your calendars now.  The revolution will not be televised.  The official Caldera 500 Page is up and running and full of all the info…

Grand Depart of the inaugural “Caldera 500” will be on Friday, September 18th, 2015 at 7am.

Umm.  Yeah.  So what exactly is this caldera deal?

We’ve got a 500 mile (give or take) loop around, over, and through one of the the most majestic, geologically rich regions in the world.  To get through said 500 mile loop, you’ve gotta earn it with 70+k of climbing.  Ride start/end is at 8,000′ with much of the route at 10-11,000′.  95% on dirt.  This ain’t a sag supported, aero tucked, bottle handup, strava sort of affair.  This is a soggy chamois, brown teeth, hallucination-inducing HAB fest, that will take you through heaven and hell on earth. Loose screws are a prerequisite.

So, yeah.  That’s it.  Make sure you follow this blog (sign up box to the right) if you want to stay in the mix on this event, and all other stuff we get huffy about.


Ride Report: Gull Lake Loop – June Lake, CA

If you are new to mountain biking, or want to take a short ride while spending the day in the beautiful town of June Lakes, this is a great ride for anyone.  It’s mostly fantastic singletrack, offering up nice views of Gull Lake and the June Mountain Ski Area, and even slithers its way through a small aspen grove. This loop can be done in both directions, but the trailhead near Gull Lake Park is easier to find for your first time – so counter-clockwise is how we describe it here.  It’s mostly flat, with just a couple short/steep efforts.  If you’re looking for more riding nearby,  check out the Yost Trail.  While in town, don’t forget to grab a beer at June Lake Brewing and a kailua pig burrito from Ohanas – just a couple blocks from Gull Lake.

  • Ride Type:  Loop (counter-clockwise as we describe it, but it can be ridden both ways)
  • Difficulty: Non-Technical, Easy with Minimal Climbing
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late Winter or Spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly smooth singletrack with a little doubletrack and a short stretch of pavement through the campground.
  • Access: From Mammoth, take Highway 395 north for 20 miles to the southern turnoff for the June Lake Loop (Hwy 158).  Drive for a little over 2 miles, through town.  You’ll see signs for Gull Lake leading you down to the right.  Once you reach Gull Lake Park on Granite Avenue, park by the tennis courts and the playground.  The trailhead / ride start is directly across the street where you see the trail going steeply up the hillside.
  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1/2 hour
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,623′
  • Highest Elevation: 7,711′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 103′
  • Bike Recommendation:  This can be ridden with pretty much any off-road bike.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start up the steep climb.  Don’t be discouraged.  It looks like a long hard climb, but after 20 yards you make a left turn and it flattens out.
0.5 – Continue straight, merging with the doubletrack trail, and heading up a short climb.
0.7 – Go left on the singletrack
1.0 – Reach an intersection with a fire road. Continue straight (you must curve to the right for 10 feet).  After a short stretch, you’ll reach a blockade that only allows bikes and hikers.  Descend here, and then go right at the T.
1.2 – Veer left at trail split, go over the bridge and pop out on pavement.  Continue on the road to the left, taking you through the campground.
1.5 – The pavement turns to dirt and you pass a bunch of cabins. Continue straight on the dirt road.
1.7 – The wide dirt road narrows to singletrack.
1.8 – Go left, staying on singletrack.  After a short, windy section, you emerge in the Gull Lake Marina parking lot.  Continue riding straight out of the parking lot.  It turns into Granite Ave.
1.9 – Turn left, staying on Granite Ave.  The park is on your left, and the loop is complete.  Do it again!!

Gull Lake Loop - Map

Gull Lake Loop – Map

Gull Lake Loop - Elevation Profile

Gull Lake Loop – Elevation Profile

A gorgeous view of Gull Lake and the surrounding mountains.

A gorgeous view of Gull Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Some fast flowy singletrack through the meadow.

Some fast flowy singletrack through the meadow.

A fun, twisty section through a small aspen grove.

A fun, twisty section through a small aspen grove.


Ride Report: Sagehen Summit Loop – near June Lake, CA

This loop is an oldie but goodie that we originally came across in the guidebook – “Mountain Biking the Eastern Sierra’s 100 Best Trails”.  The tread is 4×4  doubletrack and dirt roads (with a short bit of pavement at the end) and tends to be soft and sandy in spots.  Although it can be frustrating at times on a mountain bike, it is very enjoyable on a fat bike.  It’s hard for me to imagine mountain bike pioneers doing rides like this in the early 90’s.  But it’s definitely motivating, imagining them slogging through some of the beachy bits as my fattie floats over everything 🙂

From Highway 120, you climb steadily towards Sagehen Peak, and roll through a beautiful aspen grove (stunning when the fall colors are turning).  There are marvelous views of Adobe Valley and the Glass Mountain Ridge and you can see all the way to the White Mountains as you start curving eastbound.  When you turn north and descend into the valley, the views are again outstanding as you make your way across North Canyon Creek towards the last pavement climb back to your car.  If you are seeking some stellar, buff singletrack, you will not get that on this ride.  However, if you are in search of solitude and some of the amazing views that define Eastern Sierra adventure riding, this ride will please you and then some.  

  • Ride Type:  Loop
  • Difficulty: Non-technical, moderately strenuous climbing
  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, Fall (possible in late Winter/depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: 4×4 roads and dirt roads (soft/sandy in sections) with the last 2.6 miles on pavement.
  • Access: From Lee Vining, head 5 miles south on Highway 395 to the Junction with Hwy 120 towards Benton.  Drive past the Mono Mills historic site and continue all the way to the top of Sagehen Summit (there is a sign).  Park off on the dirt at the junction with froad 1N02.  The ride starts here.
  • Length: 17.2 miles
  • Approx. Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,283′
  • Highest Elevation: 9,031′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,896′
  • Bike Recommendation: Fat Bike or Plus Bike (29er or 27.5 with 3″ tires).  You can do it on a traditional mountain bike as well, but it’s not as enjoyable through the sandy sections, and you might be hiking your bike at times.
  • GPX file: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Start heading south on the wide dirt road 1N02 towards Sagehen Meadows.  You’ll have a gradual climb with some steeper bits mixed in.
4.0 – Reach the high point of the ride.  Yahoo.  Get some rest on the peaceful descent towards Wild Horse Meadow.
4.5 – Stay on 1N02 towards Johnny Meadows.  You’ll stay on 1N02, continuing past the junction with Johnny Meadows Rd
7.9 – Left on 1N02T
8.1 – After a short descent, go left at the T. You are now on 29E104 (called 29E03 on older maps).
10.0 – Continue straight, the road turns into 1S15A
11.8 – Creek crossing
13.3 – Continue straight
13.9 – Another creek crossing, then continue straight passed the old corral
14.6 – Go left on Hwy 120, and enjoy the final pavement climb back to Sagenhen Summit.
17.2 – Ride ends.  Drink beer.

Sagehen Summit Loop - Map

Sagehen Summit Loop – Map

Saghen Summit Loop - Elevation Profile

Saghen Summit Loop – Elevation Profile

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

A quick stop in Sagehen Meadows before continuing towards Sagehen Peak (visible to the left).

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Great views of the valleys near the Glass Mountains.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Taking a quick break before continuing towards Johnny Meadows.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain with the Bodie Hills beyond.

Views towards Granite Mountain and Cowtrack Mountain.


Ride Report: Tobacco Flats – near Mammoth Lakes, CA

In the mood to pedal hard and be rewarded with stellar views?  If so, this ride is for you.  If building lactic acid up in your legs isn’t in the cards, don’t bother.  Tobacco Flats is a beautiful area accessed off of Mt. Morrison Rd.  As you ride up the canyon, you’re confronted with Mt. Morrison straight ahead, McGee Mountain to your left (you can see portions of the road that switchbacks its way to the top) and Laurel Mountain to your right.  We call this ride a “Tootsie Roll Loop” because you have out-and-backs at both ends, and a loop in the middle.  Towards the end of the strenuous upper out-and-back portion of the ride, you are rewarded with a rare perspective of Convict Lake at an overlook point.  Take a moment to soak it in.  Then it’s just a short burst to the top of the climb before turning around beginning the invigorating descent.  Before you know it, you’ve dropped 1,600′ and are back at your car.  Fantastic!

  • Ride Type:  Tootsie Roll Loop (Loop with out and back at each end)
  • Aerobic Difficulty: Steep climbing is strenuous, strong legs and lungs a must
  • Technical Difficulty: Non- technical
  • Time of Year: Summer and Fall (sometimes late spring – depending on snow pack)
  • Terrain/Conditions: Mostly doubletrack – gorgeous scenery.
  • Access: From the junction of Highway 395  and the 203 at Mammoth Lakes, drive south on the 395 for 5.2 miles and exit at Mt. Morrison Rd.  Drive 0.2 miles and turn left at the cemetery.  Drive another 0.1 miles and park near the Snowmobile Information Kiosk next to the green building.  The ride starts here. 
  • Length: 8.5 miles
  • Approx. Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Lowest Elevation: 7,026′
  • Highest Elevation: 8,417′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,647′
  • Bike Recommendation:  This can be ridden with pretty much any off-road bike, although fat bikes and plus bikes seem to enjoy the potentially soft conditions the best.
  • GPX File: Available by contacting us

Turn by Turn (in miles):

0.0 – Ride start.  Head south on the pole line dirt road from the Snowmobile Information Kiosk.

0.8 – At the junction, continue straight/right and start climbing towards the west.
2.4 – Continue straight.
2.6 – Continue straight.  Shortly after, reach a 4-way intersection.  Go right, continue climbing
2.8 – Veer right at the Y.  Continue climbing.
3.3 – It flattens for a brief moment.  Enjoy the break, continue straight, and climb some more.
3.8 – You reach a flat open area.  The best viewpoint for the Convict Lake is here.
4.0 – Reach the end of the trail.  Time to start the descent, back the way you came.
4.2 – Pass the Convict Lake Lookout again – make sure to take a photo if you haven’t already!
5.4 – You reach the 4-way intersection where you started the “out-and-back” at mile 2.6.  Continue straight to finish off the loop.  Buckle up for a fast and beautiful descent!!  Stay on this road as it loops around to the north right above Highway 395.
7.7 – You reach the junction from mile 0.8.  You’ve finished the loop, now turn right to start backtracking to your car.  One short, steep climb and then the final descent to the finish.
8.5 – Ride ends at the Snowmobile Information Kiosk.  Pat yourself on the back.  Great ride!

Tobacco Flats Ride - Map

Tobacco Flats Ride – Map

Tobacco Flats Ride - Elevation Profile

Tobacco Flats Ride – Elevation Profile

Riding up through the flats towards Laurel Mountain

Riding up through the flats towards Laurel Mountain

A great view of Convict Lake and Laurel Mountain from the overlook

A great view of Convict Lake and Laurel Mountain from the overlook

Descending back toward Crowley Lake and the Glass Mountain Ridge.  You can see some snow-capped peaks in the White Mountains off  in the distance.

Descending back toward Crowley Lake and the Glass Mountain Ridge. You can see some snow-capped peaks in the White Mountains off in the distance.