Sunday, May 2, 2010

Will Rogers State Park - Backbone Trail Out and Back

I dusted off the MTB for a real ride this Sunday. Mike has a fancy new bike. So he's all about the MTB these days and will be dragging me up more hills in the very near future I'm sure. We decided on Will Roger's State Park, Backbone Trail that I had done once or twice before with Justin. We did it as an out and back, but it can be done as a loop. The parking is up to $12 at the State Park, a bit much if you got in the habit of doing the ride frequently. There is parking on the side of the road into the park so you can just add a bit of mileage to your ride and save some bucks. Their parking lot was nearly full so it's kind of hard to fault them too much for the price of entry I suppose.

We rode from the parking lot at the polo field past the horse corrals and then up the dirt path to the main fire rode. The backbone trail takes off from a kiosk with a useless map to the right shortly after you get onto the fire road. Pretty much up hill for 6.8 miles to "The Hub." Mike did a good bit of waiting for me. I was huffing and puffing quite a bit and by the top was starting to get a bit 'bonky'. Thank goodness the camel back was stocked with a couple of CLIF bars and a granola bar. What seamed like an excessive 3 bars this morning really paid off after 90 minutes of climbing. Our average speed ended up being 6.0 mph. When I did this ride with Justin 11/2007, we had an average speed of 6.9 mph. Not exactly progress. 14.03 miles at 6.0 mph and 2:20 of ride time by my bike computer.

The trail conditions are pretty good for most of it. But a nontrivial portion of the trail was severely over-grown with vegetation. Most of the time the trail was still visible but your legs were displacing a good 3-9 inches of vegetation on either side. That got old pretty quickly and was even somewhat painful at times. Mike already having open wounds on his shins wasn't all that impressed with that aspect of the trail. Check out the picture below for a section of the trail that was totally obscured by the vegetation. There are some really great sections on this trail that are smooth and covered in canopy. Also the descents are fun, though well suited for a bike with suspension as it is rocky in places.

Mike saw what he figured was a gopher snake near the top. It decided to put things into a leisurely reverse after Mike almost ran over him with his front tire. There were a few hikers and some other bike traffic but certainly not over crowded. Some of the hikers were happier to see us than others. Also there were fantastic views of the Santa Monica Beach and pier today. Definitely a trail worth checking out if you mountain bike in socal!

No comments:

Post a Comment