Archive for the ‘Regions’ Category

December Skills Clinic photos published Tuesday, December 9

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

As always, the free basic Skills Clinic was conducted on the first Saturday of the month in Malibu Creek State Park. This month, Graham again took the photos because Steve was busy with trailwork on the Backbone Trail. You can see the photos in our December photo gallery.

Report on the November 8th Backbone Trailwork and Photos

Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Google Earth view of our work area, looking north-west. The CORBA crew worked the bottom (green) and the Trails Council crew worked the top (yellow) of this 2.5-mile long segment of the Backbone Trail. Mulholland Hwy (23-S) is at the bottom of the image. The trail ends at Etz Meloy Motorway.

Google Earth view of our work area, looking north-west. The CORBA crew worked the bottom (green) and the Trails Council crew worked the top (yellow) of this 2.5-mile long segment of the Backbone Trail. Mulholland Hwy (23-S) is at the bottom of the image. The trail ends at Etz Meloy Motorway.

On Saturday, November 8th, 13 CORBA volunteers and 6-8 from the Santa Monica Trails Council combined forces to fix up the 2.5-mile long singletrack section of the Backbone Trail between Mulholland Hwy and Etz Meloy Motorway. The gentle grade of this trail, combined with sweeping turns, easy switchbacks, great views and connections to the rest of the Backbone Trail make this a favorite for mountain bikers.

Being more used to working a distance from the trailhead, the Trails Council crew hiked to the top and worked their way down while the CORBA crew started near the bottom and worked up the trail. We skipped the first few hundred feet because of the presence of invasive weeds; we didn’t want to spread the seeds around by disturbing these aggressive plants. Both groups completed about a half-mile of trail.

We focused on removing brush at the side of the trail, but a few workers concentrated on removing silt and other debris from the drains. Our priority is generally to make sure the trails are well drained so rainwater doesn’t erode ruts down the middle. The drains on this trail were plentiful and well designed when the trail was built about seven years ago, so we didn’t need to build any new ones as we do on most trails.

Check out our photo gallery to see more dedicated volunteers at work!

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November Skills Clinic photos published Monday, November 3

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

After a brief downpour on Friday night, the weather on Saturday for the skills clinic was mostly sunny. Five riders took part, four of whom drove down from Palmdale! Graham took the photos again this month; you can view them in this photo gallery.

West End of Etz Meloy Gets New Gate

Friday, October 31st, 2014

IMG_2132CORBA was alerted to the fact that a private property owner at the west end of Etz Meloy Motorway (a section of the Backbone Trail) at Yerba Buena Road has erected a second, new gate to deter the public from using the route. From the National Park Service:
The 1-mile stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. heading east from Yerba Buena Rd. is not open to the public.  The stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. across this area is not to be used by trail visitors. By using it, visitors will only aggravate the situation.

CORBA reminds everyone to respect private property and not go over/around the gate as this action is not only illegal, it can also jeopardize negotiations with the landowners and NPS moving toward some kind of easement agreement.

An earlier blog has more details, history and several comments on the gate that prevents access to the Etz Meloy Mtwy from the west end.

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Over 200 Kids on Bikes at the Santa Monica Mountains Rec Fest

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
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Ready to ride!

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This past weekend the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area hosted their first Recreation Festival. The National Park Service promoted the event widely in park-poor communities around Los Angeles. Paramount Ranch, with it’s historic movie set buildings and idyllic location in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains was a perfect place to introduce so many to the wonders of the great outdoors.

Visitors from underserved communities were bused in from Compton, South Los Angeles, Wilmington and other areas.  While there was a definite contingent of locals and experienced park visitors, it was wonderful to see so many people visiting the mountains for the first time. For many visitors, Spanish was the preferred language, often with the kids translating for their parents. Over 1700 people visited the Rec Fest and had the opportunity to experience a number of outdoor activities.

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Climbing, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Hiking and Mountain Biking at the Rec Fest

Kids were able to try climbing on one of two climbing walls, ride a horse on a trail ride, try fly-casting and learn about fishing. The local Audubon Society chapter talked about birding, and many of the birds that could be seen right from their booth. Everyone who completed the 1-mile trail running foot race were awarded a medal. A self-guided hiking route was marked for families to follow. CORBA’s Youth Adventures program offered kids a chance to ride a mountain bike on a guided trail ride. There was no shortage of things to do.

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CORBA’s Youth Adventures

CORBA was there in a big way to promote mountain biking. Girlz Gone Riding were also there encouraging lots of young women to try mountain biking. We had our CORBA booth, giving out information on trail etiquette and promoting our youth programs: CORBA Kids Club and CORBA Youth Adventures. But mostly we were answering “where can we ride bikes?” Fortunately, the answer was “right over there.”

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The early birds didn’t have to wait!

Mountain Bike Unit volunteers were on hand with CORBA’s Youth Adventures fleet of over 40 bikes, along with smaller kid’s bikes on loan from Walk N’ Rollers, a nonprofit in Culver City that promotes healthy transportation alternatives, such as walking and biking, for children. The MBU runs the Youth Adventures program on behalf of CORBA.

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One group starts their ride, while others wait in line.

Well over 200 kids went out for either a short trail ride, or to ride a short course with some small wooden bike park features. For much of the day there was a 30-minute wait to get on a bike, and at times it was hard to get the kids off the bikes as they just wanted to keep doing laps. The kids’ ear-to-ear grins were their own reward. (more…)

National Park Service “RecFest” This Saturday 10/25/14

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Rec-Fest-Poster (1)Find out about recreational opportunities in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. CORBA and Girlz Gone Riding will be there with skills demonstrations, and CORBA’s Youth Adventures will have a kid’s safety rodeo and short trail rides, with bikes provided.

Girlz Gone Riding Rocktober Wrap-up, held October 19th, 2014.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

This is GGR’s 4th Rocktober event at Malibu Creek State Park and the biggest year yet. With 216 registered, 190 riders showed up! If the waiting list was released, we would have close to 300 women! Let me take you through the day……moment by moment.

I pulled into MCSP at about 6:30am hoping that the park attendant would get in early. It was dead quiet and still dark out, very peaceful. The night before, I posted for everyone to get there as early as possible due to the long lines and one attendant working. And sure enough…just a few minutes later the line was out into the road waiting for the gates to open.

Sage, our sweet park attendant was right on time and opened the gate at 7am for us. One of the new ride volunteers Jose G, came by my house during the week and picked up all the GGR booth things in his truck to bring to the event and he was right on time too!

IMG_4090Many ladies got there early and the girls got the GGR Booth up right away to get riders checked in and Mark Langton got the CORBA booth up right away next to GGR of course! Doris Dunn took over managing the vendors for the morning and mapped everything out. I was so grateful she took this over and she did a great job! Joyce made signs, awesome GGR name tags and did a million other fantastic things for me. Well done ladies!

The morning is always crazy…and the day is filled with sooooo many things we have a time schedule to keep, so it’s critical things move quickly and smoothly in the morning……Sometimes they do………sometimes they don’t!

While we were getting set up, the demo trucks, Trek & Giant, the food truck and Pedal Power truck were to be arriving any minute to set up for demo bikes, give out samples prior to the rides of the Joy Ride System by Pedal Power: http://www.petal-power.com/ and of course have some coffee in the wee hours of the morning!

dRiders were arriving early and the parking lot was getting full. The lines at the GGR booth seem to be going well and so far running smoothly thanks to Registration Team Leader Desi who handles this for me every year and does an outstanding job! Then she goes and leads a ride too!

Gathering everyone up in the morning before the rides and clinics is always challenging..it’s a social event so ladies are socializing and enjoying the morning!

I always start the morning with a quick motivational speech. This year was about empowerment since the entire day was about empowering each other to become better riders, better friends and just better in general.

I talked about getting involved in GGR and CORBA suggesting everything from organizing and leading rides, to trail work to setting up a Wenches with Wrenches workshop at their favorite bike shop.

The Rambachers, Amy and Thomas, GGR ride leader volunteers, were recognized for their incredible Enduro Series wins…The Rambachers also donated 6 foot tables to GGR which we desperately needed!

Christine Hirst (left) and Leigh Donovan

Christine Hirst (left) and Leigh Donovan

Darcie Loth was presented the night before with the Courage and Commitment Award.

And the community aware this year to recognize their excellence in our community went to Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park. http://www.michaelsbicycles.com/

This year we were blessed with having 2 coaches for the beginner skills clinics! Christine Hirst who has been with GGR since the beginning donating her time every year for this event, and now Leigh Donovan who made the really long drive to donate her time for the day helping our incredible group of GGR riders to become safer, more confident riders! Leigh recently partnered up with LIV to start http://ichoosebikes.com/.

Our final speaker was Mark Langton from CORBA. http://corbamtb.com. GGR and CORBA partner for pretty much everything. Mark talked about CORBA and the trail etiquette for safe and courteous riding for all that use the trails.

Photo Time! We all then moved over to a big empty space in the park for our massive group photo. I was looking around and couldn’t tell really how many were there, but I knew it was much bigger than last year. I would just have to wait to count the waivers later in the day to find out….

Group Photo

RIDE TIME! So now all the riders went to their ride signs to wait for their ride leaders. The beginners were taking the skills clinics 1st while the advanced beginners went out for their guided rides. Then the advanced beginners would come back and get THEIR skills clinic and the beginners would go for THEIR guided ride.

RidingI watched all the ladies take off for their guided rides like a proud, very worried mother. Virtually everyone was in the purple, the GGR club color. Some had their GGR jerseys on, some had purple tees, purple jerseys, boa’s, purple beads, painted purple toes and finger nails, decorated handle bars, the bling goes on and on! It was fabulous! Ladies really had fun with the bling this year!

TuTuLet me mention the men on these rides….there are very few men in GGR. Because…well, it’s a club for women! However, these handful of men are friends of mine that I ride with, trust, are respectful, kind and very willing to help out. Their strength, speed and compassion is much appreciated to help on our rides. They out did themselves this year too! Purple tu tu’s, wigs, ear rings, purple nail polish….they were COMPLETELY in the GGR spirit for the day and I love them for that!. I thank you all so very much!

While everyone was out on the rides and skills clinics, Louisa and I started going over the raffle and silent auction items. This also gave me a chance to just take a breather and take in everything that was happening and what I needed to do in the afternoon.

IMG_4076Charles from Clif : http://www.clifbar.com/, came up to me while I was heading over to get some coffee. Clif provided the entire fuel station this year. This included hydration, recovery, shots, gels and mini Clif bars. They also provided Clif product for the goody bags. This was Clif’s 1st year supporting the GGR Rocktober event and they were thrilled with their fuel station as well as the attendance! Always great when your sponsors are happy!!! Thank you Shilo and her girls from The Squeaky Wheel Bike Shop in Palmdale for setting up the Clif fuel station for GGR!

Riding Group 1The riders started coming back around noonish for the afternoon festivities. Apparently there were a ton of hikers and of course a Boy Scout group that was on the trails at the same time, so there was some congestion on some parts of the trails. We will be re routing the routes next year to prevent a lot of this.

The afternoon was to chill, visit all the wonderful booths, have lunch, socialize and win some great stuff!

We had some speakers in the afternoon too!

Amy “Enduro” Rambacher talked about coaching a high school team

Nancy “Den Mother” Harris and Jill Hamilton of Petal Power spoke about racing.

Lisa Baker from the Unlikely Cyclist came up and told her story and talked about women’s cycling clothes and the importance of proper fit.http://theunlikelycyclist.com/

Then before we started the afternoon raffles, Leigh Donovan awarded Karleen Volz the most improved rider of the day. Liv donated a Liv Cycling kit, hat and gloves for miss Karleen to take home knowing she was the most improved rider! http://www.liv-cycling.com/

We ended the day with the huge raffles, silent auctions and Mark Langton from CORBA awarded an REI tent for the CORBA membership drive winner. Every year at Rocktober, we also hold a CORBA/IMBA membership drive and everyone’s name that renewed or purchased a new CORBA membership goes into the raffle.

MASH GroupWe broke everything down, swept the park so not a trace was left behind, I watched everyone pull out and just a few of us were left talking about the day. I was exhausted. I start planning this event in February and it’s always very stressful the month before. For the most part, it went better than expected. The turn out was huge……..women mountain bikers are growing in numbers that our club just can’t even support at the events any longer. Bike companies……bike shops, this is a movement that is happening. Take notice, step up and get involved in your women’s cycling community! WE ARE FABULOUS!

I want to thank every volunteer, rider and sponsor who were a part of this event. All the volunteers work hard to make this a better event every year and I thank you for it. Our booths and sponsors sere just awesome this year! Huge Kudo’s to Shredly who has been with GGR since day one! http://www.shredly.com/. Also, Zoic did something very special. They picked a girl out of the crowd and gave her a ZOIC MAKE OVER! HOW COOL!  Thank you Zoic for making the day extra special! http://www.zoic.com/

Riding Group 2For a list of our amazing sponsors, please go to the GGR website and check them out who support women’s cycling! http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/event-sponsors-2014.html

See many many more photos in our 2014 GGR Roctober photo gallery!

Until next Rocktober, I bid you happy trails, keep the rubber side down and just be fabulous daw-lings!

From Wendy Engelberg

COSCA Annual Trailwork Day attracts 150 volunteers; 0.6 miles of trail built/repaired

Monday, October 20th, 2014

This past Saturday, October 18, almost 150 volunteers turned out to help rebuild the Conejo Crest Trail and a connector between this trail and the White Horse Canyon Trail in Thousand Oaks. This included 20 CORBA volunteers and several riders from nearby high school mountain biking teams. The work was divided into 5 distinct projects.

Chopping out a stump on the new trail to bypass the Descent of Death

Chopping out a stump on the new trail to bypass the Descent of Death

The most important was to build a reroute around the Descent of Death (watch the video of mountain bikers on the Descent of Death). This new trail is just over 1000′ long, compared to 680′ for the Descent itself, so it is about 1/3 less steep. Three crews were assigned to this challenging section with lots of big rocks, some very steep cross slopes, and many sturdy stumps to remove. The amount of work needed was more than could be accomplished by the available volunteers in just 3 working hours, so COSCA will complete this section later. However, the most difficult parts were completed so the bypass trail is open for use.

The connector to White Horse Canyon Trail is very rocky because rainwater has washed away all the soil. We removed the biggest and loosest of these rocks.

The connector to White Horse Canyon Trail is very rocky because rainwater has washed away all the soil. We removed the biggest and loosest of these rocks.

At the bottom of the bypass trail is a connector trail to the White Horse Canyon Trail. This 835′ long connector goes straight down the hill with no diversions to get the water off it. As a result, rainwater has run straight down it for years and it has become very rutted, and rocky where the soil, sand and smallest rocks have been washed away. In addition, it was somewhat overgrown. Three crews were assigned to this section to clear the brush, remove the worst of the loose rocks and build drainages to get the water off and minimize future runoff erosion. These crews finished early and went on to help build the bypass trail. Another crew was working to remove loose rocks from the Conejo Crest Trail for about 1100′ from the top of the Descent of Death. The bypass trail crossed an illegally built trail that ran from the top of the Descent of Death almost straight down the hill to the Los Robles East Trail (Edison Road). A ranger-led crew worked to rehabilitate the ground around this trail, to restore as much as possible the natural contour of the land. Berms and jumps were knocked down and raked over. The trail was blocked to prevent future use and further erosion and degradation of the public open space. Finally, a group of youngsters worked to beautify the trailhead to the Triunfo Trail at Triunfo Community Park by raking out the trail, building a pretty border out of rocks, and planting native plants in the bare area next to the trail.

Enjoying the lunch prepared by the COSCA rangers after trailwork was finished

Enjoying the lunch prepared by the COSCA rangers after trailwork was finished

After the work period, the volunteers gathered at Triunfo Park to enjoy a barbecue lunch prepared by the COSCA Rangers. About a dozen people won prizes in the give-away to thank the workers, including one lucky volunteer who won a Giant mountain bike. You can see more photos of the work in our gallery of trailwork photos. The trail crew leaders were COSCA rangers and volunteers from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council. These folks and the organizations they represent would like to give a hearty thanks and shout-out to all the volunteers who help keep the trails in great shape for all trail users!

LA County’s Prop P (for Parks) on November Ballot

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

imgresIn 1992, LA County voters approved the Safe Neighborhood Parks measure which has since provided approximately $54 million a year for more than 1500 projects including 33,000 acres of protected open space and 244 trail projects. The program funded a variety of significant park projects and over the years employed 25,000 youth in park programming.

This 1992 measure is about to expire and this November voters will have the chance to vote for Prop P, its replacement. If passed, Prop P will allocate funds across Los Angeles County for parks in disadvantaged communities, neighborhood parks, clean beaches and water, regional open space including trails, non-profit and public agency projects and park maintenance.

Los Angeles County has been a good partner for the mountain biking community. Their trails policy clearly states that County trails, wherever feasible, should be multiple use including bicycles. We applaud them for this policy, and are actively working with the County on several projects, including a bike park proposal.

CORBA urges our members and readers to become informed on Prop P, and consider the effects it will have on the trails and open spaces you ride, as well as future opportunities for parks and trails. Further information is available at: osd.lacounty.gov

Presidential Proclamation: Establishing the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Monday, October 13th, 2014
President Obama signs the proclamation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

President Obama signs the proclamation

In what seems to be lightning speed, last Friday, October 10, 2014, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation – Establishment of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The ceremony was held at Bonelli Regional Park, with the San Gabriel Mountains themselves providing a dramatic backdrop for the event. We understand proclamation delivers much of what we expected, with no unexpected surprises. We expect to be pleased by it’s language and intent, and still amazed at how quickly it all happened. Once the final proclamation is posted, we’ll update accordingly.

Though the last two months have seemed quick from our perspective, the effort to bring additional resources and protection to the San Gabriel Mountains has been underway for more than a decade. Since Hilda Solis introduced the legislation to study the San Gabriel Mountains and Watershed in 2002, the area has been the subject of highly organized and focused advocacy efforts from a diverse range of environmental and social groups. Today was a great milestone and achievement not just for those groups, but for all of us who value the forest, its resources, and the opportunities it provides.

Judy Chu thanks the coalition of supporters

Judy Chu thanks the dignitaries and coalition of supporters

We’re especially pleased to see the prominence of recreation in all the later announcements, and the implicit acknowledgement that bicycles and other recreational uses are welcomed and appropriate. We’d like to think it was no accident that the Whitehouse blog post about the signing features a mountain biker as the first picture. We understand the proclamation further protects the mountains, but also protects our access and ability to recreate in them. Its potential to bolster the quality and continuity of our water supply can’t be understated. These mountains are the lungs of the city, the place to go for cleaner air and a clearer mind and a healthier body. And they’ll continue to be so.

There are still many opposed to the National Monument proclamation. The public relations outreach effort was botched from the start, and felt like an afterthought to something that was already well underway. The movement’s momentum was evident even at that poorly executed initial public announcement on August 26, 2014. There had been no public involvement in the process, and that initial announcement was just that, an announcement, not a true public participation event. It was for that reason we thought it best to approach and work with the proponents of the NM, and help make sure that recreational users and conservationists were heard and considered.

By being involved and reaching out early on, engaging with San Gabriel Mountains Forever and their partners, we’re in a better position going forward. The ability to present a unified position from multiple organizations advocating for both recreation and conservation will help these treasured lands meet the needs of everyone. It will help protect where we play.

The previously posted National Monument FAQ’s were developed as a joint project with MWBA, SGMF and much appreciated guidance and expertise from IMBA and The Wilderness Society at the national level. Those FAQ’s all still apply, and we’ll work with those same groups when the management planning process begins. We’ll continue to represent bicyclists’ interests in an advisory role that will help guide the Monument’s management plan development. (more…)