Malibu Creek State Park was busy with visitors on the second day of 2016. The morning started off overcast and chilly for 15 riders at the Basic Skills Clinic. The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our January photo gallery. This month, the clinic was followed by a Beginners’ Ride, sponsored by Cynergy Cycles and led by CORBA and GGR Director Wendy Engelberg. Photos of the ride can be seen at the end of the skills clinic photo gallery.
Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category
We are having a severe El Nino event this winter; as a result the weather forecast is for many heavy rainstorms in the early months of 2016. That will help our drought situation, but will have seriously bad impacts on our trails. As well as muddy conditions that interfere with their use, described below, the rains could be severe enough to erode some trails into huge ruts, and even wash them away in some cases. There may be more mudslides in Pt Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon) like we had last year. Furthermore, the rain will spur the chaparral to overgrow the trails, a condition we haven’t had to deal with much over the past couple of years because of the drought. The combination of waterlogged soil and high winds could blow trees over. We’re expecting to have special trailwork days to repair these damaged trails and hope many mountain bikers will want to help us get them back into shape!
Most trails in our local riding area don’t respond well to rain. They have a high content of clay that turns into sticky, slippery muck that binds to everything it touches. It builds up on the tires, like a snowball rolling downhill, until it jams on the frame and the wheels won’t budge. Some models of clipless pedals won’t let go when full of this mud, resulting in the bike and the attached rider lying sideways in a puddle, or worse.
Most wet trails don’t respond well to use until they’ve had time to dry out. Hikers and horses make holes and ridges in the trail that become as hard as concrete when the trail dries. These holes and ridges are good for twisting ankles.
As a rule of thumb, if your foot, tire or hoof makes an impression more than about 1/8 inch deep in the dirt, the trail is still too soft to use. Give it another day or two to dry out before using it!
On wet trails, bikes make grooves along the trail. The next time it rains, the water runs down these grooves and turns them into little ruts, then large ruts that destroy the trail.
The mud is particularly hard to remove. It sticks to the bike and shoes, no matter the efforts to remove it, rubbing off on the bike rack, car carpet and gas/brake pedals, making them slippery. Once home, it takes the careful use of a garden hose to remove the mud but not force water into the sensitive parts of the bike.
For these reasons, riders are well advised to stay off the trails after a rain until they have dried. How long to stay off? That depends on a number of factors including the particular trail, how much rain it received, how much sun it gets after the rain (is it in the shade or face south?), how warm and windy the weather is, and so on. After an isolated light rain you can probably ride the next day. After a heavy rain, you should wait several days. This is something where common sense and experience will help. Remember, tracks deeper than 1/8″ mean the trail is still too soft to use!
All is not lost when the trails are soaking! There are a few trails that hold up well when wet because they have more sand and rock that doesn’t hold the water. Here are a few you should know about:
–Space Mountain (Los Robles Trail West) to the picnic table is almost always rideable, even right after a big storm. However, it can be pretty mucky from the picnic table to Potrero Road.
–Rosewood Trail is pretty good, but not quite as resilient as Space Mountain.
–Zuma Ridge Motorway from Encinal (the bottom in Malibu is muddy)
–Dirt Mulholland around Topanga State Park.
-Brown Mountain Fireroad
-Most San Gabriel Mountains trails made up of decomposed granite
The city of Calabasas is pushing plans for the building of the Rondell Oasis Hotel that would block access to the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail (“DeAnza Trail”). The trail is designated as a National Historic Trail and got congressional approval and went to the white house in 2000. This is part of the original El Camino Real route and has over 200 years of history! It is one of only nineteen such trails in the country.
The hotel is to be built on the currently vacant property on the east side of Las Virgenes Road, immediately south of the 101 freeway, next to the Mobile station. It will occupy the area where people now park to access the DeAnza trail and the adjoining New Millennium Loop trail system.
The developer is proposing to mitigate its impact to the trail by installing approximately 4 parking spaces, a water fountain and a doggy poo-bag station. What is not said clearly is because of the flood hazards on the site, the developer is putting in concrete drainages that would block all access to the trail, and in order to access the trail they would install steps up and over the drainage to the trailhead. This is hardly bicycle or equestrian friendly. In fact, this parking area is the only one that is large enough to accommodate horse trailers for equestrians who want to ride these trails. That access would be lost.
The city of Calabasas believes that these minor accommodations would mitigate the access issues to the trail, but the proposed number of spaces is completely inadequate for this popular trail. There are other significant issues with this development that concern the citizens of Calabasas, but the city believes that they are all minor, and that no Environmental Impact Report is needed to explore the full impact and propose appropriate changes to the plan.
You can get a copy online of the city’s report, “Rondell Oasis Hotel Project: Initial Study…” Page 56 is the checklist where nothing is deemed as having any potential significant impact on a historical or archaeological resource, which isn’t the case.
We urge you to send your comments to the City of Calabasas, expressing the need for a full Environmental Impact Report. Comments must be received by December 4th, 2015! Send them to Michael Klein, the planner for this project. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
CORBA’s comments can be found here. Below is a sample letter that you are free to copy and send in under your own name. Of course, it would be even better if you add a sentence or two of your own to make it more individual. Don’t forget to add a catchy subject line!
Dear Mr. Klein,
I have just learned of the Rondell Oasis Hotel Project that is to be situated on the the east side of Las Virgenes Road, immediately south of the 101 freeway. This project would block access to the popular Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail that was used by the missionaries over 200 years ago when traveling up the coast of California, and eliminate the current large parking area at the trailhead. The few parking spots that the developers plan to provide for trailhead parking would not be nearly adequate for the number of people who like to use it. Currently this is the only parking area for accessing this historic trail and the New Millennium Loop trail system that is large enough for equestrians with their horse trailers, so the project would completely eliminate their access.
The City of Calabasas’ conclusion that a full environmental impact report is not needed for this project is incorrect in my view. I urge the city to require a full Environmental Impact Report for this project!
We have learned that in a couple of weeks, California Conservation Corps Crews under the direction of California State Parks will start brushing the East Topanga Fire Road in Topanga State Park as the first phase of road maintenance this fiscal year. The second phase of project will be re-grading the road to “out slope” the road for more natural drainage of the road. The notice below will be posted on the East Topanga Fire Road to inform the public of the maintenance project. This project is part of large scale project to “out slope” all State Park Fire Roads in the Santa Monica Mountains to reduce sedimentation in the Santa Monica Bay. If you have any questions, please contact Dale Skinner at 310/699-1717.
This year’s Girlz Gone Riding Rocktober festival & CORBA Membership Drive was by far the largest to date! With 37 exhibitors and over 300 in attendance, our expectations were far exceeded!
The event started out on Saturday with our pre-ride for our ride volunteers. We had 34 ride volunteers pre-riding all routes for the guided rides. We ran into the mounted patrol all day too! Great way to start the weekend of epicness!
Saturday evening was our traditional goodie bag stuffing party and raffle tagging. This year Cycle World Chatsworth hosted and in a few hours many volunteers got 250 goodie bags stuffed and over $20K of raffle items tagged! And of course we had pizza, cake and vino!
The morning of the Rocktober festival, the ranger at MCSP was kind enough to have the gate open at 6am this year!! This allowed our demo trucks to get there in plenty of time to set up and get the bikes ready to go for our lady shredders.
It was still dark in the morning AND it was raining a wee bit…so I was just a bit concerned that the rain would stick. The trails were mostly clay, so they don’t hold any rain well at all. Lucky for us, it cleared up for a beautiful day!
Since I had announced the gates were going to be open early, everyone seemed to take advantage of it and get there super early. Registration didn’t open until 8am, but at 6:30amish, we already had a ton of riders and the parking lot was half full. Lots of anxious ladies eager to start the festival!
Once everyone was signed in, got their goodie bags and demo bikes, it was time for the morning commencement. This is always the toughest part to prepare for since once a year I get this enormous audience and there are so many people to thank as well as announcements to make. Next year I promise it will be much shorter!
I introduced each chapter and the chapter leaders. I talked about the two C’S which I live by. Community and Club. All supporters and exhibitors at the event received a verbal mention and we went on to intro our 4 amazing volunteer coaches this year. Returning head coach Leigh Donovan, returning GGR coach Christine Hirst, new GGR coaches Kris Gross and Erica Phillips.
This year’s community award went to G2 Bikes and Girls Ride 2! This award is given to the shop that shows the most community involvement in women’s cycling, has a great women’s section and has shop rides. G2 and Girls Ride 2 earned this award hands down. I affectionately call them our “sister club” because we are all on the same page when it comes to community. There ride leaders spend the entire weekend with us volunteering too!
After the huge group photo, riders split up into their guided ride groups and skills clinics. We had guided rides for all levels and beginner skills clinics running all morning. Rides were all through the park including the famous MASH site, Grasslands and Little Bulldog. Many of these rides went through the super fun creek bed where we had photographers stationed to capture the excitement!
When riders came back after their guided rides, they enjoyed an afternoon of tons of exhibitors, more demo bikes, lunch, catching up and just enjoying the day. We ended the day with over $20K of raffle prizes including grand prizes from REI, Specialized, Sacred Rides and San Juan Huts. We thank all the bike companies that came out to Rocktober. We had over 100 demo bikes for ladies to demo! Huge shouts out and thank you’s to: Liv, Bulls Bikes USA, Specialized, Trek, Turner and Rocky Mountain. We also want to thank Clif who for the 2nd year sponsored the Clif Fuel station and provided the Rocktober event with all of our hydration and nutrition as well as plenty of goodies for the goodie bags!
The Rocktober festival is so much bigger than GGR. It’s truly a celebration of women’s mountain biking and bringing our community together.
For all pictures, please go to:
GGR Girl WE
For our occasional RAM ride, a few dozen CORBA supporters gathered at the trailhead to Pt Mugu State Park in Newbury Park on Sunday morning and organized into three groups for separate beginner, intermediate and advanced rides. Off we went into Sycamore Canyon shortly after 9:00 am for a few hours of riding before heading down to Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park for pancakes, coffee, juice, fruit and muffins. There was also a donation jar for CORBA to pay for the meal and to help with other CORBA programs. Many people contributed bills to this jar, and for that CORBA offers a hearty thanks! Michael sweetened the event by offering special deals to us on merchandise in his shop.
We have posted photos of the intermediate ride and from Michael’s. You can see photos of earlier RAM rides and fundraising events on our photo gallery.
On Hallowe’en day, 16 CORBA volunteers along with a half dozen from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council hiked up the Backbone Trail from Mulholland Hwy towards Etz Meloy for the third time in a year to cut back the overgrowing brush and improve the drainage.
I had hoped that we would have enough people to complete the brushing along its entire length, and the word is we succeeded – almost! There is still one very small gap that hasn’t had the brush cleared, but that section of the trail isn’t badly overgrown.
The CORBA crew focused on cutting back the brush, but the SMMTC crew also worked on the tread – cleaning and fixing the drains and spreading the slough across the trail to level it out. (Slough is the dirt that falls onto the inside edge of the trail from the hillside directly above, resulting in a narrowed trail because people don’t ride or hike on the uneven and loose slough.)
The CORBA volunteers included five students from Calabasas area high schools mountain biking teams, and two of their parents. The teams like their members to give back to the trail community. These kids did a great job helping to restore the trail, as did all the volunteers. Thanks for your help; everybody who uses the trail will appreciate your work when they don’t get scratched up from the brush that used to grow into it!
You can view photos of the work at our trailwork day photo gallery.
The 2015 Rec Fest was held at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on October 24, 2015. The 2014 event was such a success we were delighted to hear that the event would be repeated again this year, thanks to grants and donations from the SAMOfund, Coke and others.
The Rec Fest is all about opening the doors to the many forms of recreation available in our local mountains to people who may not know what’s possible. Visitors to the event were able to try their hand at casting a fishing line, riding a covered wagon, pitching a tent, riding a horse, rock climbing, or doing a nature hike. The local audobon society chapter was there to tell kids – and show them – some of the abundant birdlife found in our mountains. An astronomy club was there to show them what there is to be discovered in our skies (they pointed at the moon, visible during the day). At noon was a one-mile fun run on the trails, where each participant received a medal for finishing. There were plenty of interpretive stations along a nature hike, and craft and hobby activies.
And of course, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mountain Bike Unit volunteers
Lance, Larry, Dan, Joyce, Dave and Regina, and Walk & Rollers’ Jim Shanman, more than 160 kids, and some of their anxious parents, were able to try mountain biking through CORBA’s Youth Adventures program.
CORBA’s Youth Adventures program takes out at-risk youth from areas all over Los Angeles County for a half-day mountain bike ride in Malibu Creek State Park, Paramount Ranch, and other locations. About twice a month, ten to fifteen students, some of whom have never visited a State Park or any form of mountains, are taken out for an interpretive mountain bike ride. The program is run on behalf of CORBA by the Mountain Bike Unit. They’re the great volunteers we see patrolling the Santa Monica Mountains in their signature yellow jerseys. CORBA is truly grateful to have the Youth Adventures programs administered by MBU volunteers, and today’s event was no exception.
Walk & Rollers also brought tot’s balance bikes and smaller bikes with training wheels for the younger set. Throughout the day we had parents putting their kids on tot bikes. It’s always a blessing to see the kids’ eyes light up when they roll down the wooden ramp we had set up, and remind us of why we all ride bikes.
One of the truly great aspects of the event are the attendees. Families are bused in to the event from park-poor communities such as East Los Angeles, South Central Los Angeles and other underprivileged areas. It’s sad to see how many of these kids had never been to a park, never ridden a bicycle, or have never really discovered the outdoors. But at the same time that sadness is reversed as this new world of opportunity is opened up to them. They come back from the mountain bike ride breathing hard, but with an ear-to-ear grin.
With a fleet of about 35 bikes in operation, plus ten or so smaller bikes from Walk & Rollers, we still ran out of bikes (and guides) three or four times during the day’s festivities. That puts our estimate over 160 people who rode a mountain bike, most for the first time.
CORBA’s Youth Adventures is a great place to retire your old bikes. We’re gratefully accept tax-deductible donations of complete bikes or bike parts. Youth Adventures depends on volunteers and donations to continue giving underprivileged kids a chance to experience the joys of riding a bike in the great outdoors. If you’d like to make a donation please contact us.
Thanks to the National Park Service for having the foresight to organize this special event, and to the many docents, volunteers and staff who help make it happen. By all measures, the event was a great success and we look forward to it becoming an annual event.