Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

Rondell Oasis Ride – Hike – Horse Protest Gathering

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Next weekend we’d like to help stop the 4-Story hotel that is going to forever block views and access to the National Historic DeAnza Trail if it is built.  We need to get a good turnout of ALL trail users so please help me by spreading the word and getting these flyers distributed to your friends, riding buddies, the greater mountain biking community and anyone who cares about the views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

(CORBA is hosting an intermediate ride from Bark Park to this event. Learn more about it and sign up on this Meetup event page.)

This trail is located right off the 101 at Las Virgenes and next to the Mobil Station, the trail connects to the New Millennium and is only one of two access points to the New Millennium trail.  The designated National Historic DeAnza trail runs from south of Arizona in Mexico to San Francisco and celebrates the discoveries by Juan Bautista DeAnza.  It is one of only 16 trails in the nation that went before congress and the White House (according to the MND report).

De Anza/New Millenium Rally.

De Anza/New Millenium Rally.

The developer is being encouraged by the city to build a 4-Story hotel that will require that he put in substantial flood control measures, including a wall that will block access to the trail.  Originally, they designed steps up and over the wall…and have since proposed an ADA ramp.  One of the developer’s claims is that he is improving the trail for the community by putting in parking (4 shared spots with commuters and hotel guests), a doggie poo station and a trash can to justify the variance to the city’s height restrictions and building in the Las Virgenes Scenic Corridor.  There will be no vehicle access to the trail anymore from the west side of Calabasas…only from Calabasas Road further east.

We want to make sure that all trail users are there (most impacted will be the equestrians)…because all will have impaired access to the trail.  The developer has no plans for horse trailer parking and in fact has limited parking for other trail users unless the city “gifts” him the currently public Rondell street easement, that is currently used by trail users of all types, daily by commuters as a park and ride and now as a construction staging area for local infrastructure projects.

Please come…and spread the word to others too…at 1pm on January 23rd.  We need a big group of trail users and the community to make sure that our voices are heard.  We’re asking that mountain bikers ride in…, and park their cars either on Agoura Road or north of the freeway on Las Virgenes, since it is easier for us to ride in to the site.  Or make a day of it and ride New Millennium Loop before or after, parking along Lost Hills Road and starting at the Bark Park.

We also want to be respectful of local businesses who are already victimized by transient parking and need their lots for their customers.  It will only get worse for local businesses if the two hotels go and housing development goes in with inadequate parking.  That is why we are asking people to park legally on the street and hike/ride in.

(CORBA is hosting an intermediate ride from Bark Park to this event. Learn more about it and sign up on this Meetup event page.)

Thank you for helping us spread the word…this development is not a done deal.  We need all the support we can get.

 A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind a hotel

A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind a hotel

An artist's rendering of the proposed hotel.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel.

January 2016 Skills Clinic and Beginners’ Ride Photos Posted December 3

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

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.

El Nino Watch: Trail Damage and Riding after it Rains

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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
-Beaudry Fireroad
-Hostetter Fireroad
-Mt. Lukens

December 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Posted December 5

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

It was practically deserted in Malibu Creek State Park this month on a sunny but cool morning for the five riders at the Basic Skills Clinic.  The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our December photo gallery.

Comments needed by December 4th to opposed hotel plan that would block historic trail in Calabasas

Monday, November 30th, 2015
 A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind a hotel

A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind the proposed hotel.

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 will be bounded by Las Virgenes Road to the West and the 101 Freeway to the north.

The hotel will be bounded by Las Virgenes Road to the West and the 101 Freeway to the north, as indicated by the yellow outline. The wide yellow line would be a new road.

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.

An artist's rendering of the proposed hotel.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel. Trail access would be via a staircase from the hotel parking lot.

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 mklein@cityofcalabasas.com

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!

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

State Parks Fire Road Maintenance Upcoming

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

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.

FireRoadGrading

November 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Posted November 10

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

There were a dozen riders at the Basic Skills Clinic this month so show off for guest photographer Graham Martin  in Malibu Creek State Park this month. The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our November photo gallery.

GGR’s Rocktober & CORBA Membership Drive Wrap Up and Photos

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

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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!
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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!
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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.
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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!
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Last but not least, Steve Messer, our CORBA President, spoke about trail etiquette. Every Rocktober event is also a CORBA membership drive. Each GGR chapter partners up with their local IMBA chapter.
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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!
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This year we invited a few of our GGR Littles too! We love that they got to see us grown up ladies doing some major shredding!
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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!

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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:

http://corbamtb.com/Photos/Misc2015-10-18GGR/_Page.shtml

or

https://girlzgoneriding.shutterfly.com

GGR Girl WE

Photos from the Nov 1st Ride & Mingle (RAM) ride and Pancake lunch

Monday, November 2nd, 2015
At the Pancake Lunch at Michael's Bicycles in Newbury Park after the ride.

At the Pancake Lunch at Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park after the ride.

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.

 

Photos and Report on Backbone Trail Restoration on Oct 31, 2015

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

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.

IMG_1174It seems like all mountain bikers love this 2.5-mile long trail that twists and meanders, climbing gently and constantly up 600′ vertically.

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.