Underneath the robe you find a man. Underneath the man you find his nucleus.

Category: Ride Reports

Un dia divertido en Oso Grande

Posted by RL Policar On August - 26 - 2013

 Powered by Max Banner Ads impressed with my Mexican talk? I did take 3 years…or should I say “tres anos” of it in high school. But that’s about the extent of my Spanish.  But I still remember how to say, “La entrada esta alli, no aqui.” When I was 18, I was a security guard at a grocery store and I had to tell people that the exit, where I was stationed at, was not the entrance. Anyhow, let’s get back to what we did this weekend. So we rounded up some of the amigos de to join Lady, The Moe and myself at Snow Summit in Big Bear, Ca. We loaded up the Team Limo and hit the road. You’d think with all the KHS Bicycles we have, that we were sponsored by them…

KHS DH200 and KHS Lucky 7. The KHS XCT556 was inside the limo.

LadyP, The Moe and RL.

Safety first! Goggles are a must!

During our first run, we ran into Cuz’n Joe who happen to get a flat. Here we are helping him, that’s what family is for, we help.

It was right after this run I started to have issues with my bike. I noticed that there was some play on the headset. Kinda odd if you ask me. So I tightened things down and went for another run down the mountain. Half way through I notice the play go worse and worse! Now there was major play in it and no matter how much I tightened the top cap down, it would still move. I make down the mountain and I decided to check out my headset. I pulled off the bar/stem removed the upper crown race and bearings I noticed that the FSA Pig Heaseat pretty much blew up. I noticed that the lower bearings wore out so much that the piece that holds them all together was pretty much a goner. During that inspection, I noticed I was missing 3 bearings. Not sure if they fell off while I was up on the trail or they fell out while I was working on the bike at that same spot.

I called a show down the street called Chains Required. I asked them if they had that same model headset available for purchase. They didn’t but invited me to come in and see if they can help me out. I get there and one of the mechanics took me to the workshop and gave me some bearings that closely matched what I needed, at no charge! I hurry back to where I left my bike and tried to reassemble the headset, but there was still some play. I’m only guessing that the bearing cups and race wore out so much that it was the cause of my problems. After 2 runs down Snow Summit, I had to call it a day. Bummer. That’s ok, I knew that LadyP and the rest of the group was having a great time on the trails. Check out this photo of her.
LadyP Gettin' Gnarly

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time. No one got hurt and we got to see Cuz’n Joe! Not sure why I posed like this…oh wait, now I remember! Look where my left hand is…haha.

Before I go, I wanted to leave you all with this piece of magic. This is Doc Thunda, after a few beers, he can cuss in any language.

A 5 Hour morning Ride

Posted by RL Policar On October - 22 - 2012

Technically we didn’t ride for 5 hours, it was more like 2.5, but I did drink a bottle of 5 Hour Energy and I was so energized! Love that stuff, way better than Monster, Rockstar and all that jazz. By the way, I have to warn you that this is going to be photo-intensive. If you have dial0up, um you’re probably going to be sitting there waiting for a while until all the images load. But the more important question here is, “why do you have dial up?” Anyhow, let’s get on with our ride report.

These babies were on sale at my local corner store, 2 for $5!

My favorite people to ride with and please don’t take offense if I didn’t mention your name, but those folks are Lady P and The Moe. With The Moe’s busy schedule, it’s really rare that we get to ride together. Did you know that he and I have been hitting the trails for over 10 years!
I was really pleased to learn that he was going to join us at Aliso Woods. Here we are at the trail head. The Moe and I are riding KHS Bicycles, while Lady P was testing out the Airborne Goblin 29er.

Here’s the group from the ride, from left to right, The Moe, Khoala Bear, Lady P, Jon, and Stefan (I forgot his name, so I made it up.)

The Goblin did great that day. Lady P really enjoyed the ride this 29er offered.

At a certain point The Moe and I broke off from the rest of the group and headed down towards a trail called Rockit. All smiles from The Moe.

This is where the other group went. You see all that climbing…bleh. They really dig all that XC stuff that includes leg burning climbs and you know what, they high-five each other once they get to the top.

The Moe padding up before we hit Rockit. Notice how his jersey says “Cancer Sux?” well, it does. We came out with that design back in 09 in support of Breast Cancer awareness. In fact you’ll see later that I too am supporting Breast Cancer awareness by sporting my limited edition Pink Tuxedo Jersey.

I tried taking a pic of me with The Moe in the background, but I was using my SLR with a nifty-fifty lens and my arms are way to short to create enough distance between my face and the camera. As you can see through my failed attempts, this proved to be futile.

May I point out The Moe’s socks, those are the famous wool socks by

Here’s some shots of us having fun through some fast swooping berms at Rockit.
As promised, my pink jersey, and my gloves!

Our ride concluded with The Moe and I patting each others butts and saying, “YOLO, BRO, DUDE, and COOL!” Lady P and I simply love Aliso Woods because there’s so much that place offers. You can take a beginner or a full on Pro and there will be trails they both can enjoy.

Back in the Saddle!

Posted by Matt D On September - 6 - 2012

A confession: until this past weekend, I hadn’t ridden a mountain bike since sometime in July (even though I have a new bike!). Ouch!

For the most part, my riding is done on weekends… I work a chained-to-the-desk office job, and I have two young kids at home, so for the sake of household harmony I don’t often get out during the week (also, I don’t have a light good enough to do night rides – so it’s impossible a large part of the year!). I do bike commute to work and back… but that doesn’t really give me my bike fix… it just eases the pain of not being out riding in the woods!

So… the last few weekends I’ve had 2 specifically planned rides rained out (and trails closed several other times), 1 ride cancelled by a ride buddy (though for a good reason), been hacking-up-my-lungs sick, had my wife and kids sick all at once, and just plain fallen victim to life getting in the way.

But! Saturday morning, I met a coworker at the trail closest to my house and rode for a couple hours. It wasn’t epic, I didn’t have any major firsts or any major crashes. It was just solid riding on a reasonably nice day – and at the end of it, life was better than it had been before the ride. And that’s why I ride… and why I keep riding, and why I get back out there again even after not riding for a while and feeling a little extra-clumsy. Because if you start the day out riding singletrack, you can’t help but have a better day.

Vacation Ride Report: Fort Rock Trail System (Exeter NH)

Posted by Matt D On August - 13 - 2012

A few weeks ago my family and I all jumped in our van and drove up to New England to visit family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since I’d only gotten my Niner EMD9 a couple weeks previously, I had to take it along. I got to ride some of the trails I grew up riding in Massachusetts, then went up to New Hampshire (where my parents now live). Since I haven’t done much riding there, I hit up Google to see what was in the area, and discovered Fort Rock.

Yes, there is a trail here

Fort Rock is actually two different town forests in Exeter, NH connected by a trail tunnel under route 101 – Henderson-Swasey and Oaklands (check the link for some good maps). They’ve been given some good attention by the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA)- there are multiple areas with nicely-laid planks over swampy (and just plain pond-y) areas, which is great because otherwise the trails wouldn’t be rideable (or would just get torn up). There are also some less-noticed touches in certain areas to help with drainage and prevent erosion – but mostly the trails are left pretty natural – which is a very good thing!

Trail tunnel!

Overall the entire system is both a blast and a challenge – and like many New England trails rocks and roots are more common than, well… dirt. Some suspension is pretty much required here unless you’re just begging for a beating. These trails were a little rockier than most though… not many New England trails get a branch named “Kill-Zilla” (according to some forum research, it’s also known as the “Demoralizer”). The name is fitting… I’m sure with some practice I could clean it, but the two times I rode it (once from either direction, once on purpose and once by accident!) I definitely had several foot dabs and a couple walks up hills when I couldn’t get going again on the slope. The rocks aren’t just around the trail – in many places the best way to go is OVER a bunch of rocks (and I’m not talking small ones), and there are lots of ways to kill your momentum – especially going up the steep hills that make up pretty much the entire trail. I spent much more time in my granny gear than I think I ever have before (boy was I glad I wasn’t on my singlespeed!).

This is definitely singletrack!

My one gripe with the trail system is that I’d read it was signed, and that was true – but only barely. It has blazes – but one of the major trail sections runs in a circle, and actually branches a couple times – so even with the blazes it’s not always that easy to figure out where you are. I’m sure after a couple rides it becomes easier (I was starting to figure it out by the time I left), but for a first time rider bringing the maps along would be a good idea. I figured that out after my 1 1/2 hour ride turned into a 3 hour ride… I kept finding myself looping back around to where I didn’t want to be anymore! I was on my bike and having fun though, so it was all good (well, up until the point my water ran out!).

The trails loop through the powerlines several times… as I found out when I kept ending up there!

I didn’t get to ride anything like all the trails in this system despite the time I spent in it, so I’ll definitely be back there next time I’m in the area. I do want to thank the town of Exeter for letting mountain bikers use the trails in this way though – and NEMBA for helping make it into a more sustainable (and fun!) system. My introduction was exhausting and challenging, but incredibly satisfying.

The threat of falling in this water made me pay close attention to staying on the boards!

On going Review – Specialized Carve Pro 29

Posted by mark On February - 9 - 2012


I have been putting in some serious miles on the Carve lately. Its hard to belive its the middle Of February, and 80 degrees out. First impressions, this is a lot of bike for the $2000 MSRP. Look for more info to come, and a full review in the next few weeks.

Artie in my pants ride report

Posted by RL Policar On August - 31 - 2011

This evening Priscilla and I ventured out on this super top secret trail that no one really knows about. I’d tell you but then you’ll ruin it because its such a fun place you’ll want to ride there and invite all your friends, then it wouldn’t be secret anymore…

Tonight’s ride was a bit different. We weren’t training hard or riding super fast, I think I was just too distracted by things that I saw on the trail…I’ve been dieting for quite some time and food is always on my mind.

I call this photo, the “cock pit” shot. Can you find Artie? That guy seems to show up in the weirdest places. One time I was going #2 and I sent him a text message, then next thing you know I hear a message notification from the stall next to me. Ok…weird, so I sent Art another message talking about how it was a weird coincidence that the guy next to me got a text soon after I sent one…then he responds…”that’s weird, as soon as I sent you a message, the guy in the stall next to me got a text too!”
art in my pants
After our ride we headed over to a fish taco place to replenish the nutrients we expended on riding 36.2 miles that evening. Check out my “salad” and behind it is my favorite veggie, onion rings.
This is my carbon fiber wallet. People always seem to geek out when they see it. But you know what’s in it? Debt! Not so cool anymore eh?

To Bear and Back by Bike

Posted by Corey On August - 30 - 2011

I had cycled 80 miles and had 10 hours to think about it and I still couldn’t decide how I wanted to theme this article. A bicycle adventure? Cross training? Accomplishing a goal? How far a bike can take you? Proving that you don’t need the most expensive, high-tec equipment to have fun? A Soma Double Cross review? Here’s a follow up to my adventure from last month and you can catagorize it however you’d like.

Some big hills in the background

One of my goals for the summer was to ride a bicycle from the base of Big Bear to my grandparents house on Big Bear Lake. RL was generous to lend me a Soma Double Cross for the trip since I didn’t have a road bike. Why roadie talk on an MTB site? Road biking is a great way to target your cycling muscles while performing in an aerobic heart rate zone for an extended period of time. The result is strong legs and stronger cardio. Mountain biking still offers good cardio but tends to be a more anaerobic workout meaning you will build more muscle and not push your cardio level as much. I feel I could perform much better in DH racing if my cardio was higher both in terms of stamina and keeping a cool head. Exhaustion leads to dumb mistakes and those small slip-ups are the biggest things people beat themselves up over on a bad race run.

I was having trouble getting a pickup car at the top or bottom of the mountain so I decided that parking at the bottom and riding up and down all in the same day was the way to do it. In my head it made a lot of sense because I only saw it as riding 40 miles up the mountain and coming back I was going to let gravity do all the work. Highway 38 was a bit longer than the 18 but it made the most sense since it was much less traveled and was a wider road in general. I did some research on where to park my truck and found a little picnic area called Thurman Flats at the base of the 38 in Yucaipa. They require an Adventure Pass for your car and they have clean restrooms and trash service. From there it was a straight shot up the 38 right up to Big Bear Lake clocking in at 40 miles one way. I felt prepared enough for the trip so off I went.

I got to Thurman Flats ready to ride at about 7 at a starting elevation of just over 3,000ft. The highest point was 8,500 so I knew there would be a lot of pain involved. Cars were a major concern for me on a twisty mountain road but I was surprised to find a decent size bike lane for almost the entire ride which made things a lot less nerve racking. The other things that put me at ease was that it was a Monday morning and that the 18 had just reopened weeks earlier, alieviating traffic down to a trickle.

Plenty of room for cars and bikes

I’m not going to lie; I seriously considered turning around a couple times because this ride was intense. The road was lonely, my hands and butt were killing me, my legs were sore and, without a bike computer, I never knew how much further I had to go.

I finally reached Onyx summit, the highest point of the ride, by about 11am. From there it was a 12 mile, 2,000ft, decent into Big Bear to my grandparents house where lunch was waiting. Now to figure out how to not feel akward when hugging Grandma and Grandpa while wearing skin-tight lycra.

The destination

A couple hours later I was back on the road now feeling more sore than ever with 2,000ft to climb back up before I really got to enjoy the easy part of my day. I must have taken about 5 breaks going back to the summit because of how much pain I was in. Turning around wasn’t an option at this point because my truck was at the base of the mountain and I wanted to go home. When I got to Onyx summit I ran into the only road bikers I saw all day and we stopped and chatted for a while before descending the mountain together.

It definitely wasn’t all a party from the top as the road bobbed up and down a handfull of times in the middle really testing my stamina. Regardless, I suffered through the uphills and sped through downhills making quick work of the remaining descent. The fast winding road down was incredibly fun and I could take up the middle of the road for most the way down as there were very few cars. I was back at my truck by about 5pm and more than ready to let an engine do the rest of the work from there.


The ride was fulfulling. The road was amazing. The drivers were courteous. The mountain view was unbeatable. As for the bike? No $5k, carbon fiber clad steed with helium-filled tires here. The Soma is a 25 pound CrMo street missle. A little heavy for a pure road bike from what I’m told, but hey, obviously it worked just fine here. It’s crazy to think that every time I consider buying a road bike I feel the need to spend at least $2k just to get something I’d deem competent. I don’t know how the line between wants and needs always gets so blurred but some savvy shopping and $500 should be able to get the average joe enough bike to tackle any road.

My mountainous steed

Ride Report: Through the Gulch with a Butcher – Helena, MT

Posted by Joe Solancho On June - 20 - 2011

With a newly acquired client, it has given me an opportunity to travel to Helena, MT last week. Like most of my trips, whether it’s business or pleasure , I always look for an opportunity to ride. As soon as I received noticed that I’ll be traveling to Montana, I immediately searched the web for nearby trails. What were the search results?… Singletrack galore! Next step was the bike. I was debating if I should bring my bike on this trip however at the time I was making my plans, rain was in the forecast for Helena. Also since this was my first trip to Montana for work, I wasn’t sure how much time I’ll have to ride so I decided to just rent a bike.
I mapped out my hotel, office and local bike shops – ALL were within two blocks or less than 1/8th of a mile from each other. My office was 20 steps from my hotel and the local bile shop was literally around the corner. It can’t get easier than that!!! :)

I arrived in Helena, MT on Tuesday evening. Wednesday was an all day meeting but during my lunch break I made a trip to the local bike shop – Great Divide Cyclery. I made arrangements for a bike rental for later in the afternoon however I didn’t quite commit to it yet as I still had a lot of things to do and wasn’t sure how long I’ll be in the office. In speaking to the guys at Great Divide Cyclery, there were describing the trails. Just the talk of the singletracks got me excited and I couldn’t wait!
Singletrack on my mind

Back at work, I was waiting anxiously for the day to end. As soon as we called it quits, I took a quick drive to the trailhead. Oh, that’s the other thing… the trail, Mt. Ascension was also just a few blocks away… WOW! At the trailhead I talked to a few mountain bikers that just finished their ride. They gave me a few pointers where to go and what to look out for. I then returned to hotel, left my car then walked to the Great Divide Cyclery. I arrived there just before their closing time, but the guys didn’t stop short of providing me with excellent customer service. I was truly impressed! For my rental, they brought out a brand spanking new Santa Cruz Butcher. I’ve been dying to try this bike and the new APP linkage. Steve with Great Divide Cyclery made sure the bike’s suspension was dialed in for my weight. The only thing extra that I asked for was a bottle cage on the bike and they provided it with a water bottle.

With my Garmin GPS, off I went… from the shop to the trailhead was about five minutes. First thing I hit was the switchback climb off Davis Street. I was on a mission to get to the top.
Switchbacks that took me to the top

This series of switchbacks were not that steep however it would be a gradual climb for awhile. Somewhere along the way, the trail leveled off and started to split in different directions. Unfamiliar with the trail and not seeing the marker that I was suppose to look-out for, I chose the one that would cut right through the middle of the mountain. From here, it was a rolling singletrack that would eventually ascend into another section of the mountain.
Reaching a vista point I had a general idea where the city was and I was never too concerned about being lost. I was on an adventure!!!

I hit several segments of the Mt. Ascension, but the best part was the singletrack that lead down to Davis Street. At this point I must have hit the mid section of this descent, but as soon as I realized that I was heading closer to the exit, I turned around and climbed back to the top, passing my entry point. Reaching the top I turned around and pointed my bike towards the bottom. What was ahead of me was epic singletrack… smooth, buff, flowy, superfast in some sections… truly one of the most enjoyable downhill runs I’ve ever been on.
Endless singletrack!

At the bottom, I ran into a hiker. With another trail system across the way, I asked him for directions. This place was unbelievable. Singletrack was spawning everywhere. I crossed Davis Street (a dirt road) and continued my adventure onto another mountain. There were more climbing and more singletrack… my ride ended down a hillside. The singletrack was running through tall grass. Looking back at where I just came from was just awesome!!!
Exiting on a singletrack

I had minor issues with my GPS. It was turning on/off intermittently however at the end of my ride, my GPS listed 6.20 miles. I would say this was a pretty good ride considering I didn’t know where to go.

I’m scheduled to go back to Helena in July with additional trips before the year ends. I’m hoping for a lengthier stay so I can get out to the other trails. With the sun setting at 9:30pm, I’ll have plenty of light to explore. Helena is a small city but there were definitely lots of mountain bikers. I saw plenty of cars with mountain bikes mounted on the racks.

Southridge Night Predator race report

Posted by Moe Ramirez On June - 15 - 2011

Last weekend Team Racer Wes Castro and I participated on our first Night Downhill Race. SRC had a “test” night race last year and it was well received. Since Fontana can get really hot during the summer months, a night race series was created.


Wes and I arrived at the venue a bit early, I had some wrenching to do since I wanted to install a Fox 40 fork on the Airborne Taka. As Wes went up for his first practice, I was wrenching away and finished right before the first shuttle run which started at 7 pm. I lined up and noticed that darkness was slowly creeping in, no big deal, I was used to riding at night.

As I took my first and only practice run, the lights were up but the course was still very visible. The course was somewhat mild, but it was really fun. Lots of turns, fast singletrack, a couple of drops, the same ol’ lower rockgarden and yes, the dreaded wall.

After my first practice run I headed down to do some final and minor adjustments to the Taka, adding the Fox 40 fork to the bike really made a difference to me, I am really comfortable with that fork due to its plushness and responsiveness.

Practice time was limited to 2 hours, shuttle lines were long so I decided to skip another practice run. Once the seed list was up, my race run was scheduled for 10:47 pm, yep that is way past my bedtime. As we hung around at the top of the mountain, mingling with the other racers in your category is the norm, we talk about bikes, the course, previous races and we all wish good luck to each other as our turn to go down the mountain arrives. This is what makes racing fun, there is no hating or bad blood amongst the racers, we are all out there to have a great time and make it safely down the mountain.

As I came down, the course was 98% lit, there was one section that was completely dark, I just hanged on to the bike and placed all my trust in it, the Taka performed beautifully. As I arrived to the wall, I noticed that I was not gasping for air and had plenty of legs to pedal, the coolness of the night really helped out as the Fontana heat really sucks your energy dry.

I ended up placing 7th and Wes placed 2nd, the racers on our category seem to be getting better by each race and it has turned quite competitive. I was really happy with my race run, the Airborne Taka and the race venue. Some riders complained about the lack of light, for me, it was OK, I just had an issue with the lack of practice time.

Next race is on July 30th, I hope to be there, it was certainly a new fun experience!

Big thanks to the Team sponsors: Airborne Bicycles, VIP Energy Mix, Bumblebar, Ergon, Serfas, Evomo and DirtyDogMTB.

Maple Springs to Motorway

Posted by Jeremy Yang On June - 13 - 2011

Up above the clouds. We think the mountain seen on the top left of the picture is Catalina

Wow, what a beautiful Saturday it was above the clouds. As it is many times in Southern California in June, we were experiencing a bit of June gloom. I woke up on Saturday morning and left the house to a very slight drizzle. When I arrived at the trailhead, the drizzle had passed but the clouds were still present. Dan and I readied ourselves in the empty parking lot as we knew this would be a strenuous ride.

Heading into the canyon on the Jet9. This portion of the climb up Maple Springs is on pavement.

This would be my first time doing this route: up Maple Springs, connect to Main Divide then down Motorway back to the car. Frankly, I was a bit concerned but also excited. I wish all rides would have me feeling this way! The proposed route would cover almost 3,800 ft in climbing in a total of 16 miles. Maple Spring would cover 7 miles and steadily climb about 2800 feet. The next 6 miles would be a beautiful undulating ride along the Main Divide. The last 2 miles, Motorway, would be a fast singletrack fest back to the car.

Maple Springs was not too bad. Yes, there was a lot of climbing but we got to Four Corners, the start of the Main Divide portion of the trail, in 1:37 which means we were moving at about 4.3 mph. The climb was 3 miles of asphault and 4 miles of fireroad and not particularly steep at any time. It was really a grind though.

Amazing views along the Main Divide. The trail snaking its way up the mountain is Maple Springs. Its always nice to see where you came from.

The next portion, Main Divide, went longer than I thought. It was not until I got back home and examined my GPS did I realize that the MD was 6 miles long. I thought it was about 4 miles and this led to both Dan and I searching around for the turnoff to Motorway a couple of miles early. What hurt though, was the last two climbs on the Main Divide. After blasting out the first 2800ft on Maple Springs and another 200ft along the rolling Main Divide, the last two miles had two short climbs of about 400ft each. OUCH.

Dan, Airborne Goblin and the Main Divide sign. The green on the Goblin is SHARP. I likey. The pricepoint for the parts is impeccable. It reminds me of 2007 when I bought my X-Caliber for nearly the same price but the Goblin has better brakes and a nicer paint job.

Motorway was a great reward. Mildly technical due to some exposure and kitty litter over hardpacked with some smaller-than-babyhead rocks. Dan & I cruised back to the cars enjoying the flowy fast descent. But our cruise was curtailed by a tear of my new rear Specialized Fastrack Control. Thankfully I didn’t lose control and we were able to boot and tube it.

Almost all the way down Motorway. This part wasn’t even all that. I was really hauling through here when the slice occurred. Somewhere, a rock is grinning mischievously.

Quick update on the Niner Jet 9: The Jet9 did very well on this voyage, its third since being returned. She was waiting on a new cassette which held it out of service for a couple of weeks but I’ve put nearly 50 miles and over 7,000ft climbing in the week she has been back in service. I am really enjoying her 80mm of CVA suspension which has been efficient and comfortable although not as plush as the Voodoo Canzo’s 100mm it replaced. I have not noticed any lack of stiffness as compared to the Canzo, either.

Up next, as part of the agreement with the insurance company, the Jet 9 will be receiving new wheels (current wheels are from another bike) and new lowers on the Fox F29 fork to go from QR to 15mm T/A paid for by me.


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