Ride Report: Bommer Canyon

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Great views from our Bommer Canyon ride. All pictures courtesy of Dan Burdett

A small group of us (Weyland, Dan, Tim & I) headed out to Bommer Canyon in Irvine for this past Saturday’s Open Access day. In about 3 hours we rode about 16 miles and climbed over 3,000 feet. By the end of the ride, Tim & I were cramping, Dan (who was under the weather) was starting to slow and Weyland looked ready for another 16 miles.

Tim cruising down the singletrack after finishing off the descent from the hill behind him

Bommer Canyon is an open space preserve in the Irvine Ranch Land. Use is limited and reservations are required. In fact, you can only ride Bommer Canyon on open access days or on docent led rides. Yes, we even saw an Irvine Ranch Ranger as we were out riding. The land is an important preservation area for many local plants and wildlife. The open access days and docent led hikes/rides are ways for them to test the impact on the land before, hopefully, opening it up 7 days a week.

Because of the limited access, mountain biking in Bommer Canyon was a treat. Weyland was the only one familiar with Bommer Canyon so he led the way. We started off the route with a grueling climb ascending 600 feet in a little over a mile of singletrack. This comes out to be a 10% grade. The rest of the ride was a serious of rolling fireroad on the ridges and singletrack into the canyons with singletrack/fireroad climbs back out. Thankfully, we ended the ride with a blast down that initial climb.

Tim and a rare other rider

The views were very nice. We got to see some Pacific Ocean, some downtown Irvine and a lot of mansions in the neighboring housing developments. We also found that there were very few people out riding which is also a treat, especially when you’re suffering with cramps!

My replacment, a Voodoo Canzo.

I got to ride a new to me bike, a 2008 Voodoo Canzo. I was able to get a good deal on it through a local mountain biking forum but it does have some issues both cosmetically and functionally. After 16 miles, a couple of quick thoughts on the bike:
– not as efficient as the JET. The four bar suspension necessitated propedal on the climbs for me. This is probably the biggest reason why I like mini-link suspension designs: not having to turn on/off the propedal/lockout/platform. I definitely couldn’t stand and climb without the propedal engaged. However, the Canzo was very comfortable on the downhill although I still need to dial in the fork/shock pressures.
– As much as I like the idea of more travel (currently 120mm) I’m not sure if I have the huevos to justify it. I much prefer to walk sections that are at the edge of my riding ability. Hopefully, with time, I can grow into the fork.
– The first thing I did the day after the ride was swap out the end caps on the hub. It was using a standard QR but I had an extra 9mm DT Swiss Ratchet skewer (the JET’s hub was 9mm only). The 9mm is nearly double the diameter of a normal QR which in turns helps the wheels/fork track better through rough terrain.
– The Canzo felt heavy in the rear. I’m not sure why? Heavier bike (I had been riding a HT for the past month) or longer chainstays (18.3 inches). More time needed to diagnose.
– for the build, the bike came in at 29lbs 4oz. I’m shooting to get it down into the 28 lbs range and leave it there.

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