Changes are afoot, and my cycling life will soon be centered around Orange County rather than the inland foothills of the Santa Monicas. In many ways, the trails have been my home just as much as any apartment or house, and I'm not sure when I'll get to ride them again.
So I'm going to do three things.
1. Races around the Santa Monicas
I'm going to make sure I do a mountain bike race or two each year in the Santa Monicas. I'm not even sure if such races exist, but I'm going to find them if they do. Might be a proper MTB race. Might be a Gran Fondo, or CX race.
2. The Bucket List
I'm putting together a "Bucket List" of trails I want to enjoy over the next few weeks before Orange County really becomes the center of my cycling world.
Johnson Fire Rd.
I'd really like to make my last run up Bulldog for a while a PR. That means topping my current best of 38:56. I've climbed Bulldog twice in the last few weeks, and I feel like a PR is a possibility.
New Millennium Loop
More unfinished business. I tried this loop on a hot day years ago, and bailed before the last climb. I really want to go back and do the loop properly. It's been on my list for ever, and I don't know when I'll get another chance.
I've never once managed to climb Runkle clean. There's a particular spot that always gets me. It sets you up with burning legs, and once you're climbing at your limit, the whole trailbed turns to loose, baseball-sized gravel. I'd like to get one more run up that climb, set a new PR, and get it clean. No pressure.
3. Welcome to O.C.
I think whatever melancholy I may feel at not riding my home trails much any more, I'm thrilled to be moving to a place where mountain bike racing seems to, well, to exist.
I've enjoyed having Bulldog as my "big climb" benchmark for the last few years. I need something in O.C. to take its place.
Coal Canyon fits the bill nicely. Time to get out there and see what's up.
Blackstar Canyon might also be a great local challenge, and I'm intrigued to try Harding Truck Trail: 9.1 miles at 6% average grade. Could be a huge challenge. The KOM is listed at 53:17, so my time would likely be near 2 hours. That's a long climb.
And I'm having a blast using the OC Classic races as an excuse to explore. I want to start from that, and branch out to explore the trails around Laguna Beach this summer. (I'm told they're the spot to escape summer heat. We'll see!)
And I'm going to make a point of using free weekend mornings to come back and ride a few old favorites from the coastal side of the Santa Monicas. In particular, I really want to return to Corral Canyon, which I did two summers ago, and I really want to do Latigo at some point.