I've been a bit homesick for the trails around the Santa Monica Mountains. I really think the Conejo Valley is a world-class cycling destination. Hundreds of miles of stellar trails, and some of the best road riding anywhere.
I'm starting to realize that returning to Santiago Oaks Park over and over agin for my after-work rides has sapped a lot of my motivation for cycling. I don't crave variety, but when I get it, I suddenly find my enthusiasm re-stoked for the next ride.
So I'm doing what I have to do to get that variety, and to explore more of Orange County.
Last night I rode the Fullerton Loop, an 11-mile, non-technical mixed dirt & pavement loop around Fullerton. It's kind of cobbled together, using neighborhood horse trails, walking paths, and a few railroad rights-of-way. It is, honestly, my favorite kind of ride: an ally cat's view of the area, bringing out exactly what I love about mountain bikes: that they can go anywhere. It's a never-ending game of Where does that path go?
And even though this route is generally tagged as a "newbie ride," an hour of pushing the pace really did feel like a workout, and the variety of trails kept me interested the whole time.
And I was surprised to find this route also offers a chance to hone skills. I've got to learn to bunny hop. There are just so many little curbs and logs and street crossings where it would be great to be able to just carry momentum through instead of having to slow down.
And there's plenty of "extra credit" stuff connected to this loop. I think I'm going to spend a lot of time exploring!