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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Where can I get used to singletrack without breaking anything

Ok, so Sunday I did my first real ride from MDR up Sullivan Ridge to the Hub along Mulholland, which I don't doubt is pretty easy for you lot but it was exhausting for me (I'm a 255# clyde, but I'm coming down from around 400 a couple of years ago so I'll take it), I had to stop a few times, but I never got off and pushed at any point, so I'll chalk that one up as a 'win' in my book :D It worked out to about 38 miles all told and took the better part of 4 hours - I was 5 lbs lighter when I got back than when I left.

I had wanted to try to come back down Will Rogers singletrack, but I only got a very short distance down it before I came a cropper, just after it splits from Fire Rd 30, there's a sharp little 90 degree right hand bend on the edge of the canyon, I broke the cardinal rule - look where you want to go, not where you DON'T want to go - and immediately overbalanced to the right and fell off into a bunch of branches.

Since I was on my own (my flatmate welched) and didn't know how hard the track got, I figured that since I couldn't even handle this tiny section it probably wasn't too wise to continue down there, (I was also not convinced of the wisdom of practicing singletrack skills on the edge of a gorge) so I retraced my steps back to the fire road and went down Trailer Canyon.

I'm still a novice to any kind of real bike control and was far from sure of my ability to handle it, so I was wondering if anyone knew any good, relatively safe places in the neighbourhood (cycling distance from MDR - I haven't got around to getting a car yet, it's on my to do list) to at least get some singletrack practice (sharp turns, short sharp ascents/descents, rock dodging) without the possibility of doing myself any serious damage ?

Cheers.

G.

(if you see a clyde grinding his way up Sullivan Ridge in granny gear on a KHS squishy, take it easy on him :) )
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Where? There!

Turning is hard! =)

Seriously, it takes a little time to learn on the twisty Santa Monica singletrack. You should go back and try again. If you are uncomfortable riding a section, stop and walk it first. Or try something several times until you have it dialed. I can definitely relate to your reluctance to pushing your skill limits while you were alone. It helps if you ride with a friend who is excited to do the same thing, you will both ride better.

Will Rogers will be challenging for you, but it's not overly technical and should be quite fun. Flopping into the bushes is part of learning to ride, and you may have to put a foot down once in a while but there is no shame in that. IMO the primary danger on WR is getting a little too wooly on the fast descents and crashing.

Congratulations on getting out there!

JMH

Kyoseki said:
Ok, so Sunday I did my first real ride from MDR up Sullivan Ridge to the Hub along Mulholland, which I don't doubt is pretty easy for you lot but it was exhausting for me (I'm a 255# clyde, but I'm coming down from around 400 a couple of years ago so I'll take it), I had to stop a few times, but I never got off and pushed at any point, so I'll chalk that one up as a 'win' in my book :D It worked out to about 38 miles all told and took the better part of 4 hours - I was 5 lbs lighter when I got back than when I left.

I had wanted to try to come back down Will Rogers singletrack, but I only got a very short distance down it before I came a cropper, just after it splits from Fire Rd 30, there's a sharp little 90 degree right hand bend on the edge of the canyon, I broke the cardinal rule - look where you want to go, not where you DON'T want to go - and immediately overbalanced to the right and fell off into a bunch of branches.

Since I was on my own (my flatmate welched) and didn't know how hard the track got, I figured that since I couldn't even handle this tiny section it probably wasn't too wise to continue down there, (I was also not convinced of the wisdom of practicing singletrack skills on the edge of a gorge) so I retraced my steps back to the fire road and went down Trailer Canyon.

I'm still a novice to any kind of real bike control and was far from sure of my ability to handle it, so I was wondering if anyone knew any good, relatively safe places in the neighbourhood (cycling distance from MDR - I haven't got around to getting a car yet, it's on my to do list) to at least get some singletrack practice (sharp turns, short sharp ascents/descents, rock dodging) without the possibility of doing myself any serious damage ?

Cheers.

G.

(if you see a clyde grinding his way up Sullivan Ridge in granny gear on a KHS squishy, take it easy on him :) )
 

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Kyoseki said:
Ok, so Sunday I did my first real ride from MDR up Sullivan Ridge to the Hub along Mulholland, which I don't doubt is pretty easy for you lot but it was exhausting for me (I'm a 255# clyde, but I'm coming down from around 400 a couple of years ago so I'll take it), I had to stop a few times, but I never got off and pushed at any point, so I'll chalk that one up as a 'win' in my book :D It worked out to about 38 miles all told and took the better part of 4 hours - I was 5 lbs lighter when I got back than when I left.

I had wanted to try to come back down Will Rogers singletrack, but I only got a very short distance down it before I came a cropper, just after it splits from Fire Rd 30, there's a sharp little 90 degree right hand bend on the edge of the canyon, I broke the cardinal rule - look where you want to go, not where you DON'T want to go - and immediately overbalanced to the right and fell off into a bunch of branches.

Since I was on my own (my flatmate welched) and didn't know how hard the track got, I figured that since I couldn't even handle this tiny section it probably wasn't too wise to continue down there, (I was also not convinced of the wisdom of practicing singletrack skills on the edge of a gorge) so I retraced my steps back to the fire road and went down Trailer Canyon.

I'm still a novice to any kind of real bike control and was far from sure of my ability to handle it, so I was wondering if anyone knew any good, relatively safe places in the neighbourhood (cycling distance from MDR - I haven't got around to getting a car yet, it's on my to do list) to at least get some singletrack practice (sharp turns, short sharp ascents/descents, rock dodging) without the possibility of doing myself any serious damage ?

Cheers.

G.

(if you see a clyde grinding his way up Sullivan Ridge in granny gear on a KHS squishy, take it easy on him :) )
One of the thrills of learning to mountain bike is you get to fall a lot while learning to ride. The better you get the less you will fall but the speed will get higher and higher. Great job on the weight loss.
Sharp turns you can do on a practice/skills or scheduled easy day on the flats - try to do once or twice a week. Just need a surface that is not paved to get a feel for what braking feels like on unpaved surfaces. Make your own obstacle course. If erosion doesn't matter at this place, practice locking up the rear and feeling how hard you can squeeze the front. Try using only the front, then only the rear. Usually you only need to use the front on a downhill offroad, if you use the rear too much it will lock up pretty quickly leading to sliding and zero traction from the rear. Practice coming to a complete stop and starting again. Hold the stop longer without dabbing. This is useful going up and sometimes down.
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
JMH said:
Turning is hard! =)

Seriously, it takes a little time to learn on the twisty Santa Monica singletrack. You should go back and try again. If you are uncomfortable riding a section, stop and walk it first. Or try something several times until you have it dialed. I can definitely relate to your reluctance to pushing your skill limits while you were alone. It helps if you ride with a friend who is excited to do the same thing, you will both ride better.

Will Rogers will be challenging for you, but it's not overly technical and should be quite fun. Flopping into the bushes is part of learning to ride, and you may have to put a foot down once in a while but there is no shame in that. IMO the primary danger on WR is getting a little too wooly on the fast descents and crashing.

Congratulations on getting out there!

JMH
Thanks! It was your flickr picture series that made me want to give this route a go (the old reliable thread) :)

I'm a big girl's blouse when it comes to descending, so for the moment I'm taking things nice and slow (I also want to gain more confidence in the bike and make sure it's not going to collapse under me) and to build a decent aerobic base so I can manage these rides better with fewer stops (I think my body's been in shock for the past 24 hours, it's starting to complain very loudly now).

If I'd had a riding partner I'd probably have tried it again, but I didn't want to injure myself in the middle of nowhere without anyone around (although on WR I'd imagine it was only a matter of time before someone found me :) )

I was just wondering if there were any singletracks about that were on rather more level ground (i.e. not so far to fall if I balls it up, being on the side of a gorge worried me) in the Sullivan Ridge/Canyon area and whether it's easier or harder than WR?
 

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Kyoseki said:
I was just wondering if there were any singletracks about that were on rather more level ground (i.e. not so far to fall if I balls it up, being on the side of a gorge worried me) in the Sullivan Ridge/Canyon area and whether it's easier or harder than WR?
Most people who have a structured training plan have one or two easy days a week. Instead of heading out to a trail use these days to practice skills. That way you don't have to make a big trip out of it and don't have to worry about getting a good workout in and optimizing your time on the trail - you can just concentrate on one thing at a time in a relaxed manner.
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Woofer said:
Most people who have a structured training plan have one or two easy days a week. Instead of heading out to a trail use these days to practice skills. That way you don't have to make a big trip out of it and don't have to worry about getting a good workout in and optimizing your time on the trail - you can just concentrate on one thing at a time in a relaxed manner.
That sounds like a plan, we're supposed to finally be going back to 5 day work weeks shortly (2 day weekends again, hurrah!), so I'll rent a car to save myself a 10 mile ride just to get to dirt, can you recommend any good places to practice that don't involve a 2 hour climb to get to?

I guess I could noodle about in a car park, but obviously mucking about on dirt somewhere is the way to go.
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Actually...

I just thought of a spot!

Once you reach the top of Sullivan and turn left (towards the Hub) you will descend (across three or four ruts crossing the road) to a large open area. Mullholland continues down to the right, but if you look across the open space to the left, you will see another gate. You will also likely see tire tracks heading towards it. Recently the gate has been open, usually it's closed. Either way you can ride around it. This is a singletrack here that climbs up for about 200 yards onto the top of the ridge. There are at least two winding tracks up here that cross each other back and forth. They only go about 500 yards before they go down again. Turn around, stay up top and ride around up here until you get bored or feel like you have learned something. They are fun trails and absolutely safe.

DON'T go down any other way than the way you came up unless you want to try something tougher than Will Rogers. Just go back to the fire road the way you came and save those trails for another day. =)

JMH

Kyoseki said:
Thanks! It was your flickr picture series that made me want to give this route a go (the old reliable thread) :)

I'm a big girl's blouse when it comes to descending, so for the moment I'm taking things nice and slow (I also want to gain more confidence in the bike and make sure it's not going to collapse under me) and to build a decent aerobic base so I can manage these rides better with fewer stops (I think my body's been in shock for the past 24 hours, it's starting to complain very loudly now).

If I'd had a riding partner I'd probably have tried it again, but I didn't want to injure myself in the middle of nowhere without anyone around (although on WR I'd imagine it was only a matter of time before someone found me :) )

I was just wondering if there were any singletracks about that were on rather more level ground (i.e. not so far to fall if I balls it up, being on the side of a gorge worried me) in the Sullivan Ridge/Canyon area and whether it's easier or harder than WR?
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
JMH said:
I just thought of a spot!

Once you reach the top of Sullivan and turn left (towards the Hub) you will descend (across three or four ruts crossing the road) to a large open area. Mullholland continues down to the right, but if you look across the open space to the left, you will see another gate. You will also likely see tire tracks heading towards it. Recently the gate has been open, usually it's closed. Either way you can ride around it. This is a singletrack here that climbs up for about 200 yards onto the top of the ridge. There are at least two winding tracks up here that cross each other back and forth. They only go about 500 yards before they go down again. Turn around, stay up top and ride around up here until you get bored or feel like you have learned something. They are fun trails and absolutely safe.

DON'T go down any other way than the way you came up unless you want to try something tougher than Will Rogers. Just go back to the fire road the way you came and save those trails for another day. =)

JMH
Groovy, I'll give them a go this weekend, if I've recovered by then :)

Thanks.
 

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you go ahead
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Reading your post made me smile :D

I'm a Topanga State Park native, and have only ridden outside of the park twice. The third time will be this weekend for the Spring Fling. Let's go back a year and imagine myself, 13 yrs old, riding a Trek 3700, with no tools whatsoever, and a map in my pocket. I don't know how I dared to do it, but after about a month of riding the trails, I'd mastered Trailer Canyon to the Hub... then I took it one step forward: Rode Paseo Miramar. That fire road amazed me and still amazes me, so my love for these trails was confirmed. Next step was to Mullhulland, and that turned out pretty easy.

So I found myself looking at the Backbone trailhead wishing I could see what was on the other side. I knew nothing about it's difficulty or length. If I had, I wouldn't have had the balls to ride it. About one minute later, wide eyed and wondering why the hell everyone always raves about "singletrack," I come to this turn you're talking about. I grab the breaks, look where I shouldn't, and topple down into the branches. I'm angry, frustrated, and everything else you can imagine that lacks a feeling of "fun." But I ride on, and about 2 hours later I roll into Will Rogers, thinking: That's got to be the crappiest ride I've done so far. But alas, I do not leave mtbing, and continue to explore Sullivan Canyon (in its dry days) and take a nasty crash there.
So now, about a month ago, I go on a group ride to the Backbone with some guys... All I could think of was: :eek: wow/ :cool: sweeet... and of course: :D . What a ride! I did in in almost no time and it was great, everything flowed. So I do it again next weekend... wow. I did it even faster, didn't fall, didn't put a foot down except once. So I do it again the next weekend... and same amazement...

Sorry for the long winded post... but moral of the story... there isn't anything you can do to get better at riding singletrack than riding singletrack. Maybe you dont want to go for the supertechnical stuff yet, but riding the Backbone, taking a few falls, and walking a few sections, will improve you tremendously. At least it did for me.

rustyb :)

..btw, you seem to ride by my house quite a lot. If you ever want to ride, PM me or something of the sort... I'm a pretty (or very depending on who you are) slow rider, so no worries ;)
 

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RustyBearings said:
Reading your post made me smile :D ...
....
btw, you seem to ride by my house quite a lot. If you ever want to ride, PM me or something of the sort... I'm a pretty (or very depending on who you are) slow rider, so no worries ;)
Ditto. I'm not always in town but when I am I am always up for a ride. I ride a lot on weekdays. It's never a bad idea to try out new trails with people who know them already :)
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
RustyBearings said:
..btw, you seem to ride by my house quite a lot. If you ever want to ride, PM me or something of the sort... I'm a pretty (or very depending on who you are) slow rider, so no worries ;)
Careful, people will get the wrong idea, it's not my fault you live half an hour from the hub :p

There's no-one at work I can ride with (I started out riding at lunchtime with a couple of guys here, who kind of fell out of the habit so even though I was the slowpoke last year they can't keep up with me any more, of course this is on the flat, I'm not really built for climbing), I might take you up on the offer, but if I wanted to get embarassed by someone half my age I'd probably play more video games :)

Maybe in another 20 lbs :D
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Impy said:
Ditto. I'm not always in town but when I am I am always up for a ride. I ride a lot on weekdays. It's never a bad idea to try out new trails with people who know them already :)
So long as I'm not going to hold you up, I'm game.

Hopefully once this show wraps (and maybe the commercial that's coming up next) I can get some time off and go riding during the week.

If you guys are going out to Malibu Creek sometime again I might be up for that, provided I'm not working :)
 

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you go ahead
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Careful, people will get the wrong idea, it's not my fault you live half an hour from the hub :p
haha, I just got that :D

There's no-one at work I can ride with (I started out riding at lunchtime with a couple of guys here, who kind of fell out of the habit so even though I was the slowpoke last year they can't keep up with me any more, of course this is on the flat, I'm not really built for climbing), I might take you up on the offer, but if I wanted to get embarassed by someone half my age I'd probably play more video games :)

Maybe in another 20 lbs :D
Hey, at least if you don't have a ride for the day you'll have something to fall back on...

but don't worry about getting embarrased...I only wish that were possible :(

just ask packman - Riding with me is like being in stop-and-go traffic.... :D.
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
RustyBearings said:
Hey, at least if you don't have a ride for the day you'll have something to fall back on...

but don't worry about getting embarrased...I only wish that were possible :(

just ask packman - Riding with me is like being in stop-and-go traffic.... :D.
Maybe next time I'm up that way you can show me how to get down WR without falling on my arse :)

From what I gather though Pacman is some sort of 2 wheeled ninja around these parts, so I wouldn't be too bothered about being left in the dust by him :D
 

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you go ahead
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Impy said:
Ditto. I'm not always in town but when I am I am always up for a ride. I ride a lot on weekdays. It's never a bad idea to try out new trails with people who know them already :)
Ditto.

;)

Impy is right.
Plus riding alone gets really boring - something I'm learning the hard way.

Kyoskey if we don't ride we'll probably pass each other on the trails anyways... I'll keep an eye out.
 

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you go ahead
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Kyoseki said:
Maybe next time I'm up that way you can show me how to get down WR without falling on my arse :)

From what I gather though Pacman is some sort of 2 wheeled ninja around these parts, so I wouldn't be too bothered about being left in the dust by him :D
bing.

mailed you info (in case you got the nerve to ride with a liddle kid ;) )
 

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a.k.a. MTBMaven
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After Ride

I did read all the posts on here so maybe someone mentioned this but here goes. While most of the posts I did read talked about practice and riding more I wanted to mention how the things you do after your ride and during your ride can make a big difference.

Keep in mind all things from here on are based on my experience and will differ from person to person.

After your ride:
You need to slam you body with protein after your ride, about 20 grams within 45 minutes. Whole protein is better than processed powders. During a long ride like you took your muscles get torn. You need protein to rebuild the muscles, which will grow back stronger. This will greatly help the pain your in right now.

During your ride:
I used to drink plain water during rides, no matter if their were an hour or six. When I was able to go on rides where I would climb 6-9 miles I would find I bonked (ran out of energy) towards the end of the climb. One day I was like 11 miles into a 20 mile ride and stopped and drank a small bottle of Gatorade and half an energy bar. About 20 minutes latter I hit this short but steep climb. To my amazement I had plenty of energy. So I now ride with my 100oz blatter half full of Gatorade and half water. About every 30-45 minutes, trail permitting, I eat about half a bar. I feel that my energy levels are much more sustained than ever before.

Based on your description of yourself you're new to mountain biking and likely don't have the specialized muscles built up to help you though those hard times. Utilize nutritional advantages to help pull you though.

The last thing I have to add is remember that you're having fun. When I started back riding I used to get all frustrated during up hill sections and only really enjoyed the downhill. I suffered though the ups for the downs. Now when I start feeling that way I slow down just a bit, regain my breath, and tell myself I'm having fun. This is why I do this, to get out of the house, get in shape, and enjoy my weekend. A positive attitude goes a long way when climbing.

Sorry in advance for bad grammer, I just don't have the energy to proof.
 

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Are you gonna eat that?
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mtnfiend said:
I did read all the posts on here so maybe someone mentioned this but here goes. While most of the posts I did read talked about practice and riding more I wanted to mention how the things you do after your ride and during your ride can make a big difference.
Excellent point, when I got home yesterday I just kind of passed out on the sofa with a beer, I should have grabbed some protein, I used to do a lot of weightlifting so I know the benefits of getting protein into your system after a session, it just never occurred to me yesterday (quite frankly I was having enough trouble staying upright for any length of time, clarity of thought was not high on the list :)).

My legs are fine, despite the bruises, the sore parts are mostly my lower back/lumbar region from being hunched over for 4 hours and my traps from having to hold my head up, guess I'll try to build those up a bit more at the gym.

I had a 20oz powerade with me yesterday which I'm sure helped, but I have a huge energy reserve around my waist too :)

I did bring some trail mix but never got around to eating it, I might bring an energy bar or two next time to see if that gives me more oomph in the climbs, though to be honest I think a lot of my trouble climbing was psychological, I'd hit it too hard and run out of puff or I'd be grinding away up hill, would turn a corner, see it carry on up the side of the mountain and lose motivation.

I was having fun, two years ago I was in London (not a particularly conducive environment for outdoor exercise), weighed around 400 lbs and would spend most of the weekend in a pub somewhere. Two years later I'm living 20 feet from the beach, I've lost the better part of 150 lbs and spent sunday cycling up the side of a mountain looking out over a beautiful wooded canyon just outside Los Angeles, believe me, I was having fun :)
 

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You can also work on some skills in town that will help on the trail. Try keeping your tires on a painted line on the street or on the bike path (when traffic allows). Check out the area around the skate park and LAPD substation on the beach in Venice, there are some 12" wide curbs around the planters there. Try riding one of the straight sections, then the curvy ones. Practice getting back behind your seat and ride the short stairs near the playground. Just don't ride ON the boardwalk. Jump off curbs, practice getting your front wheel up on the drop and landing flat. Turn around and practice getting your front wheel up and over the curb and lighten your rear wheel to help it up and over. Find a bigger one and try that. Best of all you can do it after work (if you have any time) because it's all right outside your door, and the bike path has lights. The more you play around on your bike, the faster you will become comfortable with its handling which will make you more sure of yourself on the singletrack.
 
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