What’s taking so long? A route change announcement

We’ve all been waiting patiently for the rest of the cues and the GPS track so we can start planning out the details of the ride. 

What’s taking so long?
We’ve changed up the route; essentially turning it from a counterclockwise loop to a clockwise loop. But that rabbit hole is a little deeper than that might sound.

How come it’ll be going the other way?
We want to offer up the best possible dirt touring route possible, with the best representation of our little slice of Southern California. Like one of those routes the Adventure Cycling Association has. In that vein, we will now get to ride Palm Canyon and later, Noble Canyon. Both are Southern California classics.

What are the practical differences?
The route is a bit harder, and a bit more mountain bike-y.
What had been climbs are now descents, and vice versa. The route will start with the “desert” section, which means at one point the route will take you from below sea level (Salton Sea) to nearly 4k ft on Pinyon Mountain, by way of some beautiful but sandy roads. (Fish Creek Wash in the Anza Borrego State Park) We will climb Oriflamme Canyon (the stuff of legend) into the Cuyamacas & Lagunas. The addition of these two singletracks and the reversal of Oriflamme & Fish Creek wash are the most significant changes your legs will notice.

Does this affect the mileage?
It might make the route a bit shorter, since we’ll descend from the San Jacintos further south.

So when will the route be set up and ready?
Soon. Promise! We’ve got 200 miles of the clockwise route mapped & cues’d, and need to get the reverse track set for the “first 117” you’ve already seen and some of the urban/San Diego Bay area. Hopefully the whole shebang will be done inside of two weeks.

We’ll be posting more info on the route, the cues, and SPOT registration here.


12 responses to “What’s taking so long? A route change announcement

  1. Wow. Thanks for putting this event on. So much for my two hotels I had booked and OCD’d over. Doh. This puts us on the most challenging portions of the course at night…..and likely sleeping/napping at altitude…. gonna half to re-think /OCD this adventure to assess the details. If it were easy – why do it, right?

  2. Hey Cliff, sorry to hear it. We poured over this decision to reverse the route for a while, even considering the possibility that it could change some of our fellow riders’ plans. In the end we erred toward offering the best “route” rather than the best “course” possible.

    • No worries! Happy you are putting it together. I think you have a made a great call…. I already have a good idea of how you’ll be sending us south towards Noble and beyond. Looking forward to the offical word from you.

  3. It is going to be a challenge either way. Tire selection for the sidewall hungry palm canyon descent may be critical.
    seeing civilization after the desert and mts +DH to San Diego will be nice. Hopefully we catch a tail wind going north and east back towards idyllwild.

  4. To help y’all plan a bit, I’ll put together a verbal explano here:

    Leave Idyllwild 8am
    Roads down to Palm Canyon, approximately 15+ miles, paved
    Palm Canyon singletrack. Really, really fun stuff for 25+ miles
    Desert cities… bike paths, bike lanes where applicable. We’ll ride through lush country club communities into Date Palm farms… all the way to Mecca
    Dirt roads south… entering the land of the weird. Desert solitude.
    KOA kampground & the Fountain of Youth RV parks about halfway down.
    Hot Springs… yes, hot springs… approx 100 miles in at this point
    20 or so miles to Niland, CA… Slab City/Salvation Mountain still dirt.
    Agricultural roads… a lot. 40+ miles
    Cross highway 86 at Kane Spring, which is little more than a kiosk.
    Heavy Border Patrol activity in this area.. 20 miles across moderately sandy desert to Split Mountain road.
    5 miles or so on Split Mountain road.. cool, funky area. Iron Door biker bar is a few miles off route.
    Enter Fish Creek Wash, Anza Borrego State Park. Abundant, beautiful primitive camping
    — moderate to heavy sand, climbing–
    Exit the desert at Highway S-2, camping close by at Stagecoach RV park. Good general store too.
    South on S-2 to Oriflamme Canyon. BIG climb.
    Some singletrack paralleling Sunrise Highway.
    Sunrise Highway to Penny Pines.
    Noble Canyon singletrack. Really fun stuff.
    Paved climb up Alpe D’Wheeze
    Short singletrack… to East Mesa fire road… to Hwy 79
    Town of Alpine. (Alpine Brewery)
    Loveland Reservoir… dirt
    Sweetwater Reservoir… trail system
    Sweetwater river trail to San Diego Bay
    San Diego Bay north… past Balboa Park, Little Italy, etc. Bike paths
    Bike paths/lanes/streets to Sunset Cliffs… PACIFIC OCEAN
    Ocean Beach/ Dog Beach… bike paths to Mission Bay
    Rose Canyon bike path to La Jolla… Torrey Pines State Beach
    Inland in Pensquitos Canyon… dirt
    Black Mountain Open space… dirt
    Suburban multiuse dirt trails
    Lake Hodges singletrack
    San Diegito River Park/ stage route.. multi use trail
    *** possibly additional dirt to Ramona***
    Some asphalt/Black Canyon fire road 17 miles or so
    Down Mesa Grande rd to The Hideout biker bar/Lake Henshaw
    11 miles pavement to Warner Springs
    Up Lost Valley road… pavement turns to dirt
    California Riding and Hiking Trail (jeep road) to Anza
    Back to Idyllwild by way of Thomas Mountain

  5. Hey before I go nuts trying to create a sorta map from this post, how long do you suspect before you have a GPS file? At one point I read in one of the forums SS very rideable, do you feel that is still the case or has it become way more unattainable? I have read some other comments with regard to tire selection, do some of you locals care to post what you feel is a good tire selection? 29er HT. Thanks all, chomping at the bit!

  6. Sergio, this is just my take on gear… it’s really up to you in the end of course to decide what will work for you. I’ve been singlespeeding a long time, off and on, and I’ve always been of the opinion that a singlespeed can be ridden anywhere a geared bike can be. Dig? There are plenty of people who will be riding one gear for this ride, I’ll be using gears myself though; maybe more for the bigger gears on the flats. There will be plenty of flats, but some significant climbs too. Admittedly, flats are my personal weakness.

    Regarding tires… this is a really diverse route in every aspect. We’ll start with a lot of desert riding, with sharp rocks, thorns, and sand. Later we’ll be in the mountains with some rich, firm dirt. Then there will be long stretches of bike paths, some asphalt, and some firm dirt roads. I’m currently using Continental Race Kings. Shooting from the hip, I’d think WTB Nano Raptors would be great too, or maybe a Geax Saguaro… heck even a Racing Ralph might be a good tire for you. It depends on where you are willing to make your sacrifices.

    • Fair enough, SS on flats is a bummer sometimes. Like I said I think once I see a GPS file it will be more apparent. I think the same will apply to tires once I see the course I can pick what area I can suffer through with the perfect tire knowing elsewhere I may be lacking or have overkill. Good points and thanks for the hard work.

  7. Sounds like a great touring route. Can’t wait! Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

  8. Sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun. Will it be difficult to find water along the route?

    Also, will there be parking close by to the start line for us to leave our vehicle? Any recommendations on hotels close to your shop? Thanks, Chris.

  9. Chris, we added lodging info to the FAQ page. (somehow we’d overlooked that?)

    Known water spots will be annotated on the cues coming in the communique. Obviously, you’ll want to do some research.

  10. Hows it going on getting the route posted?

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