The new desert route is something special.
The change boosts the “survivability” of the route with altogether less sand, and less elevation gained in the soft stuff. (Southern California is in the midst of a drought of historic significance and this year’s sand is especially exquisite) We will ride through special areas like the Mud Caves in Diablo Wash, and up Vallecito Creek on the Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849.
The new route crosses approximately 5 fewer miles in the sand, and instead gains the elevation before Oriflamme on pavement. This’ll give us an opportunity to enjoy the desert a bit more, check out some sights, and maybe get a soak in the hot springs at Agua Caliente.
Old Route: Ride through Fish Creek wash to Hapaha Flat to Pinyon Valley… route is increasingly steep, and soft. Push bike for miles on end. Arrive at Stagecoach RV park to hugs, high fives, and crushed souls. Leave the area hating the desert, cursing the route.
New Route: Turn south off Fish Creek to the Diablo Drop off (steep and soft hike-a-bike) level off on plateau, good pedaling. North (up) Diablo Wash a few miles in rideable sand, then South (downhill) through the gorgeous Tapiado Wash for 6.5 miles. Mud Caves and other tourist opportunities… turn North on Vallecito Wash (Stage Route of 1849) and climb through moderate sand to the pavement. Then… check this out: arrive at Agua Caliente Hot Springs where camping, showers, and hot springs await. The hot springs are open for only certain hours of the day, showers open 24/7 for campers. Getting to Agua Caliente in time for a soak in the hot springs will become a motivating carrot for some riders this year. (stand by for details, you might be pre-qualified!- here’s a hint: 6am start)
Store on site. We will be reminding the store owner of the 40 or so hungry souls coming through…
Vallecito County park (3.6 miles up the road) has camping, showers, and water.
Butterfield Ranch an additional 5ish miles more… full store, camping, water. The route re-joins last year’s version at Oriflamme Canyon.
We will be annotating pertinent info in the cues (hours, facts, contacts) and putting together a new GPX for download.
Additionally, we need to make some changes in the Penasquitos/Black Mountain area after San Diego, something we are calling on volunteer help to accomplish. The new GPX & cues will be available as soon as we can get that together.
We have updated the Start List to show 39 riders. Woot!
We have a Facebook group “Stagecoach 400 Mountain Bike Route” to discuss all things pertaining to the route. Get yourself connect and don’t be a dweeb.
And, and, and?
What more do you want? Final GPX, cues… oh, and start info & pre-ride activities in Idyllwild to come.