Hollenbeck Canyon with Eastlake Cycling Club
I have biked Hollenbeck Canyon only once in the daytime, and that was by myself and following a Strava track. And since Bubby didn’t have a soccer game I thought I would take the opportunity to ride with Mike “Daddio” Daigle and his group. So, to Honey Springs Road (east of Jamul) I drove. I don’t mind getting up at 6:oo am on a Saturday as every day is the weekend for me. But Cindy, retiring in three weeks, was still snoozing when I left the house at 6:30.
I was the first one there, as usual … but Daddio came driving up before I could even get my bike off the rack. He has been riding his old bike while his regular got changed into a 1×10. As he parked I noticed he had his regular bike … so I had to check that out.
Soon a lady in a large pickup pulled in and Daddio ran over to meet her. I strolled over to and found out her name was Karen, and she was in my age group! Daddio later told me she (and her sons) used to be world class jet skiers.
As we were talking Richard and his son (Josh) pulled into the next stall … as well as Jerry. I had done many rides with Richard and Josh, both good riders and a lot of fun. I think I have shared a ride with Jerry but couldn’t tell you where or when. He was going to be riding a cyclocross bike … which pretty much looks like a road bike with curved handle bars, no suspension, and tires less than an inch wide. And if anyone could keep up on a bike like that, Jerry would be the one.
As I returned to finish getting ready I saw Drew pull into the lot. Drew and I used to do a lot of riding with ECC but we kind of went our separate ways. I was glad to see him again.
And that was everyone. Soon we were ready to ride to Hollenbeck Canyon.
After Daddio’s quick biker’s prayer we all headed west, with Richard and Karen in the lead. I rode with Josh, asking him questions about his track events at school. The rest were behind us.
We stayed in a pretty tight pack as we headed west (I joked we were in a peloton) with Drew in the lead.
Just as we were rounding a large radius turn an animal appeared in front of Drew’s bike. From behind Drew I looked closely but couldn’t identify the animal. Drew kind of pulled back and I fumbled getting my camera while still riding. I started clicking photos while riding with one hand and then all of a sudden Jerry shot past me with his camera out.
We followed the critter for about 30 yards or so before I noticed the animal was running right toward some people (and their dogs) hiking toward us. We all began yelling for them to hold their dogs as the animal veered off the trail across a field of tall, brown grass, and quickly disappeared. Afterward we all agreed the animal must have been a badger.
Next we climbed the hill which led through a grove of trees and eventually to the water tank … a most unusual water tank. Most water tanks are in the shape of a cylinder, but this one looks like a square box. As soon as we arrived Josh climbed to the top of the rocks across from the tank. Then Karen followed him and we all took photos of them with Drew standing on the bottom for a reference point.
When Josh and Karen descended we took our traditional group photos. Daddio always takes one and someone else takes another and then he photo shop’s the two together.
After leaving the water tank we rode through a grove of trees and up a hill to an abandoned olive orchard.
Jerry led on most of the uphill trail, saying he had to climb fast since his bike didn’t have a granny gear. But he struggled when we came to steep, rocky, and rutted downhill trails … mostly due to having such a skinny front tire and not having disc brakes. On one decline he said he squeezed his brakes as hard as he could and the wheels just kept on turning.
Once we had come down the gnarly hill into Hollenbeck Canyon and began to climb the opposite side Drew began to have a little trouble with inclines because his bike began to jump in and out of granny gear on its own. We tried to adjust his derailleur but couldn’t seem to get the cable tight enough.
Richard took over the lead for most of the downhills … followed by Josh. Karen and Mike were pretty careful on the downhills while Drew (who is usually a very skilled downhill rider) just took his time. Jerry had a couple of flat tires on the downhills. The first one he fixed … the second one he just rode back to the car (we only had about a mile to go).
We are a lucky bunch to be able to visit a place like Hollenbeck Canyon to do our mountain biking. The sight of new houses and a big casino in the area make me wonder how long we have until we lose this scenic treasure.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured … 50 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery site.