- Richard L. Duquette
Great Cause, Great Fun - SDMBA ARCH Ride 2017
As many of you know, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA) "ARCH" ride was last Saturday, April 9th. It's their annual fundraiser and quite an exciting and eye opening experience.
What is it? Its best described as a mountain Bike adventure through the back country of North County. Permission to use a connection of trails is granted annually, and links a chain of "open space" islands, like the Archipelago chain of Islands. (SDMBA has the goal of developing safe connecting trails and preserving open space).
This event will challenge you in every way, mentally and physically and tests your nutrition management, equipment, and even your ability to navigate a variety of terrains, including tree covered tunnels.The ride is a bit over 41 miles in length and starts at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad. From there you ride/hike up mountain switchbacks, and over single track. You then descend into Elfin forest through 6' tall brush, and through deep streams on single track. A rattlesnake was even spotted lying across the trail!
After that, its hike a bike time up the Elfin Forest "Way Up" trail of switchbacks for about a mile. You then descend the fast trails to the metal bridge at the South end of Lake Hodges.
More switch backs challenge you as you crest the hill and drop into Lusardi Valley, i.e. the West side of Rancho Bernardo Valley. From there, it's a long ride, slow and steady in open country side up to Black Mountain Park.
You then, descend past Del Mar Highlands, through Penasquitos Canyon and the "Tree Tunnels" as depicted in the photos. Yes, there are dried up streambeds and "cobbles" for trails, but we did eventually end up in Penasquitos Canyon, and experienced a refreshing Ocean Breeze.
From there, it's a long and pretty climb up Lopez Canyon behind Qualcomm, then to the finish at "Green Flash" Brewery in Mira Mesa. It's there, I enjoyed a well-deserved pint of "Willy Vanilly" IPA, good food and stories of the day. (Robert Leon, from the San Diego County Bike Coalition kindly parked our bikes in the Valet.)
In summary, the people are friendly and the ride is Epic! So, Join the San Diego Mountain Biking Association and give it a try next year. It's for a good cause and it's a blast!