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  1. #1
    Its only 1" on the map!
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    Variations on Palm Canyon

    I spent this past weekend out in Palm Springs with my girlfriend and got in
    one of Southern California's Classic Epic rides, Palm Canyon. I have
    done this ride quite a few times but the plan was to do a different variation on
    the route for this outing. All of the logistics has been carefully worked out
    a day or so before the ride which meant that would be not be how things would
    actually go down.



    Everyone pretty much arrived on time and after some introductions and early
    morning chit chat while jostling bikes between vehicles we were on our way out
    of Palm Springs and up the mountain to the upper trailhead. We met up with
    most of the San Diego crew at the top and were soon off and rolling through the
    Pinyon Pines trails which is the most commonly taken variation on the classic
    route. It was really good rolling up and down singletrack goodess before
    getting serious about dropping into Palm Canyon.



    Lance, Matt and Ben were the rabbits of the group and they were being mighty
    zippy with the pace. I should have known better than to chase those guys but
    I'm a slow learner. After a few miles I found myself in cardio distress
    hanging over the handlebars whezzing like a 90 year old chain smoker with
    screaming quads and the only coherent thought I could hear in my melon over the
    sound of blood pounding through my temples was "What The F$%k!".



    After regaining some composer I was back on the peddles and was able to
    notice what a glorious day it was now that I was back in my proper place in the
    whole age/weight/fitness lineup. The thought did not escape me that we
    connoisseurs of tasty malted and hopped beverages seemed to be pushing similar
    paces.



    Palm Canyon is known for finding weaknesses in your gear and exploiting them.
    Steve had one of his pedals strip out of the crankarm. We tried a variety of
    McGuyver options to keep him rolling but as the ride progressed the pedal got
    worse and worse and worse. He ultimately ended up have to do at least 6 miles of
    one legged pedaling, hiking and coasting across the desert before you was able
    to hit a bail out point and head downhill towards civilization.



    The trail conditions were pretty good despite it being a fairly dry winter in
    these parts. None of the stream/creek crossing had water in them.



    Here are Steve, Michael and Evan heading out on the Indian Poterro trail.
    I managed miss every catcus gauntlet on and along the entire trail but I managed
    to step into a cholla while getting setup for this shot. I plucked out a
    good dozen spines and I'm sure I will pluck another dozen out of my leg over the
    next few weeks as my body works to push out the ones that broke off flush or
    under the skin.



    Michael had a couple of the evil chollas jump out and attack his tires over
    the course of the day. Evan was kind enough to donate a Slime tube after the
    second flat.



    One of the variations on the route involves not going up the 3 mile wash
    climb and the follow on descent of the Hahn Buena Vista trail which represents a
    big cost followed by a big reward section of this route. Instead we only
    climbed about 10 percent of the 3 mile Dry Wash and the hung a left onto the
    East Fork trail where we did some rolling ups and downs over to the Vandeventer
    trail before settling in for a climb along the fern canyon trail up to the
    saddle of the upper end of Wildhorse and the Clara Burgess trail. The next
    variation that was being thrown in on this day involved taking the Clara Burgess
    trail up and over Murray Hill and down into the bottom of Goat
    Trails
    with a follow on climb that would take us back up near the top of the
    Goat Trails again. I have gone over Murray Hill in the opposite direction
    and I knew it was going to be a real beater. After taking stock of what I had
    left in the tank, I along with three others opted to forgo this section and meet
    at the next variation point along the Garstin trail. Above are some of the
    manly mens group heading up the Clara Burgess trail.



    Dave and Michael working their way to the top of the Garstin trail.



    The peak to the left is Murray Hill and saddle were the manly men started
    from is off to the right side of the frame. If you play a little "Where is
    Waldo" you can see them working their way up to the Garstin trail. One of the
    manly men had to bail after Murray Hill from being completely bonked to the
    point of being sick. We ladies of the shortcut crew had spent every bit of
    an hour changing our feminine napkins, snacking and napping. Did I mention what
    a glorious day it was?



    The final variation on the traditional route today had us dropping the
    Shannon and Henderson trail out of the Goat Trails. Above is the top part of
    the Shannon trail before it gets really steep with a series of hella tight
    switchbacks. It was a really cool section of trail but not for those who get
    a freaked out when exposure is involved. Blowing some of those switch backs to
    the outside would not make you a happy camper and could net you an appearance on
    "When Vacations Attack", "Worlds Most Amazing..." or any one of those other "Awh
    ****" shows.



    As a bit of coolness bonus along this trail you go by Bob Hope's house. Its
    the big domed pad on the right hand side of the picture. The Shannon and the
    Henderson trails dump you out on surface streets that we took back over the
    traditional bottom of the Palm Canyon route in Von's Rimrock Shopping
    Center. Tasty beverages were soon being had along with post-ride chit chat
    before more bike jostling ensued before we made our way over to Rancho Mirage
    for dinner at Babe's BBQ and Brewhouse. I helped
    shuttle folks back up to top before rolling back down to the hill to finish out
    the weekend in Palm Springs with my girlfriend.
    Last edited by mtbbill; 02-19-2013 at 06:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up and pictures. How long were you guys out there and how many miles did you cover?

    Aaron

  3. #3
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    Perfect timing

    Perfect timing! I'm returning there this Saturday. I recall it being the toughest ride I'd ever done. I'll be curious to see if I've gotten better. Looking forward to your next video with the new GoPro HD3.

  4. #4
    If you have to ask...
    Reputation: miles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbill View Post
    It was a really cool section of trail but not for those who get
    a freaked out when exposure is involved. Blowing some of those switch backs to
    the outside would not make you a happy camper and could net you an appearance on
    "When Vacations Attack", "Worlds Most Amazing..." or any one of those other "Awh
    ****" shows.



    Whoa there, cowboy. Let's not make this personal.
    It's 7:09 California time

  5. #5
    "Ride Lots" - Eddie Mercx
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    We left the upper trailhead just before 9. we got back to Vons a bit after 3:30.

    As one of the less manly group. we took our time and enjoyed the views from atop the Wild horse trail and from the view up above the Shannon Trail drop in. if we didn't agree to meet the other guys where we did, we would have been back at least an hour sooner than we were. our pace was pretty good due to some very fit locals leading the way.

  6. #6
    "Ride Lots" - Eddie Mercx
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    Quote Originally Posted by miles View Post
    Whoa there, cowboy. Let's not make this personal.
    Haha. I gotta admit, there were more than a few times where I was thinking about "the penalty for failure". While the initial 10 feet may have been more vertical when you decided to see what the penalty really was, the remaining 100 or more was equally as nasty!

  7. #7
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    Sorry to hear Lance punished you guys. There is quite a few of us desert locals that ride all of these variations throughout the year. You can connect to a rediculous amount of trails from this area. This next weekend should be good after the rain/snow last night.

  8. #8
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    We have been up there a couple times and done the whole wash and also this route. However, for whatever reason, we never find the proper way out of here because we never end up at the Vons (without a road ride back). Heading up there again this saturday for our 3rd attempt at finding Vons

  9. #9
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    That's a great writeup! Sounds like a tough but fun day.

  10. #10
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    Excellent write up and pictures. I've been wanting to do this ride for a very long time and it was everything I expected and more. The descent off Murray was totally entertaining! We'll have to get out there again so Aqua can finally complete this ride. Lance, thanks for guiding us.

  11. #11
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    What trails are good for locals to start on? I have just been tooling around San Jancinto, mostly due to how much of a pain it is to drag a bike out to Palm Springs.

    But if I make a day trip out of it, what would be a good introductory trail(s) for a beginner? I have only run into roadies around here, so no one has given me the scoop yet!

  12. #12
    Negative Rep Points!!!!
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    That trail hates me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Variations on Palm Canyon-img_4270.jpg  

    What the EFF is "All MOUNTAIN"???

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikemaya View Post
    What trails are good for locals to start on? I have just been tooling around San Jancinto, mostly due to how much of a pain it is to drag a bike out to Palm Springs.

    But if I make a day trip out of it, what would be a good introductory trail(s) for a beginner? I have only run into roadies around here, so no one has given me the scoop yet!
    All of the Goat Trails can be accessed through Von's (Rim Rocks). You can do a short lower elevation trail or link many trails together for longer loops. Most climbs are steep and rocky. So, this isn't the best area for beginners, but I learned here in the mid 1990's. You can try Dunn Road if your are in good shape. It is a steeper and longer climb than most recreational riders like. The local bikeshops have a book about these trails. It can be found online also. Google it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaholic View Post
    That trail hates me.
    It hates on everybody's equipment. I was hammering down a rocky section a few years ago with Dave Turner's pro downhill racer girlfriend right behind me and I cut a huge hole in my tubeless tire releasing all of the air immediately. I almost wet myself. We always bring at least two tubes, patches, and extra pumps or CO2 cartridges. Carry a big camelback with plenty of tools.

  15. #15
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    Found this video of rim rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc0r-mkF4q4

    Looks perfect! Just the level I am at with some looser sections that will make me sweat a little! Very similar to what I am riding now, just a longer path.

    One last question... is there a mountain bike club around here? I need some biking buds, but I am a newbie! I looked it up online, and a few look like they popped up then went defunct. I found the big roadie club, which I knew about. Reviews say they are elitist jerks that drop the noobies. I have gotten noses turned up at me by passing large groups of roadies, who I assume are in the club. I am not holding my breath on their 'mountain biking' arm with no content on their website...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikemaya View Post
    Found this video of rim rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc0r-mkF4q4

    Looks perfect! Just the level I am at with some looser sections that will make me sweat a little! Very similar to what I am riding now, just a longer path.

    One last question... is there a mountain bike club around here? I need some biking buds, but I am a newbie! I looked it up online, and a few look like they popped up then went defunct. I found the big roadie club, which I knew about. Reviews say they are elitist jerks that drop the noobies. I have gotten noses turned up at me by passing large groups of roadies, who I assume are in the club. I am not holding my breath on their 'mountain biking' arm with no content on their website...
    A few of the former mountain bike racers, like myself, ride with the big road group on Saturdays occationally, but I agree with your description. I don't ride with groups very often anymore because I have a backyard trail called the Boo Hoff in La Quinta and a family house in Idyllwild. Plus, I don't like the fact that I don't have time to stay in race shape anymore (I hate being a follower).

    The guys out of Tri-A-Bike in Palm Desert may still be riding on Wednesday nights in Pinyon. The guys out of Velobum in Rancho Mirage (most ride Turner's) sometimes ride out of the Goat Trails on Sunday mornings in the winter and meet at Hurkey Creek in summer.

  17. #17
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    I honestly wouldn't want to ride with others when road biking. It is safe and in public, so there is no reason, in my mind, to have to be a 'follower', as you put it. I can just get on the bike and ride where I want, when I want, how fast I want, and how far I want.

    Those trails in La Quinta are my backyard too Haven't ventured too far out on Boo Hoff yet, It looks like it might be a bit above me still and a bit far out to go alone. I am going to try segments of it and Canyon/ Oasis soon, however, once I get my new bike finished. Not sure how difficult they are, but I am willing to explore I found some videos, and they look fun if nothing else!

    Took the Cove to Lake to Cahuilla a couple months ago, but was disappointed to find it became too difficult a few miles in (mostly I was too afraid to ride the singletrack on the side of sheer cliff...) and then nothing but beach sand for the last few miles (but I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque on the last few miles... the trail markers were all decrepit and falling over.) Hiked the bike more than I rode. BOO. I took the streets home!

    Thanks for the leads! I went by Tri-A-Bike once, and was blown off by two employees... during off-season... in the middle of the afternoon... on a weekday... :| Not sure I want to ride with guys like that :/ Haven't checked out Velobum yet, I think it might not have come up on google maps when I was looking for shops. I will check them out The guys at Joel's were pretty awesome when I talked to them, but the shop is really far away and I am never in that area. Joel will talk to you all night if you let him Good guys in there, I should bug them again now that I am ready for new trails!

  18. #18
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    Good ride Bill and guys. Yeah, we need to get aqua to finish this one someday

    - Lance

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikemaya View Post
    I honestly wouldn't want to ride with others when road biking. It is safe and in public, so there is no reason, in my mind, to have to be a 'follower', as you put it. I can just get on the bike and ride where I want, when I want, how fast I want, and how far I want.

    Those trails in La Quinta are my backyard too Haven't ventured too far out on Boo Hoff yet, It looks like it might be a bit above me still and a bit far out to go alone. I am going to try segments of it and Canyon/ Oasis soon, however, once I get my new bike finished. Not sure how difficult they are, but I am willing to explore I found some videos, and they look fun if nothing else!

    Took the Cove to Lake to Cahuilla a couple months ago, but was disappointed to find it became too difficult a few miles in (mostly I was too afraid to ride the singletrack on the side of sheer cliff...) and then nothing but beach sand for the last few miles (but I think I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque on the last few miles... the trail markers were all decrepit and falling over.) Hiked the bike more than I rode. BOO. I took the streets home!

    Thanks for the leads! I went by Tri-A-Bike once, and was blown off by two employees... during off-season... in the middle of the afternoon... on a weekday... :| Not sure I want to ride with guys like that :/ Haven't checked out Velobum yet, I think it might not have come up on google maps when I was looking for shops. I will check them out The guys at Joel's were pretty awesome when I talked to them, but the shop is really far away and I am never in that area. Joel will talk to you all night if you let him Good guys in there, I should bug them again now that I am ready for new trails!
    The Boo Hoff gets to just under 2,000 feet of elevation in a few short miles before it runs over the top towards Coral Mountain. It is pretty easy to see on Google Earth. I do it as an out to the top and back. There is 16 fairly loose switchbacks in a little over a mile and one section gains about 500 feet of elevation in a mile or so. Nothing crazy, but there are a few canyons that you hang over going through switchbacks that scare the heck out of people that don't like edges. The trail is fairly similar to Wildhorse near Murray Peak. Lance may have some video of it.

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