Returning to civilisation, I found a message waiting for me about a potential ride the next day. Mountain-biking is great - since posting on mtbr.com a couple of weeks ago I have had many tips & offers of rides around San Diego & further afield. I sorted out to go a fair way back to where we had been camping up the I-8 with a group on Sunday to ride at one of the most beautiful rides in the SD area. Unlike most of the local rides, it has trees. So after a nice sleep in & getting organised, the GT was loaded on the back of another pickup (they make some sense, not much, but at least a little bit) & we were off to meet the rest of the group - I was pleasantly surprised to hear a (slightly Americanised) Kiwi accent from one of the girls.
All up, there were seven of us - Roger (who originally contacted me) was riding his brand new Yeti XC carbon fibre bike. It was very light & very well specced, as one would expect. We started quite high (after about an hour's drive) at 5500 feet & for the most part were riding around a basin that was meadow & pines. I was somewhat sceptical of the beauty of the sparse trees & general dryness of the place, but it grew on me & was quite pretty in places. We climbed a fair bit & got to here looking out to Mexico:
A nice sweet flowing descent that had tricky rocky switchbacks to start with & then flowing, but was very dusty & loose (almost caught me out a couple of times - also running a Maxxis High Roller upfront for the first time may have had something to do with it). In a new experience for me, I was complimented on my riding style - thanks Gabby . But I was also slightly embarrassed as Roger & I concurrently realise that my rear tyre was on the wrong way around - it must have been like that since the puncture fest that was Karapoti '09. Getting back out towards the meadow, we skirted around it & ended up going past the dry Small Laguna Lake & then up a quarter mile climb (the altitude really had my lungs heaving here - much worse than Nepal last year) to Big Laguna Lake, that actually still had some water in to it. There wasn't really an inlet to the lake (it must come from snowmelt), & the outlet was pretty slow - so it was pretty stagnant. Still it added to the vista. A nice cruisy ride with some neat people & hopefully a few more rides to come in the next few weeks.
I should pick up my rental car tomorrow - will give me a bit of independence for sightseeing & more importantly riding.