June 5, 2010
I visited these trails for the first time today and expected an easier and more pleasant ride than the one I had. I have to admit that part of it is my own fault: I've been away from biking for quite a while and the ascents took a hold on my legs. What made it hard, however, was not the technical aspects of the trails themselves, but the unbearable heat and absolute lack of shade.
The trails are mostly fire roads, and they seem to have recently been covered with small pebbles (erosion prevention?) For bikers going up, the net result is very poor traction. There's little to no foliage covering the trails, so I'd recommend avoiding hot and sunny days. Another annoyance is the endless cattle gates: Just when you're picking up your rhythm, a closed gate forces you to stop and dismount. The problem is slightly more irritanting when you're going down.
On the way back, I took Townsprings Trail, which appears to be a fire road that became a singletrack due to lack of maintenance. The descent was moderate to good fun, but very bumpy with many cracks along the uneven terrain and endless bushes of prickly plants ready to rip the skin off my legs (I'm sure later in the summer those plants will be "sleeping", alleviating this problem).
Overall, I'd probably do it again (remember to warm up first), but I'd *definitely* avoid hot, sunny days. The high temperatures and the constant sun transformed the ride into a less than pleasant experience.
Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve