What’s for Breakfast? A deer or two STUPID mountain bikers?

Today I did one of the dumbest things ever – we are lucky to be alive!

The morning was perfect – 6:30am at Mission Trails Park (Santee side) riding with my friend Tim.  Upon entering the grasslands we saw five deer – awesome and also eerily prophetic! 

Today we were riding the lowers 8’s.  These are four trails intersecting with Spring Canyon climbing to the ridges (both sides, east and west) and the dropping down canyons back to Spring.  After climbing the first lower 8 we dropped down onto SWEET singletrack.  Tim stops up a head (he’s stinking fast!)  Looking down, I notice blood and broken bushes.

The blood was FRESH – not even coagulated.  Also we saw a liver and intestines – this was a recent deer kill by a mountain lion – awesome!  I took out my Blackberry and started taking pictures and then a video.



As you can see on the video, I know the mountain lion is nearby.  Instead of leaving, we stay and Tim actually tries to find the cat!  DUMB!!!  Being on the short side of intelligence – I’m rolling away with my video.  Slowly the danger sets in – we need to get out of here! 

As I’m hopping on my bike Tim shouts and points to a baby fawn carcass several feet from the trail.  This is the truly stupid part!  We get off our bikes and I get my video camera out – taking a quick video of the carcass.  Tim wants to touch the carcass to see if it was warm.  Of course it was!  The blood is still fresh and dripping!  This is BAD – that mountain lion is CLOSE and watching us.  We need to leave NOW.  We get on our bikes, staying close, we slowly ride away. 

I showed the video to Ranger Mel at the Park.  He confirmed we were very lucky.  Had Tim touched the carcass, we’d have been attacked!  The mountain lion would have defended his food.   Mel  then asked for the video.  He wants to show people WHAT NOT TO DO!

I’ll never forget this ride.  We witnessed God ‘s creation and creatures like we’ve never seen before.  Our God is also kind – even for fools who know better.  Ironically Tim and I were talking how we’d like to die in the beginning of the ride.  I mentioned being killed by a Mountain Lion would be cool – I really am stupid.



After the Fires

Much has been said about the fires and I don’t pretend to have anything new to say.  Obviously everyone hurts for those who have lost their homes or have suffered the costliest loss of a family member or friend.  Fortunately, as I browse the mtn. bike bulletin boards and talk with friends the biggest concern I’ve heard is people losing access to trails.


I know we are blessed when the biggest impact of the fires is trail access or the preservation of existing trail systems that travel through burnt areas.  Fortunately the Christian community is stepping up like they did in the Cedar fires and already assisting those in need.  I’m stoked how the Rock responded immediately during the fires to use church facilities to assist those in need.  The generosity of the church body through donations and volunteers demonstrated that the church’s giving was not just limited to leaders donating staff time and facilities, but church members stepped up immediately to do what they could to help those in need.

If you are able, I encourage you to get involved assisting in the recover y process, as time spent helping those who have lost everything really puts things into perspective.  Most importantly it provides practical help to those in need.   To God be the glory!

Rock MTB Rides are Back!

It’s hard to believe, but Saturday, October 6th is our first ride of the fall, and Rock MTB has made a few changes to our riding schedule to accommodate the large contingent of beginners, families and casual recreational riders.  Not only that, but we created an easy to remember ride schedule so even peeps with memories as bad as me can remember the schedule.  The first Saturday of each month will be the beginner ride and possibly a parallel intermediate ride.  The third Saturday of each month will be the intermediate or advanced ride.

Assisting with the leadership of our fall rides are three new Rock MTB leaders.  Mike Maio, Alex McClure and David Bilodeau (sorry if I misspelled your last name) all have shown not only a passion for riding and the Lord, but a real desire to see the Rock MTB ministry change lives.  Each brings unique gifts and abilities to the Rock MTB ministry.

Our fall schedule is a tour of familiar trails as we enjoy San Diego’s most popular urban and rural trails.

Beginner rides include Penasquitos Canyon, Lake Hodges and Spring Canyon.  If leader schedules permit we will attempt to run both beginner and intermediate rides concurrently on all three trails, as all trails have adjacent singletrack/fireroad which can add distance and difficulty to the standard route.

Penasquitos has very little elevation gain and as such it’s a perfect intro to new riders.  Lake Hodges offers fun singletrack and great views, and Spring Canyon has introduced many people (including me) to mountain biking. 

Intermediate and advanced rides include the classic Noble Canyon, Martha’s Grove and Lake Morena.  Newer sections of Sycamore Canyon which lead to Martha’s Grove are getting buffed out with several years of use; Noble remains San Diego’s only trail on IMBA’s epic list and Lake Morena provides XC riders with long climbs and fun descents. 

While we are always promoting our rides, we are also promoting the security patrol at the Rock.  Rock Security is looking for people willing to serve the church by patrolling the parking areas during the services.  For many of us doing something may be something as simple or fun as hopping on a bike during church to ensure visitors have a safe place to park their ride. 

Whether it’s riding for fun or for service we hope to see you on your bike.

Solo Rides

Summer is quickly coming to close with cool temps and shorter days.  Rock MTB is about to publish the fall riding schedule, so I hope you’ve been able to spend some time in the saddle this summer.


A tight schedule limits me to weeknight rides and dawn patrol on weekends, but despite the odd hours I’m fortunate to have a regular routine after a year long hiatus from riding.  With heavy legs and weak lungs my passion for riding is renewed!


Night rides provide the opportunity to see nocturnal wildlife including owls and kangaroo rats, and arriving first on Saturdays often means undisturbed deer, coyote and raccoon tracks and frequent encounters with the animals themselves (not to mention clearing the trail’s spider webs with my face). 


My unusual schedule means I typically ride solo, so I’m not forced to ride at someone else’s pace or vice versa.  Yet, much like the Christian faith it seems that riding is most satisfying when engaged with fellow enthusiasts.  To flow through a rock garden or rail through a bermed corner without a friend whooping it up limits the experience to your memory.  The nuance of a particular line, or a wash out you narrowly avoided is just a grin that satisfies, but not a story to share on the tailgate. 


There are certainly times when I crave the escape of a solo ride to pray, think and appreciate the glory of God’s creation, but the shared experience of riding with a friend makes the satisfaction of a ride that much richer. 

Similarly, following Christ outside of the church body not only can be lonely, but it rejects the example set by Christ Himself.  Accompanied by an inner circle of followers, Jesus started his ministry with the support of a trusted group of disciples. 


“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.  Since high school I have met regularly with accountability partners.  We confess sin to one another, confront one another, pray for each other and spur each other on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).  Much of my life and many decisions have been influenced by the wisdom and integrity of these Christian brothers. Their faithfulness to God, their wives and to me has provided motivation to glorify God in all things and maintain high standards for myself. 


Rather than doing the solo thing I hope that you are enduring the ups and downs with trusted followers of Christ.  If you haven’t ridden with the core group this summer hopefully this fall we’ll see you out on the Rock MTB rides as we enjoy the dirt together.

Back in the Saddle

This is many months overdue, but I thought I needed to write a blog to explain my recent absence.  The past 6 months have been the busiest of my life with several pivotal events that changed my life and lifestyle. 

After the New Year my wife and I placed our condo on the market with the hopes of purchasing a home for our growing family.  In the spring we found a small home in Santee just minutes from the Mission Trails and Sycamore Canyon trailheads (stoked). We were excited by the fact that the home was a fixer upper and would allow us to make some nice changes.  In fact, the home was in such poor condition with leaking fixtures, broken stove, and resident rodents that it wasn’t even inhabitable so we would have to renovate the home before we could move in. 

With escrow coming to a close we began preparing for the renovation when I injured my knee during a home repair project.  In the process of disclocating my kneecap a piece of bone was chipped off of my knee, so just weeks before the start of a major do-it-yourself project I headed into arthroscopic knee surgery.  I was devastated about the timing of the injury and my wife, pregnant with our second child, was distraught as our dreams of fixing up a house appeared to be falling apart.  We could not afford to hire contractors to do all of the work that was necessary.

 The timing of my injury was so awful that I think God may have been trying speak to me through this event.  Whether or not that was His intent I read through James as I recovered from surgery and James 4:13-16 captured my attention and convicted my heart.  It reads, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”

 In my arrogance I felt a sense of pride that my hard work had given us the opportunity to purchase a home and I had planned a whole renovation schedule expecting that some day I could show others what I had done.  God changed all of that, exposing my sinful arrogance and I was undone.  I wept, as my dreams were shattered and I was ashamed that something so drastic was needed to change my heart.  I continued to weep as friend after friend called and emailed offering to help.  I’m certainly not one to ask for help, but I was desperate and literally dozens of people arrived at our house day after day willing to lend a hand.   

The RockMTB crew stepped up by helping us demo our house in one day, and offering an awesome testimony to our neighbors about Christian community.  Check out pics here. 

It is now October, and my wife recently gave birth to our daughter.  Just days after her birth we were able to complete the final project on the interior of our house, and it is only by God’s grace and the generosity of dozens of friends and family members that this is complete.  The house was not completed according to my plans, but according to God’s timeline.   

It is also by His grace that I was given the doctor’s approval several weeks ago to step back onto a bike.  Riding the singletrack of Spring Canyon for the first time in over 6 months was like meeting an old friend.  The bermed corners and windy singletrack that weaves through creek beds were familiar and fun.  It’s not technical, just turn after turn on a well-loved trail. 

Riding again has given me a renewed appreciation for the gift of working legs, and the past 6 months have broken my prideful spirit.  It’s unfortunate that it required such a significant event to soften my calloused heart, but every moment I’m alive is only by His grace and it’s good to remember that.

RockMTB Fall Ride Schedule!

Fall is officially here, the temps are cooling off and RockMTB is back on the dirt. Last week the RockMTB leaders met aboard Kevin and Will’s sailboat on San Diego bay to discuss fall’s schedule and refocus on the ministry’s direction. Open wide David!The heckling from crewmembers and frequent references to Gilligan’s Island were unwarranted as we arrived safely on shore without incident. On shore Jason grilled up 2 lb. hamburgers to illustrate the need to think big, and I know that after finishing 2 lb. burgers we all felt big.


With the generous support of the Rock Church, RockMTB has had the resources and the passion to dream big having grown into a ministry that is spreading the gospel throughout the mtn. bike community. As we move into our fall riding schedule we will continue to be intentional about communicating the good news of Jesus Christ to other riders both in word and deed.

Possibly more than any time in the past, the RockMTB leaders are unified behind the goal of glorifying God through the RockMTB ministry. Each leader brings unique talents to the ministry, so losing leader Brian Franke this year was tough. Brian is a faithful man of God who pursues Christ as aggressively as he attacks trails. Steve F - 1st guy to eat his 2 lb. burger.He is a solid dirt jumper and downhiller, so perhaps it’s providential that RockMTB’s newest leader, Steve Fruitman, quickly picked up where Brian left off with a true talent for downhill and a passion for serving God.

The leader meeting concluded with the selection of this fall’s rides. More than just a list of trails, the ride schedule is a list of opportunities to hang with friends and meet new peeps. This Saturday we warm up with a beginner ride through Peñasquitos Canyon, and then head out to east county favorite Martha’s Grove whose singletrack meanders through canyons and meadows north of Santee and into Poway. We head up to the forested Cuyamaca Mountains for the next two rides as we combine the scenic Big Laguna Loop with the Men’s Retreat, and then head back in November for classic BLT w/Noble Canyon. Can we schedule a ride calendar without including Noble Canyon? Thanksgiving weekend we’ll do a quick ride through Mission Trails, and we’ll conclude 2006 with a shuttle up Mt. Wilson.

We’re staying pretty local this fall as we enjoy San Diego’s great trails, great weather, and great fellowship.