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.

deer

bambi

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.

Kevin

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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.