MARTHA’S GROVE w VALLEY LOOP / CARDIAC HILL / RoCkY RiDge
East Co. San Diego
Advanced Ride –
20 miles around 2,000’ elevation gain
This is one of my FAVORITE local rides (starts in Santee). This trail has a just about everything, beautiful So-Cal scenery, lush valleys, sweet single track, high steep singletrack on a long ridge, wide track, thick trees, easy/hard/technical riding, cliffs, a drop off and is only ten minutes from my house. This time we’re adding extra miles and elevation to make a favorite local loop truly EPIC!
We start near Santee Lakes and ride into Sycamore Canyon. The first part is slightly technical with lots of little climbs and rocks. After a few miles, Sycamore Canyon opens up into a green and lush valley. From here we will add the ‘Valley Loop’ portion of the trail. After riding up and down the perimeter of the valley, the trail continues up Sycamore Canyon on newly created singletrack all the way to the entrance of Gooden Ranch (home of Martha’s Grove).
We will climb single track along the side of the valley and continue on a nice climb to the staging area. At the top is the entrance to Martha’s Grove trail, one of my favorite trails in So-Cal. Martha’s climbs a bit more with views of the valley below. After a few minutes, the trails crests – ‘hold onto your handle bars’ for fast single track is in front! There is one section some people may wish to walk, a nice drop off with a sharp turn at the bottom (best part of the ride). Shortly after we come to Martha’s Grove, a nicely shaded section where the devotional will take place. The trail continues twisting, turning and gently descending to a fire road. From here we turn left to Cardiac – an aptly named section. It is straight up to another staging area with your heart pounding out of your chest at the top – then entrance to the RoCkY RiDgE!
Just like Cardiac is aptly named, so is the RoCkY RiDgE. The trail continues south along the ridge eventually dropping back down to the beautiful valley we rode in. Before last year’s fires, the ridge had many rocks and was quick. After the fires, the ridge has become VERY rocky and extremely technical. The views from up top are amazing. Right before dropping into the valley the trail gets interesting and is the most technical of the ride.
Once back on the valley floor it’s a few miles back to the car. We may take a different way back hugging the hills or we may not – depends on how everyone feels.
This ride is truly for Advanced riders only. While many parts are easy, the combination of all the sections will challenge the best of riders. If you are a weak climber, this is not a ride you’d enjoy. Cardiac would quickly become a name you may take literally.
Furthermore this is absolutely NOT A RIDE TO BRING NEWBIES ON (that’s why we have beginner rides). This is a 20+mile Advanced ride; a newbie would be overwhelmed and miserable.
What to bring:
1. Helmet, of course. No helmet, No ride (we just love that head of yours!!!)
2. Someone that has not been on an Rock MTB ride. (For this ride, no beginners)
They vary tremendously depending on where you live. The bottom line is you need to get on Mast Blvd in Santee next to West Hills High School (near the dump). Mast blvd is off of 52 near the Eastern terminus. I would recommend looking on a map and locating Mast Blvd and 52 in Santee. Once you are on Mast, continue east passing the dump (left side) and West Hills High School (right side). At the first light is Medina – take a left. Continue through the stop signs to the end. The entrance (four metal posts in the ground) is on the left– park (you’ll see many cars).