Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I rode today in the Irvine Open Space portion of the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve. Currently, the IRLR conducts docent-led rides, beginning at the Quail Hill staging area, every second Wednesday morning. Today's ride was relatively fast, fairly challenging and entirely fun. The trails seem well designed - made by mountain bikers for mountain bikers - and cover a variety of terrain in a very pristine and scenic wilderness. This morning’s twelve-mile loop (designated as intermediate) contained some moderately technical singletrack. We coursed through loose rocks, off-camber traverses, tight switchbacks and a few rock drops. The last downhill even had a signed warning, something to the effect of Big Rock Drop Off Ahead. For the risk aversive, there was a bypass on this particular section. The rock, although sizable, was not too daunting. I rode it, and believe me, no one confuses me with Hans Rey.
Unfortunately I didn't have much time to take photos. These two shots don't do the ride justice. I will try to take more in the future.
Don't be deterred by the idea of a docent ride. All one has to do is sign up online and show up. There are also advanced rides for those who want to be pushed and beginner rides for...well beginners. What's more they have docent-free open access days, the next coming on September 27th. Sign up at Bommer Canyon and gain a day's free pass into this virtually unused open space. You won't be disappointed. If you like to ride fun trails, away from crowds, this is your ticket. Hopefully the Irvine Company and the City of Irvine will see fit to increase the number of open access days. This open space is too great a resource to have under lock and key. If you live in Irvine consider talking with your Park and Recs person. Tell them you want greater access to the Irvine Open Space. I've talked to people at the IRLR and they would be amenable to increasing the access as long as the City of Irvine approves. As mountain bikers we should let our voices be heard. The wilderness is there, the trails are there, we just need someone to unlock the gate.