Sunday, April 30, 2006

More on Fantasy Island

I rode out there yesterday and wanted to ruminate a bit on the situation and the actuality of this wonderful trail system.

From my house you ride a couple miles south and then turn east, where the urban bike trails take you, in a most civilized fashion, in a zig-zagging course along the local airbase's northern fence. Along the way you pass what is known as the boneyard, which is where thousands and thousands of old planes are stored. You'll see f-14's, f-111's, b-1 bombers, f-4 phantoms, and many other types of planes sitting mothballed in the desert. The last 3 miles of the approach to the bike trails of Fantasy Island is dirt, and sets you down right at the trailhead. It's an excellent warm-up ride, and although the trails at Fantasy Island are not that technical, the first part of the course is full of steep little washes that're more enjoyable when you're all warmed up.

All Fantasy Island's optional loops branch out to the right as you follow the inner, 6-mile Lone Cactus loop. Yesterday I wanted to ride the "Bunny Trail," which is on the land that will most likely be developed as part of the compromise for not blading and grading the whole 3 square mile plot. The Bunny Trail is kind of flat and twisty, through land grazed by cattle that looks like something from an old west movie. It's a good place to gear up and haul ass and find out why you put those good tires on your bike. The rest of the loops are rockier, and when the weather is dry rocks accumulate at the bottoms of the some the steep wash-crossings and make a nice challenge as you try to maintian momentum in order to get up the other side. The steepest hills are the end of the ride, so I recommend stashing a beer in your hydration pack and taking a breather at the picnic table at the trailhead.

Always a wonderful ride no matter which loops you take and especially if you ride them all.

Fantasy Island is described nicely in this piece in Dirt Rag by local rider and trails-access advocate Mark Flint.

I went out there with a camera on a ride once but the poor thing never worked after that, so I was a little skeptical about bringing my digital on the ride with me yesterday, much as I'd like to post a few pics of the desert and the trails. Most of the images you find in a Google search are kind of rider/jock oriented- yuck.

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