“Fun” on Mt Pinos – 1.5 hours north of Los Angeles
Words and Photos by Sean Talkington
The term “Mountain Biker” is used to describe a person who rides a bicycle in the dirt. This term, although correct is also very broad. For example, a RedBull drinking, flat bill hat-sporting, goggle-wearing downhill rider in futuristic board shorts has very little in common with a spandex toting, gram (and calorie) counting, leg shaving XC mountain biker. I personally find myself (way) more on the side of the calorie counter but can still find pleasure in watching my friends get “sick” or “pitted” while I “walk” or “slowly walk” across big gaps and technical drops.
The word “fun” is often used to describe bike trails by all parties of mtb’er who ride them but this word “fun” is subjective. I have grown to find that some of the trails I find “fun” are often refereed to as “miserable” or “way too much climbing” or “hella boring” when you ask certain friends. I have also found that these same friends call trails “super fun” that I find “super terrifying”. We all have our favorite rides, routes, trails etc. but it is rare that you find trails that make the whole of mountain biking happy.
My friend Mike had been bugging me to try out Mt. Pinos for months so, Ty and I commited to going and a date was set. Both Ty & Mike are well rounded Mountain Bikers. They also happen to be two of the people that enjoy the things that I find scary. Southern California is currently in one of its dryest years to date so chances of rain were slim to none. That being said, two days before we were scheduled to shred (All walks of mtb’er are aloud to say “shred”. Even the XC guys I think?) the clouds came in and dumped 2 inches of “reported” snow on the big Pinos.
The day leading up to our ride was really warm so most of the snow would be gone…so we thought! 15 minutes of pedaling from the base of the trailhead and we were already well passed 2 inches of snow. It only went up from there. Luckily for us the snow melted on some of the sections facing the sun but there was still ALOT of it. About 25% of way up we saw three riders slip sliding down who were fully amazed to see three dummys were trying to ride up.
The last rider in the group had a shocked looked on his face and said “NNNNO…NO WAY..well…good luck…you’ll need it”. Right after he passed on his wonderful words of encouragement I watched one of his buddy’s slide through an off camber section of the snow filled trail and drop right off the side. It was at this moment that I realized we could be in for a long day.
A good portion of the steeper parts had to be walked but we made our way up. Our feet were really cold/wet by the top (8,300ft) so we decided to start our way down immediately. So, you wanna know something? …It was really “FUN”. The slippery snowy sections, the chunky slush, the flowy fast sections, the crazy wet & rutted sections…ALL FUN. All 3 of us really liked (until Ty double flatted).
Mt Pinos is a great trail for all types of mountain bikers. Begginers, downhill dudes, XC weenies (like me) and everything in between. Its a perfect “FUN” trail for everyone and I cant wait to go back…without snow….maybe even on a cross bike?