Gravel Vibes: Point Mugu State Park & Sycamore Canyon

Full video below

The second edition of Send it Sunday took us to our other great mountain range of the Santa Monicas as we hit my favorite gravel ride in the range in Point Mugu State Park and Sycamore Canyon.

Mostly new faces, but the same amount of fun even though the differences between Pacifico Mountain is significant.

Although totally unavoidable, we added in a bunch of single track which I tend to avoid, but these selections weren’t as technical.


You’d think Sholom KOM’d Guadalasca with this face…


We started out of the Wendy Trailhead with a group of five vastly outnumbered by mountain bikers in the area.

Instead of heading straight out into Sycamore Canyon, we went north for a five mile loop stating off with the Los Padres Trail.

Even though this short 1.4 mile segment had spots of rockiness and a little hike-a-bike mixed in, the overall flow of the trail was rollercoaster fun!


Los Padres Trail


Our timing was great because as we exited the path, a huge crew of mountain bikers were ready to roll which avoided me embarrassing myself with my bike handling skills.

We jogged over to the Potrero Open Space for a fire road climb with a shorter, more contentous single track at the end, but it was clear that this group was already enjoying the ride and the fun was about to begin.

Even though it was still before 9am when we entered Point Mugu State Park, we smartly topped off our water bottles because you never know…

It’s quite a setting dropping into Point Mugu State Park with the Boney Wildnerness framing your view.

A little caution is needed as you zip down at a pretty good clip, but you’ll soon realize that you’ll have to climb out of this double digit slope on the way back.


Descent into Point Mugu State Park


Instead of heading directly towards Ranch Center Road, we continued down before doubling back up the parallel Two Foxes Trail.

Even with it being a tad overgrown, it’s still a lot of fun nailing this single track, although I almost went head on with a mountain biker halfway through.

Getting back up to Ranch Center Road uses up some calories on this roughly one mile climb, but soon we got into descending mode as we hit the water tank.

This section isn’t as enjoyable as on paper not just because it’s bumpy and loose (the second straight time I lost a water bottle here), but the white sand is a bit dusty leaving you like the mistakenly Confederate Soldiers in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.


Prepare to get dusty…

Turning back onto Wood Canyon provided some respite of rollers before we hit the main climb of the day.

Guadalasca is a 2.5 mile stretch that hammers you consistently as you climb.

There’s some technical aspects to it, but the key is staying out of the red as it’s more about keeping a sustained pace.


Climbing Guadalasca Trail


Our group was pretty close together as we hit the top, but we still took a moment to take in the views before we made our way down.

The front part of the descent takes some skill, but maybe I’m coming around to learning how to ride with fat tires for a change.

As the path widens into more of a fire road, the terrain moves toward large scale rollers as you approach the coast.


Near the end of climbing the ridge


Right as we hit the prime overlook location to see the ocean (which was completely covered with clouds), we ran into Frank and Marlon who arrived a bit late and were roaming the hills looking for us.

Glad to have the company because this descent is one of my favorite parts of the ride!

I held the group back a couple of minutes while I went ahead to look for the hump in the path you can get a good amount of air off of.

Unfortunately, it was farther ahead than I remembered and most of the group wasn’t ready to anticipate the jump when they reached it.

Credit James for being the best of the bunch.


James getting the most air time


We mosied over to the campsite to grab some water before making our return which is various grades of uphill.

The first few miles are nearly flat, but the biggest thrill was darting through the five water crossings.

It says something that water is still flowing in late July, but while I used to avoid at all costs, I’ve now embraced the fun it is to blast through it all.


Let’s get wet!


This had already seemed like a lot of ride, so we skipped a two mile detour to hit the fun on the Two Foxes Trail again.

The climb out of Point Mugu State Park is never really welcomed, but everyone accepts it as pittance for what a great area this is to ride.

Most of our crew headed to Lady Face Ale House which really hit the mark both in food and libations.

Needless to say, mark your calendars for our next ride on August 25 where we’ll be on the eastside of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Here’s a full compilation of clips from this month’s ride. Enjoy!