The Warrior's Society

Warrior's Staff

Smoke Signals

June 1999


    We are grateful to the Great Spirit for his protection of the Warriors who participated in the Pow Wow. Aside from one participant being hospitalized for dehydration and another close to being hospitalized, the Warriors who participated survived relatively unscathed.

    It should be our goal to make all participants feel that this is their Pow Wow. We need everyone to have a sense of ownership of the Pow Wow because it is through this sense of ownership that it will survive and become more meaningful. It is our goal to not only put on an event that brings people together, but also builds a sense of community. We must seek to encourage all mountain bikers to become complete Warriors who care not only for themselves, but also for the tribe and our land. The emails we have received from the participants of the Pow Wow have strengthened us and shown us that we are on the right path. We now have many others who share this goal.

    As you know, there will be some changes to the Pow Wow next year. The Seek the Peak event will be dropped due to the demand for the Counting Coup and Vision Quest events. In an effort to move the events along and allow our support personnel to get back in time to enjoy the awards ceremony, the start times will be the same for both the Counting Coup and Vision Quest. We will also change the cutoff times to 1 hour earlier respectively for each event. The event may be moved to the 3rd weekend in March due to the seasonal closure of Maple Springs from April 1st to September 1st. Because the property owners will no longer allow us to set up the finish line on their land, the finish line will be moved to just past Aid Station 2.

    There has also been a change in policy at O'Neill Park and we will no longer be allowed to take the day use fee from participants of the Pow Wow. We have been allowed to do this for the past 3 years because our participants must be at the park before the front gate opens. We will have to pay 4 hours of overtime for a gate attendant to be on site to operate the gate. This will add approximately $100-150 to the cost of staging the event.

    Also, in order to get the riders off all at the same time, we will have to rent an additional bus and truck. This will add and additional +-$400 to our cost. Due to these added expenses, we will be forced to charge and additional 3-5 dollars for the event ($48 to $50). This is still a bargain when you consider that the Leadville and other events of this nature charge between $75 to $175.

    I must stress that raising the fee will not increase our profit, it will allow us to maintain enough revenue for the club to maintain and expand its activities. We could avoid this increase by increasing the amount of riders but doing so would alter the nature of the event. We will not stage events where you need a bullhorn to communicate with the participants.

    After paying a $500 filing fee for non-profit status and expenses such as trail tools, 2 trauma kits for the paramedics, cooking equipment and communications equipment, we have $200 left after paying direct event expenses. If we did not have to make these investments, our profit would have been in the $1,200 range. We have paid back $1,000 of the $1,680 loaned to the club as seed money for the club and events. The remainder of this non-interest loan will be re -paid as we are able. The balance in the club treasury is currently around $700. We are also going to receive a grant of $250 from IMBA for our trail sign program.

    Roughly 300 hours goes into planning this event, and that does not include the many hundreds of hours dedicated to maintaining the trails. What makes this event possible is the dedication of all those who volunteer their time and spirit, and it is these individuals who deserve all the credit for the event and the clubs success.

    As I mentioned before, we received many e-mails from the Warriors who participated in the Pow Wow. The following are a sample of the e-mails we received:    

Karen "KC" Christoffersen


    I wish to thank you and everyone who helped put this event on. I would also like to share with you about another group of riders who have the same theme towards taking care of the land. You had two members of the Chino Hills Bike Patrol participating. One was Candace Hollbrook and myself ("KC" Christoffersen). Our goals in the patrol are to protect by way of education (talking with mountain bikers, hikers, horse people) and interaction, (picking up trail trash) involvement (trail work, organized and on the spot), and rescue the lost.

    We talked between ourselves how we love being here and riding and the special spirit that we feel riding on the ridge tops, and into the canyons. You expressed a love for the natural lands; we feel this way too. Since we live near Chino Hill State Park and we give our time towards this special place.

    Your talk about what it means to be a Warrior and caring for the tribe touched me. Candace told me about this ride and was excited about me receiving a feather and what it means. She wants to do the Counting Coup next year and I will go against my normal nature to go fast but with the Tribe in mind will ride with her and her friend Cindy and help them complete the Counting Coup. In doing so will earn, and learn more about what it means to be a Warrior. Hope you do not mind if I make a long letter to you. I just wish to tell

    you about how much respect I have for the American Indians. I lived next to the reservation in Banning Calif. I had always wished I could be Indian. As a fourth grader we went on a field trip there. We met this wonderful woman who gave the history of her tribe. She graciously showed us many plants and their use. I do not remember her name but her kindness towards us. She cared about all people and loved God.

    As a child I grew up hiking into the hills and watching the eagles flying high against the mountain tops, I would often wander the washes and watch the animals that lived in the hot sandy environment. Somewhat near our home I found a small stream that ran between the hills. Now, I would call it a small canyon. But finding water in such a dry place was like gold. Animals came to drink and be refreshed. I came to watch, and listen and feel of the peace that the hidden hills offered. You might be surprised to know that there are such ones who deeply respect the spirit you carry and the history you have.

My Vision Quest

Todd "Warrior Spirit" Brown

    Anticipation can be a good thing in sporting activities like boxing or tennis; anytime you need to out maneuver your foe, get there first, etc. When the foe is a rugged mountain who has managed to unite his force with a heat from hell anticipation is only going to speed your demise. The usual buzz floated through the air as the yellow bus pulled out of the dark parking lot. Groups of words only racers understand splashed about the metal walls and fell on the rocks of nervousness in our guts. Some talk to mask their fear, others to drown it out.

    Pete leaned on the window with eyes closed. I looked down at my gear, my bag was already wet from my drink that had leaked onto the blue pad that would spend the day with its load on my spine. Back lit from a rising sun, the black mountains rose and dipped endlessly. A canopy of pink and orange and purple covered our heads. Each sunrise is like a miniature creation. We unloaded slowly, energy conservation still being applied. En route to our waiting bikes most stopped by the trees and bushes to unload the cocktail they'd stirred on the way over. As I made my final preparations before gathering at the line, I knew I was created to ride the sublime. I find my soul waiting each morning at the foot of my bed -- come on lets see it start again. This day was no different. The light, now sufficient to see the greens of spring, signaled to me all was as it should be. It was good to be up, good to be with my friends I'd trained with, good to test myself, it was good air to breathe.

    Blackstar canyon is a beautiful area. It is populated by a few isolated families who want it to stay that way, their dogs used to chase and bite us. A truck pulls up to the massed riders. The driver shouting we're trespassing, the organizer showing his permit, the riders heckling, I just want to get going. The start is unceremonious: "See ya later, and stay together till you pass the dogs." We quietly rolled along the canyon floor bunched tightly like a road race. A warning went out, "Oak on the right." Good will flows up stream as we stealthily pass the shanty homes and their fenced in dogs. They bark and initiate the real start. Though no gunshot was heard a group of three riders quickly puts distance on the rest of us. I surge as best I can with several others and we leave the canyon behind. Our once tightly bunched group is now strung across the first of many switchbacks.

    The shivering cool is behind us and a rush of heated desert air hits me as I crest the hill before going through Hidden Ranch. This area is so beautiful. It is an open valley covered with green grass, dotted with cows. I'd love to talk to that old wooden fence, instead, I get a whipping from the countless dry holes left from crossing bovine. It lasts longer than I remember, and though it's at the only semi-flat place on this ride, I can't wait ‘till it ends. But then it's back to climbing.

    The first major turn is the main divide, a dirt service road that runs along the mountaintops. To my surprise I reach that point in about 50 minutes. The intersection is referred to as the cabin because an old stone foundation and wooden walls remain from what must have been a sheep herders retreat. Large, fallen antennas blemish the site. From here, the climbing is very tough. I haven't passed or been passed for a few minutes. That's going to change.

    As I reach for my granny gear and grind up the first of five steep pitches, a running competitor passes by -- he is on a single speed mountain bike. Then two more scamper up ahead of me. Did I go out too fast... again? I power on. I traded blows with the single speed passing him when the pitch lessens and my gears are better than his gear. Skid marks scar the turns showing good and bad judgement. The first casualty is strewn to the side of the road. He looks dazed but says he's okay. Later I learned his frame snapped in half. On the last steep pitch I re-pass a rider. This effort cost me, but I figure I can out descend him on the motor way. He recovers and is glued to my wheel. Half way down I let him by. As we scoot across the single track he dives down a hidden trail that goes straight down the mountain. I stick to the relatively safe trail I know... as in I know people who have had nearly been killed on this section. It is characterized as steep, skinny, shale covered, sections missing.

    I am the only racer greeted with cheers at the bottom. Susie, Trevor, Shane and Shelby have gathered to cheer me on. It's been two hours. I'm ahead of schedule. I unload my empty bladder and grab the ice-filled one I prepared the night before. Lube my chain. Grab some gel. The boys give high-fives, the wife a generous kiss. The road from Silverado is called Maple Springs. The first 2 miles are so steep they are paved. There are several water crossings. It's nice to be back in the cool depths of a canyon again, and my legs feel better after descending... I think. It's funny, but everything seems longer on long races. The paved section was unrelenting and as I stood to work different pedaling muscles I felt my old menacing cramps begin their painful clamping down around my bones and joints.

    I have not been able to answer the pain caused by my cramps. Packets of salt from in-n-out burgers pour under my tongue. I pop a potassium tablet and a few Excedrin. There is nothing but climbing to be done for the next two hours, I try to settle in. Two more riders pass me. At the final water crossing, the road transitions to the opposing canyon wall. It turns to dirt. No longer am I protected from the rising sun. It's hot. My sleeveless jersey is completely unzipped. Alas, the Excedrin kicks in as the less steep dirt road winds up and up. Unbelievably I see the previous race leader. He is suffering, riding slow. I say "Hi." no response. "Are you okay?" "I can't explain it. My back is killing me, my body just won't respond." I feel his pain, then push it out of my mind and grind on. For about 100 yards I am able to coast at the "saddle". This is where four different roads converge. I must take the high road. The single speeder rides by me, then stops and eats and I ride by him.

    We are beginning to pass riders from the shorter race. Rounding a big turn I am able to see my home -- sweet, peaceful, cool home -- to the right. From my left, the top of the range stares down at me, challenging me. Pursuing my personal quest I hear the words of the famous road racing announcer Phil Ligget, "He's cracked badly now, look at him suffer, it won't be long now ‘till he's forced to retire." Shut up, Phil! In an act of kindness the road, while increasing in pitch, again zags to the west side of the mountain and shade cools my wilting body. I've run out of water, a mile from the top. This race is put on by the Warrior's Society: a group of who have taken ownership of the trails in the Santa Ana Mountains and use this event to raise money for trail maintenance. I hear the beat of a drum ahead. It's a welcome site. Two angels, one beating the drum, the other waiting with water for my mouth and head. I roll on. It takes me nearly two hours to reach the top, twenty minutes longer than usual.

Tommy on the Drum

White Hawk, the Chief of the Los Pinos Band of the Warrior's Society, and Seeks a Vision (not pictured) welcome the Warriors to the peak with the beating of the ceremonial drum (and water).

    I grab my glasses and begin the 25-minute plunge to Holy Jim Canyon. The first section is on the Main Divide. It's steep and fast. We were warned about the hairpin turn. I can see where some forgot. I am too fast to make it in style, but I don't crash. Snow rests at the side of the road. Diving down a long, tree-covered straightway I am met head on by a wall of gnats. I breathe through my nose. They pelt my glasses, face, helmet, my arms are speckled black. Bursting into the light the gnats give way and I swerve severely to miss a large rolling rock. I swerve back the other way and slide down a twenty-foot ravine, cutting off a few hundred yards of road. Waiting at the Holy Jim trailhead were more volunteers. This trail is named after a man who was famous for his profanity. When the government came through to give the canyon an official name it was changed from "Cussin' Jim". I dismounted, placing faith that my fried legs would support me down this steep hike to the rideable area. The trail is in great shape. Most sections are makeable. I'm passing riders from the other race. Yes! I pass one from my race. Boy Scouts cheer on, as their leaders coldly estimate liability. There's the speedy guy who passed me on the motor way, not so speedily fixing a flat. The switchbacks are coming up fast now. I drop my inside foot and pivot. The single-speeder got a flat too, so I pass him. Good will dried up hours ago. Water fills my shoes as I run through the rocky stream crossings. Instantly my shoes feel too loose. A group is slowly crossing a large wash out. I wheely right through the middle of them. In a moment I skid to a stop at my waiting supplies. First, I lube my chain. Then I switch bladders. They tell me I look good and that I'm in 8th place.

    Because of the rugged terrain I haven't been able to breathe well enough to eat. I leave my bars and just grab the gels. I pour the ice I'd left in the cooler into the bladder, the remaining icy water on my head. All the while a million mosquitoes cover my bare legs. How can there be any blood worth sucking after four and a half-hours? I'm off, but not too fast. I know what lies ahead. Within a mile the road turns to a trail. It's fairly technical riding, but at least there are trees. This is the toughest section. It just gets steeper and steeper, until you have to hike. The hike is for two miles. Here there are no trees. Some places the angle of the trail is such that I can hide from the sun. My legs stiffly follow my commands. A racer from the other race asks, "How far?" "See the top?" "Yep" "That's not the top" "Oh." Phil Ligget continues to pester me... "He's cracked badly, he can't continue like this..." I feel like Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, knowing I should bow out, but too darn proud to do it... The sun crushes me with waves of heat. I am gonna die. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz, what is that sound? I've seen army helicopters up here, jets, all kinds of animals. Bzzzzzzzzzz, what is that? The sun, it's too hot. Sweat pours off of me as fast or faster than I can drink. Bzzzzzzzzzz. OH MY!!! Moving up the side of the mountain a tornado is approaching. It gets louder and goes right over my head. I freeze. The bees stay about two feet over my head as they make their way up... to where? I dread the next switchback, but move on.

    There are three states of mind in an event like this. The beginning, this is a race and I'm going for it. The middle, this is just an organized ride and I'm gonna have fun. The end, oh mercy, just let me finish. I could see the top and know there was more. I battled my demons with my own mantra, "There ain't no quit in that boy." This race, ride, test is called the Vision Quest and I was having a vision. I was too old to be treating myself this badly, my kids deserved this energy, I swear I'll never do it again. The single speeder sped past me. I woke up, and tried to keep up. Finally, I was back up to the Main Divide again, and able to ride. Around some of the turns I could see my rabbit, the single-speeder. He unknowingly pulled me along. We were almost to the top and I just wanted to be with him down the single track, knowing I could take him in the less steep places where we could pedal - gears baby! The volunteers were cheering him as he refueled and adjusted his bike. I rode past and heard him yell "don't you want to rest?" Not now. We bombed this section. It is like riding down a tunnel, with high thickets covering the top of the trail. He was holding on pretty well. I didn't lose him ‘till we hit the long shale section. This trail connects into the trail we hiked right below where the hike begins.

    Faster and faster I pushed, rudely passing the weary as they began their journey into death's mouth. No stable horse has had the spirit like I did at this point. Nothing would stop me. I knew I had seen the worst and was ready to leave my dusty remains. The road to the end is long. Six miles and only slightly down hill. It is in very bad shape. If you go at just the right speed it will shake out all your fillings. I sped on. Other racers stopped to fix flats. Fate carried me. I would have no mechanical breakdowns this day, and I knew it. My wife and kids waited for me at the line. It took me six hours and forty-one minutes. My goal was to go under seven hours. I was beat, but better. I knew how far I could go and not die, and I knew I didn't need to go there again.

    Epilogue: the winner is a freak, he did it in 5:36! I wound up 7th. Pete finished 14 and Dave in the mid twenties. Of the 54 competitors, only 33 finished. The last one coming in for the awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

    The promoter did an excellent job and shared with us his heart-felt thoughts on his American-Indian heritage. He spoke about caring about the land, taking care of it, having a stake in it by maintaining the trails. He shared that the Indians are more than gambling casinos and that though change was inevitable it was terrible the way it happened. My son Shane listened intently as I wiped my eyes. We were impressed by His personal spirituality and lack of bitterness. As Pete and I gingerly sat down on Sunday, we put the pain behind us and convinced ourselves next year we can go faster... the sunrise, it's like a mini view of god's creation.

Dirk Maes

Dirk Maes finishes the Vision Quest 1st for the third time

Keith "Keeps His Word" Eckstein

…. Just by coincidence Peter came up west Horsethief to where I was sitting in the shade resting. With a howdy-do, he plodded on while I gathered what remaining strength I could find and followed after. Turning the next switchback, I saw that he also was sitting in the shade, not looking much better than I. Of course I plopped my butt down beside him and we both watched each other's calf muscles twitch uncontrollably. After a minute or two I managed to ask his name and received a croak, "Peter". We were both so tired that we couldn't even converse! Getting up again, we both crept up to the next switchback before falling down in the shade again. This time Peter asked who I was, and it was my turn to whisper, "Keith". Then more labored breathing until we continued on once more. This was repeated about 3 more times before we got to the "ridable" part of the trail.

    After gaining the main divide, we booked as fast as our bodies allowed to the Trabuco Trail. I was actually beginning to feel human again at this point, the Clif Bar I ate on West Horsethief having finally gotten into my system. Peter looked a little worse for wear, but he's a survivor and his eyes were still clear. A little water, some kind words from Pat Killam and Peter and I headed down the hill. That was definitely the hardest part of the course for me. Next year I'm eating a ton at the bottom of Holy Jim.

    (We apologize to Chris Wilson for mistakenly not posting his time, 11:05 and revised finishing place, 30th, in the Pow Wow)

Other Events

    We are tentatively planning 1 to 2 additional events for this year. One will be a public event that will cost $10 to $15 dollars. The route will be up Holy Jim across the Main Divide and down Trabuco Canyon Trail. This will be a fun ride with different games held at different locations on the ride. Points will be given according to how participants score during these games and prizes awarded to the high scorers. There will be no T-shirts or prize bags, but food and drink will be provided. The profits from this event will be used to buy a gas powered weed eater/brush saw and either a small chain saw or heavy-duty gas powered hedge trimmer.

    White Hawks Journey was changed to a club and invited guests only event due to the difficulty of supporting it. This event will take participants on one of the most beautiful and technically demanding trails in Orange County, which we call White Hawk's trail. Richard Cunningham describes this trail in the June 1999 issue of Mountain Bike Action. Richard got it half right when he mentioned the person he called "Rex" and his inspiration for the trail, but admittedly took editorial license in describing "Rex's" Wednesday night meetings. "Rex" is Tom Sherman, who we call White Hawk and is the Chief of the Los Pinos Band of the Warrior's Society (he's pictured playing the Ceremonial drum on page 3 of this newsletter). Shidan "Seeks a Vision" Towfiq, Carl "Jumps his Horse" Baur, Rob "Dies many times" Luc and other members of the Los Pinos Band of the Warrior's Society helped him build this remarkable trail. Photos of this trail were published in the last issue of our newsletter. We thank Richard for not stating the location of this trail.

    We will provide prizes and food (Pesto and Tomato Basil Primavera Pasta) but no T-shirts. The event will be a poker ride with special points added for tests along the route. A club meeting will be held afterward. The tentative date for this event is in October.

    Dave, Brett, and Keith will be looking into the possibility of staging a 12-hour event in Baker Ranch. We will have more info on this later.

Other News

    Chay "Cries for the Wounded" Peterson has been doing car washes to raise money for their BMX team. Chay and Brett are two of the nicest people I know and have taken it upon themselves to care for many of the kids in the canyon area. They take them to the races and spend their own money to pay for entrance fees and other costs. They spend a lot of their time counseling the kids and giving them direction. The Warrior's Society whole heatedly supports their efforts in caring for our future Warriors and asks that those of you who know Chay and Brett support their Car washes. The Warrior's Society will be sponsors of their team next year and include the team in our sponsorship proposals.

    We have had several meetings to discuss the direction of the club and have agreed for the time being to not accept any new members until next year. New members will be chosen from those who volunteer the most time on our trail work projects. We also decided that new members must be voted in by our Tribe first (those who haven't finished the Vision Quest), then if they finish the Vision Quest, they may be asked to join the Warrior's Society.

    Jesse "Counts Many Coup" Beck summed up the meetings in this e-mail he sent me:

Santa Ana Mountains

To protect the Santa Ana Mountains is not a simple task. Yet one the Warriors are willing to accept. We know this is where we belong. That we travel here in beauty. We respect our privileges of navigating through the heart of our homelands. We celebrate the seasons that the earth our mother and the sky our father bestow upon us. These are places we will always return to in that same beauty.

    Jerry Henderson, a member of the Warrior's Society tribe, is currently working with the Forest Service on an intermountain trail system in the San Bernardino Mountains. He informs us that the Forest Service has received $10,000 for doing some environmental assessments of portions of the proposed route. They hope to have that done by mid-June. He will be keeping us posted on the progress of this project.

    Bob "Heals the Sick" Hefner will be designated as the Medicine Man of the Silverado Band of the Warrior's Society. Bob is well-versed in things of the spirit and is skilled in the use of herbs for healing. He will join the Dances with Hornets and Seeks a Vision in seeking direction for our tribe.

    Bruce and Sue Grey (they were the support crew at the top of Trabuco along with Bryan Benivides), will be doing a bike ride from Virginia to Oregon this summer. This is the second long bike tour they have taken. The first one was a ride from Washington to San Diego. On that trip they kept a journal they shared with friends in which they expressed their unique perspective on their trials and tribulations as well as the joy they experienced. I received a short e-mail from them today and so far they've covered 340 miles averaging 42 miles per day. The scenery is awesome, colonial towns, plantations, civil war battlefields, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The people have been friendly and the driver's courteous giving them lots of room while passing. They are on their way to Natural Bridge (west of Lexington, VA) in the Shenedoah. They will be sending us updates on their progress and we will publish these updates in future issues of Smoke Signals.

    We will not have anymore organized trail work programs until the fall. We have decided that our organized trail work program will run from October to the end of March or April depending on the condition of the trails. We will have our trail work schedule out in the September issue of Smoke Signals. Trabuco Creek, Trabuco Canyon and White Hawk's Trail are in need of some trimming, so we will do touch up trimming on these trails during our rides. We will be purchasing small loppers that you can carry in your camelback and will check these out to club members. Our sign replacement program will start in September.

Sierra Club Seeks Wilderness Designation for the Trabuco District

Dances With Hornets

    Another threat to our access to the Cleveland has surfaced. The National Sierra Club is looking for areas to designate as Wilderness Areas. They are asking local chapters to suggest areas that they feel are in need of this drastic change in status. The San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club is investigating the possibility of designating the Trabuco District a Wilderness Area. If this were to occur, we would lose 90% of our trails. Trails such as Holy Jim, Trabuco Creek, Trabuco Canyon, West Horsethief, Los Pinos, Bell Ridge, San Jaun, Chiquita, and others would be closed off to us. This would virtually wipe out mountain biking in the Trabuco District and increase the density of users in the County parks.

    The Forest Service brought this to our attention and arranged a meeting with the Sierra Club Representative. They also invited our brother tribes SHARE and Trails For All. When I informed the Warriors of this attempt by the Sierra Club at the council meeting, there were many cries for war. I too was filled with anger at this attempt to remove us from our land. After much contemplation, I realized that anger is like fire, it can consume you and destroy the good within your heart. We must not initiate a war with the Sierra Club tribe unless all efforts at peace fail.

    Sue Zuan, the Trails Manager for the Cleveland National Forest, Jim Meyer, Genny "Fighting Dove" Devries and I explained to Dorothy, the San Diego Sierra Club representative, why this action was not in the best interest of the Sierra Club. Sue Zaun explained how mountain bikers do the majority of the trial work in the Trabuco District. She also explained since she cannot spend as much time as she would like checking the trails, we have become her eyes and ears keeping her informed of vandalism and trail conditions. She explained how dedicated the mountain bikers are in protecting and maintaining the trail system. She voiced her opinion that she does not think a Wilderness designation for this district is needed.

    Jim Meyer asked her why the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club did not inform the Orange County Chapter that they were working in their area investigating this change in status. He also explained how damaging this could be to the peace that exists between the Sierra Club in Orange County and the various mountain biking groups. We have all worked together to maintain the trails, and an action such as this would cause a great division. Jim brought up the fact that IMBA has been trying to convince the Sierra Club to join them in modifying the Wilderness designation to allow mountain bikes. This modification would encourage mountain bikers to embrace the Wilderness designation and create good will with the Sierra Club. I don't understand why this hasn't happened. I wonder if the more liberal members of the Sierra Club leadership has a bias against mountain bikes.

    Genny and I explained how we care and love this land and would not let anything harm it. We explained to her that this is not the way to pay us back for all the work and love we put into the trails. I asked if it is the practice of the Sierra Club to come into their brother clubs jurisdiction and take action such as this, is it because they did not feel the Orange County Chapter was doing the job the San Diego Chapter felt they should? Or did they intend to circumvent them because they knew they would not go along with this action? If they treat their fellow tribe members this way, can we expect even worse treatment? I also explained that we want to work a peaceful solution to this issue, but we would not accept any attempt to designate this area as a Wilderness area and the subsequent banning of mountain bikes.

    Dorothy did not know why the Orange County Chapter was not notified, and was surprised by the information we gave her. She is a nice person and I detected no guile in her. She promised she would relay this information to her superiors and has already contacted me about arranging another meeting because she believes we should explain our position to them ourselves.

    We will not take any action on this until we get a firm confirmation that the Sierra club intends to proceed. Even if nothing comes of this, it is a wake up call to all mountain bikers of the importance of working to maintain the trail system in the Cleveland and other areas. If we do not do our part to maintain the trails, our voices will not be heard when threats like this occur. We have a great relationship with the Forest Service because we have proven, with our actions, that we truly care about the forest.

    Sue Zaun re-iterated the importance of reporting all trail work we do to the Forest Service. If we do not report the work we do, we will not get credit for it, which will only hurt us. I know of several mountain bikers who have done literally hundreds of hours of trail work and did not report the work to the Forest Service. When other groups, such as the Sierra Club, does trail work on these trails that have been worked by mountain bikers but not reported to the Forest Service - the Sierra Club, who reports all maintenance, gets the credit.

        This should also be a wake up call to our brother Warriors in San Diego and Riverside Counties. What areas of the Cleveland National Forest in their counties are they attempting to change to Wilderness Areas? My brothers, it is in your best interest to investigate the actions of the Sierra Club in your area and stop any changes in designation that would threaten mountain bike access to your land.

Seeks a Vision prays for peace
Praying Warrior

    It is not the Warrior's Society's goal to be divisive, but we aren't the ones threatening to take away another user groups access to the Forest. It is our goal to continue to live in peace with the Sierra Club but an action such as the one they are attempting does not bring peace but war. If they insist on continuing with this action, the Warrior's Society Tribal Council will meet and formally vote to declare war on the Sierra Club. If this is done, we will ask our fellow mountain bike tribes for their help in this battle, along with the many mountain bike companies in Orange County and elsewhere.

    Again, I stress that we do not seek to end the treaty of peace that exists between the Sierra Club and the Warrior's Society, every attempt will be made to avoid it. War should not be taken frivolously. It can corrupt you and turn you into the very evil you seek to fight. In every war a little of your humanity and goodness dies. It is not something any of us desires. Will the war drum play and will the Warriors paint their face for war? This decision lies with the Sierra Club.

Go Ride Black Star!

Bob "Keeps many Trails" Leoffler

    Have you ever ridden Black Star Canyon? Have you heard the horror stories? If this is a ride you've been putting off ‘cause of the rumors of "Black Star Bill", then here's a few tips to get you going:

  1. Black Star Canyon Road - all of it – is open to public use. No motorized traffic is allowed behind the gate, but foot and bicycle traffic is.
  2. The land on either side of the road, from the gate to just past the "residences" IS private property. Also, the Hidden Ranch property, from the cattle grate to the upper gate is private land; just stay on the road and be careful around the cattle. The trail to the falls (just past the Studor residence at the switchback) is on U.S.F.S. land and IS open to public passage.
  3. Are the horror stories true? Yes… and no. Yes, Black Star Bill is a real person but, no, no one has been shot, stabbed or buried alive. Here's the scoop on the permanent residents of Black Star Canyon. "Black Star Bill" Studor is the most infamous inhabitant. He's somewhere between 35 and 45, 6' and change, stocky with a prominent beer belly and long sandy hair. His favorite line is "private road! Private road!" His favorite trick is to park his truck in the middle of the public road where it passes in front of his place and post O.C. fire closure signs on construction barriers. Go around the truck and ignore the stolen signs. I've seen a woman up there who I hear is his wife. Don't know her name but she's about 30, slim with dark brown hair and blue eye shadow – doesn't say much – but she's good with the steely stares. You'll pass the Studor "estate" on your right as you go up and it's best not to stare or comment about the odd conglomeration of trailers, shacks, dogs and livestock until well out of earshot.

    The Tuttle's also reside in Black Star and have been known to try to discourage people from using the road, too. Art Tuttle is 40 something, about 5'8", slight build with a reddish beard, glasses and a hat. His wife Clarisse is in her 30's, about 5'5", rather matronly and also wears glasses. They've got two young boys and drive a tan Suburban. Art's favorite line is actually a diatribe that includes how his grand daddy built the road, some obscure county rulings and ordinances, and how $60,000 damage was done by vandals to his possessions (after seeing his place, a person would have to wonder about that figure). Clarisse has been known to go on about how Mt. bikers wrecked Beek's Place (yeah, and we left all our Busch cans up there, too). Understand that before the gate went up, lots of lowlifes cruised back there playing with guns and dumping trash, but that was many years ago. Now the only trash there belongs to Art and Bill, and it's confined to their properties.

  4. Your chance of running into these people is slim and no matter what "lines" they use, remember: you have a right to use the road! Just be polite, bid everyone a good day, and continue on your way. If any one tries to block your passage- and you're on the public road or trail- tell them that you will call the O.C. Sheriff. For obvious reason, it's best to travel with a couple of buds and maybe a cell phone. Whatever you do, DON"T aggrivate the situation with an attitude and be sure you STAY ON THE ROAD!

    Is the ride worth the possible hassle? YA, YOU BETCHA! The scenery (outside of the "Deliverance" – style "estates") is exceptional, particularly through the Hidden Ranch. The views from the top are awesome, with all the major mountains visible on a clear day! The climb is easy enough for beginners but a good workout can be had at a faster pace. Beek's Place is a great destination for the casual rider; stop for lunch and check out the old stone cabins and wind generator towers (feel free to pack out the Busch cans), then head down the way you came. Braver souls can head north on the Main Divide Rd. to the Silverado Motorway (way techno single track), then down to Maple Springs Trk. Tr. You'll see the best section (scenery, views) of the Main Divide on this loop, but remember to consult a local trail guide and grab a map for the details. Do this ride and do it soon, before it gets too hot and the Main Divide gets opened to cars. And if on your way back down you run into some of the locals, remember to compliment Art on his granpappy's work and mention to Bill that you'll bring him some beer… next time!


    PS: SHARE mountain bike club will occasionally offer this ride as a club function. Stay tuned to the Hotline or the website for more info.

    PPS: As of this writing, Main Divide and Maple Springs' roads are open to motorized vehicles. Watch out for the boneheads playing Baja 1000. If you like all the dust, damage, and trash brought in by all those cars and trucks, don't do anything. On the other hand, if all that pollution makes you as sick as it does us, write your senator and your representative and demand that the Santa Ana Mtns. within the Cleveland Nat'l. Forest be closed to motorized traffic. Follow it up with a call to the Cleveland Nat'l. Forest, Trabuco District office in Corona. Thanks!


Arroyo Toad Update

    The closure of Maple Springs Road (Silverado Canyon beyond the Forest Service Gate) is tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of June and will continue until September 1st. This seasonal closure will affect all recreational users. The seasonal closures will be in effect for 4 years as an effort to help the Arroyo Toad to increase in number. We encourage all recreational users to co-operate with the Forest Service because if this effort fails, there is a possibility Maple Springs will be close permanently to all users, not just seasonally for 4 years.

Final Words

    People have been asking about organized rides in the Santa Ana's. Due to the hectic schedules of the Club members, most of the rides we plan are spur of the moment. If you want to do a ride, check the information line to see if one is going on. The only real planning we do is for our events and trail work. Just going out and riding is the one thing we can do without planning, scheduling, and making phone calls when things (sitter problems, weather, etc) change.

I    f you have anything to contribute to the next issue of Smoke Signals, feel free to submit it either by e-mail or snail mail and we'll put it in. Until the next issue, We'll see you on the trails.


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