Friday, October 27, 2017

Sand Canyon: Braking to Go Fast

Sand Canyon is the great little downhill course that requires great footwork on all the right pedals. Imagine going to the water park, and the park has that one water slide where they drop people at steep angles. That would be Sand Canyon as gravity will be the driver's number one friend or number one foe.

Sand Canyon begins (or ends) where Little Tujunga Canyon begins (or ends). It connects Little Tujunga Canyon with the 14 and Placerita Canyon. It's only about three or so miles long, but going downhill all the way is a load of fun.

This touge runs strictly uphill or downhill, and there's no in-between throughout this short course. Going uphill is great and all, but the real challenge and fun come when going downhill on Sand Canyon. That's because this touge is steep. Because it's so steep, an excellent braking technique is highly recommended to get around each corner in a speedy and safe manner. Or the average driver can simply shift into lower gear and keep his or her foot on the brakes when things get hairy.

Each corner on this touge will pull the driver in like how a single potato chip will pull any eater into a faceful of salted, oily Idahoes. It's hard to stop once the car gets going on this course, and it's easy to understeer if entering the corner too fast. That's where excellent braking comes in. A good driver should know that excellent braking will actually increase their run times. Let me explain with an old racing mantra: slow in, fast out. Simply going fast throughout the corner will cause skidding and slippage that can increase run times. Excellent braking, like trail-braking, will help keep all the tires on the road, so the car can accelerate out of the corner with more efficiency.

The road itself is in decent condition despite the fact that the Sand Canyon fire happened last year, nearly destroying all the vegetation in the area. Of course, there's the occasional rock or patches of sand here and there, but that applies to all touges. There are some sections with fresh new tarmac on the road that I assume were destroyed by the fire somehow.

Besides the fun of driving through here on the downhill, the scenery is nice. There's a good lookout point near the top where a person can view the whole fun part of the touge. At the top where Little Tujunga and Sand Canyon meet is beautiful as the city of Santa Clarita can be seen.

There's really not much else to this particular touge besides the excellent downhill as it's only a few miles long. If anyone out there is going to hit Little Tujunga Canyon; then, they might as well hit Sand Canyon as well.

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