Hazy Shade of Winter

Ushering in the new season, we went up to Rockville Hills and played around in the mist. It was really quiet, with no wind, almost no one in the park, and they haven’t brought the cows up there yet this year. There’s a ton of water (both lakes are overflowing), and we had some fun riding on trails covered with a foot of water.

I won Best Smack Into An Overhanging Manzanita Branch, Josh won First Blood, but Chris trumped all with what has to be called the Biff of the Year (sorry, Dragon), along with Best Human And Unicycle Cliffside Retrieval, by falling backwards off the trail and doing a full flip, landing past the switchback 20 feet below.

Gorgeous light, fun riding, and the place to ourselves. Here’s to the next solar cycle!

Chris on Lower Tilly

Josh

Josh riding the submerged trail

Chris dropping in

Josh

Josh on Rock Gardens

Misty MUni

We hit the trails right when the last cloudy remnants of Stormageddon (puhleeze) were lifting off the peaks, which made for a beautiful ride. There were surprisingly few trees down; I guess the wind mostly came before the rain moistened the soil. A couple days of drainage had left the trails up there wet but not super-muddy; traction was pretty good, actually, except on the logs at the top of Castle Park, where Chris won Best Biff and Best Injury. G later grabbed First Blood.

Funny thing about a dry day is that your uni comes back all muddy. When it’s raining it comes back clean. Of course, there’s only one way to clean off a MUni–ride more MUni!

Misty MUni

Misty MUni

Misty MUni

Misty MUni

Misty MUni

 

Modified Tom’s Rob-ish

K wanted a chance to try out a geared uni, which inspired us to go for Tom’s Rob-ish Ride. We hadn’t ridden it as a group in some time, although I often use it to crank out a quickie, so to speak.

The roads were dry but the trails were muddy after the week’s rains. We had fun playing in the mud, including a skidding contest in the meadow (Geronimo won). At Ricardo’s urging we modified the route to go down Cinderella, which was quite tricky given the conditions, but fun. And I was glad to see that the drains I dug at the trail maintenance day a few weeks back are working great.

We took a shortcut on the way back, on a route I had scouted but discarded as the main option for the ride. G won Best Human Cliffside Retrieval on the north part of Sunset Trail, which is also where Harrison won Best Unicycle Cliffside Retrieval. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after we got to the road that K won Best Biff, losing control on super-steep Castle Drive. Road biffing isn’t nearly as fun as mud biffing. No serious injuries, but the new route will be used on an as-required basis only. (It’s a little shorter.)

Climbing through Piedmont

Climbing through Piedmont

Butters Canyon

At the tree stunt

Bonus trail

Returning to the flats

 

Rockin’ in Rockville

Our friend Felix made it to the Bay on his international unicycle tour; we saw him at UNICON in Montreal in August, and he’s been riding west since then. To take a break from road riding, we took him out to Rockville to get some real MUni action. He did great, making the chutes in the quarry, the rocks in the rock garden, and linking the cascade.

Dragon won Best Biff, First Blood, and unfortunately Worst Injury, as he tweaked his ankle badly enough that he missed out on a bunch of the fun stuff. RICE it, dude.

From here, Felix heads south along the coast, eventually looking to arrive in Mexico City in a couple of months. What an adventure!

Playing in the quarry

Playing in the quarry

Playing in the quarry

On Cascade Trail

The bridge skinny

 

MUni with Bernard

Bernard was in town from Paris, and he needed to get some East Bay dirt. We had a good turnout (8 riders) in Joaquin Miller for a mellow loop on a beautiful day. We did an unusual jaunt down Sunset (we usually go up). Not unusually, Dragon won Best Biff (a relatively scary-looking faceplant into a tree on the rock face on the north fork of Big Trees), and we got back in time to do homework.

Views on Sequoia Bayview

Dragon trying the climb on Big Trees

Harrison on Big Trees downhill

Downhill on Big Trees

Bernard on Big Trees

Dragon dropping in on Sunset

 

 

Two sporter in Napa

On a gorgeous autumn day up in Napa, we went for a two-sporter at Skyline Park. We headed up Upper Skyline Trail, which we’d only ever come down before; lots of interesting uphill challenges, with some sessioning on the rock gardens. A zip down to the top of Manzanita Trail led to big drops and rocks, with everyone having fun on the super-techy bits. Dragon won Best Biff yet again, but I had a pretty good one that resulted in Most Broken Equipment, which was the LCD screen on my camera. So for most of the ride I was shooting mostly blind; got some good shots nevertheless. Not hard on such a beautiful day.

After a picnic and shower, 15 holes of disc golf was a great way to finish into a beautiful sunset.

Josh climbing Upper Skyline

Climbing and sessioning Upper Skyline Trail

Dragon on Manzanita

Josh on Manzanita

Heading back at sunset

Death Ride

For Dia de los Muertos, Ashley brought us a collection of cowls for a Death ride in Joaquin Miller. ’twas a beautiful autumn day, and everyone was out there; a ton of hikers and dogs, and even another group of unicyclists we met up near Sequoia Arena. Great to see more folks out there!

Ricardo with his new 125mm cranks edged out Dragon for Best Biff, though Dragon still took Worst Injury, landing hard on his ribs coming off the diving board on Chaparral. Faye managed Most Broken Unicycle as well as Best Cliffside Retrieval when her crank fired off her uni and down the hill. Tristan one-footed it for a while before they turned back.

Tristan one-footing Faye's uni

Dragon on Chaparral

Ricardo on Chaparral

Dragon on Chaparral

Death

Tamarancho

My MUni hadn’t made it back from MUni Weekend last week, so we went over to Camp Tamarancho, which is fun 29er territory. It’s actually fine for real MUnis too (Tristan was on a 24″), with some cool rock gardens, some trail toys, and a really fun flow trail with huge berms.

The loop is longer than I remembered it, we were all pretty tired by the end of it. But definitely fun stuff, and a good alternative in Marin County where bikes are mostly not allowed on singletrack. Land managers take note!

The boulder

Rock gardens on the back side

Rock gardens on the back side

The flow trail

California MUni Weekend

A bunch of us went down to El Lay for California MUni Weekend, and the NorCal contingent really represented. Jamey had a bunch of $2 bill challenges on hill climbs, and I cleaned up, winning four of them, including one for going straight up Fargo Street (33% grade). Ashley was the only woman to make it up Fargo, and Ricardo and Josh also earned some Jeffersons on climbs.

We also did well in the glory awards, with Josh winning Best Biff for the weekend, and Ricardo winning in both the Best Cliffside Retrieval and Most Broken Unicycle categories (on the same incident, a 200′ drop down a loose hillside).

The riding was fun, especially Friday’s rockfest in Simi Valley. Weather was good for SoCal (would have been better if they had any trees), smog was about normal, and the group was a good size, peaking at 32 riders on Saturday.

Noli’s talking about hosting next year in Seattle. Should be fun!

Friday: Simi Valley, Hummingbird Trail

Friday: Simi Valley, Hummingbird Trail

Exposure in the woods

Day 2: Pasadena

Day 3: Aliso and Wood Canyon

Last ride in

We sneaked in one more training ride for California MUni Weekend; Dragon won Best Biff yet again (with another spectacular slide and roll), landed his biggest drop ever (about 3.5 feet) and we hit the trail end while it was lit up by the last rays of sunlight. Ready for El Lay!

Dragon going for an inadvisable chute

Sunset at trail's end