Chris and I snuck out for a wet ride in Joaquin Miller, with a bit of Dimond. It cleared up nicely and we had some beautiful steam coming off the meadows and trails. With Dragon and Ricardo not around, Chris had to take Best Biff for himself. At the end of Palos Colorados the creek was running down the trail, maybe 6-8 inches deep in places. Fortunately we’d brought unicycles, so we didn’t need to get our feet wet.
For our last ride of 2015 we had a visit from Down Under: Dave was in town from Sydney, and looking to hook up with some locals. No better thing to do than to take him up to Joaquin Miller for the tourist loop (Sequoia Bayview/Big Trees up/Chaparral/Sinawick to the overlook). Dave managed to win Best Injury, tweaking his ankle on Chaparral, but couldn’t beat Dragon for Best Biff (of course). The view was great and fun was had by all.
Nate was in town from Phoenix, so we popped out for a couple of fun rides, a quick one on Whipsnake on Thursday, and then an epic one on Braille Trail on Sunday. We marked the last day of fall with a lot of falls. Nathan’s got some video on Brailled, though he didn’t manage to get any of Dragon. (Every season is fall for Dragon).
On a hot day late in the season, Joaquin Miller was extremely dusty, but fun as always. We had some firsts on Chaparral, me cleaning it on 29/137, and Chris cleaning it on 24/125. We like brakes. Josh cleaned the new Upper Palos Colorados trail alignment, and immediately vowed never to do it again. Dragon won Best Biff by getting acrobatically tangled with his unicycle on the bench at the end of the bonus trail.
The heat sapped our motivation, so we only did one loop, but it was nice to be back home.
Marin is doing a lot of stuff for bikes these days, and we’re along for the ride. After being the featured entertainment at the opening of the Marin Bicycling Hall of Fame, we went up to crash the Stafford Lake Bike Park grand opening.
Stafford Lake is a park way up in Novato that frankly doesn’t get a lot of usage, partly because its trails are all wide and boring, and the weekend parking fee is $10. But now Access4Bikes has worked with the county to build a great bike jump park, and for the grand opening, admission was free. So we hauled up there to see what we could do.
The dual slalom track was probably the most fun; fast and intense. Dragon won Best Biff there with extra points for spectator value. We also had fun on the intermediate jump track, and Josh really like the kiddie track for getting some air.
Stafford Lake also has an expedition disc golf course, which turned out to be quite cool, and a nice change from the intense crowds on the bike tracks.
It’s a long way to go for a playground without any decent natural trails, but it’s pretty cool for a built-in two sport day.
Just realized I never posted anything about Seattle MUni Weekend. It was a lot of fun, with a mix of bike park features, long epic rides, and nice scenery. Berkeley-related folks there included me, Ashley, Harrison, and Olof, and we got to ride with old friends Noli, Tomas, Steve, An’So, Nate, and Jason, among others. Good weather, and great riding, except when Noli destroyed his unicycle and sprained his foot on a 5-foot angled drop. Ow. I got a point for being the only person to make the 5km climb on Saturday with no dismounts (on my 29er, even).
Many thanks to Noli and Jason for hosting; see you back in CA next year!
In our final (and almost only) training ride for MUni Weekend, we headed out to Tamarancho for the full loop. That ride is always more tiring than you’d think it should be; it’s long, it’s all up and down, and it’s always a bit more technical than you remember it as. And, I suppose, now that we usually go down Endor, the big downhill is not technical but is pretty intense to ride.
Ricardo and I got some pretty good flow on some of the berms; still not 100% solid but we’re getting faster. Dragon won Best Biff falling off the side of the trail toys, but also got a point for getting up and over the fat log up there. We met a youngun on a bike who hung with us for an hour or so; we’re hoping he’s another unicyclist in the making.
Bravo Canada produced an amazingly high-quality video about last year’s UNICON 17 in Montreal, featuring interviews with locals Jimbo and John Foss, and about two seconds of a Berkeley Revolution game.
We were invited to perform at the opening of the Marin Bicycle Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame over in Fairfax. We brought a mini basketball team and messed around for 45 minutes or so, got free lunch and beer, and then headed up to Camp Tamarancho to crash the Chainless downhill race on the flow trail.
Ricardo took first among the unis at 5:08, but didn’t succeed at his goal of beating at least one bike. Doing that might take someone willing to blast it in high gear (which is Totally Doable but freakin’ scary).
Anyway, because we started late we approached Endor from the counter-clockwise direction, which turns out to be fun and shorter than the whole loop, so now we have another way to enjoy Tamarancho. And we met a new rider, Ned, who lives over there and looks like he’ll be a great addition.
Ashley suggested that we go check out the new trail system at Crockett Hills. Jim Johnson, builder of Tamarancho, and the BTCEB have gotten permission to build singletrack trails through a park that’s mostly open grazing land (pockmarked and smelly, like most of the EBRPD grazing land), with a few nice oak groves to break up the heat.
It’s reasonably nice stuff for a big wheel, but it’s too smooth for real MUni. The first flow trail is fun, the second one not really worth the extra ride. Doing the first one twice is probably the winning move.
Unfortunately this place is going to be blazing hot in the summer, and unrideable in the winter because of clay soil. But it’s nice to have another option out there, especially since it’s the first time EBRPD has allowed any construction of cycle-legal singletrack on their land. (And they have a lot of land, more than any other agency in the East Bay.)