For Sunday we headed to the other side of town to ride the in the Amasa Back area. The locals have been hard at work on this trail system, adding two new trails over the past couple of years; Hymasa, a relatively smooth singletrack designed for climbing, and Captain Ahab, one-way downhill singletrack with some pretty serious rock stacks (but not the exposure of Death On Your Left/Jackson’s Trail).
By a navigational error (never follow Josh) we wound up going up Captain Ahab, which turned out to be pretty strenuous for both riders and walkers. Up top, we headed out to the overlook, and then I split off with a small group to ride out to Pothole Arch, which turned out to be a pretty fun diversion (but tiring).
We came down on Captain Ahab, where I took Best Biff (at least of the riding I saw) on one of the rock stacks. After making it back across the creek (a lot of water this year), and hitching a ride back to town, it was all over except the beer. Another great Moab festival!
Full set of pics
Day 2 was set up to be epic, with a shuttle up to Porcupine Rim promising almost 4000 feet of descent. For the second time we wound up in a good snowstorm at the top of the shuttle, and descended from that into the desert, a transition that’s always fantastic.
Some people did the full 16-ish miles, some people cut off to the old trailhead for a 6-ish mile ride, and Jamey went nuts and decided to ride the entire loop from town for a 35-mile epic. I actually didn’t see much in the way of biffs, as self-selection kept people on the portions of trails they were comfortable with; I’ll have to give Best Biff to An’So one one of the low speed, straight-down falls that’s so common on the traverse section of Porcupine Rim.
They’ve made some of the obstacles at the bottom a little easier, but there’s still a ton of fun riding, and I was stoked to get the slab before the final creek crossing. Eight hours on the trail, quick dinner at the Bar M (meh), followed by some ice cream, and we were ready for Sunday.
People dribbled into Moab at different times on Friday. My group, which included Nathan and Kris, got into town a little after noon and went out to hit the Slickrock Trail. Because of the late start we decided not to go for the whole trail, so we played around on the Practice Loop, went to the practice loop overlook, and then took a jaunt out to Lance’s Rock, where fortunately no one dropped anything off the cliff.
Best Biff was won by Karl, whose extra wheel got in the way as he tried to ride up out of the sand pit at the 4×4 crossing. (Extra bonus point for winning Best Biff with an already-broken arm; additional bonus point for having broken his arm riding one of Josh’s skateboards).
The Moab training series concluded this weekend with the longest and tallest ride of the year, climbing to the peak of Mount Tam in an all-day epic ride. The Bay Area was on display, with beautiful riding weather, outstanding views, and an only-in-the-Bay sunset with wisps of fog spilling through the Golden Gate.
In addition to Bill, who just jumped on the Moab bandwagon and wanted to get in some practice, we a new Chris on his first ride with us, along with Scott, Dragon, and Sabrina.5 hiking along. Dragon won Best Biff (with bonus Unintentional Coasting points), but Bill beat him out for unicycle bowling, both on the roots at the top of Tenderfoot.
The training series turned out to be really popular; I think we probably had at least 15 different riders over the course of the past couple of months, and double-digit participants on most rides. After Moab I’ll be switching into bike training mode for Strawberry Fields, but as usual I’m up for MUni rides in any free moments.
Next stop, the promised land!
We had our biggest training weekend of the winter, with a ride in Joaquin Miller Saturday followed by an expedition to Soquel Demo Forest in Santa Cruz on Sunday. The rides were severely contrasting; in Joaquin Miller we had four local riders, a hiker and a couple of dogs, all solid riding, no biffs. In Santa Cruz we had eight riders from all over, three hikers (including Andy and Irene from Minnesota), and a massive biff-fest.
At home I managed to win Unicycle Bowling, narrowly escaping Best Biff. In Santa Cruz, everyone had spectacular biffs. Particularly notable were Corbin’s brake gliding failure, Josh managing to glance off a tree at incredible high speed after failing to land a huge jump, and Chris eating it off a drop. But Best Biff clearly went to Dragon (as usual) who managed to go down face-first between two elevated logs.
Braille Trail has a brutal fire road climb at the beginning and end. If that weren’t true, we would ride it all the time, because the trail is a beautiful MUni playground that goes on forever. Josh was getting some amazing air on his Oregon, including one slopestyle jump that ended up being at least four feet of vertical, clearing a root eight feet down the trail.
Two weeks to Moab!
The Moab training series keeps rollin’ on, as we had seven riders and a hiker zipping up to Rockville for a wet and muddy rock festival. (Just what the Cascade trail needed was an actual cascade). Amazing how much the lakes have filled with the rains. We had great weather, though the trails were pretty damp. Dragon won Best Biff with one of the most spectacular stop, drop and rolls we’ve seen, including extra bonus points for landing in a big patch of poison oak. (He claims he’s immune. We’ll see. He also won First Blood, with extra bonus points for facial involvement (bloody nose). But Ricardo skunked him on Best Injury Captured On Camera with a pedal dorsiflexion on an awkward dismount.
Two rides next week, then a Mount Tam epic, then we’re in Moab!
Full set of pics
The training series continues to draw big crowds, this week with seven riders and two hikers going for the Dimond/Joaquin Miller loop. This ride is pretty strenuous no matter how it goes (all up and down, with 1200 feet of altitude delta between start and high point), and the crew we had today did a lot of sessioning. The result was a 5.5-hour ride that upon returning home immediately eliminated our entire stash of Girl Scout cookies, followed up by thrashing through three pizzas.
Dragon won Best Biff(s) and Best Unicycle Bowling again (the latter incident nearly taking out your photographer), although Chris submitted for consideration a biff on the Ricardo Wall, when he came off forward and skidded all the way across the road on his armor. Chris also won First Blood on the Dimond switchbacks. Good to see the awards getting spread around a bit.
We’ve got more epic rides coming up as we finalize preparations for Moab; Rockville Hills, Soquel Demo Forest, and Mount Tam in the next three weeks. Get on your MUni shoes!
Full set of pics
Lots of rain during the week, but Sunday was gorgeous, setting up a great ride with mud pits added to the normal obstacles in Annadel. Josh was out on his new Nimbus Oregon, trying to figure out what the big fatty was better for (one clear winner: rock ramps). We had a total of five riders and two hikers, even after Nathan and Jason got waylaid by Pliny the Younger in downtown Santa Rosa.
Dragon won Best Biff again, but his skills are coming up quickly enough that he’s gone from having the top 5 biffs to only having a few spectacular ones on the ride. Scott, a bit more reserved, didn’t take any big biffs but did work up to trying (and cleaning) a gnarly section on Louis Trail.
The manzanita was in bloom, which means the poison oak is soon to follow. Welcome to spring in the Bay Area.
Just over one month to Moab!
Full set of pics
We hit Joaquin Miller three days into the first real storm of the winter, and conditions were entirely flipped from last week; everything was soaked, and we lost traction not because of loose leaves but because of saturated soil. That was particularly fun in the chutes, which resulted in seriously muddy unicyclists.
The rain didn’t deter many folks, as we wound up with six riders and three hikers. Photos are predictably damp, as it rained the whole time we were there.
Next week: Road trip.
Full set of pics
More pleasant weather brought out another big crew for our Moab training series; 8 riders and 3.5 hikers this time. Despite focusing on technical bits, (and Dragon winning Best Biff again), we had no verified instances of blood on the trails. Josh rode the super-high tree that fell at the bottom of Big Trees. The air was cleaned out by the rain this week, but the park was still pretty dusty; we’ll need a couple of real storms to tamp down the soil up there. Hopefully that’ll happen this week, as we’ll be back in Joaquin Miller next Sunday for the next ride in the series.
Full set of pics