We went down to Santa Cruz to have Corbin lead us on his version of Rob’s Ride (with Rob himself unfortunately sidelined by illness), climbing on the new EMC trail instead of going up the road (more dirt = more fun!) Most of us then descended down to Highway 9 on Airborne, which was a bit over-gnarly for the big wheels, and even my sweet new 29er MUni skipped a couple of sections. (Although one of those sections, Corbin rode in high gear. He gets a point for that.) Then we looped it back around on EMC to get back in time to watch the Marshawn vs. Shane Vereen Bowl. EMC was a good warm-up for next week’s Flow Trail at Tamarancho; swoopy and fun. Grace won Best Biff on her recumbent, trying to get over a slippery pipe, and I got First Blood, with extra points for christening my new uni with it.
We’re starting to ramp up the Nepal training series, and with that in mind we headed over to China Camp on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We had a huge crew, a dozen people, including newcomer Eric from Marin. (Welcome!) Most of the group did one loop, three of us (me, Beau and Nathan) did a double, and one (Dragon) did one loop plus a bonus climb.
Dragon won Best Biff along with Best Human Cliffside Retrieval, unfortunately my fault because I’d installed the wheel backwards on the uni he was borrowing. Oops. We were able to get the pedal reinstalled (one benefit of cheap steel cranks), to give him two or three more opportunities to re-tweak his ankle injury. (Take it easy, dude).
Harrison’s video contribution this week is a compilation of Josh’s attempt (eventually successful) to ride up the side of a tree.
Next week: Beau’s Rob’s Ride down in Santa Cruz.
We kicked off the Nepal training series in grand fashion, doing the Dimond/Joaquin Miller loop from the bottom to the top. When we’re Moab training we usually don’t work up to this until late February, but we’re starting big for this event. (We’ll be 10,000 feet higher than the highest ride in Moab).
We had a good crew, seven people including three registered Nepal riders, and we had great weather (though not great views, pretty dang smoggy in the Bay right now, time for a rain dance) and a fun time tiring ourselves out on the trails. The highlight was Dragon’s new claim for Best Biff Of All Time, trying a steep hillside in Dimond, failing early, going into a roll, and a roll, and a roll, and a roll. That also counted for first blood, but the judges are still considering whether it counts as a cliffside retrieval if you were intentionally riding down the cliff.
And Merry Christmas! Harrison captured the event on his new GoPro.
For the first ride in the Nepal training series, we crashed the BTCEB Gala Ride up at Rockville Hills. As usual, we didn’t see too many bikes, because the trails we ride are too hard for most of them. We had a special guest, Stephen, who is back in the Bay Area for a few months and hasn’t forgotten how to ride, and Corbin also came up from the southland.
We spent a good 45 minutes on Lower Tilly/Manzanita, found a new loop back from there that’s going to be the new default, cruised over to the Cascade (Chris cleaned it, his first time ever), and hurried back from there, arriving just before the beer ran out.
Lots of impressive biffs (Dragon won but he had a lot of competition), nice lighting for photography, and a ton of fun riding.
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!
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!
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.)
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!
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.
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.