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
We headed over to China Camp for a longer ride, and wound up with an even bigger group than last week; 10 unicycles (ranging from 24″ to geared 36″) and two bikes. Everything’s still dry and powdery, unlike our last visit which included major temporary stream crossings.
This was notably the first time that the entire Totally Doable team had ridden together since Ride The Lobster. Fittingly, Chris won Best Biff on a 36er off-trail tumble, and Mike finished in second with a good elbow plant and roll.
Next week, back to Joaquin Miller for some techy riding.
Full set of pics
We had our biggest ride since MUni Weekend, with eight unicyclists and a walker heading up to Joaquin Miller for the second ride in the Moab training series. It was an eclectic mix, from Dragon out on his first-ever MUni ride (bringing lots of MUnitude), to Josh and Ricardo tearing it up on the rocks and skinnies. Dragon won Best Biff many times over, although Ray, Mike, and even Josh managed to put in plausible entries in the contest. Ray also got Best Cliffside Retrieval after a failed mount on Sequoia Bayview, and Marc got My First Skinny for the first (and second) time. Josh also got the uphill challenge on the bonus trail.
A ton of fun as usual!
Full set of pics
Next week: China Camp.
What’s better than a weekend with a MUni ride? A weekend with two MUni rides.
Saturday we went up to Rockville Hills to crash the BTCEB Gala Ride. A slight occasional mist didn’t slow folks down; BTCEB counted 89 riders, and they didn’t even count us because we showed up a few minutes late as the ride was already hitting the trail. We went out via the quarry, which we’d missed the last few times, did Rock Gardens in both directions, and then the cascade. Newcomer Jacob helped Josh goad me and Ricardo into doing a drop we’d never tried before (both successful), and Ricardo had a very impressive Best Biff on the cascade. It was easier than the last time we went (when the ground was frozen), but those trails could really use some rain.
Then on Sunday we went for a Totally Doable MUni ride in Joaquin Miller (part of the Moab training ride series), winding up doing loops on Big Trees and Cinderella. Lots of people out trying to live up to their New Years’ resolutions. Mike won Best Biff on a nifty pivot and sit-down, with bonus spectator points.
Next training ride is this Sunday, 1/24. The plan is to do a beginner-friendly one in Joaquin Miller. Get out there!
The newly revived Moab MUniFest is coming up, March 21-23. This has traditionally been the premier mountain unicycling event in the world, drawing over 200 riders the last year it ran. And it’s easy to see why; Moab is a beautiful place, with amazing riding for people of any level. The group will range from expert riders like Kris Holm to people who are just doing their first real MUni ride. It’s a great community event, and there are plenty of outdoor opportunities for friends and family who aren’t part of the uni crowd; some people hike along with the ride or rent bikes, or just go visit the two spectacular national parks outside of town (Arches and Canyonlands).
As anyone who has ridden there can tell you, the trails at Moab are long and strenuous. If you want to do three days of riding, or even two, you’ll need to build up your stamina. With that in mind, I’m running a Moab training ride series, starting this weekend and leading up to the event in March. There will be rides every weekend, sometimes two in one weekend to work on recovery.
We’ll start with easy, non-technical trails to encourage beginners to get out and build up their MUni skills. We’ll work up to longer rides to develop endurance, interspersed with increasingly difficult, technical rides to work on skills. Whether you’re going to Moab or not, this series is a great opportunity to have some fun and improve your riding and fitness.
Here’s the current schedule. All rides will go on regardless of weather, though the location may change on wet days. Dates and locations are subject to change, but there should be at least one ride every weekend until the event. Rides will typically meet at my place at 9:30 AM; make sure you’re on the mailing list to see any updates.
Jan 11 (Sat): Crash the BTCEB Gala Ride at Rockville Hills Park
Jan 12 (Sun): Beginner’s ride in Joaquin Miller
Jan 19 (Sun): Easy ride
Jan 25 (Sat): Longer, non-technical ride in China Camp
Feb 1 (Sat): Intermediate ride with technical features
Feb 9 (Sun): Intermediate ride in Joaquin Miller, focus on technical trails
Feb 15 (Sat): Longer intermediate ride with technical features at Annadel
Feb 23 (Sun): Dimond/Joaquin Miller climb and descent, strenuous
Mar 1 (Sat): Road trip to Soquel Demo Forest, long ride with technical features
Mar 8 (Sat): Short ride in Joaquin Miller focused on fun
Mar 9 (Sun): Rockville Hills technical expedition
Mar 15 (Sat): Mount Tam loop, long, strenuous ride
Mar 21-23: Moab MUniFest
Hope to see y’all there!