Up the mountain

Mount Tam is a relative pip-squeak in Himalayan terms, but it’s one of the best training rides we have around here. So a group of us, including four Unipal folks, headed over to Marin on a gorgeous day to crank up Old Railroad and fly down Eldridge Grade. On the last day of standard time, we were out almost until sunset, and got some beautiful light on the still waters of the bay.

Dragon won First Blood, Best Cliffside Retrieval, Best Biff, and Best Injury, in four separate incidents. Dude, leave some awards for everyone else.

On to a double ride next weekend; we’re less than a month away!

Dragon's cliffside retrieval

Climbing Old Railroad Grade

Descending Eldridge Grade

All Hail

Well, that was a new one on us; we’ve never been hailed on on a ride before, nor have we had to shelter from some pretty serious thunder and lightning. Exciting stuff! It made the trails more exciting too, with lots of mud and slickness added to the already technical riding at Annadel. Dragon won Best Biff of course, but Josh edged him out for cliffside retrieval. Ricardo continues to explore the possibilities for what MUni can be done on a 36″. The weather made for nice photography, and we managed to get home with no major injuries, and in time for birthday parties and other general festivities.

Hail at Annadel

North Burma Trail

The Josh Rock on Cobblestone



The trails have dried out, so the previously postponed ride in Tamarancho was back on for this weekend. Seven riders joined up to take on the trails, and man, if you do a lot of do-overs on the climb and rock gardens in Tamarancho, it’s a ridiculously tiring ride. Only a few of us had enough energy to go up to the very top of Endor (the flow trail), but it was worth it, because the first berm is the biggest, an impossibly high banked turn, and that’s just the start of the fun.

The unis ranged from Ricardo’s geared 36 down to Chris’ short-crank 24″, along with Ashley’s old-school steel KH boat anchor 24″ with 170s. Everyone had fun. Dragon, of course, won Best Biff and Best Human Cliffside Retrieval, but G beat him out in the Unicycle Cliffside Retrieval and Really, I Started This Ride On A No-Sugar Diet categories.

Fun was had by all, and we may have to revisit the spot for another training ride, it was that butt-kicking.

Playing on the toys

Harrison on the flow trail


From the rain to the desert, Chris and I showed up to represent the Bay Area folks down at Arizona MUni Weekend in Phoenix. Chris started this event back when he lived down there, and it’s been taken over by Nate Bernstein, who we met as a wee one back at Moab MUniFest in 2003. He did a great job organizing, and fun was had by all. Well, some fun was had; I won Best Injury at the bottom of Cheese Grater (the hardest trail of the weekend) by bashing my knee into a boulder, had to walk out and get three stitches. That wasn’t fun. But other than that it was another great MUni weekend!

At the waterfall

Descending Devestator

And one more pic for the non-squeamish.

Not rained out

We’d originally planned to ride Camp Tamarancho over in Marin, but one of the rules at Tamarancho is to let the trails dry out after a rain (especially Endor, the flow trail that we were really excited to try with some fast unis). So we redirected to Joaquin Miller, where the riding’s always great regardless of the weather. And, it was. We parked at the bottom, started out with some playing at the fountains (the spiral walls are fun), did the chute by the overlook and then the chutes by the meadow (some good brake practice), climbing One Buck, looping down Palos Colorados, back up One Buck, up Big Trees, and then rolling down Cinderella/Sinawick/Bishop’s Walk back to the cars.

Ricardo continued his streak of bad mechanical luck with a failed tire bead that kept popping his tire off the rim. He also got first blood with an impressive biff on the stairs at the fountain, but was easily beaten out for Best Biff at the end of the ride when Dragon went off the side of Bishop’s Walk and slid 30 feet down the hill.

We’ll try for Tamarancho again after we get back from Phoenix MUni Weekend next week.

Chris on the spiral

Corbin’s Rob’s Ride

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.

Corbin on the Lock 'em Up Log

China Camp double loop

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.

The group minus Chris


Michelle at the bridge


Training series kick-off

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.

Dimond Canyon MUni

Trying the skinny

Dimond Canyon

On the Ricardo Rock

Crashing the rocks

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.

Lower Tilly Trail

Lower Tilly Trail

Lower Tilly Trail

Lower Tilly Trail

Chris bailing on Lower Tilly Trail

Dragon on the Cyclone

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 riding the submerged trail

Chris dropping in


Josh on Rock Gardens