After spending some weekends on roads on two wheels, it was time to get back to the dirt on one. It was a hot day so we went for a shaded ride in Dimond Canyon, with a jaunt up to take in part of Joaquin Miller. Josh unfortunately hurt his ankle playing around on the jump right at the start of the ride, but Best Biff was won later by Kevin, trying a highly inadvisable chute near the top of the Dimond switchbacks. That was second blood, though, with First Blood going to Scott’s pedal bite early in the ride.
I’m late posting this, but I swear that has nothing to do with this ride having been on 4/20.
We went up to Joaquin Miller on that day, zipping around the bonus trail, Cinderella, uphill challenge on Chaparral, and then a bunch of playing around on skinnies at trail end. Dragon won Best Biff, as usual, but Geronimo gave him a run for his money, and took Unicycle Bowling again.
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 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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Catching up on photos and posts:
Ricardo invited us all to Joaquin Miller for his birthday party. It was a relatively mellow ride, with hikers along. Ricardo did clean Chaparral, including the diving board, before his 40th. Like I always say about my own riding, he’s trying to become better than he is before he’s not as good as he used to be.
Sunday was John Muir’s birthday, so it seemed like a perfect day to go up to Joaquin Miller Park. Muir and Miller were friends, founding members of the California Writers Club, fellow bohemians and environmentalists. Muir almost certainly spent time visiting Miller in the area now known as Joaquin Miller Park, where Miller planted thousands of trees to combat the deforestation which had occurred during the 19th century.
I think both Muir and Miller would have approved of MUni (despite the reactionary Sierra Club position on cycling in the woods). They would have advocated for non-destructive ways for people to connect with the beauty of nature.
Speaking of connecting with nature, Ricardo connected pretty impressively with the dirt when he won Best Biff trying a tricky rock drop. But he also cleaned Chaparral for the first time, and we all had a good time on a beautiful spring day in the hills.
Josh got a portable disc golf basket for his birthday, so we had our first-ever round of Joaquin Miller disc golf. It was fun inventing holes, and the redwood area is relatively brush-free so we didn’t spend a lot of time searching for discs. Definitely a winner for a quick two-sport day (three if you count a 4-hour game of Ora et Labora).