Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bike Stuff and a Ride Report

First the links and news:
Monterey Bay Youth Outdoor Day is this Saturday from 10-4 at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. The event is free! Free parking and free admission. The list of stuff they will have on hand to try out is impressive and it should be a great event. Roll out for it!

Bike Tech to School - "Scotts Valley High School is the latest in a string of area high schools to offer a course geared toward fostering students' interest in bicycles -- and teaching them lifelong skills along the way." Sounds good to me, wish this kind of curriculum was available way back when I was in school! More info at Project Bike Trip.

Share the Damn Road
 - need a shirt that expresses your real feelings about riding a bike on the road? This site has you covered, you can go with the Share the Road, Or Else on the right there or maybe go with something less aggressive like this Evolution cycling jersey. They aren't cheap at $50 and up but they are pretty cool and fully functional cycling jerseys and that's gotta count for something. Hey, don't ask me, I'm an offroad cyclist!

Share the Damn Road also has a useful and free print out that you can give to the <strike>dipshit</strike> who nearly just killed you. Very handy and probably better in the long run than seeing how far you can put your fist through their face. Probably.

Triathlon News:
Give this guy enough room in the transition area or he's likely to abandon the race and tear your arm off to beat you with.

And now its time for another rousing round of What's Wrong With This Picture!!!
There is plenty that's right with this picture but can you figure out what's wrong with it? Look carefully, look at the full size image. Mmmmmm. I know, its hard work but someone's gotta do it.

And lastly, @Cyclelicious would like to remind everyone:
Got it? Good!

And now its time for the ride report:
Where: Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos, California
When: Sunday 9/18/11 11:30 am
Who: Me and my old hardtail Ibis Mojo

Despite my efforts I am still having trouble establishing a regular Friday afternoon ride. I'll get it in for a week or two and then something will come up and I'll have to skip the next week. I did get a good longer ride in on Sunday which was nice. Standard drop in down Aptos Rancho Rd. blast down the first section, cross the creek and then head into the forest proper.

One of the things I really enjoy about mountain biking is that there are little victories all through out the ride. One section that previously stymied me and forced me to step off and walk through, I rolled through this time. Another section got a little closer to getting figured out.

When Cardiac was blocked off by construction it didn't take too long for local cyclists to start to carve in a workaround. Climb the stupid steep water tower road up, duck in to the right of the fence, portage your bike through a good section of steep trail and, eventually, wind up a few hundred feet from where the old swing was on top of Cardiac but is now some rich dude's kitchen window view out over the bay.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, I was just starting up the stupid steep hill to the water tanks when a guy in a white van flagged me down. I'd just barely gotten to the other side of the big triangular gate blocking the road.

We got to talking and he eventually told me about a non-illegal trail entrance I could use down the road past his house (which turned out to be a freaking palatial Spanish mansion, seriously awesome and reminds me of movie set drug lord estate but without the machine guns and German Shepherds). I thanked him for the permission and set off to find the new trailhead.

 Now, I won't pretend that this situation is ideal, it isn't. A good chunk of really excellent singletrack has become more or less off-limits since the new construction started. But the workaround works and I rolled back into the woods after a quick buzz down the gravel road. The backside of Nisene Marks is not well traveled and less so these days with the blockage at the top. But the trail is worth the effort to get to. It has full berms, jumps, descending singletrack, off camber turns and some really tremendous views out over the valley. It was such fun that I decided to do it twice. Not having that steep ass climb and portage through to the trails helped alot too.

The second run was faster and just as fun with the exception of a semi close call with a guy riding up the trail. What I can never understand is when bikers get back to the bridge in Nisene and then they duff it out on the road seemingly unaware that there's a ripping fun trail just off the road in many places. I bomb the trail and usually beat them out anyway. I did know that I had little to no chance of making the scrambly and steep climb out to the trailhead. But that's okay, sometimes its good to burn your legs up.

All in all, I'd give the Sunday ride a four out of five stars. There was a little too much foot traffic for my tastes and a bit too many "trail apples" as they are called (but it really just means horse shit on the trail). But the temp was perfect, hot in the sun and just slightly cool in the trees. The trail conditions were excellent too. All part of why I love having Nisene Marks so close by that I get to call it my riding ground!
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