Last year I rode at Annadel in Santa Rosa for the first time. I joined the festivities of May by the Bay, an annual mountain bike gathering organized through MTBR. Knowing that I hadnâ€™t ridden there before, I asked for directions on recommended routes. Instead I ended up with a pair of guides who graciously showed me the way at my speed. I found Annadel to be a beautiful park with many trails that could be ridden by different experience levels. Definitely a place to have a map or guide the first time though. Even experienced riders could have a less than stellar ride without some prior information.
Now itâ€™s a year later and I have the chance to ride there again, so off I go. I end up starting off the ride with about a dozen other riders in addition to the ride leaders of the year before. Even just a short time into the ride, I notice that instead of walking the climb, Iâ€™m still on the bike. And Iâ€™ll confess, looking back and seeing a couple other people behind me helped motivate me to keep pedaling. The route was very similar to last yearâ€™s. As I rode along I kept noticing that it seemed easier. I did walk some sections still, but I also was able to stay on the bike and clear some stuff that just seemed too hard just 12 months earlier. All in all I had a blast and felt glad to make it back to the parking lot at the end of the ride. A change of clothes and something cold to drink made a perfect end.