It was supposed to rain all weekend, so I’d planned to spend most of Sunday indoors, but I got lucky and there was a 5-6 hour “window” of rain free day, so I tossed the single speed on the back of the car and boogied down to one of my favorite wet/ rain friendly trails, Red Hills and was rewarded with a spectacular (if a bit wet) day of riding with great views and amazing trails.
If you aren’t familiar with Red Hills, it’s a BLM park near Chinese Camp, CA. If you drive to Yosemite from northern California or the Bay Area, you drive right past it… Missing a great 30+ miles of super rocky, fun single track. The great thing about Red Hills is the huge network of trails allows you to connect up rides of any length which can challenge even the strongest riders. The big problem with Red Hills is most of them aren’t mapped and many of the ones which are mapped are… Horrible/ horse trod, washed out, and super steep.
I just banged out about 12 miles on the single speed today, but it was truly glorious. The Kona was so fun to ride, I’m almost having second thoughts about retiring her…The route I took was fairly straight forward, I banged up the tough way out of the parking lot to the east onto the perimeter trail. There was a lot of water on the perimeter trail, but as usual at Red Hills, traction was great and there was almost no mud. Even so, seeing the light film of gritty soil on the bike made me thankful I’d brought the single speed with its steel cog and chainring instead on my geared bike.
The wildflowers were off the hook today, the buckbrush was in full bloom and there were small yellow flowers everywhere and a few red paintbrushes. This is a truly great time to ride the Sierra foothills in general, but red hills really shines on the wet days like this.
If you’ve never ridden Red Hills, now is a great time for it, let me know, or search for the TROGS on Facebook and you should be able to find someone ready and willing to show you around the place. I highly recommend you go with a guide on your first excursion, and highly recommend you take the time to ride this unique trail.