Last week someone offered me free entry into a race near Clearlake, CA at a great park called Boggs. I’d been thinking of going to the race and getting the free entry sort of tipped me over the edge. The race is a 24 hour endurance race.Â I did a solo entry and figured on taking it easy and just seeing how many laps I could in 24 hours. Never really thinking in terms of it being a “race” more just an endurance event.Â I started out at a fairly moderate pace. The first lap was a pokey 1:12 minute pace. Between laps I recharged my nutrition and did a little tuning of the bike.
The second lap was more fun than the first. Folks were spread out and I was rolling at a good pace and chatting with other racers. Nearing the end of the lap, there is a long climb then a really fun section of singletrack. It’s not very challenging, in fact I often recommend it for beginning riders. It’s called Gail’s trail. Primarily just fast, smooth rolling trail with occasional easy to avoid rocks or trees. The only tricky bit about Gail’s trail is the fact that the edges are soft and covered with slippery pine needles. I was cruising down Gail’s at a good clip, really enjoying myself. I’d just passed someone and the fun meter was set to about 8, then my front wheel found those pine needles. Continue reading Boggs Ramblings and Post Mortem.
As I pushed my bike up a steep section of 2″ deep sloppy mud, I couldn’t help but think “What kind of an idiot rides in crap like this in the middle of the night?” Then the inescapable thought bubbled to the surface “What kind of idiot composes blog posts in his head while riding in 2″ deep oatmeal at 2AM”.
Our drive to the Coolest 24 Hour race (that’s the name of the event) was interrupted about 15 minutes short of our destination on the climb to Pilot Hill. Pilot Hill is a little town off of Highway 49 at the top of a steep windy road. When we got to the steep part of the hill the engine was running great, but the RV was slowing down, until eventually we had no power at all. I managed to pull the RV onto what is probably the only section of dirt shoulder on the side of the road big enough for a 34′ RV in the 5 mile climb, even so the RV stuck out into the narrow road for a foot. Continue reading The Coolest 24 Wettest 22 Hour Race
Lots and lots of riding lately. As you can see from our last post Fiona and I have a tandem now so we’ve been trying to use it as much as possible. It’s a little bit challenging moving it about because the rack makes our car too tall to fit into the garage. Just this week we figures a way to work it so we just pull part of the rack off which makes it much more convenient for accessing. In spite of the fact that it’s a huge bike the tandem can be a blast to ride. We’ve been riding it in the evenings on the levee routes near our house. When I first started riding I rode on the levees quite a bit for fitness but now I don’t get on them very much. Lately I’ve been on a kick to drop a few pounds so I’ve talked Fiona into doing some evening rides out on the levees and it’s been great. Riding on the tandem means we stay together the whole time and no waiting for me. Strangely I think we both get more exercise on the tandem than we did previously. She gets more miles in and I ride harder for the same distance.
I also wanted to talk a little bit about Mountain Bike Oregon (MBO). This is an amazing event, this was our third year attending and we have yet to be disappointed. You can read my previous review and of MBO. My only comment is that the popular Middle Fork ride was dramatically altered this year and the results were a bit disappointing. So a huge thumbs up to the event… but next year I will likely skip the extra $$ for the Middle Fork ride and just enjoy the closer in rides.
Finally, I’m on a big push to get my weight down and my fitness level up right now (some people call this training) for a big ride coming up in September. As part of this I’ve been trying to get some longer rides and doing a little exploration in the Pinecrest area. We’ve discovered some great routes, and explored some really interesting areas over the last few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to share some of that on the site shortly. Not a lot to share yet, but I should have some GPS mapped routes up soon. Here is a route we did (motion based) that took us up to Eagle Peak and Pinecrest Peak. Some absolutely amazing views from those trails. I pretty much blew up early on that ride and never recovered so it was a looong day for me. I didn’t bring a camera but here are some older pictures of Eagle Peak and Pinecrest Peak
Every year the weekend before Memorial Day there is a gathering of people from the MTBR Norcal Forum called May By the Bay. This year there were 6 rides, with the final three days rides at Annadel Park, Boggs Mountain, and Oathill Mine Trail. It’s an informal gathering with no official sponsors and it’s 100% free, even the camping at Boggs is free.
Fiona and I went to the Annadel ride on Saturday and rode at Boggs Demonstration Forest on Sunday and Monday. Both Boggs and Annadel are amazing mountain bike friendly parks with miles and miles of awesome trails. If you like fast buffed singletrack you can’t go wrong at either place. I’ve been riding at Boggs for 5 years and every year there are more and more trails there.
I don’t race much, the plan is 2 races this year, the Lemurian and this last weekend the Coolest 24. For some reason 24 hour races are a fascination with me. The last few years I’ve done 4 man and 5 man team 24 Hour events. This year I decided to step it up a notch and race on a 2 man team, a big step up actually going from 3 hour breaks between laps to 1 hour and going from 5-6 laps for the race to 9+. At 12+ miles and 1500′ of climbing per lap, that’s a lot of riding. My team mate was a friend of mine I’ve been riding with for about a year now named Seth. I’ve been quite anxious about this race and my personal fitness and weight over the last few months. Not seriously training, just focusing on getting long rides in on the weekends and riding 8 miles to and from work every day.
Seth is faster than me and as such I had him do the first lap. Overall a great choice. Seth managed to be in the top 10 of the team riders out of the gate and then got back in 5th overall at 55 minutes, giving me a traffic free first lap. We managed to stay ahead of most of the traffic, leaving the dust and constant passing to the other teams. My times were about on par with the second place team but Seth continued cranking out amazing lap times, putting 10 minutes per lap on the second place team. By sunset our team was 30 minutes ahead of the second place team. Continue reading Coolest 24 Race Report
One of the Premier MTB races in Northern California the Lemurian Classic is a great race held annually in June. There is a long course which is a single 26 mile long lap, a shorter 20 mile loop, and the beginners loop is 8 miles. There is no sandbagging at the Lemurian, you chose which course to race on and a Pro class but otherwise it’s just simple age sex categories. Even better, the Lemurian course is mostly singletrack.
The real kicker that makes this the king of Grass Roots racing is the fact that the proceeds from the race all wind up going directly to improving the trails in the Whiskeytown/ Mt Shasta Area. Combine this with a great great atmosphere, awesome trails, and a laid back group that puts on the event and the $35 entry fee is dirt cheap.
For people in the South Bay area, you can head down to Fort Ord for a series of 9 weekend races (3 races are over already). These are put on by Central Coast Cyclo Cross (CCCX) and you can find a schedule of events here. There is racing for all classes and ages and from what I understand it’s a very fun series. Entry fees are $35/event.
Here’s some more fun for Sacramento area racers. There is a series of events at Granite Bay (NE of Sacramento) including several Friday Night MTB races, some Duathalons and mini-Triathalons. The races are put on by TBF Racing and there is a schedule if you follow that link. There are 3 MTB only races in June for all classes and age groups. Entry fees are $20.
I don’t race much, but there are a few races which I enjoy. These are generally the sort of grass roots or fund raising events where the fees are usually low and the atmosphere is generally awesome. I’m going to try and report on all the local/grass roots races in Norcal that interest me. Don’t expect to see Sea Otter or any of the big venues show up here. They just don’t interest me a lot and get plenty of coverage elsewhere. The first grassroots race I want to cover is actually a weekly series in the Sacramento area.
The Prarie City Race Series is a weekly mountain bike race series held at the Prarie City OHV park located between Rancho Cordova and Folsom off of Grant Line Road. The races are held every Wednesday evening at 6:15 PM (show up early for registration) starting April 2nd. The only prizes awarded on race day are random door prizes. This event has been growing significantly over the last few years and currently they average over 350 racers per week. The laps are short, 3-4 miles and the different classes all race varying lengths; 2 laps for beginner, 3 for sport class, 4 for expert and 5 for expert ‘plus’ (instead of pro). The course is very fast, SS friendly with lots of short ups and downs rather than any prolonged climbing.