Monday, 10 January 2011


When I first moved to San Francisco I resided in the town of Belmont. Sleepy, suburban and not much in the way of excitement to be had. Little did I know, having since moved to the big city, that Belmont is home to one of the best MTB playgrounds in the bay area! We'd heard about Waterdog park from a couple of random people out on the trails. A little googling revealed it to be an area of parkland with some custom built trails. Looked like fun. So me and Chris went to check it out this past weekend.

Popular with beginners, Waterdog does have it's fair share of weekend warriors, so you need to keep your wits about you for slow moving traffic. But the trails have a lot to offer. Sweet, sweet single track, some nice, rutted steep sections and some fantastic man made features - including the Finch trail which is made up of a dozen tight switchbacks. All this adds up to a great ride. Because it is relatively small, and the climbs aren't too shocking, it's easy to spend the whole day there sessioning the many different routes. That was our plan, but our attention was diverted by something else…

Across the road from Waterdog, at the end of Carlmont Drive there's - what can only be described as - a mini Livewire (@ N*) trail! Made up of gapped jumps and tight burms, the locals have done a fine job of creating a fantastic jump park. The place was getting a solid thrashing from a bunch of youngsters, all kitted out with ff helmets and burly rigs. This place isn't for the squeamish, but there's plenty of less gnarly stuff to session for those of us less experienced with getting air.

We sessioned a section which had a couple of nice jumps and ended with a sweeping burm. A load of fun and a great place to hone skills before hitting Northstar or Whistler. Watching the other, more extreme guys offers some solid inspiration too (not to mention great photo opportunities.) So we'll be returning (with appropriate gladiator cozies) very soon. Well, just as soon as my ribs have healed. Yep, I bashed them again. With all the challenging, tricky terrain on offer, I decided to cartwheel my bike over - what can at best be described as - a medium sized branch instead. Pathetic. The Nomad saw fit to duly punish by nailing me square in the man boob with it's saddle. 32+ pounds, right in the ribs. Still, it's only a minor inconvenience. Breathing and moving hurts, and I can't sleep properly, but I'm still thinking about what next week's ride will entail….. ;o)

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