Friday, 25 November 2011

Turkey Ride

I've been riding in the states for almost 3 years now. Traditions have started to form. This Thursday it was time to honor one of those traditions : The Thanksgiving Turkey Ride (or "Turkey Trot," or "Appetite Seminar" depending on how and where you hear about it.) Essentially a few hundred of the areas mountain bike enthusiasts descend upon Pine Mountain to grind up steep, rocky fireroads - congregate, drink booze and then rip down more fireroads back to Fairfax. Excellent fun!

The weather forecast for the morning's fun was dire. We braced ourselves for a punishing wet ride in hideous rain. I didn't mind too much. It gave me a rare chance to sport my nice, new Gortex waterproof costume. Last year's ride was bitterly cold, so we layered up in anticipation of that too. However, as we hit the java hut rendezvous, we were pleasantly suprised to be gearing up in crisp, foggy but mild and dry conditions.

After the initial road climb we hit the Pine Mountain trailhead. The first few climbs are fairly brutal at the best of times. Plenty of rain and a few hundred bike tires before us ensured these weren't the best of times. Thick mud snaked up and ahead for miles as we wheezed and cursed our way to the top. I didn't have much faith in the descents being great either, given how sloppy it was. But thankfully I was wrong. The mud kept speeds in check somewhat, but the conditions made for challenging, and grin inducing riding.  Great stuff. I'd forgotten how satisfying it is to have the bike slip and slide underneath you but somehow stay upright enough to hit the massive puddles and drift - moto style - through them!

Repack was closed for action. Probably just as well.... I saw Rosson caught in a mud slide one one descent. Hilarious, but on the super steep Repack, we'd all be sliding into oblivion and it would've been carnage. After 20 odd miles and almost 3000 ft of climbing we hit Porcupine all the way back to Fairfax. Plastered with mud, grinning like fools and ready for an afternoon of self indulgence and self loathing ;o)

Sunday, 20 November 2011


In the American sense that is. Luckily I've been staying upright for the past few rides. It's the season for cold, crisp and occasionally rain soaked riding at the moment. Over the past few weeks we've been hitting our favourite haunts. An awesome, speederbike-esque ride at Annadel with Jaime and his new uber-lite S-Works hardtail. A fantastic shred at Skeggs where Dave broke in his new Enduro. And a cheeky Tamarancho loop where Chris demo'd (and subsequently put on order) a sexy new Yeti SB66. So, the crew is getting tooled up with sweet new rides and the burning enthusiasm for the sport gets ever stronger. Last week we hit 'rancho for a night ride and amassed 7 riders! Aubrey came along too and was still cranking even after a mid ride puke stop!

Yesterday we hit Pine Mountain. A training ride ahead of next week's Thanksgiving mass ride. Zach introduced us to some epic singletrack. Tight and flowey with some rooty technical sections and severe switchbacks to test the skills. Our plan is to go back and session them some more. We hit some rocky stuff too. I tripod legged most of it. My mojo has definitely suffered on the bigger, sketchier stuff. My ankle fracture is completely healed, but my brain needs to get the memo. I keep pulling up short when I see big, rocky trails and it's frustrating. I've done stuff like it before - no worries. I've worked hard to see lines through that kinda shit and not freak out, so I know it's just a mental funk I'm in. Humbling, but annoying that I have some work to do to get back to where I was before.

Still, I'm slowly improving in other areas of my riding. Each weekly loop around 'rancho is improving my technical Kung Fu. Every solo ride at China' helps my cornering and flow. Im slowly taming the Nomad steed and making it my own. And those epic, runaway train descents induce the best grinning lunacy, leaving me excited for the next opportunity to hit dirt and keep on learning. :o)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

SF Bike Expo

Me and Chris checked out the SF Bike Expo today. After wading through all the bling'ed up lowriders and painfully cool hipster fixies, we found ourselves out in the fresh air with this awesome spectacle to keep us entertained :