Friday, 27 November 2015

Turkey Ride 2015

The Turkey Ride seemed to come around quickly this year. It feels like Summer was just a moment ago, but the dropping temperatures and light frosting say otherwise. Winter is here and, in typical NorCal fashion its really rather pleasant. Cold but sunny and, just like the past couple of years - perfect riding conditions come Thanks Giving time. This is my sixth Appetite Seminar in a row, but my first on the Trance. I was keen to see how its nimble frame compared to the tank like Nomad over the 3600ft (plus) of climbing on this traditional 25 mile mountain route.

Sticking to tradition we met at the Java Hut just before 7:30am, keen to roll out nice and early. I joined Rosson, Greg and the rest of the Zeitgeist team. Its always a thrill to ride with strong racers. It pushes my mettle a bit, making a fun social ride a welcome challenge too.

The ride through Deer Park and up to the Bolinas road was stunning. Early morning sun painted golden light across frosty rugged terrain. I wish I'd stopped to take pictures but we were determined to crack on and warm our fingers and toes before the real climbing began.

I've described the route several times before. This year's was no different, except it felt much easier somehow. I'd like to credit it with my awesome fitness (which isn't bad, but certainly not my best) however it must have been the lightweight Trance. At a near 8lbs lighter than my old steed, it really is quite a svelte beast. Even with the newly acquired flat pedals, ascending the many challenging climbs seemed much easier. Almost enjoyable! On the descents, the Trance really flies. The Turkey Ride takes in some steep fire roads, whoops and rutted double track. The Trance ate it up and provided nothing but stability, agility and grin inducing playfullness. The flat pedal set up encourages some lairy cornering and I dared more than before to push the bike into each apex and lean the frame aggressively. Great fun.

Our final descent was the Porcupine trail. Fast and flowey by default, it was made more fun this year by some spirited racing and switchback overtaking with the Zeitgeist crew. Definitely a great way to end the ride and some inspiration to maybe get back into the race scene next year.

I hope to be doing the Turkey Ride for years to come. I'm not a native of this country, but I'm grateful to the Thanks Giving holiday. Not only is it a day off from the usual grind, but its a genuine chance to take stock, reflect and appreciate just how much mountain biking (and its community) really means to me. Cheers!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

MTB Mutt

Another long stretch with nothing blog-worthy to upload. Not to say I haven't been riding, I have. Living in Fairfax means I can pedal out of my front door and soon be hitting dirt. We've been riding the usual haunts on a regular basis and I'm continuing my roadie commuting commitment. There's also some cool stuff on the horizon : checking out Stafford Lake Bike Park is a hot agenda item and there's whispers of a summer Whistler trip too. Until then, I'm keen to simply enjoy my favorite time of the year - Autumn! (I still refuse to call it Fall.) The air is crisp, clear and at times bitterly cold (by California standards anyways) but I do love the holiday season. Each ride feels like an adventure and the trail conditions are often perfect. Plenty of sunshine sprinkled with just enough scattered rain to create beautiful tacky dirt.

This year I have a new riding buddy to share good trails time with : Chana! Our beautiful 9 month old mutt. As soon as we got her I had dreams of her running like the wind - tongue lolling out the side of her face as I ripped alongside her. This weekend we went to Sorich Ranch and did just that. Chana wasn't at all bothered by the bike, in fact she has a bad habit of getting too close to the wheels. As much as I'll try to avoid her, a quick accidental rubbery buzz to her hind quarters is inevitable. But she's a tough, fearless girl. Thats why I love her! I can't wait for the many trail adventures we'll share.