Back to the grind

The grasshopper adventure series Old Caz Ride on January 28th was a blast. Over 500 bicyclists raced or rode in perfect 60 degree weather through redwoods, riverside, creeks, mud and tarmac. This ride is 50 plus miles and 4700 feet of elevation. I was proud of my finish, I learned many lessons and enjoyed the camaderie of fellow riders. This was all in fun and a great warm up for continued training. The old caz route is a typical day for my ride around the bay ridge trail. 

Sunday after the ride it was back to the pack mule,  I am currently trying out a new pair of Jones H-bars. These  handlebars are a bit different for a mountain bike, a swept back cruiser look with a cross bar up front. They are very comfortable,gear friendly  and super stable on the downhill. I  think of my bike as a wheelbarrow now. A few local training routes include the geysers pine mountain flat and lake Sonoma near Healdsburg CA. The first two are serious road climbs and lake Sonoma is a singletrack torture fest of 700 foot whoops. After three years and four bikes, I think we are dialed, The 2016 Jamis Dragonslayer with 2.8 WTB ranger tires, A low gear of 26X36, H bars and a brooks saddle. All about the comfort. I have plenty of room for supplies in the Defiant frame bag,  Oveja Negra saddle bag ,Harness, and Wanderlust Monida bags.  


Marin Trail Report 

MLK weekend riding in Sonoma and Marin. Using a computer to map a route doesn’t always relate to reality. You can see named roads and trails on the map, arrive in person and see  a no trespassing or  no bikes sign  I did have fun exploring around and asking  for directions.  To find the trailheads  I learned to look for cars bunched on the side of the road and follow the canine crowd. In the first mile of many city open spaces, it is crowded with shepherds, pit mixes, labradoodles and every type of dog imaginable. This will  be a welcome but surreal scene after a few days of riding  on the Bay Area ridge trail. This brought to mind,  could this common group of trail users be an untraditional ally for the Bay Area ridge trail ?     

Sunday’s goal,  to scout out chicken shack and big rock fire roads. These bypass routes are steep and demanding. Over to the South side,  the big rock segment of the Bay Area ridge trail is my new favorite. Beautiful groomed doublewide trail with water bar whoops, pumps, perfect elevation grades, and excellent drainage.After riding trails in ankle deep mud, it was refreshing to glide on hard pack. The views of Marin, The coast and the bay are wide open and worth it . Below this trail is sky walker ranch, Marin with it’s beauty must have influenced many films.    

Live to Ride, Ride for Community

My career as Kitchen Collective chef at the Redwood Empire food bank has taught me lessons on community. I have learned the people we help are not the only ones who benefit,.A community of volunteers is needed to produce our meals, these volunteers have raised their happiness and success in life through giving. To help the community that shares the ridge trail , my gift is raising  awareness of the Bay Area ridge trail and promoting advocacy between users .I met with the Bay Area ridge trail council this week to ask this community for their support. At our meeting it was apparant  The Bay Area Ridge trail council also needs additional support with donations and volunteers. Please support this wonderful non profit organization.   

Last month I watched a film (personal gold) a documentary about the 2012 women’s track cycling team competing at the London Olympics. The US Cycling team was at a disadvantage in national support vs other countries.They overcame the odds and won a silver medal in the team trial event.  The women  learned the most  valuable aspect of their win was the team that supported them, ad hoc trainers, dietitians, doctors, sports technology and an incredible amount of assistance from their husbands. 

Today my ride took me to Sugarloaf state park, Sonoma Mountain and Annadel sections of the Bay Area ridge trail. This is my neighborhood and some very challenging turf. The rain might have been a blessing after all. The time in the gym let me work with spin bicycle trainers. All day in my head I listened to  “hydrate””pedal in full circles” “run up that hill” “hover” good for bumpy downhills, and most important “you got this”.  My training  may not be as sophisticated  as the Olympic women’s supporting team but it is growing and I’m listening. 

Look out Ridge Trail, I’m coming for you!


Mapping it out

  1. The rain has been falling in Northern California, if this storm is an atmospheric river, then we are in the waterfall right now. The Russian river is at flood stage, roads are closed and the mud is keeping me off the trails. In between gym time , I am planning the route. I will have to connect the bay ridge trail with fire roads or bike friendly roads. My references include the Bay Area ridge trail book by Jean Rusmore, strava heat maps, bike touring maps and ride with gps. The route is downloaded to the Garmin. I chose a gps over smartphone for signal strength, and AA batteries (important). I plan on taking paper maps and when on my bike not afraid to ask for directions. 

Any ride is a good ride

The last day of December training ride was through Annadel and  Sugarloaf State Parks. This section of the Bay Area ridge trail is an out and back route on 2729 foot Bald mountain. Majority of the trail in Sugarloaf is paved for bicycles, possibly the steepest bike path in California. For the entire ride  I had 5200 ft of climbing ” a mile! It was a wet return though Annadel making it time to be one with this mud. Off to Calistoga to purge the toxins of 2016 and  start the new year. 

Mud Baths in Calistoga

Bald Mountain towards Napa Valley

Jan 5,  This has been one wet winter!  All those rain dances, prayers and wishes for the drought to end are now being paid forward. The sun will come out today ,we are expecting another series of storms,and I better get out there and ride. 
 The commute was a Bay Area cold 32 degrees and foggy. In the moment It appears Mother Nature is directing  my ridge trail training to the gym . There will be many spin classes, heavy lifting and the endless trail on the treadmill. I am looking forward to the first adventure ride of the year, Old CAZ, (more on old Caz later) 

New year, new commitments 

To Bicycle ride the Bay Area ridge trail is a long term ambition of mine. I imagined traveling around the bay the way a through hiker does with the appellation or sierra crest trail  The ridge trail was a William Penn Mott Jr. dream , a longtime advocate and imagineer for open spaces. The ridge trail would surround the ridges hilltops and mountains of the San Francisco Bay . This trail would pass through 9 counties and 75 parks. This dream  is now being carried on with countless volunteers and committees dedicated to finishing the Bay Area ridge trail. The ridge trail will unite  communities of the Bay Area with our most treasured resource, Open space. 

The journey has begun. Planning, plotting courses  and  a lot of training. It is hard to focus on anything else. Do I have the right equipment? Will I have enough training before the trip ? How far can “I ride” in a day? And so much to learn about social media. This is becoming a transformation from my former self, a journey of overcoming fears and learning what we can achieve with will and determination.