Month: May 2011

Nevada City Epic 50-Miler

Last week I got a casual message on Facebook from a friend inviting me and several others to join him for a 50 mile mountain bike ride outside of Nevada City. I naively replied that sure, I’d love to join him for an epic, but didn’t know how truly epic the ride would actually be. Hyland is an endurance rider who splits his time between Chico and Nevada City and was an excellent ride leader. I met up with him and two friends- Stosh and Erin to start an all-day adventure on Friday in Nevada City. We rolled out from town on some sweet techy singletrack and then climbed along the flumes to scenic “Taxi Cab” trail over rocky grasslands that reminded me of Chico. We connected to the Pioneer Trail which follows hwy 20 into the Sierras. We were on the steady climb up Pioneer Trails for about 12 miles. Stosh and Erin eventually peeled off as they were doing the same ride as us the next day as a supported benefit ride. From the top of Pioneer, we flew down a super steep dirt road descent to Washington. Washington is a tiny town by the Yuba river with about 250 people, a store, trailer park, and a bar. We filled up our packs with water there and stuffed our jerseys with granola bars and snacks. At this point we were only 25 miles into the ride, but had already been out for 3.5 hours. I was nervous and excited about the rest of the ride.
We rolled from Washington the the start of the South Yuba Trail- 17 miles of single-track along the river. I was blown away by how beautiful the views of the river were and how steep the trail was! The South Yuba Trail was one punchy climb after another! It seemed like we were working super hard, but barely moving! Hyland was encouraging and patient as I worked through my exhaustion and fought off the gnats that seemed to want to crawl inside my nostrils and eyelids. About 1/2 of the way (and 2 hours) into the South Yuba trail we stopped for a snack break and washed the poison oak off our legs and arms. I forced myself to eat some snacks and inhaled a package of chomps and a mint chocolate GU. Re-fueling brought me back to life and I was able to granny gear it up the impossibly steep climbs with switchbacks that led us to the end of South Yuba. After a quick road descent, we made it to the pavement climb of death- 18 of 20% grade that just kept going. We were about 42 miles and 7hours into the ride and the climb was pretty torturous. I went at a mellow pace and tried to fight off the leg cramps that seemed to be creeping up on me. At the top of the climb we stopped at a christian camp to re-fill water. My body was shaking from the exertion. I ate another GU and dropped a Gu brew tablet in my bottle. We kept a steady pace to the next section of singletrack, a super fun swoopy trail that led us through the woods and back to Nevada City. When we rolled up to my car it was 8:20pm and we’d been out for 9hours, EPIC! I quickly changed, warmed up in the car and headed to the co-op in Grass Valley where I devoured a grass fed beef burrito and downed a cup of coffee to survive the drive back to Chico. I’ve done some pretty epic rides before (Creampuff 100, training rides with Brian in Gualala, etc.) but this one took the cake. It was amazing- challenging, scenic, technical, steep, and almost all single-track! I will definitely be back to ride more in this area. Thanks again to Hyland for his excellent navigation and patience. Check out the ride profile from his Garmin here: Pioneer-South Yuba Ride

How about an Epic Ride to get back in shape!?

During a training ride in February I got in a nasty crash and ended up with a broken wrist on the right, a sprained wrist on the left, and a cracked rib. The crash was sudden and unexpected and the aftermath was pretty miserable. Having both of my hands damaged left me unable to do everyday tasks such as cleaning dishes and preparing meals, using tools at work, (of course) riding a bike. Leading up to the crash, I felt like I was in pretty good shape- riding frequently, gaining confidence on the technical trails in Chico, and getting out on long road rides on my new bike. The crash was a serious set-back and was hard to not feel discouraged and stir-crazy.
Once my rib started to heal and I was outfitted with a cast and brace, I started riding the trainer at home (no handed, to keep weight off my hands) and watched hours of downhill racing videos for inspiration. I pulled out my running shoes and began walking, then jogging, then running to feel the fresh air on my face and the springtime sun. Those who know me well know how much I HATE running, but after a while it was sort of enjoyable to jog through the park and smile at all the people staring at my purple cast :). Six long weeks later, the cast was removed and I was anxious to ride again. The first few bike rides were pretty pitiful- my hands were feeble from weeks of now using them and tender to the touch. My legs felt sluggish and heavy and my rib would ache of the terrain was rough at all. I did many mountain bike rides on the pavement and tried my best to be patient.
Now it’s May and my body is finally feeling better. To get some miles back in the legs, I made a last minute decision to ride the Tour of the Unknown Coast century ride in Humboldt over mother’s day weekend. Ethan and I were planning on doing the ride together but a nasty crash left him with a broken arm a couple weeks ag0 (I know, the tragic irony!) so without my ride buddy, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go it alone. But, when I heard that Sandy Rosas from Chico was doing the ride for the first time, I jumped on the opportunity to do it with her. Sandy generously let us crash at her hotel room in Fortuna the night before but when we woke up at 5:30am to get ready for the 7am start, it felt like I’d barely closed my eyes. There was a big starting group in Ferndale and the morning temps weren’t too chilly. Sandy and I decided we would ride mellow and pace ourselves for what would be a long day and hope to get in a group for the flat sections with some strong riders we could draft. The first few rollers out of Ferndale led us towards 101 and then onto the Avenue of the Giants. Riding through the Avenue I was reminded of how incredible and breathtaking the Redwoods trees are. I smiled and breathed in their musk as the fog rose off the Eel River. We stoped at the first rest stop off the Ave and re-filled bottles and stocked up on GUs. We then headed towards Panther Gap along the rough pot-hole filled roads. Sandy and I agreed to go our own pace on the hills and we cruised up the first big climb of the day. I was having some shifting issues but was able to get up and over the climb and still feel fresh. Sandy caught up to me on the descent and was all smiles, showing to signs of fatigue. She ripped down the descent into Honeydew like a fearless falcon while I was much slower and hesitant. We headed out with a good group to the lunch rest stop where an awesome mechanic from Revolution helped fix my shifting and Sandy got a massage. Relaxed and re-fueled, we made our way across the undulating rollers to Petrolia, then along the coast to the base of “The Wall”. The TUC is known as California’s Toughest Century and “The Wall” and the endless hills after it, are a big part of how it earned that label. The Wall shoots straight up (20% grade) from the coast and is followed by a serious of super steep hills for the last 20 miles of a very hard ride. Sandy was blown away by the steepness of the wall and we agreed to tackle it at our own pace and meet at the end. I chugged up it and just kept going, enjoying the incredible views and camaraderie of the other riders grinding upward. Some of the roads heading back to Ferndale were pretty nasty- potholes, drops, and gravel patches. After over 9,000 feet of climbing, I rolled back into the fairgrounds at 8 hrs 30 mins and my hands were aching, but I couldn’t help but smile. Sandy rolled in not long after and we all headed to the brewery for some hard-earned onion rings. They were heavenly 🙂
The next day I celebrated mothers day and my little brother’s 13th birthday with my family. I was super excited to give both of my little brothers mountain bikes and riding gear as gifts. They are awesome kids- straight A students, super kind, and very helpful. They’ve needed bikes for a while and were surprised and stoked. It felt good to be able to share my passion with them and I look forward to taking them on rides, teaching them skills, and showing them all the local trails. -E

Brian’s Sea Otter/ Lake Sonoma Report

Well sea otter has come and gone. It was the typical sea otter sufferfest. The start was a massive 120 person blast off the line, half track lap into a narrow 4 turn schikane and onto the single track. 2 crashes later while waiting to be shoe horned through the first turns with the other half of the field I watched the leaders take off onto the singe track and disapear out of sight. It’s a shame that they don’t use the start of the old course because the field was able to be wittled down a little more gradually and there is a little more of a chance to duke it out. Oh well that’s the way it goes. The Marin cxr 29er was definitely the right weapon for the job along with the super fast rolling WTB nano raptors. The two of them together totally smoothed out the choppy sections of the course. To my dismay it was another sea otter result that I’ll be hiding. What else can I say about sea otter. Huge venue and everyone I came in contact with was super helpful and even though super busy, made time if asked. It was also great to spend some time with all of the Team Lost Coast crew and to catch up with all of our awesome sponsors.

The next weekend was a bit smaller of a venue, it was lake sonoma #2. It is kind my back yard course, if my back yard was 40 windy miles long. It is a fun punchy course without too many sections to sit up and drink, which is why I rocked my camelback race-bak. This first lap was lead by Michael Hosey of the Marin factory team and it was fast and fun. Then into the second lap I was able to put in a good effort and make some time on Hosey and hold it. I had a great race with strong legs. I hope the rest of the season feels as good as a lake sonoma! Nicole Garcia also from team lost coast brewery/Marin raced lake sonoma and crushed 4 whole laps of that rough course. Lost coast brewery/ marin had a great day we both finished first in our categories and are ready for the next event! Grass hopper geysers (road) is the next mission sat april 30th, check it out!