Month: October 2012

Rockville Skills Clinic

Bekah and I hosted a skills clinic this last Saturday at Rockville hills Regional Park near Fairfield, CA. Living in Davis, can be great for cycling. It has been voted one of the most bike friendly communities in the country, and has a large, competitive contingent of road racers. Unfortunately, being in the middle of the central valley, with a 45 minute drive from the hills, means that few people in town get introduced to riding on dirt. In trying to introduce more people to the sport, Bekah and I decided to host a skills clinic for the cycling team at UC Davis, which, like the rest of the community, is predominantly focused on road riding.

Rockville is almost like it was made to hold skills clinics. The small park has tons of trails crisscrossing each other, so any given section is never far off. Additionally, there is a large diversity of terrain allowing for riders of all skill levels to have a good time. You can find everything there from fireroad, to mellow singletrack, to hecktic tight singletrack, to rockgardens, and big drops. It’s a great little park.

We had a good showing for the clinic drawing 9 riders evenly split in gender of various skill levels, to the three instructors: Bekah, our friend Andy, and I. All of the riders had done some mountain bike riding before, but those who considered themselves mountain bikers were very much in the minority. After a quick survey of what the riders were interested in learning, we decided to go for a more intermediate/advanced lesson and really focus on honing a few techniques.

We first spent a while going over cornering. We had them work on some drills to hit home the idea of how to lean and weight the bike in the corner. After everyone got a good sense of that, and some practice taking some flat corners, we headed up the hill to practice on a fun, windy, singletrack descent. The drills seemed to help, as everyone was able to start to get the proper technique down fairly quickly.

Next up, we headed over to Rockville’s famous rockgarden to practice riding up and over obstacles. We went over the technique of how to lift and shift your weight to get up and over a rock step-up. The lower rockgarden is a great place to practice this as the step-ups become progressively larger. Some had a little more trouble with this than the cornering, and were not quite able to link together the timing. Trying to think about so many things can be overwhelming, so we decided to finish up the lesson portion, and just go for a fun ride for the rest of the time where the skills could be applied. By the end of the fun ride, and with the lesson environment pressure removed, the riders previously having trouble we able to go through the motions to get up and over step-ups.

In all I think it was a pretty successful skills ride. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I hope that it puts them one step closer to considering themselves mountain bikers


first ever lost sierra endurance run

Post by Bekah Rottenberg

What better way to celebrate the birthday of two good friends than by punishing yourself (and your friends) with a 15 mile trail run in the Sierras? I certainly couldn’t think of a better plan, so a crew of my friends headed to the Yuba River for camping, biking, swimming, running, and other shenanigans.

The two birthday kids and I awoke at 4:45am Saturday morning, made coffee which we drank out of a bowl because we couldn’t find any mugs, and ate almond butter and jalapeno jam sandwiches for breakfast. The jalapeno jam was my mistake, I had thought it was blackberry, or some other delicious home-made fruit jam, but fortunately it wasn’t too spicy and didn’t cause any disasters later on along the trail. 

The run started at 7am when it was chilly and the sun had barely crested over the mountains. There were a modest 180 runners, and the feelings at the start line were cheery and friendly.  This was the inaugural event of the Lost Sierra’s Endurance Run, and it felt cool to be part of a first time event. The gun sounded, which was actually one of the volunteers saying in a regular speaking voice, “Ready, Set, GO” and off we went, plodding along the road until we turned onto the Mills Peak trail. We proceeded to climb up for 9 miles, gaining 3,000 ft of elevation in the process. I found the climb to be rather enjoyable as I simply ran at my own pace, occasionally walking the steep sections, and trying not to spend too much time thinking about how much fun I’d be having if I were biking down the trail rather than running up. At one point I kicked a rock and fell over. It was embarrassing because I had just passed an older gentleman, and he gave me a kind, understanding look as I picked myself up, dusted off my legs, and kept going. I eventually reached the top and was thrilled to discover there were only 4 miles remaining, and they were all downhill!

I ran down the dusty trail, letting gravity do as much work as possible while ensuring my knees and ankles stayed strong. I had thought very little about placing in the run, it was more of an event I wanted to participate in, not compete in. But towards the end of the down-hill two chicks came barreling past me and that got my competitive juices flowing. I knew one of the girls was in my category because we had chatted on the climb and I had no idea about the other girl. The trail continued to descend, and I kept the girls in my sight. I was pretty sure I could beat the two women, and while I had initiated the run with no grand plans of placing, I realized I’d be disappointed with myself if I didn’t at least try to pass the pair in front of me. I continued to follow as the trail continued to descend. Finally I heard bells and cheering – the end must be near! The trail crossed a small creek then suddenly started to climb. This was my moment. I always enjoy accelerating into the start of a climb as I hear my freshman year soccer coach in my head yelling at me, “Get up that hill, you hate hills.” I did hate that hill as I quickly moved past the girls, and also quickly started gasping for air. But I pushed on.  The hill was long and my legs started to slow down considerably as I reached the top, but that distance was all I needed. I huffed my way to the finish for the win where I was greeted with a margarita snow cone by the founder of Yuba Expeditions.  I ended up placing first in my category (women 30 – 39) and 7th for overall women. The after race party included a free lunch, beer from Sierra Nevada, and a band. While it wasn’t biking, the Lost Sierra Endurance Run was an excellent event, and you’ll find me back next year!

– bekah