We met up in Santa Cruz this last weekend for our annual training camp. We’ve been having the camp there for the last three years because the combination of trail quality and mid February weather are hard to beat. With the rain the previous week, and the cloudless skies in the mid seventies, conditions couldn’t have been better. Hero dirt was abundant.
Saturday was the first day of riding with us sticking to trails close to town: Campus, Wilder Ranch, and some trails up highway 9. Santa Cruz local and team alumnus Austin Riba was there to
show us the way. It was a great day to shake out all of the cobwebs from the winter of road riding, and for Bekah and Chad to try out their new Marins (a Mt. Vision XM 9 and a Rift Zone XC 8).
We rented a house a block or two from the beach with a nice sunny front yard for hanging out in watching people walk by going to or coming from the beach. A good crew was assembled including most of the team: Bekah, Chad, Danny, and Kevin (Gretchen had family obligations and couldn’t make it), team alumnus and co-founder Tsering, and two of Bekah’s Oregon friends Carolyn and Adele all crashing at the house.
Day two had us start our ride in Aptos. The infamous Post Office jumps there were being torn down on Tuesday. There were some events and music to celebrate the last few sessions before they would be razed and replaced with a strip mall. It was cool to see how skilled the dirt jumpers were, but sad knowing it would be gone after the weekend.
For the ride, Bekah, the Oregon ladies, and Austin opted for a shorter ride in Nicene Marks, while Chad, Kevin, Tsering, and I decided to go for a bigger ride up in Soquel Demonstration forest. This ended up being a pretty big ride. Since it was training camp, there was some obligatory racing each other 2500 ft up the hill to the top. This was followed by some ripping runs on Corral, Saw-pit, and Braile trail. One last slog up to the top got us to our access trail that would take us all the way back down to Aptos. With the mid day start, we were racing the sun back down, exiting the forest just as it was getting too dark to see. Forty five hard miles, and 7500 feet of climbing, and tons of KJ’s racked up on our Stages power meters made for a very solid day.
Bekah and I opted for one last ride on Monday as some friends from college were in town. We headed back up the hill to ride Demo again, but at a more relaxed pace. Two laps had us hitting Braile, and the open sections of the new flow trail. We all thought it was really well executed, especially the well built berms. I like the new flow trails at South Lake and Tamarancho, but enjoy the flow of this trail better. The builders did an excellent job of laying out the trail to carry momentum without having to be overly heavy on the brakes.