Ales and Trails: Bikes, Beer, BBQ & Buddies!

Team Lost Coast Brewery enjoyed a third year at Ales and Trails- one of the most enjoyable days on a bike you can find anywhere. This year the event was pushed back to June after a soggy 2009 event in May. The weather was PERFECT for it- blue skies, sunshine, 80degrees with a nice breeze blowing off the bay, and turnout was impressive. I arrived early and said hello to the Marin Bikes peeps as they set up their tents and enjoyed some bagels and coffee from Noah’s. Mo, myself, and Brian were all scheduled to lead rides and the sign up sheets for our rides were filling up fast. It seemed like more people than I’ve seen before were motivated to do the rides before the BBQ, due in part to the incredible weather I imagine. Before I knew it, practically the entire Marin bikes demo fleet was on the trail with various riders doing test rides and Maureen and Yuri were departing for their co-ed endurance ride with a group of 10. I snapped some quick shots as they discussed their route with their group and rolled out.
Not long after, Matt headed out to help guide a big group of riders departing with Dave Weins. By the time my ride departed at 10:30 there were already at least 50 riders on the trails at China Camp, so we switched up our route a little bit and stopped at the main entrance for more water. I had an awesome group for my ride. Everyone was pretty close in ability so the gaps waiting for people were never very long and everyone had a super positive attitude; smiling, cheering, and yielding respectfully to the other riders on the trail. Folks from all over come to this event to support IMBA (and have a good time). There were people from Auburn, SF, Tracy, and the East Bay on the ride I led. We stopped at the top of the steep climb to the missile site, took a group photo, ate some snacks, and enjoyed the incredible views of the Bay. We then continued downward and enjoyed miles of ripping, flowing singltrack back to the group at miwok meadows. With only one crash and no flats or getting lost, it was one of the most successful rides I’ve been on with a group that size, and so much fun!
Back at the event I eagerly got in line for some amazing food. Catered by the CIA, I filled up my plate with delicious goodies- salad, fruit, couscous, meat, while watching one of their talented chefs hack roasted pork off a pig carcass! I joined Mo at a picnic table and we shared a pint glass of cold Lost Coast beer and noshed on our lunch. At our table we were joined bv such mountain biking luminaries as Dave Weins- 6 time Leadville 100 winner, Austin McInerny- driving force behind high school mountain biking, and Yuri Hauswald- endurance mountain bike racer and newly appointed marketing director of Marin Bikes. I raked Yuri’s brain for last minute advice for the Cascade Creampuff 100 mountain bike race that I’m doing in 2 weeks (!) and found out from Dave how they were able to get such amazing footage for Race Across the Sky (helicopters, foot crews, motorcycles, and lots of planning!). After lunch, Yuri introduced me to Azul, one of the great people at Camelbak and got me outfitted with an Octane XCT, a minimalist pack which has a supportive hip strap with pockets along it to access food or gear while riding. I test rode it on a very HOT ride at Tamaracho Camp on Sunday with Mo, Matt, and Ethan and it works great, very comfortable! Thanks to Yuri and Camelback, hopefully it will help me on upcoming epic adventure! I finished an awesome 2010 Ales and Trails with some more beer tasting, chatting with Nicole and Brian, and spending time with my wonderful team mates. Right before I finally loaded my bike into the car and drove back to mo’s house for some much needed rest, I peeked at the beer voting sheet, and it looked like Lost Coast was pretty much winning the taster’s choice award, but we’ll wait for the official announcement before gloating too much 😉