A portion of the proceeds will go to Ross Dillon, Matt Wilson Memorial Scholarship and the El Molino Mtb Team.
This is my “go to” image for Lake Sonoma. It sums up the color, texture and rolling rhythm of the trail. Mid October of last year I decided to bring back a MTB stage in the Grasshopper Adventure Series and am stoked I did. We will be back next year and this will be part of the overall point series. The ride itself is less social than Old Caz, Chileno Valley or King Ridge, but the overall experience was a highlight for me. Mountain bike racing is a strange thing. Unlike road events, you can turn completely inward and race against the clock. It’s nice to have company but not necessary. The narrow, challenging single track condenses a 2hr +race into fractional moments; stop-motion film making in our minds. I was lucky to get to ride the course on Thursday with Kevin Gambini from Breakaway Bikes and Brooke and Amity from Machines for Freedom. And I loved taking a leisurely pace marking the course. Saturday was no such affair. The pre-race prep was much the same for me. No, not my diet, hydration and bike work but the craziness of another work week slamming into a Hopper weekend. I did manage to clean my drivetrain, check the air pressure and grab a clean kit to wear. 3 GUs and a HealthWarrior Chia Bar were enough food for the day and fresh 2.3 Specialized Captains gave me confidence on the sometime packed, other times loose, ripping trails. I finished packing the trailer by 10:30 PM on Friday, ice at Safeway at 11 and in bed by 11:30. Up at 5 to be ready for reg by 6:45. As if racing isn’t challenging enough, I’ve come to enjoy the crazy pleasure that Hoppers bring me; with a cold start with no warm up. Saturday I had to drop the microphone after a pre ride chat and make a running cyclo-cross start in order to make the front group heading up Skaggs. Front…well, I tried. A wicked for me, casual for them, pace by Ted King and Levi Leipheimer forced me to settle into the second group. My aspirations of a top 5 or 10 were quickly fading. Luckily Cameron Falconer came by just as I was loosing hope and gave me a bit of a rest. As long as there was no traffic heading into the opening single track we would be all good. I took hole shot from our small group across the parking lot and into the single; was a relief not to have to make any passes on the technical initial section. I soon saw Forest Murnane and Roger Bartels so knew I wasn’t doing too bad. “Smooth before fast” is my mtb mantra and so I put it to the test, settling into a rhythm I could sustain after a blistering start. I eventually picked off a couple of riders but never caught Roger. At the feed I was sitting in 5th so started feeling the pressure. I got my Camelbak hand-up from Kevin and attacked the short but steep climb after the feed. The second half of the loop is the “space out zone” for me. With no one on my tail that I could see I focused on hydrating and staying out of the red zone. But as we finished the last couple of turns on the madrone climb I saw Forest and Michael Hosey catching on quickly. I made a resolution to stick it on the grassy and rocky section that followed but couldn’t shake Forest. Michael cracked so at least I held off one. The last climb was hard but better than climbing Bummer Peak, and the sweet BoarSkat trail was a fantastic finish!
Congrats to Forest Murnane and Cassidy Mountjoy for fantastic rides. The pups get fast quickly.
Thanks to Chef Correa from El Molino Culinary for making lunch. Thanks to Kevin and Breakaway Bikes for the feed and Support. Camelbak for the rad podium bottles, GU for the gels and hydration. Thanks to HealthWarrior Chia bars and Guayaki at the feed and finish. Thanks BarFly, The Hive, Arnot Roberts and Mercury Wheels for the rider swag. And thanks to all who came out to make it a fantastic day on two wheels.