Grasshopper Jerseys 2016

We loved last years design so much we just tweeked the colors and a couple of things. Hope you like it. If you got one last year, add to your Capo Hopper apparel. If you missed out, here you go! Order link is above  “Sponsors” on our home page.Jersey $95 Bibs $115. Order deadline is Feb 15th for May 28th pick up at Skaggs.  

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Rocket Rog’

256302_10150939999256540_1511879600_o I met Roger Bartels in 1992. I had just graduated from Humboldt State University with my BA in Spanish and was supposedly touching down for a bit in Sebastopol before heading on for untold adventures. Then mountain biking happened. Gianni Bike Shop and Cycling Team happened. I had come home finally to come home; into a community and family of passionate folks both on and off the bike. I was 22 and Roger was 32. We began racing in Sport Category together and soon found ourselves toe to toe at Wiskeytown, LaGrange and The Lemurian. I thought he was fast for his age; I still think he’s fast for his age and maybe if he takes up golf or sailing I’ll be faster than him someday. In the last 18 years I think Roger has only missed one or two Grasshoppers and has at least a fist full of Spikes as the fastest overall during the Hopper season. The plan has always been to push riders to the limits on roads that seem to defy logic; in their patchwork of backyard connectors, steep climbs, horrific pavement, gravel, creek crossings and often crazy weather. (at least when we had tough Winters). I think Roger has loved the challenge, mostly he’s just too stubborn, and too much of a fun-hog to stay away. Everyone who has ridden with Roger knows the hard man he is. Either intervals in the dark on the way back from a Giants game, weekend rides in West County, hill repeats  or post novacaine sessions from Healdsburg; tongue hanging, lips flapping after the World Fastest Dentist has just worked you over. The stories are too many to tell and we’ll save these for over a cold one after Old Caz this year.


I recently shot Rog a few questions that he was able to answer on his layover en route to Vietnam. He’s off for a couple of weeks with his family to tour Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand by bike. Not so bad eh?

1. How long have you been riding and competing?
Since last century….1991 was my first  Mtb. Bike race,Napa Valley Dirt Classic. I tacco’d a wheel on the backside and had to be moto’d out

2. What is your background in competitive sports?
Swimming AAU from 6-14 then football,wrestling, track,sailboat racing, 10k’s, triathlon’s(all American short course), open water swimming (all American long course). I was preparing for a 10k swim across the Golden Gate when I discovered Lake Ilsango was a go to place to train and a Mountain bike was the best way to get up there. Dave Halstead from the “Pink Palace” was our landlord in 1990 and he got me my first Mtb, a Bridgestone MB1. ( still have it)
3. You have the nickname, “White Lightning and WFD”. What are the origins and meanings of the names? Yuri started calling me “white lightning” years ago in reference to dental “Caine”  and anesthetics. He gave us all nicknames back in the 90’s.
 Pete Sweeney of The “Fighten Boba’s” started “wfd” when he was mc’ing the  4th of July Kenwood foot race in 1998. I was coming into the finish and he called me out on my 3rd place finish at the Veteran world Mtb championships in Caines Australia the previous fall.
4. I believe you have a day job. How do you fit in so much fun, adventure, travel and racing while managing a business and working?
It’s always been a lifestyle choice for me. 4 day work week with at least an hour of recess on workdays and 6 weeks off a year. No brainier!
5. Many legendary pros such as Geoff Kabushch, Max Plaxton, Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon call you the godfather. Why is that?

They come down from Canada when the weather gets foul, to train.  Sneddy in particular, has always checked into the “Casa Bartels” and I first met him at   a Grasshopper in Pt Reyes years ago maybe 2004?…..remember that one Mig when I took the out of towners( Broderick, Sned,Rudy) off course down to the beach off of Mt Vision?

6. Tell us about one or two of your greatest successes as a cyclist.
1996 Veteran National Champion, Norba Series  National Champion, 1996 Masters  World Championships Bronze Medalist, 1997 6th in Worlds,
7. You have been riding the Grasshoppers since they began 18 years ago. What is it about these rides that keep you coming back?

Peer pressure 

8. Do you have a favorite Hopper memory

That’s like asking me who my favorite child is! They are all great memories!

My first Hopper Victory was at Point Reyes. Seeing Kim’s expression when I came into the finish off of Bolinas Ridge was pretty cool.

I always love it when you get double legs cramps too!

9. What bike is the perfect set up for Old Caz? It depends on the weather and conditions but probably

X bike with  tubeless,  file tread 38s and a seat dropper.

10. What animal is your totem spirit and why?
Monkey….See photo

11. What’s next on your list of goals and plans for adventures?
Family bike ride from Saigon to Bangcok.  Trans BC Enduro in July with Barry and Sneddy. To keep living Phat!
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How to Find More Time To Ride

How do I find more time to ride? Do you ever ask yourself this question? If you, like me, are balancing a family, work, a passion for cycling, owning a home and busy kids’ schedules you should listen to Leo’s lecture. Or, I could just some it up for you, “Stop doing stupid shit!” Love it!

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Hopper Turns 18!

2016 will be election year once again and we are turning 18. Legal to vote, fight for your country, get married but not drink a cold beer. Where does Burnie Sanders stand on this?

Dates for 2016 are posted and in addition to this we are bring back Lake Sonoma Mtb on April 30. Stay tuned for updates and details. In the mean time, happy trail!

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Grasshopper #5 King Ridge Dirt Supreme

Everything you need to know…and some killer photos too!

King Ridge Dirt Supreme

kruse ranch

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Skaggs Summary

“I don’t think we’ll get more than 150”, I told Tera. It’s getting to be the busy part of the cycling season, it was Sea Otter weekend and we still had 190 starters. At Skaggs! Even with all my warning and course descriptions we had a huge turn-out. Perhaps it was exactly the challenge that so many riders were looking for. It was a thrill to hear so many thank you’s and praises of the course and the support. I even heard there were several riders who walked their road bikes uphill for the first time. Sweet! It’s a lot of fun crafting  Hopper loops that push  riders to the limit but does not slip into the realm of ultra-endurance. Skaggs is just long enough and hard enough for you to be a bit worried and conservative early on, yet short enough to push yourself to your limit.

A huge thanks goes out to our SAG Chris and his son, Echelon and Spoke Folk. The days are gone when Grasshoppers meant finding your own water and totally winging it. It’s still an adventure but with a little more support. And a big thanks to our product sponsors GU Energy, Osmo Nutrition, Guayaki, Bear Republic Brewery and Health Warrior. I am honored to have awesome local bike shops support our rides and amazing local companies contribute hydration and nutrition for our riders. Let’s count the beer as hydration and recovery.

Thanks to those of you who gave a little something extra for the Matt Wilson Scholarship. We will be donating $1,000 to the scholarship; all of which will go to graduating seniors from the class of 2015 at El Molino High School. I know Matt’s Spirit was wind at our backs climbing up from the Gualala River.




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Skaggs Warriors!

Holy Smokes! 190 starters and 168 finishers! We are completely blown away; could there be a more challenging 97 miles? Huge thanks to Echelon, Spoke Folk, Bear Republic,  Chris Coppinget and son for the SAG, and Ryan Price for working his magic on the grill. More of a report to follow but time to rest up for another busy week of work. Don’t forget Grasshopper Finale King Ridge Dirt Supreme is May 9th. Will mellow you out for Mothers Day. :)

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Tomorrow’s Skaggs! Hopper

Here’s the details I sent our via email for riders who pre-registered. Online Reg closes today at 6 PM. There will be day of sign ups.

We’re almost there. All the news you need and not a minute too soon. I’ll keep this note brief and to the point. Please read every last drop as it’s difficult to cover everything the day of the ride.

First, thanks for joining us on another epic adventure on the best and most remote Sonoma County Roads. If you’ve done Skaggs, you’re stoked and a little nervous. If you haven’t, your mind will be blown…legs too. And you should be a little nervous.

Second, we are riding in memory of Matt Wilson who graduated from El Molino High School. By the age of 23 Matt had already completed the Terrible Two 5 times! That requires riding Trinity and the Geysers before doing what we’re about to do. We will be making a donation to his scholarship fund and if you are able to make an additional donation we’d gladly accept it.

Third, fourth, fifth etc.

Skaggs is no joke. It’s a huge ride and there are no short routes home once you hit King Ridge. You must be in very good condition and ride smart. Preview the Route so you are familiar with the turns and when the climbs and descents come.

Let’s start at the START. As usual you will sign in and reg. No need to bring any paperwork. You can print out a waiver if you have not come to any Hoppers this year. They can be found under Rules of Engagement.Speaking of Rules…remember this is a ride and not a sanctioned race. Ride safely and obey all traffic laws. Sign in is across from the visitor’s center at Group Site 1. We’ll be ready by 8.

There will be 2 feed/hydration stations. There will be OsmoGU Chia Bars fromHealth Warrior and Guayaki. The first is at mile 50 and will be presented byEchelon Cycles and MultiSport.

The second will be around mile 82 and will be presented by SpokeFolk CylcleryIt’s essential that you fill two full bottles at each feed, or more. At mile 82 you have a 25 +/- climb followed by a 10 minute climb and then a 15 minute climb. Don’t sweat the weight. Drink up. We will have some food and snacks but you should carry your own as well. Hopper style.

If you want to leave bottles for the feed you can do so at the start. Clearly label you bottles. Spoke Folk will be back at the finish but Echelon will not.

There will be arrows on this ride by no course marshals. If you are not with the group stay alert. Use your Garmin or laminate we give you.

There are no gradual, mellow, easy descents. Expect EVERY descent to be steep, tight, off camber, loose and cars in your lane. If you are not experienced with Sweetwater, King Ridge, Tin Barn and Skaggs…have the utmost respect. This is not Slickrock with a white line down the middle. You’ll be on the Portal Trail. Relatively speaking. I’m not just saying this…seriously…no joke…

The Temple. After making the turn onto Tin Barn Rd at the intersection of King Ridge and Tin Barn look NorthWest. There’s a Buddhist temple that will blow your mind. It will take you a bit to get there and when you pass it take a peek on your left. Just after the temple is a FAAASSST and crazy descent.

Bear Republic Brewerey is donating a couple of kegs so plan on staying around for a while. We’ll also have the grill fired up and be cooking some turkey and beef burgers. Bring something to grill if you want. We’re all going to be cooked and will be fun to chill on the grass in the shade.

Getting excited, hope you are too.


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Ode to Coleman Valley

250292_811770022193807_1952311599999130852_nOverlooking Salmon Creek Watershed and Solstice Hill, the place of mine and Tera’s wedding 14 years ago. After 4+ hours on the bike it’s really not about the bike. Had a blast and hope you all did too! Next stop…Skaggs!

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Super Sweetwater Start Time

Last minute in case you missed it on the reg page. Our official start is at RiverFront Park at 10:15. Park in Occi,(either at the Community Center or behind the Union if you plan on eating lunch there) register and get your number, Guayaki, ride card, GU and then roll over to River Front Park. The route is marked on the road with yellow arrows and directions are on your ride card. There’s a restroom at the Regional Park. Top off your water and then we’ll gather at the entrance to the park near East Side Rd. Takes 30 min +/- to get there from Occidental. See you in the morn!

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