Everything you need to know…and some killer photos too!
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Overlooking 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!
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!
Chileno Valley Grasshopper is never easy. Last year with the wind was for me the hardest in 17 years. Perhaps we were blessed this year for having persevered through last years’ massive winds. Congrats to all the warriors out there . Incredible. Here’s some great words from Jeremiah to sum up the day.
Online Registration will close Friday evening at 6:00 PM. We are under 300 right now so it’s very likely we’ll have day-of sign ups. $40 day-of. Feed #1 will be at the top of the Marshall “Wall” and NOT Wilson Hill @mile 37. There will be a second Osmo and Gu stop @mile 64. We are challenged with parking. There will be some “NO GRASSHOPPER PARKING” signs. Please respect these. Best bet is to: 1)Car pool 2)Park behind the Union AND grab some lunch there after the ride. There is some parking at the Occidental Community Center if you arrive early. Our understanding with the Union Hotel is that the parking is for folks who will be dining there before or after the Hopper. All pre-registered riders will receive an update Thursday evening with updates on registration, parking and the awesome ride we’re about to take!
Smooth before fast. The smoother we ride, corner, climb, the faster we ride. This is especially true on the dirt and I think it can apply to the ins and outs of our daily lives. The trick is to keep focus on the road ahead. Not immediately in front of our wheel or we won’t see what’s coming. Not too far ahead for fear of losing sight of what’s most important. It’s the space between too far and too close. When looking at the painting by Charles Beck this is what I feel. The subtle bend in the creek teases the view downstream toward the great Pacific as my eyes find the subtle glare beyond the bridge. Then, back to the foreground and the melting crimson of some unknown vegetation. As we look forward to the bliss that is suffering of the Chileno Valley Hopper let us remember the gift it is simply to roll up to the start. Our health, our mobility, the wheels beneath, the family and friends that support us, the clean air we’ll be breathing and the beautiful roads we’ll be riding. Let us not diminish the importance of the physical challenge and the sense of accomplishment in reaching and surpassing our goals. This adventure by bike is the glue that keeps it together for most of us. Let’s roll on in appreciation for everything and everyone who as made it possible. My hope is that at the end of the weekend of bike bliss, your cup will overflow. And your more than half-full cup with help fill anothers’. That your passion will fuel others’ passion; whatever it may be.
Northern Marin is where I first ventured on a road bike. Back in the days when I was able to ride my mtb enough that I actually needed a break, I’d saddle up in Occidental and do the Marshall loop. Newborn calfs, fields of green so intense it could it could soothe the foul temper of the Grinch. And the views of Tomales Bay. The mighty San Andreas unzipping the Pt Reyes peninsula; ribbon roads lightly traveled and crazy tidal fluctuations weaving slippery serpent estuaries and rivulets. Northern Marin is also where Ross Dillon began riding road bikes with his dad Rusty. It’s them I always think of as we approach this iconic Hopper. Riding with my own son these days I appreciate roads quiet enough, yet inspiring, for young riders. Unfortunately Ross was hit from behind doing what he loved, riding his road bike, on Occidental Rd. years ago. His family has stood by him unwaveringly for years but he is destined for a life of physical therapy and home hospice. Our brother, with his dreams and life ahead of him had it taken away. Taken by the momentary thoughtlessness of a driver. It’s my hope that everyone can step up and support Ross Dillon and his family. The Hoppers make a donation but we need your support and contributions. To read about Ross; his story and updates go to: http://www.rossdillon.com
You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Go Home Foundation by sending a check made payable to WaterStone (please write Go Home Foundation-10760 on the memo line) to:
WaterStone Support Foundation, Inc.
10807 New Allegiance Dr., Ste. 240
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
If you wish to make a credit card donation or an electronic check transfer, you may do so at WaterStone’s secure website, www.WaterStone.org. Remember you are making a gift to the Go Home Foundation.
Also if folks just want to write a check without tax fussing, they can fill it out to:
The Dillon Hope Fund
POB 1509 Glen Ellen CA 95442