It’s always been about adventure. My first Stumpjumper in 1988 introduced me to mountain biking. It later became my commuter in college and then a touring bike in the Summer. On to fancier bikes but it’s always been about adventure and friends. The Hoppers have grown organically over the last 17 years and though my Top 10 no longer have to do with my placing in the series (well…I’m not totally over that), there were some real high points in 2014. Most of them have to do with all the help we got in putting together another unforgettable season of Grasshoppers. Being busy teaching, raising my kids and coaching the El Molino Mtb team many of my rides are solo. I live to mix it up with old friends and meet new while doing what I love. It’s an honor to host our local adventure series. Here’s to another awesome Hopper season in 2015!
Top 10 of 2014 (But not in order)
1. Old Caz. Filling up two days before the event was overwhelming. Lotsa’ “Hey bro’” calls we hope to avoid this year. Luckily we were able to accommodate most folk and had an amazing day on the bike.
2. Old Caz. All the student athletes from the NorCal Mtb League who made it to their first Hopper. Riders from Redwood High, El Molino, Casa Grande and Drake.Team Swift riders too! Even saw Otis Guy and his son Sterling.
3. Hiring El Molino Mtb Grads to help. Megan, Sierra and Andre were awesome at the start and finish. Couldn’t have done it without them.
4. Occidental Volunteer Fire Dept. Wow! This was a HUGE help. It was great getting help with the staging to keep it safe in town.
5. Sponsors. A true pleasure to be able to share the awesomeness of Sonoma County with everyone at the Start and Finish. Love to stoke the riders. Bike Shops. Takes a village. Fantastic having many of the local shops help with neutral support and at the feed zones: NorCal, Eschelon, BiciSport,SpokeFolk, BreakawayBikes. Thanks!
6. Emergency preparedness. There are sleepless nights thinking about all the details to pull this off. And foremost is safety. Was so thankful to hear how quickly the Monte Rio and Duncan’s Mills FD responded to the Old Caz crash. Followed by AMR, our ambulance service. Very sorry for Joe and Kirk’s injuries and glad they were back up rocking and rolling soon after. (Joe even recovered enough to crush me on Pine Flat! )Wow!
7. Diverge. Was a blast hosting the folks from Specialized and Deux North for the King Ridge Hopper. I’ve always loved creating Hoppers that challenge the rider and the machine. Now there is the perfect bike designed for the “Cross” Grasshoppers. Will enjoy rocking it this year.
8. King Ridge: No warm up before start for me after 95 miles on Friday. Tough start on Coleman Vly. Decided to count how many people I could pass on Willow Creek. Should have known it’s bad Karma to gloat ;). At 33 riders I had just caught the back end of the front group before double flatting. Bummer!
9. King Ridge. Rolling from the very back and riding with different groups throughout the day. Long stop at Kruse. Stoked for the support from Bici Sport and the cold Coke. Rolling with Scot Nichol, Curtis Englis, Chris Wells and Kilgore Trout. Always fun no matter where you are in the pack. Talent is deep at the Hoppers.
10. Finish Line. Nothing like making it to the end of the Hoppers for something cold to drink, share stories and see all the smiling faces. Hollow but happy. Zen mind beginner mind. Empty the cup so it can be filled once again.
Looking Forward, Mig