Top 10 for 2014



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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

17th Annual G.A.S. Grasshopper Kit from Capo! Order Deadline Dec. 19th

GRASSHOPPER BIBS 11.20 GRASSHOPPER 11.20 JERSEYWhat a killer deal! Jersey $95 and bibs $115. ($400 value) Order by Dec. 19th  and pick it up at Grasshopper #2 Chileno Valley. Orders placed after Dec. 19th can be picked up at Skaggs Hopper. To order go to Registration.

If you have already signed up then you must still go to Registration, choose a category, and add billing info. DON’T choose a race. It’s that simple and you’ll look smart for your next adventure!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rockin and Rollin

kruse ranchAnticipation is thick enough to spread on toast with Nutella. With folks coming from Trinidad and Arcata to the North (you know who you are) and others from LA and Santa Barbara Old Caz is gonna be going off! What fun! Nearly have all my ducks in a row with Hopper logistics and can think about riding again. Fall is dry and minty. I know we all have pangs of guilt while getting day after day of killer Fall weather but I can feel it, Winter is coming! We’ve got our 15 winners for riders who have signed up for the Whole Enchilada and will let you know soon! They’re the lucky recipients of a custom “Grasshopper” Crashtag. Don’t worry, you can get one too! Go to CRASHTAG  to order yours.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grasshopper Adventure Series 2015


Believe it or not we’re only 3 months out from another epic season of Hoppers! Put ‘em all on your calendar. Registration will open Nov. 1st. ***This page is being worked on LIVE next couple of days. All the essential event info, 2015 Sponsors and map/route for Old Caz will be up on it’s own  page soon. Thanks for your patience. 

Old Cazadero (Cross) Jan 31st

Chileno Valley (Road) Feb 21st

Super Sweetwater (Road/Cross) March 21st

Skaggs! (Road) April 18th

King Ridge Dirt Supreme (Road/Cross) May 9th

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

King Ridge…Queen Stage Hopper #5

If you are here you are curious. If you’ve been coming for years you are wondering, “what the hell are we in for?” but of course you’re in for the adventure and just wondering if you really can do it on a road bike. If so what tires? How long? How much dirt? yada, yada.  Those new to Hopper Adventures hang on as I ramble on with the details of the June 7th Grasshopper Adventure and make sure to read Rules of Engagement and Hopper History to get a pre-view of what these rides are all about. Picture(s) worth a thousand words…maybe more. Here’s a peak of the scenery and then I’ll go over some of the details for our next Grasshopper Adventure.


Russian River carves like a flow trail. Looking North of Jenner early on in the day.

After heading up Coleman Valley from town we’ll descend Willow Creek Rd. (dirt) to Hwy 1. This is the same start as Grasshopper #1 Old Cazadero.

A chase group. "What have I gotten myself into" Says Velo-Fratello's MJ Frito

Bottom of Willow Creek after a 5 mile ripping dirt descent to start the day. Time to make friends and get down to business. Going to be a long day in the saddle.

Heading North on Hwy 1 we’ll pass Jenner and climb out of Russian Gulch. We will not climb Meyers Grade this year but will continue North on Hwy 1 to Fort Ross. Fort Ross climb is not too long but steep with no rest. Will be nice to hit it early unlike the Terrible Two that climbs it at the 150 mile mark.



Oh my…like butter heading to Fort Ross.


Plenty of pretty poppies

Hwy 1 N.



At least we’re traveling North and not on the outside!


Edge of the Universe for a while. Be careful


Won’t have the sunset this early on but Fort Ross Rd from Hwy is special. Old wagon rd that they slapped pavement on. Relentless and relentlessly beautiful.

Atop Fort Ross Rd we head North on Seaview until we get to the turn at Salt Point State Park. If you get to Kruse Rd you have missed it. Here’s a little video to help you make your turn.

JB Salt Point Dirt

giant grasshopper battle

You’ll all feel like Hopper slayers this early in the day but be careful. Lot’s of riding still ahead.

kruse ranch

Climb number #2 for the day. Kruse Ranch Rd. Delightful Dirt!

kruse ranch rd 2

Where else would you rather be? Deep West.

At the top of Kruse we will have our Osmo feed and support by Bici Sport. I’m sure you’ll need it. We’ll have some snacks, some GU, Guayaki and any secret supplies you leave at the start we’ll have waiting for you.

King Ridge

King Ridge

From the top of Kruse we descend to Hauser Bridge and then climb UP to King Ridge Rd. This is a stiffy and will likely make many a grown man or woman cry for mercy. We’ll take King Ridge to Cazadero, Caz. Hwy to 116. 116 to Hwy 1 and then UP Willow Creek. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Get your adventure on ‘cuz it’s going to be a rocking good day and a great way to kick off the the summer. We’ll party at the end with cold beer and great raffle prizes. We’ll also award the Iron Spike for the hard-man and woman of the year. Not to mention the Grand Prize Raffle of an Ibis Haakalugi Cross Frame and Envy Fork!

Full route details HERE. Includes dirt sections.

In a nutshell:

85 miles 8500 ft climbing

4 dirt sections: Willow Creek 7 miles -descent and flat. Salt Point 4 miles-descent. Kruse Ranch: 4 miles -climb. Willow Creek flat/climb 7 miles.

Other roads fair to horrible. Recommended bike: Road w/ 25-28 cc. or cross bike with smallish tires in new to excellent condition.  Climbing gears. Be prepared: 2-3 tubes, patches, tire boot, (extra tire?) credit card, space blanket (j/k), water, food and good sense of adventure with a huge appetite for fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pine “Flat” Round-up


a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in“cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”
or let’s say…”Pine Flat”.
Yes there was a flat stretch with a beautiful stream and pine trees that have at last rebounded from the vicious fire years ago. The stream was calling to me like sirens to a sailor. Though the rippling spring threatened not to crash my ship but rather to give me refuge and refresh my shattered spirit. Actually it wasn’t that bad, though at that point in the climb Stosh and I were waging the slow battle of the century and I was contemplating a nap.  Having seen at least a dozen riders pass me all I could think of was the burning pain in my feet. And with a nearly empty tank I sought not so much as to salvage my pride but simply end the suffering. Who’s idea was this anyway?
The day started rather calmly as the headwind discouraged anyone from making any efforts that would cost them later in the day. It was a sign of respect for the challenges that lay ahead and made for a social roll out to Cloverdale. Unlike last year that saw us strung out from the get-go, only Roger made a go, hoping he might be joined by some eager rider. Alas, No such luck.
This was the smallest field of the year with 13o starters and compared with 300-400 makes for a “mellow” staging. Every riders has been entered (again) for the grand prize at the end of the series, an Ibis Hakkalugi Disc frame with an Enve Fork. (Don’t miss Hopper #5) The day began signing riders in at Max Machinery in Healdsburg. (Thanks!) Richard and Fritz from Spoke Folk Cyclery were on hand offering mechanical support and Osmo hydration at the mid-way point. Once again we had GU and Guayaki  to help fuel us at the start and prep us for another adventure. We weaved our way through Healdsburg and made a pause on WestSide Rd to wait for those who missed the 6 way stop light and then it was on. Levi took a massive pull and I hung on for dear life as we turned onto West Dry Creek Rd. Actually he just casually pulled through and we all realized the strength of the wind as we headed north. Even the Queen’s English was afraid to rock it at the front. Something about a 12 mile climb at the 50 mile point that turns even a crazy libertarian into a conservative. Was great to see Rog go for it. Gotta love the confidence to bring it when it was destined to fail. Truth be told it drove me crazy to go slow. As a mountain biker waiting and conserving is not my strong suit. Soon enough we found ourselves at the base of the Geysers climb. I made sure to stay near the front as we climbed and descended the rollers on the south approach to the climb. Just before the bridge I made sure to be one of the first few to hit the gravel. Crossing over we began the slow burn that is the lower pitch of the Geysers and I stayed onto the back of the front group just long enough but let them go at about 2 miles before the steeps. I hit the climb pretty hard and came up over the top with J. Lee, Stosh, Brian Andersen and a rider from the Olympic Club. I thought I was saving my matches but not sure if it was not eating enough or just not enough fitness but my efforts were soon to be doomed. J. Lee dropped the hammer on the Geysers descent and bridged to the next group so the three of us headed up the first level of Pine Flat. I didn’t mean to go hard but rode away from my companions for a bit (bad mistake) before being caught by Dana Revalo and Joe Hughes. I had nothing and the effort to stay with them was fruitless. Then came George, then Brian, then….well you get the picture. Nearly made the steeps but had massive cramping and to get off my freaking bike! Oh well. At the top Tera was waiting with snacks and cold drinks, oh yeah. Just a minute behind me came Luke and Mike Hosey. Way to rock it Luke. Was amazed how everyone was so stoked with the course and thankful…are you all freaking mad? That was insane! I respect the skill, resolve, endurance and tenacity of all my Hopper brothers and sisters. Warriors every one of you.
Make sure not to miss King Ridge; the Queen Stage of Grasshopper Adventure Series 2014.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Geysers-Pine Flat

Lions, tigers and bears oh my….Really no excuse for not posting sooner but…


Hopper #4 is special, in a fun-painful kind of way. We know it’s going to be hard…it’s a Hopper. If you are new to the Hopper please make sure to read Rules of Engagement. (You can also print a waiver from this link) But just because a ride is hard doesn’t make it a Grasshopper.  It’s all the amazing athletes, sponsors and good-will on wheels that makes every Hopper an epic, memorable and safe day.  We’ll roll from Arnot-Roberts winery, some of the finest local winemakers and Grasshopper sponsors.  I started riding from Duncan and Nathans’ place in Healdsburg in the early 90′s and have fond memories of epic road rides getting ready for the mtb season. Second,the Geysers is a big ride. For many cyclists it’s barely achievable starting and ending in Healdsburg,  but we will add on Pine Flat Rd.  We’ll head west to West Dry Creek Rd and then over to Dutcher Creek on our way to the Geysers. It’s a “gentle” climb for the first 20 minutes with amazing views if you have time to look. The kicker comes about 2/3 of the way to the top when we pass the turn that heads to the old Geysers Resort. At the top of the Geysers climb there will be a neutral feed provided by Osmo and Spoke Folk Cyclery in Healsdsburg. If you wish to have a quick transition you can leave extra bottles at the start and we will have them for you at the feed. If not, you can stop and fill up.  Old bottles can be picked up at Spoke Folk back in Healdsburg. (201 Center St. Hldsbg) There are several sections of gravel on the the Geysers climb and one on the descent. At the bottom of the Geysers when most would call it a day and head back for a shower, lunch and a cold beer, we’ll climb Pine Flat. What could be better than a big day on the bike with a couple hundred of “your best friends who you just met” riding lightly traveled Sonoma County Certified Ribbon Roads?  Pine Flat (yes it’s an oxymoron)  is the ultimate out and back climb that heads from Alexander Valley and summits near 3000 ft. This is a local favorite. Please climb and descend carefully. Pine Flat Road gets a lot of cycling traffic and there are folks living up there so ride safely. Under an hour of climbing is a fast time! The opening streches are rolling and not so inimidating if you have something in the tank. You will need to save something for the last pitch that peaks out over 20% at mile 60. If you have a climbing gear, put it on! I’ve seen the toughest fall to their knees and beg for mercy on this section. The Hopper officially ends at the top where we’ll have some snacks and cold Guayaki drinks before heading down. Don’t be discouraged by going down what you came up. It’s a marvelous ride! The shop sponsors for this stage is SpokeFolk Cyclery in Healdsburg. Stop by to talk with Doug, Richard or Fritz to get the skinny and for any of your pre-Hopper cycling needs.

Categories are Open Men/Women. No age groups this year.

Last years results/times

$25 Pre-reg  $30 day-of

Eventbrite Pre-Reg

Pura vida. Mig

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Super Sweewater** Course Route Update


Sign says it all. Think they need to put a sticker that says this on every baby entering the world and avoid all future law suits and blaming others.


Copy of IMG_3422

Old Caz Dirt. Big Tires my friends…flats suck!This is a classic Hopper. In fact, the very first Grasshopper 16 years ago went over Sweetwater Springs Rd. I believe Rick Hunter had a radio strapped to his bike so we could listen to the Niners game. It’s a tiny ribbon road that goes from West Side Rd to Armstrong Woods Rd. The climb on the “back” east side nears 20% and though relatively short, will split up the group for good.

The course is back to it’s original route. This means we will be doing Sweetwater Springs Rd. -Old Cazadero Rd-Fort Ross Rd. Here’s the Strava 70 miles and 9 K of climbing! All riders will get a custom laminate map with directions. The course will be marked with arrows on the road. Riders will roll on their own to RiverFront Park where we’ll gather briefly before heading out at 10:45.

This is a classic Hopper. In fact, the very first Grasshopper 16 years ago went over Sweetwater Springs Rd. I believe Rick Hunter had a radio strapped to his bike so we could listen to the Niners game. It’s a tiny ribbon road that goes from West Side Rd to Armstrong Woods Rd. The climb on the “back” east side nears 20% and though relatively short, will split up the group for good.

What bike should you ride? The ideal bike is a road bike that can accommodate 25 or 28c tires. The “only” dirt is Old Caz. This is a 3 mile dirt descent with a creek crossing, a dirt climb and another dirt descent. I’ll be on my Specialized Crux Disc with 25 tires. This is NOT the Hopper for tubulars or fancy wheels. Back before all the fancy cross bikes and road bikes with disc breaks we’d be on our Ibis Spankys, Eddy Mercks, Soulcrafts or in my case a Miyata  and just be careful on the descent. I’d say this ride pushes the limits of all bikes and riders and is what makes Super Sweetwater special. You can of course ride a cross bike but will not want to be on knobbies all day. However…it is a Hopper and and Adventure so come one, come all. It’s been done on a fixed gear and a tandem but never seen a unicycle yet. Some photos to wet your appetite. BTW…it’s the week after Sea Otter so maybe some of the Big Guns will be out. WAS…65 mile, 6500 ft of climbing. Yeeeehaw! Fort Ross Rd is OPEN. This means we “get” to climb Fort Ross and will be blessed with Meyers Grade decent to Russian Gulch. Can’t wait.


Not as fast as on my Crux but still rippin’



Probably best to run Mtb Shoes and pedals



Don’t turn left…go forward to Fort Ross Rd



Almost to Coleman Valley Rd



Finish is just 2 miles away. Wow! What a backdrop.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chileno Valley Round Up

I awoke at 5:00 on Saturday and checked the Weather App. After watching the weather report for 10 days it wasn’t until the day of Grasshopper #2 that I had confidence in what I was seeing. No rain after 10:00 AM was the prediction. I put down my phone and continued with the prep and packing that I gave up on at midnight the night before. Wind? Why worry? Since we were riding Chileno Valley “reverse” or clockwise I figured we’d have a killer tail wind heading East where we usually get killed with a headwind half way through the loop.


Almost no one uses the maps anymore but hope ya’ll appreciate the cool artwork by Tera. Thanks Giro and Echelon

My riding these days is primarily with the El Molino H.S. Mtb team and an occasional weekend ride with friends so I did not have high expectations of my performance. Besides, Chileno Valley is where I traditionally get crushed by my “roadie” friends. I need to find some dirt connector to throw in. Some things we learn once but most we learn over and over again. The “oh, yeah right” moment came to me after I started having my first cramps on Wilson Hill. I love Osmo Nutrition, and the quote they use, “you’re not bonking, you’re dehydrated” is right on. I drank enough the day before and did okay the day of but think after several weeks of H20 neglect I was in the negative. Think I over dressed too. Oh, and maybe I used the wrong socks, and listened to the wrong Led Zeppelin album on the way to Occidental, and…and…Well, you get the point. No REAL excuses, just a tough day on the bike.


Wan’t this dark when I passed, but very cool colors when I was marking the course.

With a start line of 240 toughmen and women I knew the day was going to be awesome. We again had a smooth start thanks to the Occidental VFD. With roughly half the number of Old Caz riders our presence in town was noticeable but not totally overwhelming. After a brief pre-ride chat and sponsor acknowledgement we hit the tough start up Coleman Valley Rd.Cresting the top of Coleman Valley looking South I realized three things: 1. The wind was coming from the East. 2. The views were going to be stellar. 3. The pain cave I was going to spend the day in had no down pillow. I dug deeper than I should have,thinking I could hide on Hwy 1 in the back of a large group. This was mistake number 1 for a couple of reasons. First, the group I joined was killing it on the coast and was motivated to pick up riders who had dropped us on Coleman Valley.


I think Levi and Todd were already eating by the time I hit Joy Rd

I think we must have been the 2nd large group, though hard to say. The second realization was that with the offshore wind there was virtually no draft to be had heading toward Valley Ford. Our group swelled to around 20 as we hit Middle Rd and then a few popped off on Turkey Hill before Alexander. I could tell that people were feeling it when the group nearly came apart on Alexander by the shooting range only to get hammered by Dr. Todd and Yuri heading onto Chileno Valley. Think Charlie was in the group as well. The wind was so brutal on heading toward Wilson Hill that the group in front disappeared. I was tired, but not too trashed and thought Wilson Hill would be no problem.


Vanessa marked the wrong side of the climb…funny!

Unfortunately my legs thought differently and I had to stop with a right hamstring cramp. I drained the rest of my Osmo, ate a GU and soldiered on to regain my group at the feedzone. Kevin from Echelon gave me my 2 bottles and even filled a third, thinking of Joy Rd. I munched a pack of GU chomps and was ready to work with our group of ten or so. Several other riders came from “nowhere” to join our group and we at last had a tailwind. The wind to our backs. No wonder this is a common expression to mean things are going well in life. Until they aren’t. I was near the turn off to Walker Creek Ranch that it became too clear that the connection between mind and body were not in sync. Mind said, “hang on, conserverse, cruise to Joy with this awesome group of riders.” Body said, “maybe you should just pull over, look at the view and take a nap cuz you are now cramping in parts of your body you don’t know the name for”.


weird panorama but gives and interesting perspective

The good news is that even as I slipped further back I was still appreciative of the beautiful day and impressed by the number of riders who so gleefully caught and passed me. Michael Jordan gave it to me on Hwy like I was Charles Barkley in Space Jam. Rick Pepper caught me and we yo-yo’d together until the climb on Franklin School Rd. George Hope rolled up with a group and then left me and then finally a group with Jess Couch and others just before Valley Ford.

1899956_10151938837292944_1535492925_n Thankfully Maxine Lamperti was waiting for The Boys and shared a bottle of water with me and I limped my way to Bodega Hwy and up Joy. And I didn’t even walk. Well, “sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.”

Painting by Charles BeckChaz-Tomales Painting

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chileno Valley Hopper

Grasshopper #2 Chileno Valley

March 1 2014

10:00 AM Occidental Community Center, Occidental California 95465

If you’re ever going to break out your fancy wheels at a Grasshopper, now is your chance. This is truly the only Hopper that has no gravel, though the rollers and steep climbing sections will challenge roadies who prefer the flats. Climbers will also be pushed to their limit trying to hang on the fast flat sections as everyone eagerly mashes big gears to see what they’ve got early in the season. In the back of everyone’s mind, the voice of reason for each big effort, is Joy Rd. Maxing out at 20% just 2 miles from the finish you will be doing your best not to walk your bike. If you have a compact and a climbing cassette…bring it. You won’t regret it. We’re stoked to have Osmo as our hydration sponsor and they will be at the top of Wilson Hill at mile 44. Echelon Cycle and Multi Sport is our shop sponsor and they will transport any special food or personal bottles to the feed zone. They will also offer neutral mechanical support at the feed zone. If you’re new to the Hoppers please read the Rules of Engagement and Hopper History so you know what you’re in for. We can’t wait for the fun to begin! Don’t forget to sign up early on Eventbrite as we will likely be selling out the week before. Rider limit is 400.

Garmin details for the loop are posted here and below you’ll find a map and mileage with turns. There will be arrows on the course but not course marshals. The will be an Emergency vehicle following the course but no broom wagon. Be prepared. Know the route. Carry food, tool and H2O. Remember to have fun and ride safely!chileno valley map 2Chileno Vly Course Milage 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment