Distracted

Do you daydream about riding your bike while at work? Of course you do. Join us for and adventure or 2 or 5 or 6 this year.

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What Matters Most? Bike, Wheels or Tires?

Bikes, tires and wheels do matter. But it turns out that perhaps the most important factor in speed, comfort, handling and efficiency on the bike is tire pressure. I’m not one to follow every new advancement in bicycle innovation but this interview really caused me to rethink how I roll. I come from a background where we raced 26″ 2.0 tires at 50 psi on the dirt. And on the road it was assumed that smaller tires 20-23 c, at pressures as high as 110 psi was the fastest. Listen to this fascinating interview with Patrick Brady from RKP and Josh Portner of Silca. If you are now running 28c on your road bike instead of 23 or 25, and have decreased psi to 90 psi it’s still less compliant than 25 at 100 psi. When asked for a “general rule” for riders, he pauses and says that’s difficult. A pure number is tough to go by. If it feels smooth it’s probably right, if it’s stiff and rough, probably too high. Listen to the whole Podcast or go to minute #21 to hear the interview.

The Paceline Podcast #39

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2017 Grasshopper Capo Jersey

Don’t miss out on this year’s  custom, limited edition Grasshopper Jersey. Brought to you by the good folk at Capo! Order closes Jan 30th for April 8th (Skaggs! delivery) Jersey $95 bibs $115. Click the link about “Sponsors” to the right or go to Capo Custom to order  

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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Chileno Valley Feb. 11th… (Just too much fun to miss!)

I know most of you are foaming for Old Caz; figuring out the perfect bike and tire, matching your socks to your bar tape, debating what size cassette to run (I say as big as they come) and stalking other’s Strava. But did you know Chileno Valley is 3 weeks after Old Caz? And it’s all road. This means you don’t even have to wash your gravel bike, just hang’er up and start getting some road miles in. This year we have a “shorter” version of the loop in case 80 miles is just too much for Feb. 11th.  Last year only 100 brave souls endured racing in the biggest storm of the year but we expect a solid turn out in the men’s and women’s field. You can read about Patrick Brady’s take on the day at RKP.

Mindset

For now, let me dangle a few images that will tempt and inspire you.

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Photo: Paul C Miller

1662336_10202731567364676_1804505253_nChaz-Tomales PaintingPainting by Charles BeckPR-Tomales Bayimage_4

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RKP-Red Kit Prayer-Gravel Riding and the Grasshopper

Michael Hotten and Patrick Brady left the Sea Otter early to make it up to Super Sweetwater this year. Here’s the interview on RKP Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow all their interesting talks and adventures. Starts at minute 42

The Paceline Podcast #22

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Hopper Candy (Videos!)

Late Summer and early Fall are strange for me here in Northern California. The “end” of Summer means going back to work (doing my “real” job of teaching high school Spanish). It also means I’m ready for a break from working on my house. This was my 13th Summer project. Our 1914 farmhouse sloped 2 inches in every direction from the center to the sides of each room. I had to “shim” it up and put in another 3/4″ subfloor and then Cali bamboo. Sometimes going to work seems like getting time off. Weird. The change in season also means I go back to commuting to work. As much as I love to shred the dirt in Occidental, Tam, Annadel or far away places, and ride our crazy Sonoma County back roads, there’s something innately satisfying about using my bike for transportation. My first mtb., a Specialized Stumpjumper, was my commuter, explorer and weekend mtb fun bike at Humboldt State from 88-92. It’s on these early morning commutes and rides home that my Grasshopper gears start turning. We’ve got a great series of adventures planned for you and hope to open Reg on Nov. 1st. In the meanwhile, here’s a few videos to get the juices flowing.

Cheers,

Mig

 

Hunt 4 from Deux North on Vimeo.



2009 Old Caz Grasshopper Pt. 1 from Geoff Kabush on Vimeo.

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King Ridge Dirt Supreme June 25th

jenner

As Sonoma County continues to grow, the NorthWest County stays wild. Living in the small town of Sebastopol I still find myself in the busy streets of Santa Rosa at least a couple of times a week. SR has become a hub of cycling in Sonoma County but it’s a hectic place at times. When we moved here in 1977 Santa Rosa had just over 40,000 people. Now it’s up to 4x that. Windsor was all but non-existent and Rohnert Park had just been formed. I would never trade where I live, but the change is undeniable. Still, there’s always the exploration and escape via bicycle to remind me of the beauty and remoteness of the North Coast. West of Occidental and north of Jenner it’s as if my entire being exhales; relaxes into a more simple, slower way of being. June 25th marks the final stage of this year’s Grasshopper Adventure Series. We began this journey together Feb 13 with Old Caz. with 400 plus riders on a crazy loop that symbolizes Grasshoppers. Next followed a smaller,but hardy group that faced floods and torrential rains at Chileno Valley. Super Sweetwater provided the challenging mix of road and dirt that included Old Caz, Meyers Grade and Chileno Valley. On the ticket this year was Lake Sonoma MTB and the trails were minty. At 25 miles this was by far the shortest Hopper and was a great social gathering afterward. Nearly 100 riders battled and survived Skaggs! last weekend in what is truly the hardest 100 miles you can do in Sonoma County. And 20 riders reached Jedi status by enduring and finishing the last 10 miles on Lake Sonoma single track. Here’s a little piece from Kitsbow that sums up the history of Hopper explorations and the day on Skaggs.

 

This leads us to King Ridge Dirt Supreme…

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It’s been an honor to choose, organize and present these challenging rides over the last 18 years. When we first started doing King Ridge “in reverse” people had a hard time wrapping their heads around the loop. As a mountain biker I love riding up the “downs” and down the “ups”. Kinda’ like my favorite quote “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. In terms of cycling this means that if you mix it up, you have at least double the options. This has become one of my favorite Hoppers. Descending dirt on Willow Creek on a road bike, riding up Hwy 1 to Fort Ross, the dirt decent to Hwy 1 via Salt Point, climbing Kruse on gravel, ripping down Hauser, and the never ending climb west to east on King Ridge. Oh, and the finish up Willow Creek.  Here’s a few shots of the days adventure to get the juices flowing!

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See you on June 25th.

Yours in adventure,

Mig

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Thanks and Congrats!

IMG_1615This 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. IMG_4634I 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. IMG_8021The 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.

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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.

Mig

 

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Super Sweetwater Tomorrow!!

Mig_Rog Old Caz

Looks like we’ll have temps in the low 80’s tomorrow, why wouldn’t you come join us? Pre-reg closes today at 6:00 PM. There will be day-of reg for +$10. This is a unique Grasshopper for several reasons; not least of which is the start. We will officially begin at Riverfront Park on Eastside Rd. Riders can roll out on their own or together by 9:30 from the Occidental Community Center. We’ll have a brief riders meeting and roll at 10:15 from River Front. Safety is always our number 1 concern when planning these adventures. This start will allow us to cross the busiest roads carefully before the official start, and finish close to Occidental.

Sonoma County has recently “repaired” Sweetwater Spring Rd. Here’s some photos of what this means: IMG_4811IMG_4802

For veteran riders in Sonoma County beware as our already challenging road are out to bite ya! If you are new to these roads, proceed with extreme caution. Fascinating that the County can pay to have the asphalt dumped and raked but make no effort to pack it down….I think I’d prefer an open hole, this way we would at least not have the false sense of security of the look of fresh pavement. We’re going to have a fantastic day out there, everyone ride safe and look out for each other. Remember, the roads WILL be open and there WILL be vehicles. We have permits to hold the event on these roads but there is no road closure. All riders must OBEY the rules of the road.

Check out Jeff Karkove’s video from 2014. Can’t wait.

 

Hasta mañana, Mig

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RKP Chileno Valley

Yes, it was one for the books Patrick Brady. You wear the invisible badge of courage. Good to hear your story. And see you for the next stage at Super Sweetwater on April 16th.

Mindset

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