Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ring of Fire

Hard to accept there's no Hopper this weekend. Seems fun enough to do once a week. Sure most of you will find some buddies out there to help punch your ticket. Get the mtb dialed as Lake Sonoma is the next on our NorCal Magical Mystery tour. Getting back to the dirt where it all began. Maximum payback on ribbons of single track after punishing short super grunty climbs. Thought I'd let this Remember the Ring of Fire? Maybe we'll bring it back, or at least a version of it. Maybe Johnny Cash was talking about a phoenix, ready to rise from the ashes and not just love. Anyone can write a love song, but a song about Mtb...better leave that to the likes of Lao Tzu or Yuri. Got a good Ring of Fire story that we can post here? Send it our way.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

See that yellow thing down the middle? It's a line that divides one side of the road from the other. If you are in a bike or a vehicle in the USA you belong on the right hand side. If you don't know the fucking difference then stay home next time! Was there not enough climbing to sort things out yesterday? People were all over the place at the start of the day. Lucky half the pack wasn't taken out. If we see you at the King Ridge riding like that you will be asked to never come back! Clear? Remember the "no road closure" part on the flyer? It means the roads are not closed.

Chileno Vly Hopper

The Hoppers have gotten a bit larger than life. Maybe life has gotten larger as the field thickens. Personally, it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride caring and at the same time letting go of my quest for MegaFitness and quest for glory. Never really goes away, kids or no kids. Hero in my own time; hero in my own mind. It's reward enough seeing all the folks out for the fun yesterday. Crumpled at the finish in a ball of multiple cramps, was a bit demoralizing to have nothing on Marshall wall and finish in...79th! Kim was up late posting the results last night and I noticed I beat my last years time by 4 minutes but still dropped from 32 last year to 79th. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Ya'll just be happy I'm still riding these things. When you see me from the sunroof of the ride vehicle start worrying...oh yeah, and expect a nice suprise to next year's finish :) Thanks to our local toughmen and women for showing up and making it a fine, fine day. Got a story to tell? Let's hear it.

Friday, March 06, 2009

March 7th Details!

Since there are always folks who make this ride but not the first one I'm re-posting the flyer.

Remember: This is a training ride...(though usually pretty fast)
  • Sign waiver at Occidental Community Center (Boho Hwy and Graton Rd.)
  • 10$ for riders w/current license (rd. or mtb) 15$ for ride and 1 day license
  • 1st come 1st served on ride cards. I Think Kim is printing 220
  • Park anywhere in town; ride starts at Community Center at 10:00(If you use the Union facilities please patronize them before or after
  • NO neutral pee stop on Vly Ford Rd.-Too much chaos at crossing (Pee at own risk!)
  • No annual licenses will be available tomorrow; renew tonight online or buy 1 day
  • Finish at cross walk at South end of town. Give Kim your name. When finishing in a group keep track of order and get out of the road.
  • Ride and pass safely. Reckless riders will be excommunicated from the Church of Bike

Marshall-Chileno Valley

During the first few Grasshoppers I was working in West Marin. One year school was canceled no fewer than ten days due to flooding. Flooding you ask? We all know about the challenge of living near the Russian River in the Winter but how about Stemple Creek and Walker Creek? Although there are no homes flooded in the area roads are severely affected...depending on the tide. It's not often that I check the high tide times when heading out for a road ride. Tomorrow I won't. 7 years ago we did. Had been raining hard, really hard and it was know that only a few warriors would show up for the day. Nothing cancels a Hopper so we threw on our capes for the standard 10 o'clock departure and headed South. The years are mixed up so sorry if I forget anyone. Seems we had me, Geo., Kevin, Ray, Emil, Erin Timmel, (Think he was still a Mud Puppy)Devon Vigus,Duncan and Yuboat? Jason Matthias, maybe a couple from the Pink Palace, not sure. Made it down the Valley Ford/Freestone cutoff with the water lightly lapping at the side. Silt covered the road from the last high tide. Water line East of Valley Ford was at about 2 feet. This was when a V.W. bug passed us in the other lane. Think is was Timmel who took a swim and headed home, maybe it was Yuri. Something about a mechanical and being soaked from the ears to the a-hole with 3 hours to go. Funny thing is it never rained this day, at least not much. From what I recall was an uneventful day, except from the obligatory leg-ripping of friend and foe that the Hoppers are know for. These gatherings are the epitomy of tough love. The excitement happened when Middle Rd. nears road...just wetland. Well of course there was a road somewhere. What a blast! A two person pace line of worried soldiers knifing through the water; a new method of drafting;riding the wake. Devon hit a pot hole and was completely submerged. He was perhaps the strongest of the group so it was a tough decision, should we wait for him? Emil said we should attack but I talked them all in to letting him find his bike, remount, and join the parade. Climbed out of the lagoon only to hit the river leaving Valley Ford. High tide had hit. When the creek along Freestone/Vly Ford jumps the bank it flows downhill, as do most creeks, streams and rivers. We needed to go up. It spreads accross the entire road so that there is no sign of auto pathway. This was one of these times. When the tide is high and the Estero swells the water has to go somewhere. There are Willow on both sides to mark the boundaries but it's best to ride in the middle of the road. There we were, four or five of the select few, no cars to worry about, riding uphill, upstream towards the finish. I believe there were trucks at each end of the flood waiting, just thinking about it as a gaggle of lycra-clad bike geeks came rippin' up stream. Don't remember who won, wasn't me as I've finished second twice on this stage without winning. Am I cruel to hope for the return of the Floodhopper? Perhaps, but then again maybe not. The harder it is to get out of your warm flannel sheets the more cosmic-karmic tough guy/girl points you get!
Were you there? What do you remember? Did this really happen?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Lucky to have the World's fastest camera man amongst us last Sat. Grasshoppers used to be "local" bragging rights but our "little pond" just keeps getting bigger. Nice to share the fun; share the love! Check it out! Old Caz Hopper part I and Old Caz Hopper part II

Monday, March 02, 2009


Last week someone suggested that now that we're "legit'" we should advertise the Hoppers.! It's been 11 years (unlike Spinal Tap we plan to go beyond 11) since we rolled from the Gianni hot-box hobit hollow. It was a pleasure to see all the familiar faces at the start, many I hadn't seen for quite a while, and to meet some new folks too. Still wondering when Scott Ledterman will show up again; anybody know where to find him? Quite a line-up on Sat.! Hope all who traveled from near and far had as much fun as I did. Made a good choice riding my Soulcraft road bike w/28s or certain to have been crushed by Mary Mc at the end like so many others were. Game plan played out perfectly for me: spike it up Duncan's, recover a bit on Cherry, kill myself on Old Caz but leave a little cusion to catch Emil and Jason on the decent, eat as much as possible on the roll to Duncan's Mills, enjoy some quiet time soul-searching on Willow Creek/ I50 (the "Loneliest Road in America),finish with a smile. Happy with a 23rd on the day.Not too surprised to see Geoff and Mary take the honors, though I'm sure Kabush would have been faster without the extra weight of the video camera. (Footage to come) Reg went great, thanks to Kim, Ted, Mary and other volunteers. Was able to relax with the huge crowd knowing that everyone (almost) had given their John/Jane Hancock acknowledging the inherent risks of ripping down pot-holed roads at 45 mph with a pack of 200 people. If your name isn't on the ride results it's because you failed to sign up and in. Please do so next week and on further Hoppers. Got a story to tell? Send it our way.