Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grasshopper Final Stage

Video by Tom Rosencrantz
January!-June!. The "!" stands for the Hoppers we've all stamped on the end of our months. Time flew by this winter. In part due to the business of life; teaching, riding my bike, raising two kids, working on my place, but also the culmination of every month with an epic ride with my bro's (and sisters). The Hoppers are a gathering of the clan. Not so different than racing mtn. bikes in the 90's, in fact some familiar faces still in the mix. Was a disappointment not to include Lake Sonoma this year, won't happen again! Fortunately the Hoppers seem to exist in a steady state form of equilibrium. Each year there are new riders who come out because they've heard stories. Either they love the rides and keep coming back, or they realize they are too hard, not enough services etc. and choose not to return. Then there are those who cannot stay away even though they know better. Retired pros, new fathers can't seem to resist the calling and are often humbled by the depth of the field and the intensity of the "friendly" competition. Definitely a field of tough love. How many private battles have been waged in the silent switch backs of Willow Creek? We managed to include dirt in 3 of the 5 and I've figured out a Fort Ross loop that will include dirt as well. How fun it is to craft challenging, asthetically perfect loops and see who shows up. Had a few minutes yesterday by myself sitting on Willow Creek after the finish in utter bliss. Was stoked to present the Spike to Shane and Lindsey, both proud to have claimed the overall victory. Hung out to greet rider 88 as he rolled in at 5:55. There were no sour faces, well some in deep pain but a euphoric pain that shows the pride of accomplishment.

The days honors went to John Hunt and I understand it was a true battle to the end. Timmel was in the mix but somehow got a flat. How many flats were there? Women's honor for the day went to Brenda Phelps and Hilary Bartels who came in at a scorching time of 4:37. Heard they were rippin the fella's legs off! Overall was Shane. Congrats! A True bike warrior; road, cross, mtb you pick it and he'll bring it! 2nd was Rog and I somehow managed 3rd. Too tired to report further, need to put a bathroom window in tomorrow before leaving for Costa Rica on Thurs. It was a blast as always! Thanks to everyone who helped out and to everyone who participated. Hope you cup has been filled, now go share a drink with the world!

Friday, June 25, 2010

This has been an epic Hopper season! Stage one saw the field shattered by an attack by Shane and Levi, Shane turned himself inside out to hang with the man ahead of a foaming chase group. Stage two Chileno Valley saw a massive group of over 200 including the entire Bissell squad rip up Coleman Valley and finish up the enigmatic Joy road and was won by Cal Strawberry young strong man Andrew Talansky followed closely by Ben Jaquemaynes. Stage three was won by Hot Tubes rider Anders Newbery after pulling a group of 6 from Cazadero to Willow Creek, bridging the gap to the lead three before leaving the group and riding solo for the victory. Stage four was won by Levi with a strong group of 10 giving everything for the days top places. Tomorrow will be...well...epic. Team Chico will be in full force as will NorCal. Expect many top pros who have come to appreciate the challenge of a Hopper and covet and elusive stage victory. Shane, Rog and Mig occupy the top 3 spots but with a long day and double points to be had, anything can happen. Follow the words of Yoda.

What is a Hopper?
Read January's post if you haven't done a Hopper. There are "ground rules" and rules of the road are rider enforced. Remember that roads are open and this IS NOT A RACE.
Ride starts at 10:00 AM at the Community Center in Occidental. Sign a waiver at the Community Center $10 w/USAC license. 1 day license may be purchased for $5.There is parking behind the Union Hotel. Please don't park at Post Office or Occidental Health Clinic. Thanks to the Union for letting us use their parking lot. They have a bikers' special for lunch after the ride.

1. H2O There is water at the top of the Hauser Bridge climb. Though we are not loved by everyone in Cazadero, the Buddhists have set up a water faucet with shady bench and bike rack!!WTF? I love it!
It would be foolish t0 pass this spot. This is about the half way point in the loop. My suggestion is that riders Q up at the faucet and fill both bottles. Water is at high pressure so should be quick. At this point tighten down your cages because in 1 mile we descend Kruse, all dirt, to HWY 1 and I lost a bottle last time.

2. King Ridge has been seeing a lot of bike traffic related to the Grand Fondo. We will not ride by unnoticed. People drive fast and drive big trucks. You may feel like you are in the middle of nowhere but are always in someone's backyard.

3. Descend carefully. There is no sag wagon. If you have never ridden King Ridge, Kruse, Meyers Grade, Hauser Bridge proceed cautiously. Hopper's are relatively simple to run and inexpensive for riders and we have no support! There are no EMTs on course or radio communication. Remember, you are on a big group ride with your friends. Ride and pass safely. Be respectful on the roads.

4. Ride finishes at top of dirt on Willow Creek. If you have friends or family who will meet you there please ask them to ride and not park at the top. There is very little parking.

5. Rubber side down, have fun!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

King Ridge Hopper 2010

Pre-rode the Hopper course with the intention of throwing in triple dirt. Kruse, Salt Point and Willow Creek. Must say, was a perfect ride for me; my Tarmac Pro worked well as a cross bike. To the relief of many we will omit the Salt Point section. The plan was to CLIMB the central trail from the coast to Sea View but it's REALLY wet.
We will instead do King Ridge, Hauser Bridge then descend Kruse to Hwy 1. Of course this means we will be climbing Fort Ross Rd and then ride Meyers Grade to Hwy 1 and then climb Willow Creek. We will finish before the locked gate at the top of Willow Creek.

The final ride is double points so there's a possibility of mixing things up a bit. Shane is killing it this year and me and Rog are nippin at his heels, well at least barking from a distance. Been a pleasure to host the series for the 12th year and couldn't do it without the volunteers at sign in and Kim's work at the start, finish, map design and results...actually I guess she does almost everything, hey... I have to ride the f'in things, right?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Not a Hopper But Pretty Damn Fast

With a pending cancellation of last weekend's Hopper checked in with brotherhood for a pulse on over-all foaminess. Rog' claimed to have thrown in a mean taper but wasn't interested in a road Hopper. Shane was up for the dirt as were Y Boat, CB, The Boyler, Duncan...even Captain L was in for an "easy" day. He really knows how to flatter his friends. The Ridge it was and was...Nectar! Hurt to not have a mtb. Hopper, will not happen again! To make up for it plan on a surplus of dirt for the King Ridge Hopper. Plan on some fresh rubber. We will have 3 sections of dirt on the day including two stiff climbs on dirt, the last of which is Willow Creek. That's all you're gonna get out of me so don't ask! Plan on +/- 80 miles and freakin' hard!