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!