Oct 7, 2006
The second annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day at Wilder Ranch State Park was a great success! We couldn't have had a better day. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold and no wind.
We had 25 kids participate ranging in age from 3 - 13 years old riding all types of set ups including Burley trailers, front seats, rear seats, training wheels and a wide variety of kids bikes.
Daryl and Eve led the young kids ride to Fern Grotto beach where Jade showed the other kids where to find sea glass. Jade has been very interested in collecting sea glass for a couple of month and we had no idea it was such a valuable commodity. All the kids managed to collect a lot of nice glass.
Rich, Sebastien and Geoff led the bigger kids on an out and back ride along the Cowboy loop. The Park Rangers escorted both rides and made sure that the kids were safe. We had a minor crash near the end of the event which required a little medical attention and it only demonstrated how valuable and an important a job that the Rangers do for us.
At around noon, both groups met at the apple orchard for a picnic. Everyone enjoyed a post ride picnic of sandwiches, brownies, cantaloupe, and dried fruit.
All the kids got a ticket for the free raffle. The top prizes were helmets and a floor pump. Other prizes included kids gloves, T-shirts, hats. Lots of free stickers and water bottles were given away. All the kids got something to take home. The kids were free to enjoy the rest of the day at Wilder to hang out, play at the climbing tree, watch the blacksmith work and enjoy the craft table.
Thanks to California State Parks including Rangers Joseph Connors and Brett Reid for the logistical support and escort. Thanks to interpreter Carolyn Schimandle for arranging the activities and blacksmith. Also, thanks to to Piet Canin of Bike2Work SCBIC, Dave Gittelman of Another Bike Shop and Berri Michel of the Bicycle Trip for donating raffle items and stickers. Thanks to IMBA and Clif Bar for the yummy donation of Z-bars. The kids loved them!
Thanks to volunteers Daryl Breuninger, Eve Davidson, Rich Henthorn, Sebastien Praly and Geoff Smith for donating your time. I really appreciate all your help on putting on this event.
Finally, thanks to all the participants and volunteers for giving the kids a very positive outdoor experience. We are genuinely feel blessed that we live in an area that has an abundance of great parks. With childhood obesity on the rise, an event like this can introduce our kids to a healthy outdoor activity like mountain biking. Mountain biking is a great activity which builds confidence, fitness and an appreciation for the wonderful parks that we have in this area.
August 16-20, 2006
MBOSC and NorCAMBA were up in Tahoe last week for the NorCAMBA Tahoe Epic and we had a great time.
Geoff had arrived at the Martis Creek Campground Tuesday night and snatched the choice spots. Eve, Jade and I arrived Wednesday afternoon with Daryl, Caroline, Shiela and Linda. We went for a warm up ride on the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) to the Mt. Rose Wilderness area back to Brockway Summit.
Thursday, we did the Flume trail starting from Spooner Lake. Josh and John from ROMP had arrived the previous night to join us on that ride. I did the ride with Jade and it was a painful 1000 ft climb up the North Canyon rode with 70 lbs of bike and child in the noon day sun. Jade was a little whiny (she hates fire road climbs) but she started singing songs about ponies so it kept both our minds off the climb. The views from the Flume Trail were awesome! This is the 3rd time I've done the Flume and I was so happy to share this trail and the views with my daughter. The sandy ride down Tunnel Creek was a little sketchy but waiting for the shuttle by the Ponderosa was really nice since we had a cooler full of Seabright Beer. We cooled off by playing in Lake Tahoe at Kings Beach.
Friday was our epic ride day. The 9 mile section of the TRT from Tahoe Meadows is only open to bikes on even days so this would be our only opportunity to ride there. We were joined by TRT trail ambassadors Dave and Linda George. We followed the TRT from Tahoe Meadows to the climb on the back side of the Flume trail, down Hobart Road to Marlette Lake and down North Canyon road ending at Spooner Lake.
The ride was challenging and the views were incredible! Waiting for the shuttles took a while but it was nice to hang out, chat and drink more amazing Seabright Beer. Daryl had hub issues and it was convenient that he got it fixed at the Flume Trail Mountain Bikes at Spooner Lake. Later I learned from Phil of the TRT association that that the owner Max Jones was instrumental in opening the Flume Trail to mountain bikes back in the day. Again we hung out at Kings Beach for fun in the sun and water.
That evening, the rest of the NorCAMBA Tahoe Epic participants arrived at Martis Creek from all over Northern California.
Saturday was the trail work day. We carpooled to the TRT west of Brockway Summit. We built up a section of trail with lots of rocks and dirt. I was working in the dirt quarry for most of the day. It was a lot of hard labor but we built a lot of trail. We also built up a lot of good will with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Please consider supporting this organization by becoming a member.
After the work, there was a ride around the Martis Peak down to NorthStar. Instead, I did a hike with my daughter to the vista on the TRT.
That evening, we had pizza and salad for dinner and then the raffle. Jade was pulling the tickets for the raffle and was way too cute. Our crew did really well: Daryl won the Fox Vanilla and Sheila won the Fox Float RLC. Jade won a Fox hat that she loves a lot. We watched a slide show of that days trail work and ride then the movie "Roam" at the outdoor amphitheater.
On Sunday, we ate a leisurely pancake breakfast prepared by Patty. the NorCAMBA participants went on an epic ride let by Jim and John. Many of the MBOSC participants packed up and went home or did an easy ride.
Thanks to Patty Ciesla and John Gardiner for organizing the NorCAMBA Epic. Elayna Caldwell-Grim from Fox Racing Shox for donating schwag. Jim Haagen-Smit for the movie and slide show. Jackie the Ranger at Martis Creek Lake Campground for being a great host and supporting the event. Elaine the Martis Creek camp host for her patience and helping out with the logistical chaos of finding and reserving the camp spots.
Thanks to Caroline Murphy for organizing the MBOSC part of the event and Charlie Meehan for donating 5 cases of Seabright Beer for the MBOSC crew and other early birds. The "Kenny" was a huge hit and a highly coveted beverage but Daryl was perfectly happy with the Blur.
It was a great event and one for the history books. We figured out a better epic ride which starts at Tahoe Meadows and ends at Ponderosa via the Flume Trail as an alternative to riding down North Canyon road to Spooner lake. I can't wait to ride it.
May 15, 2006
18 mountain bikers and about 25 equestrians participated in Carrot Fest on Saturday. It was a casual event and it was a great opportunity to learn about the other user group in a social setting.
We were high up on the Horse Camp marine terrace with great views of the ocean and the back country. The sunshine was breaking up the morning fog and there was no wind.
After a registering and refreshments, Rebeckah from SCCHA and Sebastien from MBOSC discussed the basics of horse-bike interaction on the trails. That discussion gave way to an open forum of experiences with the other user group.
Some new things that I have learned about horses and equestrians:
- Horses can't see directly in front or behind them.
- A horse is a prey animal who will run if threatened.
- Carrots are like candy to horses (which is why they love them so much). It's not part of their regular diet and too much carrots will make them sick.
- Equestrians can feel the tension when horses get nervous from bikers. This tension can make the equestrians feel threatened and may cause them to shout at these bikers - which may create an atmosphere of hostility.
As a mountain biker, these are the things I can do on the trail when encountering equestrians and horses:
- Talk and indicate that you are a "human" when approaching horses. Expecially from behind. Bikes are quiet and horses have sensitive hearing. They may think that cyclists are predators.
- Communicate with the equestrian about passing the horse. Some horses are comfortable with bikes and will allow you to ride by. Others may wish that the horse or the bike should come to a complete stop when passing.
- Ride slow when passing a horse and give them plenty of room.
I also appreciated that equestrians are not fully in control of their horses. While horses are obedient and have been trained, it still has a mind of it's own and still subjected to physiological constraints like hunger and fear. An equestrians control of where they want to go must be negotiated with the horse. For example, when an equestrian wants to stop, they must communicate this desire to their horse then the horse will stop. There may be a bit of a lag between the desire to stop by the equestrian and when the horse will actually stop. This is different from bikers because there is no other animal brain to negotiate with when controlling the bike. I acknowledge that not all bikers are in control of their bikes and some bikers have primitive brains.
This was a great way to build understanding between equestrians and mountain bikers. Many of the equestrians I talked with have had positive encounters with mountain bikers on the trail. We are blessed in Santa Cruz county to have such a great relationship with the other user group. Both user groups have a lot of common ground and goals and we can work together to accomplish these goals.
We thank all participants for coming to Carrot Fest for showing the initiative to learn about the other user group. I especially like to thank Sebastien Praley from MBOSC and Rebeckah Crill from SCCHA for representing the co-operation between mountain bikers and equestrians in putting this event together. I also like to thank Supervising Ranger Joe Conners from California State Parks for helping with getting the location prepared for the event.