I’ll begin with a ride I did on Wednesday with this guy at the Pleasanton Ridge… but that ride sucked. I wanted to try out the Santa Cruz, and the Ridge was local; however, the riding consisted of almost entirely boring fire road that climbed and climbed. Once near the top, there were a few randomly strewn singletracks that didn’t seem to go anywhere in particular. The descent was over far too quick for that much climbing… I won’t be going back there.
Now skip to today… another friend was going to the Soquel Demonstration Forest in Santa Cruz, so I hopped on the opportunity for a post-Thanksgiving ride. Soquel is one of the most prime riding locations for mountain biking, and I definitely believe it after today. The trails had a little bit of everything, and what’s cooler than riding through a forest specifically trailed for mountain bikers?
We started by riding the Braille trail, which was fairly technical (at least for me). It had its share of rocks and steep drops, but was a ton of fun even though I probably had my teeth clenched the entire time. After Braille, we then rode up the Tractor trail and then back down. My poor fitness became quite evident on this climb. Here’s a picture of our bikes somewhere around halfway up.
And a look at the trail itself, these things never look steep in pictures…
Tractor was a lot faster and less technical than Braille… but in the end I preferred Braille mainly because there’s just more stuff to experience there, like berms (which are surprisingly fun).
After the Tractor trail, there was a roughly 3.5 mile fire road climb back to the parking lot. This portion was grueling for me, I had mixed feelings of starvation and exhaustion. I have a tendency to be under-prepared when it comes to nourishments for a ride. All I was able to eat in the morning was 2 small oranges on the way to the forest, which caught up in a big way at this point. Thankfully, my friend had some pastry stuff and energy goo that was remarkably good. I think that gave me enough sugar to not completely black out.
To sum it up, the Soquel Demonstration Forest is an incredible place to ride. The fact that I was utterly tired and remained in one piece afterwards means this was a successful ride. Also, the bike performed without any hiccups which is a major plus… well, aside from the rear tire being too smooth and slipping so much.
There is much to learn and practice, which I look forward to.