Due to a last minute cancellation, the Fall Break Camp was put together last minute, like very last minute, and I based it all off of previous camps adventures. Turns out the previous camp was all mountain biking. I have been mountain biking or MTB one time before this week. That is not to say I haven't ridden a mountain bike. The first 5 years I was messengering in Seattle I rode a mountain bike 40 hours a week, and the next 5 years I always kept one as a backup but I only ever rode it in town. Maybe cutting some lil’ greenway trails and shortcuts here and there but never what I would call MTB. This week was different.
We started Monday at the Sierra Vista MTB Park. Lots of quick lil’ trails, huge jumps, tight turns, big drop offs, pump tracks, and sagebrush. My friend Mikey volunteered as my backup for the whole week. Mikey is the person that I went mountain biking with for the first and only time in my life. We rode from Truckee to Reno, had a great time, and I knew that he would have a ton of fun this week so I asked him to come along.
Monday I could already tell that these kids were gonna be sending it and aren't really scared of doing things that kinda make me worry. We rode 6.5 Miles at the park and climbed 750 ft.
Tuesday we cruised out to Hidden Valley Regional Park. HV was more of, like, in the wild MTB trails. There is a smaller loop, and then the mountains open up to much larger zones. This was the first time that I got scared. We did some trails that were pretty high up, pretty washed out, and mega suspect (seemingly at least). Also this was the first time we got a taste of me taking us off the main trail and onto lil bunny or coyote trails and ending up kinda misrouted and having to bomb through a neighborhood to get back to the park. Also, one of the kids got stung by a wasp or something that got stuck in their shirt. We rode 9.5 Miles and climbed 960 feet.
Wednesday we rode the Steamboat Ditch Trail, which was really chill and had super pretty views the whole time. The trail here is mega chilled out until I accidentally followed some kinda-not-really-a -rail, which sent us into some pretty hectic single track with bushes up over the handlebars on both sides and a super gnarly climb that I think must be a mountain goat trail. We did get to soak our feet in the cool creek and throw rocks at the "hole in the wall". This day so far had the hardest, most challenging riding for the group and the most technical MTB that I have ever done (which like I said, isn't much). We rode 9 miles and climbed 400 feet.
Thursday we kept it a lil more local and cruised to Rancho San Rafael. We took the Miner's trail and climbed up to the big N up on the mountain. Really steep and really technical riding. We took a lil snack and water break up on the N before bombing back down. By now I have been MTB for 4 days in a row and feel like the group and I are all killing it and aren't really sweating how hectic these zones actually are. Thursday was the first mechanical we had, when one kid slid way out, drive side down and basically got his hangdown stuck in his wheel sticks (tech talk) rendering the bike unusable. We ended up taking a lil walk around the park with our helmets on while eating bags of chips. We rode 5.5 Miles and climbed 715 feet.
Friday we were back at the MB park at Sierra Vista. Taking everything we learned throughout the week we came back ready to rip. And when I say rip, I mean RIP! There is nothing at this place that we as a group didn't shred. We were all over this place including some misroutes (not by me this time) that had us climbing quite a bit more than before. Andy came and brought us all pizza. We showed him our game of locking your back wheel up on a piece of street trash and sliding that bad boy as far as you can. Andy also brought his mountain bike and ripped with us for a bit. One of our rider's mom was getting married that day and came to watch us rip a couple trails before the big day, adding to the magic of being in the mountains for 5 days in a row.
Throughout the week we had some pretty scary crashes and def got some scrapes and bruises, but nothing close to major. I think that when you crash it also is learning and anytime on the bike is gonna make you better even if you are falling on "Advanced" trails, which we did.
Friday we rode 10.5 Miles at the park and climbed 1,100 feet. Bringing the week's total to 41 Miles of trails with 3,925 feet of climbing each. It was really fun and really challenging and I think that the whole group did really great. MTB is hard and scary and really fun and I look forward to being able to hook some of these young people with more opportunities to get into the mountains.