Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘mountain bikers of santa cruz’

Why Fewer Women Riders? Wait a sec…

In Mountain Biking on February 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Angela taming a log roll in St. Ed's

Why are fewer women cycling? asks BikeRumor. Well, er… are there actually fewer women riding? Most data in urban areas suggests the opposite. And on the trails, there’s a real explosion in women mtbers (granted the base was small). On Twitter and Facebook, more women riders all the time. Still, it’s worth a read…

Case in (counter)point: Angela Sucich takes the Diamondback Lux Sport out for a thrash.

Gregg’s Cycles in Seattle has reprised W.O.W. — Women on Wheels, a Ladies Night Out. Mark it down: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, at the Green Lake store.

And at 86, still pedaling.

Then again, Martin Krieg, the “FarthingPenny” guy, checks in with this report:

“Who should roll up but Ellen Fletcher, America’s first politician/bike activist. And the woman for whom America’s first bike boulevard here in Palo Alto was named. Ellen asked me how our ride to Boston was coming along, and among other things, told me she had seen our bus parked on the other bike boulevard, Park Blvd, at Park Automotive Services. And as she pedaled off, I felt the need to corroborate her age for Chris and Caroline, the passer by who took the below photo. Ellen had to stop to get enough wind to answer me. She was still on the mend from having had a cancerous part of her lung removed.

“Eighty two”, she answered. She got back on her bike and pedaled away!!”

Alice Telford rides like ... a girl!

A less encouraging case in point: Woman rider clotheslined in steep gully.

Don’t forget the always cyclesque Kate Hudson!

And then there’s “Women of Dirt,” which is getting premieres all up and down the West Coast. The Cali premiere is this Sunday in Santa Cruz, rain or shine.

Which brings us to the subject of the bizarre dreariness and slop of this winter. In Vancouver they’re sweating in sunshine but the SF Bay Area can’t buy a ray. The big question-mark this weekend is the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival. “Women of Dirt” will show, but the rides and events planned around the festival aren’t being helped by the wet. Mark Davidson & the gang at Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz have put together an incredible weekend, with more than $15,000 worth of merchandise to raffle off. At last tweet everything is still on, Soquel Demo ride and Jump Jam included! Got my ticket from Another Bike Shop in Santa Cruz and am ready to rumble!

“Women of Dirt” Santa Cruz premiere: Hot deals!

In Mountain Biking, Videos on February 16, 2010 at 1:18 am

Could be yers, ALL yers, dude...or dudess!

The big “Women of Dirt” California premiere is two weeks away, and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz keeps sweetening the pot. Titus has emerged as the lead sponsor and is offering up a killer bike, the El Guapo, for raffle giveaway. Plus Black Market Bikes is offering 10 percent off in-stock items purchased from its online store. And the general raffle includes “an Intense 5.5 EVP frame donated by our good friends at Trailhead Cyclery, a Fox 36 Talas RC2 donated by Fox Racing Shox, a BlkMrkt Bike Mob frame donated by Black Market Bikes and many, many, many items,” MBOSC says. Tickets are at most area bike shops, grab ‘em before they sell out like they did in Seattle Feb. 5th!

Mud: A regional roundup of Northern California biking trails

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking on February 5, 2010 at 1:28 am

The Northern California rains of recent weeks have taken a grim toll on mountain biking trails. Erosion is severe in many places. Blowdowns, while not as widespread as might be expected, have kept trail crews busy. And some trails are just plain under water — a rarity for the region, but fact nonetheless.

The practice of riding in the goo has some folks, including Santa Cruz Bicycles marketing maniac Mike Ferrentino, a bit on the dispeptic side.

Riders gear up for Skeggs

Why anyone would want to defile Nature, their pivot bearings, and common sense to ride in this stuff is beyond me. What, they don’t allow bikes in the Calistoga mud baths?

The good news is that in recent days there was a marked shift in trail integrity. We’ve been riding the mid-Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas and can report that most trails were drying out nicely — before last night’s deluge, at least. In contrast to the Pacific Northwest, where we hail from, Cali trails drain pretty quickly. Sun and warmer temps help. But the soil is far more porous in California, at least in most places. Plus trails in NorCal are well built.

Upper Alpine Road trails are hurtin'

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it should be noted that California is not out of the woods yet weather-wise. Rain continues to plague the forecast like a bad case of shingles, coming and going without much notice. El Nino or Nina or Nano, whatever it is, has things all bolloxed up and down the coast. The jet stream continues to play havoc, keeping storm patterns intermittent over the next 10 days and perhaps beyond. Everyone talks about how much the region needs the wet because of recent years’ drought. I have to explain that where I come from we have 121 synonyms for rain and no synonyms for drought. Drought itself isn’t really a word. Saying it sounds strange on our lips, like that clicking sound Aboriginals make.

Bridge no longer over troubled water

It’s a shame to interrupt the trails’ recovery. We rode in Wilder Ranch State Park at Santa Cruz Wednesday and found things in great shape, especially for a rider with Seattle roots. Although the locals (a surprising number were out) complained about splatter, I explained that these trail conditions would be heaven in the Northwest as late as mid-July. Most of the trails were perfectly dry, not even leaving tracks. Only in some drop-ins, post holes and gullies was there surface water. We weren’t complaining.

Eucalyptus, Baldwin and Wilder Ridge loops were in fine shape. A bridge had been removed at one water crossing and there was evidence of erosion on the steeps, but nothing like the blocking blowdowns, fallen limbs and what have you we would find in the Northwest. Zane Grey Cutoff had some issues in a couple of the wetter switchbacks, as did the main lower trail that cuts off from the fire road climb. At one point I wheelied over a wet spot, only to land in the biggest sucking sound since Ross Perot’s flip chart. The bike just door-stopped, dumping me over the side into a grassy bank, laughing like a maniac.

Plastic flap on Baldwin Loop

Baldwin Loop was closed, kind of, with flexi-posts, but the trail was pretty well all dry. The main road loops were dry except in upper flat areas, and even there was just oozing drainage, not puddles.

As long ago as last Sunday, Forest of Nisene Marks above Aptos was equally recovering, although the tall trees and lack of light were retarding its comeback more than Wilder. I mentioned in my Titus Rockstar 29er review that a couple of places were actively running water. But most of the lower trails (riding on the uppers was discouraged by rangers) are bouncing back.

On the mid-Peninsula, Arastradero was in fair shape on Monday, although a couple of shaded trails were closed. (Check the kiosk at the main parking lot before heading out.) Arastradero has great exposure and good drainage and recovers more quickly than most.

A ride up Alpine Road to the Stevens Creek network on Tuesday was less successful. The singletrack off Alpine was really mucky and will take some time to recover. I didn’t make it across Page Mill, but from experience know that the Stevens Creek trail itself gets closed in this kind of weather. Monte Bello has much better elevation and exposure and usually fares well.

I haven’t made it to Skeggs or points north for exploration yet but will try to get to Mt. Tam and Tamarancho this weekend, weather permitting. Bryan at Fairfax Cyclery (a great shop just to drop in and schmooze) indicated that China Camp, Pine Mountain and Mt. Tam trails were serviceable, the exception being Camp Tamarancho, which got a check mark in the unrecommended column. The shame is that the Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s Dirt Bowl fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Fairfax and environs don’t get slammed too bad beforehand.

As for Wilder, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz president Mark Davidson was not optimistic and “will probably” cancel the club’s weekly Wilder ride for tomorrow (Saturday). “We don’t recommend people ride wet trails,” he said. Having formerly lived in Vancouver, B.C., where NorthShore sprouts raging rivers this time of year and mountain bikers have to fight off kayakers for trail access, Davidson qualifies as a trusted name in soil integrity. When he says “wet,” we hear “aquatic.”

There hasn’t been a really good stretch of weather in the Bay Area since the turn of the decade. That may sound worse than it really is, but for NorCal it pretty well puts things in perspective. Let’s hope for a turn for the better asap.

Details finalized in Cali premiere of “Women of Dirt”

In Mountain Biking, Videos on February 2, 2010 at 2:25 am

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz have finalized plans for their two-day Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival on Feb. 27 and 28, capped with the California premiere of “Women of Dirt” at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the stately Rio Theater in Santa Cruz.

On hand will be riders Lisa Myklak, Emily Johnston, Tammy Donahugh and Kathy Pruitt, as well as filmmaker Mark Brent. A Q&A session will be moderated by Karen Kefauver, a freelance sports and travel journalist who authors the cycling column, Spin City for the Santa Cruz Sentinel and an outdoors blog.

There will also be a group ride at Soquel Demo Forest on Feb. 27 along with a Demo Day at Bike Station Aptos. A pump ‘n jump jam in Aptos will precede the film on the 28th.

(We sure hope the weather has cleared up by then!)

The film’s worldwide premiere is Friday in Seattle. Previous Bike Intelligencer coverage.

Awesome Land “Women of Dirt” Premiere Countdown

In Mountain Biking, Videos on January 28, 2010 at 7:32 am

Its co-filmmaker calls “Women of Dirt,” which premieres a week from tomorrow, an “experiential lifestyle film” packed with “levity” and “fun.” But it’s not just a film “for and about women,” whether on bikes or off. Instead, says Mark Brent, previewers have been unanimous that the movie has “huge crossover appeal” for any audience — meaning the riding, the relationships and the story take it beyond the usual backflips-and-beer ethos of conventional freeride DVDs.

“Women bring a different aspect to the sport,” Brent said. Their riding has a subtlety and grace to it that “We can all identify with better,” Brent said. “It’s super flowy and style-y.”

We were instantly drawn to Brent’s and co-filmmaker Miles Sullivan’s project by the presence of Seattle native Jill Kintner, whose 2009 season ranked among the best of any mountain biker, male or female. Kintner is featured riding last summer’s Whistler Crankworx (where she won two titles and runner-upped a third), the nationals (she took first) and — get this — the Woodland Park jumps, within shouting distance of our Phinney Ridge home. Modest and understated, Kintner hasn’t gotten her due. Perhaps the movie will remedy that.

Unfortunately, Jill (and most of the pro cycling world) is in Australia, where it’s summertime, training for the 2010 season — which means she can’t be at Northwest Film Forum for the movie’s worldwide premiere Feb. 5 (tickets here). But Katrina Strand, Stephanie Nychka, Cierra Smith, Tammy Donahugh and Leana Gerrard will be in Seattle (be sure to read Martha Hucker’s interview of Leana) for the premiere and Lisa Myklak, Emily Johnston, and Tammy Donahugh in Santa Cruz for the California premiere Feb. 28. The Cali hosts, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, are making the showing part of a gala two-day festival, including an open ride at Soquel Demo Forest and jump jam sponsored by Epicenter Cycling in Aptos.

At the Seattle premiere Diamondback Bicycles will give away a 2010 Mission 1. And 10 percent of net proceeds from Seattle showings will go to benefit the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which is doing superlative work to support freeride parks in the region.

Brent says that, after two decades of mostly male mtb films, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a film featuring women riders. He got the idea for “Women of Dirt” in part from talking with Joy Mutoli, who noticed after race weekends that the guy footage on PinkBike would get a few dozen views while the fem footage shot the needle up to 500 or more.

The “Women of Dirt” teaser has gotten more than 50,000 views. And the film’s Facebook fan page has nearly 1,500 members.

“People have told us, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this story existed’,” Brent said. “They’re blown away by the beauty and courage and comradery of the riders.”

In addition to NWFF’s run and the Santa Cruz premiere, “Women of Dirt” will be hosted by Mudd Bunnies in Vancouver, B.C. And Brent is working with groups and clubs in a variety of locales, including Bellingham, to get the film before local audiences.

“We’re encouraging anyone with a group of any size to host a showing,” he said. (It’s called marketing in the age of the Internet.)

DVDs will go on sale officially the day of the premiere but may be available online earlier, Brent said. Fans also will be able to buy the film directly from the producers at the BonesOverMetal web site. And discs are sure to make their way into select bike shops.

“I hope this opens up the opportunity for a full-length feature documentary,” Brent said. Perhaps something on the women’s World Cup circuit — something along the lines of Clay Porter’s annual series (“F1rst,” “Between the Tape,” “Tipping Point”). In any case, “Women of Dirt” is long overdue as a tribute to women opening the sport and zeitgeist of freeriding to a whole new generation of riders. For an example, be sure to check out Walter Yi’s video link below of Kat Sweet out at Duthie — one of the places where Evergreen is making such a difference.

Kat Sweet edit from Walter Yi on Vimeo.

Why Aptos Needs a Pump Track

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking on January 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Right now it’s a seedy vacant lot. But if the mountain biking community in Aptos CA and its Santa Cruz environs have any say, the open field behind the Post Office jump park will soon be transformed into a major drawing card for NorCal riders.

Led by Epicenter Cycling, a new bike shop in Aptos, an effort is under way to install a pump track in the unused dirt lot adjacent to the bike shop. Right now commercial zoning stands in the way, but advocates are working with regulators to enable accommodation of the track.

This is a great opportunity for Aptos/Santa Cruz to build on its growing reputation, stoked by icons like Cam and Tyler McCaul, Jamie Goldman and Greg Watts, the reigning Krankworx Slopestyle champion who flies more air than United.

The Aptos clan has not only brought fans, groupies and fellow starz to the tiny seaside community, their Jump Jam contests and cameos on DVDs have put Aptos on the international mountain biking map. It used to be when a McCaul was introduced, people would say, “Aptos? Where’s that?” Now they nod and say, “Yeah dude, that’s where the jump park rools!”

Alas, the jump park is slated to be shut down, and there isn’t a clear alternative nearby. Freeride trails are springing up in the woods, but replacing the jump park isn’t going to be easy. Aptos definitely will need a new holy grail.

A pump track would be a big step in the right direction. Downieville and Marin County celeb Mark Weir has garnered lots of attention for a track he put in on private property in Novato, where the mtb v. hiker wars continue apace.

Pump tracks are like mini LeMans courses for bikes. You ride berms and humps around a large, wide loop, gaining speed (without having to pedal) for jumps and launches. It’s a great way to build riding skills as well as get a nice workout, which shuttling up a fire road or riding a chair lift won’t provide.

Two other benefits to tracks, which parallel skateboard bowls: They’re great gathering places, and they provide a positive recreational outlet for kids at a much-needed time of their lives.

With the regulatory process just under way, there’s no ETA yet for the pump track. But backers hope to have it in place in time for the 2010 season.

“Lots of folks are anxious to get in and start building,” said Shawn Wilson, owner of Epicenter Cycling. “Human power won’t be a problem.”

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