Sunday, May 27, 2012

Monthly ROMP ride @ Henry Coe

So yesterday was our first official outing with the Responsible Organized Mountain Peddlers or R.O.M.P.  They've recently begun trying to revitalize their group by hosting reach-out sort of events called their "Monthly ROMP" in which they organize a meetup of various ride groups to come out and ride together.  Among the groups in attendance were the Mere Mortals, BTCEB and of course SJMTB.  More than thirty people showed up in all, from all over the bay area to ride the many different rides being led by ROMP's leadership.  There was even a ride for the little ones led by Linda George, of ROMP.

Despite what people tell you about Coe, I was surprised to find that there is in fact an easy ride to be had there.  Our ride wasn't necessarily "easy", as we rode with the intermediate/advanced group, but I certainly wouldn't have called it a hard ride by any means.  The climbs were totally manageable, taking their time to get you up to the ridge.  I'm sure the views along the way would have been nothing short of breath taking, however our ride was to be a foggy one so all we saw was clouds and fog.  Of course this meant that the temps never really climbed either, which I hear can be a real problem when it comes to riding out at Coe.  Once at the top the down hill sections were where skills and caution were really needed.  The trails were fast, steep and loose with very little variance.  There were some great sections to flow, as well as some cool little creek crossings that made for some challenge (wet feet would have sucked in that weather).  All in all I'd say the ride was much better than what I had been expecting and can honestly say I look forward to riding Coe again in the near future.

The post ride spread, I think is what really sets ROMP apart from the other groups.  They really go all out to make sure there are enough snacks and drinks for everyone.  And nothing tastes better than someone else's beer.  The conversations I shared post ride were really what made the ride for me.  I met so many interesting and nice people that had nothing but great words of encouragement and appreciation for what our little group could become.  I left truly feeling inspired!  Having felt my passion wane in the last couple weeks, it was the pick me up that I really needed to remind me of exactly what I know SJMTB can become.  With all of your help and support I know we will become a great resource for not only awesome epic riding adventures but also trail and bike advocacy.  I look forward to our future.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Scrambled Skeggs part deux

Yesterday San Jose MTB hosted yet another weekly Saturday ride.  This time we headed out to El Corte de Madera (a.k.a. Skeggs) for one on my long routes that feature many of the best parts of Skeggs in one ride, dubbed Scrambled Skeggs.  I've decided to keep Dean's original theme of a play on the Skeggs name that he started using a few years back.  It surely isn't a completely original idea, however I think SJMTB uses it more than any other organized group.  Hosting rides such as Green Skeggs and Ham, Fried Skeggs, Fried Skeggs over easy, etc...  Scrambled Skeggs is by far the longest and hardest rides we host of this series and as a result usually brings out some really dedicated and strong riders.

This ride stayed fairly small (I think the 20 mile prescribed distance scared people off) with only five riders coming out.  A plenty big enough group for Skeggs given it's size and scope.  Our ride started off to a great start with some always great single track along Sierra Morena and Blue Blossom trails.  The dry winter has made certain areas a little dusty while others have remained wet and tacky as is usually the case with the area.  Traction was great and the group was really making great time on the ride.  We had made it down Blue Blossom and back up to Crossover with little need for pause.  Then we began our trip to the creek by way of Giant Salamander, one of the best trails the bay area has to offer.  We took a couple photos at the creek but didn't stop long, I think everyone was motivated to keep moving since we still had over half the ride to go.  From the decent on GS we headed back up the hill along some of the most technical trails Skeggs has to offer. The Leaf trail section, offers plenty of tight passes (a royal pain with my Renthal's), rock gardens, as well as root steps.  It truly takes skill to be able to clean the entire thing, not to mention some rock solid nerve.  A few sections had the entire group walking, and by the end of the trail everyone was feeling a bit beaten.  Of course we were now near the top on the opposite side of the preserve.  Only one way to go from there we headed back down the hill to our second creek crossing.

Things were going great and everyone was having a blast catching air off the water bars.  The everything came to a screeching halt.  As with any ride there is always a chance that something bad is going to happen and this time it did.  Matt, one of SJMTB's most dedicated Orgs, hit a rut just right (or just wrong depending on your perspective) and it sent him flying.  I was just behind him and came flying around a downhill corner to find him face down in the dirt.  The cloud of dust still settling from his impact with terra firma.  While we tried to asses his injuries we had to clear the trail and get him somewhere a little safer.  He was conscious, thankfully, and aware of what had happened (although not quite sure how).  We let him catch his bearings first and offered him what first aid we could (that's another post altogether).  He was bleeding quite a bit from a cut on his lip and tongue, but didn't seem to have any serious injuries that required professionals to be called in.  He was definitely in pain, but insisted that he could make it out under his own power.  So after a visit from some fellow riders (Matt was definitely getting the female sympathy vote, which I think helped to lift his spirits a bit.) we started heading back up the trail.  Leave it to Matt to wreck at the very bottom of the trail with no way out but up.  We opted for the most direct route, but it also happened to be the steepest.  Matt soldiered through the entire way, and though he was injured and sore he still made it back to the cars before everyone else.

Back at the trail head we all seemed a little more relaxed and at ease.  No longer fighting our way out we were able to joke about the incident a little and get Matt some real first aid attention.  It may not have been the best outcome for a ride, but I think everyone still enjoyed themselves and had a great time.  It was definitely a teachable moment as I don't think I'll ever ride without my first aid kit again.  Nothing sucks more that having a buddy down and knowing that you can't help more because you didn't want to carry an extra pound of supplies.  I think my next post will have to address the issue of what to bring with you on rides.  Our site has a page dedicated to this, so maybe it's time we expanded on the idea and tried to spread the word a little.

Thanks for tuning in.  Until next time, ride safe!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Welcome to San Jose Mountain Biking!

San Jose Mountain Biking started out as a meetup group that aimed at providing its members and organizers with ride opportunities and companions at locations they enjoyed.  Ride the rides you want to ride was our founder's idea.  And since 2009 we have been doing just that.  With rides scheduled nearly everyday of the week, we have become the most active mountain biking group in the bay area.  We offer something for everyone, hosting rides for the total beginner all the way to the seasoned veteran.

Our leadership team is made up of people from all walks of life, from the engineer to the mechanic, brought together by our love of riding.  Many of us have been riding for years and some only a few, however we all try to provide our members with the best possible experience when it comes to our rides.  You won't find any crazy power trips on rides or ridiculous rules to follow.  Just show up with a helmet and bike and prepare to have fun with some of the best people I know.

Our rides will range from after-work workouts and social beginner paced rides to longer weekend excursions with hours of riding.  We'll host rides anywhere and everywhere we can, from the nearby hills of Arastradero and Fremont Older to Marin and Monterey counties and beyond.  Most of our rides are kept at a social and easy going pace, but there are times when the pace is pushed and the sweat will pour.  Thankfully we have a pretty rock solid rating system to let you know what to expect before you show up.

Basically all of our rides are ridden with a no one left behind mentality, similar in principle and practice to that used by R.O.M.P. (a long standing riding and mtb advocacy group in the bay area)  We will try to keep the group together when possible or regroup when necessary. After all, these are group rides and you should feel like you're riding with a group and not alone.

The formula for the rating system is:

Pace:  With A being the slowest, beginner friendly pace, and C being a workout pace where you'll be expected to be able to keep moving with few breaks. 

Technical Difficulty:  Between 1 (easy with no real challenges... think paved path) and 10 (lots of challenges including drops, rocks, roots, etc.)

Physical Difficulty:  Also between 1 (again think flat paths) and 10 (lots of climbs broken up by more climbs)

Mileage:  The total expected distance for the ride (usually a close estimate rather than actual figure)

Elevation Gain:  The total amount of climbing for the entire ride (this is a sum of all the climbing done during the entire ride so the number can seem really high even on easier rides)

If you'd like more information about our rating system you can check our rating guide page HERE.

Along with our ratings guide you'll find our current ride calendar, ride photos, discussion forum, as well as details on our groups sponsors.

Not a member of MEETUP.COM or SJMTB?  JOIN TODAY!

We'll see you out there!