May 15, 2010

Places, pit stops, and people along the way.

With all this talk about here and there, you might be wondering where exactly I'm referring to. It's a long list -- so long, in fact, that I can scarcely believe we've been able to cover so much ground.

We've toured a good chunk of California, starting with the Southern Sierra and Kernville, where Bionicon USA is located. The Kern River Valley a spectacular place, and for Southern Cali, way off the beaten path. It's an outdoor mecca, with world-class kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing and whatever else you want to do outside. It's like Hood River, but with better winter weather. Highlights: Kern River Brewing Company, Keyesville Classic, and the Cannell Trail. I also love the people there - we've made quite a few good friends there in a short period of time. I like that.

Somehow, and not surprisingly, we've managed to completely avoid LA and stay on the periphery. So far, we've completely circumnavigated the city, to get to other places. Our first event was the CORBA Fat Tire Fest in late October, just north of LA at Castaic Lake. We were travel-lagged and exhausted, but managed to have a good time and spread the Bionicon gospel.

From there, we decided we wanted beach, so we went to Ventura county, and ended up in the Santa Monica mountains, with the beach just across the 101. A beach with internet, mind you. Trails left from our campsite, so we found it difficult to extract ourselves from this ideal setting.

From Ventura, we made our way north to San Luis Obispo. What a place! It's in my top five of the trip so far. The town is ultra cool, has plenty good food, bike-friendly and surrounded by trails. Need I say more?

Back to the Kern, then on to San Diego--specifically, Encinitas. We've been there three times, which should say it all. Highlights: SD Beer Week with KRBC and the Giddens, San Elijo State Beach, Bull Tacos, Seaside Market, and hanging out with the Fonniers for a few days (can you say Bloody Marys?). More highlights: Bike Demos at North of the Border in SD, midnight swim on Christmas Eve, surfing on Christmas.

Boulder City and Bootleg Canyon, oh my. We've been there twice, for races and demos. The riding there is incredible--technical and intimidating, because everything is sharp. Sharp rock with sandpaper grit and unforgiving spiny plants that don't make for soft landings. Highlights: Bart coming for an impromptu visit, Ginger trail (yikes!), skills area near parking lot, and bighorn sheep. Seeing skydivers - that was fun too!

Kernville for New Year's Eve. Kept it real by riding the Whiskey Flat trail at midnight on the Blue Moon NYE. It was freezing cold, but a little vodka and some toffee took care of that. Additional highlights: 'training' rides with Allison on the Boulder Trail - sick!, and cross-fit with the Giddens - brutal!

I can't believe I almost forgot that we went 'home' for 2 weeks. We drove north to Bend to set up a new dealer, then on to Hood River for a week. What I remember most about that trip was a whirlwind of socializing, squeezing in time with just about all of our friends, and a lot of work on the newly acquired Keyesville Classic MTB race. Those race planning weeks are a blur--I don't think I got on the bike more than once per week, and spent more hours than I'd like to admit in front of the computer.

Heading south, we stayed in Corvallis for a night, then onto Sacramento where we found this super funky motel, reno'd to a mid-century modern. We spent a day with WTB in Marin County, and they showed us some of their local trails. We poached their parking lot, and the next day, crossed the Golden Gate and explored San Fran on our Urban bikes, which was amazing! I could have done with a few more days of that, especially checking out all the food.

At some point around this time, we headed East to Sedona, land of red rocks and sweet trails. After several good rides, we made our way to Tempe, land of the best croissants outside of France, and burly South Mountain trails. Highlights: Hangover trail, rainy demo at Bike and Bean, Essence Bakery, and Gabe's scary pool-lapping-pump track.

March brought us three weeks of grueling work and the Keyesville Classic--the details of which I will share in a later post. After the Classic, we made our way to Fontana for my first-ever downhill race. Ryan and I represented on the Bionicons, snagging 3rds in our classes. Then, we went back to Sedona, then Phoenix for the Squealer, and on to Tucson for the Lemon Drop the day after. Highlights: Finishing the Squealer (barely), the Retreat at Helm's house--pool, hot tub, and good food, and Ryan finally seeing the light and buying a Mac.

April was chock-a-block with events like Sea Otter, a demo day in Marin County and the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. We had a few days respite at the Diller property in Santa Cruz (thanks again Dave and Alli!), just in time to celebrate my birthday. The day itself was dreary and gross, but we countered that with an RV beach cruise with Dave and Laurel (fellow road buddies!) of Joshua Tree Products and a drink at every beach. Highlights: Camping with Dee and James at the Otter, Fairfax in Marin County and a kickin' yoga class, GREAT Puerto Rican food in Marin, and Fruita (just in general).

That leads us to now. We spent a few days in Moab last week, and decided to return after a quick trip back to Fruita. Highlights: great riding with Joe, Chris, Mic, Gravity Dropper Wayne, and Avid Wayne, the Hot Tomato in Fruita and our cursedly messy table (many spills, including a whole pizza!), a sunrise ride on Horsethief, and many rides with Jackie and Dante. So many new friends - we've met so many wonderful people along the way, truly the highlight of this journey!

The adventure continues!

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