Issue 66

The Way Bobby Sees It

The Way Bobby Sees It

You can order the documentary at: poisonoakproductions.com. The Way Bobby Sees It is a gripping documentary about Bobby McMullen, a competitive mountain biker on a mission to race the most demanding downhill course in the country. Adding to the difficulty: Bobby is legally blind. With the help of a guide and a rigorous training schedule, Bobby is determined to race his bike down a course riddled with obstacles and flanked by steep, life-threatening cliffs. But, the racecourse isn’t the only challenge in Bobby’s life. Between thrills, spills and jaw dropping helmet camera footage, we see how Bobby uses humor, determination, and unshakeable optimism to battle adversity – both on and off the bike. Bobby was featured in our April/May 2012 issue in this article....
Tour of California, May 13-20: It’s Hollywood or Bust for Pro Peloton

Tour of California, May 13-20: It’s Hollywood or Bust for Pro Peloton

The Amgen Tour of California won’t have to worry about a snowstorm shutting down the first stage of America’s biggest cycling race this year. Instead of Tahoe, organizers have chosen a much safer kickoff city for the race’s seventh year — Santa Rosa, which will host the start and finish of the 116-mile first stage. No doubt it pleases three-time race champ Levi Leipheimer, a Santa Rosa native. “In my opinion Santa Rosa is at the center of the greatest place on earth — Sonoma County,” Leipheimer says in the stage promo video. “We have everything here: Great weather all year, mountainous coastal geography, the Pacific Ocean, locally grown produce, and an endless supply of sparsely populated roads that have been my training grounds for years.” The rest of the race route, the longest stage race ever held in the U.S., will be just as spectacular and diverse. Stage 2...
April 29: Chico Wildflower Adds 125-mile Route

April 29: Chico Wildflower Adds 125-mile Route

Dating back to 1981, the Chico Wildflower Century is one of the oldest, prettiest and best-run century rides in the country. And if the spring winds kick up or it’s excessively hot, it’s also one of the toughest 100-milers out there. New this year only will be the Wildcat 125, a 125-mile route to help CSU Chico celebrate its 125th anniversary. That should put early-season legs to the test. The ride is limited to 4000 riders. The pre-registration deadline is April 15. Late registrations will only be accepted if there is still space available. Chico has been named one of the top cycling communities in the nation for both its transportation and recreational riding. If you’ve never experienced its two-wheel charms and community spirit, there’s no better time than the spring. There’s huge Bidwell Park right in town, the ride up Honey Run Road through Butte Creek Canyon, a steep...
April 19-22: Sea Otter Celebrates 22nd Year

April 19-22: Sea Otter Celebrates 22nd Year

The first Sea Otter Classic, originally called the Laguna Seca Challenge, in 1991 drew 350 athletes and 150 spectators. Twenty-two years later the four-day “Celebration of Cycling” welcomes over 8,000 athletes and 50,000 spectators and bike enthusiasts to Monterey County, transforming the Laguna Seca Raceway into the largest consumer bike expo in North America. In addition to the professional and amateur riders who make the annual pilgrimage to participate in various mountain and road races, the cycling extravaganza has expanded its offerings for avid recreational riders with events such as the Gran Fondo (“great endurance”) rides, scheduled for Saturday, April 21. There will be three Gran Fondo rides this year: two road rides and a 20-mile mountain bike route. The road rides include a 96-mile route through Carmel Valley and a 49-mile out-and-back coastal route. Although timed, Gran Fondo rides are not races. Riders are encouraged to take the time...
April 14-15: Santa Cruz MTB Festival Cranks Up

April 14-15: Santa Cruz MTB Festival Cranks Up

Photo: Sean McSorley Having quickly cemented a place on the calendar a week ahead of the Sea Otter Classic, the third-annual Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival returns to Aptos Village, April 14-15, for a celebration of bikes and dirt. Hosted by Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), the two-day event includes the first legally sanctioned enduro race through Soquel Demonstration State Forest, as well as dirt jump and pump track contests, cross-country short track races, a kids’ fun lap, and skill demonstrations and clinics. Dirt jumpers can also practice landing hair-raising maneuvers worry-free, with the help of a giant air bag. Fox Racing Shox of Watsonville will again be the title sponsor and is donating prizes and a ton of awards, swag and raffle items. Even if you’re not competing there will be plenty of other diversions, from ogling and demoing bikes — manufacturers will include Ibis, Niner, Pivot, Specialized,...
Santa Cruz: New Pogonip Trail Approved

Santa Cruz: New Pogonip Trail Approved

The Santa Cruz City Council has approved a 1.5-mile multi-use trail through Pogonip, the largest park and open space area within the city. The trail will provide another connection between town and the UC Santa Cruz campus. The four-foot wide path will accommodate cyclists alongside pedestrians, equestrians and dogs. The new trail will reopen a 150-acre swath of Pogonip that has been closed to the public for several years. First proposed in 2010, the trail plan drew a surprising level of controversy. Mountain bikers wholeheartedly supported it, while some hikers and conservationists expressed concern that further opening of the 640-acre preserve to cyclists might endanger pedestrians and result in more unauthorized trails being blazed. Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, a volunteer advocacy group, has pledged $25,000 to help complete and maintain the trail. Supporters say the trail will help discourage illegal camping in a part of the park that...
Report Card: California Ranks 20th in Bike Friendliness

Report Card: California Ranks 20th in Bike Friendliness

According to the League of American Bicyclists, California ranks as the 20th most bike friendly state in the U.S. Our report card from the league looks like that of a smart but troubled teenager. It includes an “A” for Legislation, a “B” for Policies and Programs, an “F” for Infrastructure, a “C” for Education & Encouragement, a “D” for Evaluation & Planning, and a “D” for Enforcement. The top ranked communities in the state include Davis (Platinum), San Francisco (Gold), and Palo Alto (Gold). Sacramento, Folsom, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara all received Silver rankings. Nearly 20 other communities received Bronze status. For top-ranked Davis, the most compelling community statistic cited by the league is that 14% of the city’s commuters are rolling on two wheels— or roughly 35 times the national average. The top states in the rankings include a number of cold-weather states: 1,...
Backroad Diversions: Highway 199 along the Smith River

Backroad Diversions: Highway 199 along the Smith River

By Haven Livingston Deep in the heart of northern California’s redwood forest, the winding ribbon of aquamarine Smith River is paralleled by Highway 199. Beginning just north of the tiny coastal town of Crescent City, 199 breaks away from HWY 101 and turns east. Following this route will take you through remnants of truly giant coastal redwoods and offer a roller coaster ride alongside the Smith River and into the Siskiyou Mountains where one of the most diverse coniferous forests of North America grows. At 2,100 feet, the highway passes through Collier Tunnel under the Hazel View Summit, leads into the Illinois valley of southern Oregon and reaches all the way to Grant’s Pass. Fishermen on the Smith River, as seen from the Hiouchi Bridge. Photos by Rick Hiser Four miles east of 101, at the Hiouchi Bridge, travelers get their first tantalizing gaze at deep pools and riffles...
EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in the Saddle

EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in the Saddle

Trailhead bike check with riding partner Gary Speicer. Photo Pete Gauvin Anyone who has ever tried to return to a sport after being injured — or even after a long seasonal lay off — knows how hard it can be to recover and regain proficiency and confidence. It can be both humbling and discouraging, often requiring as much mental fortitude and perseverance as it does physical conditioning. Just getting back on my road or mountain bike after winter is like that for me. Which is one of the reasons why I’m astounded by stories like this issue’s profile on Bobby McMullen, “Racing Blind.” We could just as well call McMullen the “Comeback Kid,” even though he’s much closer to turning 50 than he is to his teen years. His numerical age does not reflect his child-like love for cycling whether he’s riding rocky singletrack or the sidewalk to...
Heidi’s Climb: In the Alps, life metaphors roll easier than the miles for a cancer fighter striving to live in the moment

Heidi’s Climb: In the Alps, life metaphors roll easier than the miles for a cancer fighter striving to live in the moment

Photos by Gina Fish. By Heidi Boynton I found the world of sports late in life. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I decided I would take a more active path. I was tired of making decisions based on fear of the unknown. Little did I know that a year later that new life direction would be put dramatically and direly to the test when I was diagnosed with blood cancer. Over the past 11 years, this up-and-down fight has opened me up to some amazing experiences. All I had ever done physically before was run to clear my head; now I’ve run marathons and Ironman triathlons. Deciding not to let fear stop me has brought me head on to a life that is incredibly full and beautiful whether it’s grinding out the miles on a bike, running trails or churning through water. Certain moments stand out, though, such...
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