Usal Hopper

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Date(s) - 10/12/2019
All Day



Lost Coast Gravel Adventure

Usal Hopper: The Lost Coast

EL MERO-MERO:  60 MI. 8,500 FT.

EL MEDIANO: 43 MI. 6,900 FT.

EL CHIQUITO: 32 MI. 4,100 FT.

North of Westport and south of Eureka lies a seldom traveled ribbon of rugged California coastline accurately called the Lost Coast. Due to the remoteness of the area it’s been impossible to host a cycling event, until now.  In partnership with RFFI and Usal Redwoods we will have a unique opportunity to ride on state, county and private RFFI/Usal land. As an effort to showcase their restoration efforts and stewardship of the land and provide the public access for the weekend we will be riding on their 50,000 acres between the Eel River and the Pacific Ocean. Hoppers have always been about adventure and exploration while striving to connect to and create community within the cycling community of northern California. We are thrilled to be venturing north and give you a glimpse into  remote Mendocino County. To read more about the history of RFFI and their mission please visit their web page.

I’ve always believed in the importance of viewing the social and environmental impact of our travel and recreation. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world and need to make the connection between our lifestyles and the impact on carbon emissions. As an effort to make our event “carbon neutral” and support the efforts of RFFI we will be planting 300 redwood trees in the Usal Redwood forest. What better way for a “carbon credit/tax” than to plant trees in our own backyard! This will offset the carbon footprint of 250 people driving to and from the Bay Area.

The Rides:

There will be three different loops to choose from. The “Mero-Mero” and the “Mediano” will be timed and will have a podium for all categories. The “Chiquito” will not be timed but will give riders a chance to get out and explore the Lost Coast and RFFI land at their own pace. Roads are a combination of hard packed dirt, loose gravel, pavement and weather-beaten, rutted county dirt roads. All routes will start and end at the Usal State Park Campground in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Part of the adventure will be just getting there!

Mero-Mero:  60 mi. 8500 ft. (w/ 7.5 mi. Hwy 1 pavé)

El Mediano: 43 mi. 6900 ft. (w/ 7.5 mi. Hwy 1 pavé)

El Chiquito: 32 miles 4100 ft. (all dirt)

What Bike? 

If you’ve read this far you know what the Hopper are all about…adventure, exploration, shred. And, we’re here to make you scratch your head as to what exactly is the “best” bike to ride. We’ve designed an amazing loop to give you a solid glimpse at the Lost Coast and Usal and also include the best of the RFFI gravel roads. Riders doing the Mero-Mero will even drop into the Eel River area. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple bikes you will need to decide both bike choice and tires. If you only have one, then ride whatcha got and have a blast! I’ve ridden the Mero-Mero loop on my Diverge with both 650b and 47 tires and 700c on 38 Triggers. I’ve also done the Chiquito loop on my Camber full suspension bike and there are pros and cons to all these set ups. My ideal set up would be my Diverge with 42c tires with small knobbies. Whatever your choice there will be sections that will and won’t fit your set up. One thing for sure, you want low climbing gears. There’s a reason this coast mountain range is lost and has no paved roads through it…it’s feakin’ steep!