I rode the trails at Skeggs for the first time today. It was incredible! Just a half hour or so from the city, Skeggs Point is nestled in the mountains of the peninsula between Half Moon Bay and Woodside. It's a network of trails, mostly single-track, that either drop straight down or climbs straight up. A real mountain biker's paradise.
Jeremy had the route all planned out. Having ridden the area for years he's kind of the king of the mountain around these parts, having KOM'd or placed in the top 10 of every Strava segment. I prepared myself to get schooled by him and Josh, who's also a monster ripper of these woods.
The first section of trail was really fast, followed by a crazy fire road descent with a few drops thrown in. Scott and I lost our water bottles as we bounced around towards the bottom. It was some serious rough riding. I could barely keep up with Josh and Jeremy, who were out to set some new records. Both Josh and Scott flatted around the same time. Opportune time to catch my breath and hydrate on an orange.
We got ourselves deep into the bottom of the forest. Skeggs has a bit of everything, from really dry and rocky exposed sections, to nice and flowy single-track, gut wrenching climbs, East Coast-like gnar and just straight-up fun trails. We covered about 25 miles with about 5,000' of elevation gain. Jeremy and Josh were kind enough to egg me on for every ascent, knowing I'd try to put my mark on the climbers leader-board. I did just that with almost every climb, but I really started to feel it halfway through our day.
Jeremy is one fast dude. He can rail the downhills fearlessly, clean any section of trail, and make you hurt on any climb. He just started racing not too long ago, and has quickly moved up as a Cat 1 XC racer.
Josh is just as fast as Jeremy, and when you put the two together it's virtually impossible to catch them (d0wnhill). Having never ridden the trails of Skeggs before the only place I could put a dig into either of them was on the climbs, but not by much. The drawback of Skeggs is that it's buried deep in the mountains, so satellite reception is poor. I missed a few Strava segments because of it, which explains why the guys use their phones as backups.
This was also the first time my Open saw real rough mountain biking at its finest. Getting bounced around on a hardtail isn't as much fun as a full squishy bike, obviously, but my bike felt comfortable all the way through the tortuous terrain, especially at speed. It never felt twitchy in tight corners and it held its line, as long as I trusted my tires more.
I've been practicing my new cornering technique, shown to me by my friend David last week, but started to get real sloppy towards the end of the ride. My hands developed some new calluses by the end, and my whole body felt like it got beat to a pulp. I haven't felt that way after a ride since racing at Tamarancho last fall.
I definitely have to come back to Skeggs soon. It puts a lot of my Headlands riding to shame in that it really works your body and mind in a wholly different way. I need to practice my single-track and downhill cornering skills while getting used to the new body language it takes to control the trail. Above all, I need to come back because it's fun and poses some new challenges.