This is only the second time I've ridden Tamarancho, one of NorCal's best mountain bike park, just 3o minutes away from the city. The last time I rode these trails was in the summer during the Tamarancho Dirt Classic, where I placed 3rd in Cat 1. Situated just outside of Fairfax, CA the trail starts a mile or so up the road. The single track cuts through some beautiful forests and open landscape. We rode about 25 miles and climbed over 4,000'. Not bad considering most of it was on single track.
Being Saturday the trails were in full use. We immediately ran into a few groups on our way up, but quickly got off the main drag to explore the depths of the woods. We bombed down some barely used single track, followed by fire road as we come to an intersection of significant importance.
The rock pictured above is the finish line for the infamous Repack descent, the birthplace of mountain biking. Joe Breeze and Gary Fisher would take their modified beach cruisers and rip down the 2 mile fire road, using this rock as the finish line. They'd pack in kegs and party with friends at the end of a day of riding. It's called Repack because they'd have to repack their old oil-drum brakes at the end of the descent.
Part of our exploration was not to go down Repack, but up. It's quite possibly the hardest ascent I've ever done, next to Powerline in Leadville. I hammered out of the saddle right away, not knowing when to expect the end of the climb, other than it'll take me at least 20 minutes to reach the top. I set a sub 20 minute goal. Not even a quarter of the way up the hill I realized I needed to back off on my effort so I wouldn't blow up halfway through. I put in a solid effort and snagged the KOM on the segment. Not sure how long that'll last, but I certainly gave it my all.
When we regrouped at the top we ran into some serious mud trying to connect back into Tamarancho. It's been a while since I've encountered mud that thick and sticky. It was comical how much mud accumulated in such a short distance. Josh wasn't having it so we decided to detour onto a piece of single track that dropped straight down into the forest. It was fast, fun and loamy, but turned pretty dicey towards the end. Peter crashed off the trail and I managed to clean a portion of the steep grade before coming to a complete stop and walking down the rest.
After a few miles of riding on the road we hooked back up with the main Tamarancho loop and finished it out before calling it a day. On the way up I managed to crash and fall onto some rocks, miscalculating a series of baby head rocks. Who crashes going up? I do apparently. I smashed my face on the side of a rock and rolled onto my back, nearly cracking my iPhone. Luckily I was wearing a helmet and my phone had a case.
Afterwards we grabbed lunch in town. Fairfax was overrun with cyclists either going up to Tamarancho or going up the back side of Bolinas Ridge on road bikes. It's such a cool little town with such an amazing backdrop and playground.