Harvey Bear Exploration

Harvey Bear

I'm making a good habit out of bringing my mountain bike to work on Fridays. I hit up Harvey Bear and explored an extra loop, comprised of a long fire road climb and sweet single track descent before connecting with my usual route. I love riding out here because it's not too much climbing, rewarded with a fast set of rolling single track trails. The view is pretty cool, too. It's farm pastures up high, with a view of Mt. Madonna, Gilroy and Morgan Hill below. It swoops in and out of old growth trees, sometimes lined with some interesting wildlife.


  • 2014 Specialized Epic Expert World Cup (Size: Medium)
  • Front Tire: Specialized Fast Trak Control 29x2.0"
  • Rear Tire: Specialized Renegade Control 29x1.95"

Tamarancho Frost Flow Flat

tamaranco-flow-frost-flat-1 For a change of scenery and terrain I decided to check out the trails at Tamarancho. I forgot how much fun it is out here, especially if you've got an appropriate bike for it. The last time I rode the trails were on my hard tail, which is fun, but way more fun on a full squish. I was able to flow more on the Flow Trail this time, but man, were the trails packed. Not many places to pass, but I was happy to go with the flow.


I was going for two laps, and made it halfway through the second lap when I flatted at the rock garden section. A rock punched its way through the casing of my rear tire. Not cool, especially on a ride where you forget to pack a spare tube. Luckily a fellow rider hooked me up. I'll be going to Control casings on my rear tire from now on.

Alpine to Saratoga Gap

alpine-to-saratoga-gap-6 We had an excellent group this morning for an epic ride from Alpine to Saratoga Gap and back, riding 35 miles with over 5,600' of climbing. The sun was shining and the trails were in near perfect conditions after the storm that passed through mid-week.


What I love about this ride is the gorgeous views and landscapes you traverse, from expansive rolling single track along ridgelines, to densely packed old-growth trees. It's hard not to stop to take in the views.


I've got to remember this spot for future photo shoots.



Belden approved!


My bike was dialed in today. Finally! I had a few weeks of annoying squeal coming from my rear brake. I finally solved it by switching to organic pads.


What a good day of riding. I met a couple new guys and enjoyed the friendly pace, however David did push me in a few spots. The Saratoga Gap is quickly becoming my new favorite spot to ride in that it has a lot of things I enjoy most about mountain biking, the views, challenging trails and lots of climbing. Starting in Alpine was good to, since it cut the drive by 10-15 minutes, rather than starting at the bottom of Saratoga and working your way up north.

Purisma to Skeggs Epic

purisma-skeggs-epic-1 What a day on the bike. Close to 40 miles of dirt and 8,500' of climbing through the trails off Skyline in the Peninsula. It was cool and crisp all morning and afternoon. The trails were perfect, a little dry, but otherwise super fun. I expected to see more riders out, but only came across a handful of people. I started at noon, and had plenty of time to get to Skeggs, do a few loops and make my way back before the sun started to set. I love these kinds of rides, long miles and lots of climbing. True expedition and adventure.



Tunitas Creek road connects Purisma to Skeggs.


The final climb back is a killer. I took my time, having had a only a single bottle of water and no food for the entire ride, but the view was incredible.


purisma My adventures of riding new dirt continues this weekend with a dive into the forests of Purisma, an epic network of single track and fire road straight down to the bottom of Kings Mountain and back up, back all the way down, loop around a peak, and back up. I didn't get enough, and met up with my friends riding at Skeggs for another hot lap, climbing close to 8000' over 37 hard-fought miles.

Purisma is fairly buffed out trail. While not nearly as technical as Skeggs it makes up in pure fast and flow fun. The views of the ocean below and ridge-line are pretty amazing. Once you get to the bottom you have a few options, loop around Purisma Creek before the climb home or climb all the way to the top. I plotted a route that had a section of trail off-limits to bikes, which wasn't aware of. This forced me to go to the top, drop back down by climbing up Skyline for a bit, and dropping down at the second parking lot. By this time I was nearly spent, but was having so much fun exploring new ground.

I did the Purisma loop at the bottom of the ridge, which was really dark and dense like Skeggs. I passed a few riders making their way up the fire road before dropping into some sweet single track. My brakes have been giving me some trouble, most likely due to improper bed-in time. The back brakes howled through my entire ride. Very annoying. From there it was a long 1300' ascent back to Skyline.

I probably should have called it a day from there, but pressed on and rode to the Skeggs parking lot to met up with my friends Josh and Ryan. They're both fast, and had fresh legs. Along the way we picked up another one of Josh's friends and bombed down Blue Blossom. When we reached the bottom I knew I was done and needed to climb my ass out of there. They continued on as I slowly made my way back along the Sierra Moreno trail and onto Skyline.

Buzzard Hill

buzzard-hill Sometimes you see the strangest creatures out on the trail. This morning I did a loop around the Headlands, hitting up some unfamiliar trails. On my way back I spotted this buzzard perched atop a fence post, wings spread wide to catch the warmth of the sun. It was really startling at first because this sucker was huge! I took some photos and passed, making sure not to upset it's sun bath.

Saratoga Gap

saratoga-gap-2 In an effort to explore more rides around the area I struck out with my friend David to Saratoga. He's ridden a bunch of the trails before, but this was my first time riding at Saratoga Gap. The first section really reminded me of riding in New York, with the leaves changing color, littered on the trail. They weren't easy, either. Lots of roots and rocks along a narrow strip of single track before it opens up on the backside of the ridge. From there the network of trail and fire road intertwine all the way up to Russian Ridge. David had to cut out early, but I forged on for one hell of a ride.


After circling around Russian Ridge I crossed over Highway 35 and dropped onto the White Oak trail, a super fast and fun twisty section of single track all the way down to the creek. From there it kept going further and further down the canyon, connecting with some fire road and back onto single track. It was pretty straight forward, especially with the GPX Navigator app I installed, loaded with a course I mapped out in Strava. Once I reached the near bottom of the canyon, I started the long climb out, back onto the main Saratoga Gap trail and back to the car, where I had a glorious Polish hot link and Coke for recovery. I had such a great time, and hope to get more of my crew out there.

Harvey Bear

harvey-bear I cut out work a little early, well relative to when I usually leave, which is late by most everyone's standards at Specialized, and checked out the trails at Harvey Bear. My co-worker, Brent, showed me a really fast and fun hour-long loop. We climbed up a series of short fire roads connected by cow trails and a series of gates, passing by cows and deer along the way. Once we reached the backside we blasted through a flowy section of single track that felt like it went on and on.

The land scape was mostly exposed and expansive like the photo above, save for the more wooded single track sections out back. Once we reached the south portion of the loop we rode more tight single track that ran along the face of rolling hills with epic views of the valley below. My kind of trails. It only took us an hour, but it was the most fun I've had on my mountain bike in a while, granted it was on new dirt and the fact that it was only 15 minutes away from work. We made it back just in time for the park to close, which is just after sunset.

I rode the Epic and opened the Brain(s) to full squish. It was perfect for the semi smooth terrain. Smooth is fast, and fast is smooth. I definitely have this bike dialed in. I love that it's straight out of the box, and completely stock, save for a couple swaps like tires, grip/rotor sizes.

1/2 a Million

hot-tam-2 Today I rode up to Tam and back with my friend Peter, pre-riding the Heifer course, which goes down at the end of the month. We covered 65 miles and over 7K of elevation gain. I also broke 1/2 a million feet of climbing this year. What better way to do so than to traverse the beautiful Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, Tam, down Coastal View and back.


Peter aboard his BMC. He and I have been riding the Headlands a lot this year. We both suffered on the way back due to the hot weather. We even stopped at my secret apple tree in search of food. By the time we reached the bridge we were both completely spent, chugging away at tourist speed.


The view from atop of Mt. Tam. It never gets old. Overlooking the north side into Fairfax and beyond. Just last weekend we were exploring the valley and peaks below, riding on the north side the lake below. Marin has so much expansive land, and I've only covered a fraction of what it has to offer.

Skeggs Enduro

skeggs-enduro More Enduro action at Skeggs. This time the climbs are dialed up a notch as well as the descents. So much fun, but man are my legs fried. This bike was still a bit too much, even for Skeggs, which is a spider network of crazy fun single track down in the Peninsula. Our friend David had fresh legs, and made the rest of us suffer as we chased him up and down the trails. We were hauling ass in many sections, and even had a radar gun pointed at us on our last section of the Trifecta loop. Luckily Josh slowed the group down as we waved past the park ranger.

My Enduro 29er weekend has come to an end. It's a massively fun bike, but way too much bike for me. I think a Stumpjumper FSR or Camber would be better suited. However, an Epic would have been perfect for entire weekend, which suits my style better.

I'm coming to terms with my weight weenie tendencies, wanting the lightest parts, but in all honesty it's not that much of an edge, unless we're talking carbon wheels and light tires. Rotational weight makes a huge difference, but for the little blingy things, not so. Riding the Enduro opened my eyes to having more for fun, to not take everything so seriously. Sure it's fun to blast up a hill in less time, but I had just as much fun doing that on the Enduro, which easily weighed eight so more pounds than my Open. I love the tech side of riding, and love lightweight bikes, but chasing after grams is so expensive and mentally taxing. Just get out there and ride!

Tam Enduro

tam-enduro My weekend adventure begin in Marin. Joined by some of my regular riding buddies we set out to ride some local trails. Guided by our friend James, who grew up in Marin, he took us up Tam, down the backside, into Fairfax, Tamarancho and back. I had the Enduro 29er with me, and chugged away on all of the climbs, but bombed down every descent with a gigantic smile on my face.

The Enduro is quite the bike, almost too much bike for me. I'm more of an XC rider, and with 6" of travel front and rear I had to relearn to how to ride such a big bike at times. It didn't do too badly on the climbs as long as you stayed seated, but once it was pointed downwards I aimed for big hits and drops. It was also the first time I used a dropper post. I've always wondered what was so great about being able to drop your seat a few inches, just ride that shit! But after a few tries I was addicted. I dropped it at every chance I could. I descended with more confidence and ultimately had more fun. Maybe was the post, but it also had a lot to do with the massive amount of travel I had to play with.

It was also the first time I got to ride SRAM's XX1 drivetrain. It was amazing. My only gripe is that it took quite a few clicks to get from one end of the cassette to the other. I think a GripShift setup would be more useful to me, especially since that's my current setup. It was nice not having to worry about dropped chains, cross-chaining or another shifter to be mindful of.

The Enduro was outfitted with some meaty tires. They're both pretty heavy duty, and I could feel it as I grunted up each climb, but they were so confidence inspiring going down. I could really lean in and carve without breaking loose. I'll definitely consider something wider and aggressive on my own rig.

Some key takeaways from my first ride: Suspension is a lot of fun and not to mention safer, dropper posts are rad and I may have to get on myself, bigger tires are just better, and lastly, riding a hardtail makes you a better rider. Being able to translate those handling skills to a big bike just make it easier to plow through anything.

Wettest Ride

wet-skeggs My Saturday ride at Skeggs with my buddies turned out to be one of the wettest mountain bike rides I've ever done. We thought we'd have perfect dirt after having rained the night before. Twenty minutes into our ride the sky opened up and poured on us. Along the way we past a huge group of bikers. A few of them shouted out my name as they rolled past from the other direction. They were my co-workers! Really cool to see them up in the peninsula. Shortly after half of our group split, those of us who had enough and those that wanted more. It was only myself and my friend Jeremy that wanted to brave the warm rain. It just got progressively worse and worse, but it was really fun, actually. Reminded me of riding back in New York and back home in Seattle/Portland. We crossed paths with my Specialized crew a few times before calling it quits after an hour of slogging through the mud.