Ride Report: MTBing in Marin, Tamarancho

For the fifth mountain bike ride of my life, (note: I am almost past the point where I can count the sum number of MTB rides I’ve done on one hand!) I headed over to Marin county with a few of my teammates from Cal cycling. We started off on the pine mountain loop, which apparently requires one to ride up rockslides, and then dropped down onto the switchback-ridden single track that is Tamarancho. A perfect way to celebrate the start of the Tour de France , which started off with a 15 Km time trial this morning in that fabled land of yachts and penthouses, Monaco. Oh, and it was the fourth of July. Riding Tamarancho was a great way to make me think about all the things in America I am grateful for, mostly because I saw my life flash before my eyes around every switchback. The part we rode was mostly forested, with trees and rocks and roots, oh my! Hear is a map of what it looks like:

It is almost unbelievable how completely different the mountain is from road riding. There is a big mental component to both, but in a very different way. In road riding and racing, it is primarily a struggle to fight your own fatigue and to gauge what the other racers are going to do, who will attack and when, who will be strongest…and for me….is it really worth it to try an keep up? In mountain, and this is going to sound really corny, it is all about man vs. mountain, (or woman, of course). I am still having a hard time getting over the idea of riding over rocks head on. Mountain biking takes so much focus, there is never a down moment, especially on the descents. Also apparently you can turn the front wheel pretty dramatically, which is something that often spells death in road racing, where riders stick in packs. By the end of the day today, I was definitely feeling more comfortable on single track and handling the mountain bike in general, but I am still in the phase of my mountian biking career where I am constantly repeating the handy mantra of “try not to die, try not to die, try not to die” under my breath at every turn. But hey, I for sure rode off of my fair share of small to moderate sized rock toady, so I’m pretty proud.

After the trail ended we had to ride up a lovely hill to get to my friends house, a lovely hill that literally felt like riding one heck of a 30-60-90 triangle (up the 60 side). I guess that’s how you earn your keep in Marin Co.On the topic of Marin, the last few weeks I have been absolutely amazed at how beautiful that place is. I’ve been around the Tomales area a few times, and today in San Anselmo, and compared to the veritable desert that is Socal, Marin is like the garden of Eden. I mean, were rode to one of the finest MTB parks in the country. Wow. People in Marin have really nice (really nice) mountain bikes that they use as commuters. Everyone has one. Not a beach cruiser in sight. But who can blame them?

Happy fourth, everyone. I hope you all got to blow something up. Or at least watch something be blown up.

God Bless America!

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