Friday, May 13, 2011

Mountain Biking in Sunny California

This past April was my second time attending the Sea Otter Classic, and while I was very excited for the expo and all it entails, I was almost just as excited to rip the beautiful hills of Fort Ord again!

The riding there in Monterey is completely different from the trails I ride every day here in Georgia. For starters, there are very few trees, so the views are wide-open and absolutely breathtaking:

Secondly, the singletrack is very smooth and flowy, with some wicked fast descents! While I love the challenge of gnarly trails, it's nice to just go fast every now and then.

Rider: Tony Caruso. Photo: Greg Heil.

I rode all of the trails that I had ridden last year, as some of them are just so stinking fun! I noticed that some of the trails had been rerouted in a much more sustainable fashion, and that there were even a couple of newly-constructed extensions onto some of the trails close by :Laguna Seca: 

Several of the trails that I first rode last year I also rode 3 days in a row this year because they were so stinking fun.... But, I did take the opportunity to venture further afield and try out some new trails. I still haven't even scratched the surface of what is available here at Fort Ord. According to the maps that I've looked at, there's over 80 miles of riding in the trail system!

Several of the new trails that I explored actually had a little bit of technical challenge. There were several sections of exposed sandstone, and a number of entertaining rocky descents to play on. 

Then, I hit the pay dirt! I took a left onto a random trail that I had probably ridden by a half dozen times before, and it turned out to be one of the steepest, gnarliest descents I have ridden in a long time! It started off with a few rock drops, and the drops got progressively larger until the trail transformed into a five-foot-deep gully heading straight down the hillside. Eventually the gully dropped out into some scenic treed singletrack, but even that trail dropped quickly down through the sticks into the valley bottom below. 

I couldn't stop to shoot any photos until I had almost finished slipping and sliding through the gully, but if you multiply this by about 3 times, you'll have an idea of what the most heinously washed out section looked like:

While a part of me wishes there was more technical challenge at Fort Ord in order to really put the different test bikes through their paces, I always enjoy my time shredding the sandy dirt of these coastal California mountains!


eastwood May 13, 2011 at 6:49 PM  

Wow, that looks absolutely beautiful... but I can't imagine riding in the wide open like that... soooo different then here. I bet it makes for some FAST riding!

Greg Heil May 13, 2011 at 11:22 PM  

Yeah, it's like a whole different world... and it's crazy fast! There are some really exposed spots though with steep sidehills that may make you feather the brakes.

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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