2022 is almost over and it left its mark. This year was filled with events that were fun, challenging, and humbling. Let’s take a look at the last twelve months and see what it threw at me.
January started out cold!
While in Colorado at my new place in Durango, I picked up a fat bike. My new Trek Farley 7 is a quirky and fun bike that makes it a whole lot easier to get some rides in when the snow is falling. The test ride was interesting and I learned a lot! Teaching myself to handle this new ride on snow involved more of a learning curve than I would have anticipated. I got through it, but I’m sure I’ll be relearning a lot of these tricks when I take the bike out again.
January was also the month I got to go ride in Reno, Nevada. I visited Centennial Park in nearby Carson City. The trails were bleak and exposed, but they offered a ride in the snowy Sierras where no other park would. The climbs were rough and the descents were tricky. It was an odd but interesting adventure.
It was still a bit chilly out, but I got up to the town of Pacifica to ride Pedro Mountain. The Pacific overlooks were stunning, but the trails were just okay. Regardless, we had a great day on the mountain. I still want to return and try out some of the tougher stuff in the area. This park still has a lot to offer.
I was able to get out on the trails with my Son Dennis! He is such a fun guy to ride with. We checked out the Phil’s World trail system just west of Durango. It was nice to be out in the sun and pedaling hard on some great trails. Dennis really enjoyed Rib Cage and Here for More. The rolly and zippy trails got him to open it up a bit and a good time was had by all.
The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival was in full swing! I wasn’t able to attend the previous year’s event, but this year was one to remember! With snow in the mountains above town, I wondered if it would be possible to ride in Sedona. My fears were put to rest when I arrived. Joe and I bunked down in town close to the event and partied with many of our fellow riders! It was a weekend that was filled with big challenges and great memories.
After Sedona, I headed south to Mesa where I got to ride Hawes. This is a “Trail Alliance”. That just means it is an organized group that maintains the trails and tries to expand awareness and usage. They must have been working pretty hard because this trail system isn’t just one of the most beautiful places I have ever ridden, it’s also great fun! The climbs are satisfying and achievable, and the downhills are spectacular!
In early April my Son and I were invited to Everstoke! We traveled to The Lost Sierra for three days and helped Aaron build the place up and get the grounds ready for a season of trail work. We got to hang out with MTBing Adventures, BKXC, The Calirado Kid, Bike Somm, The Active Life 2.0, and a whole bunch of really terrific guys who all pitched in and helped turn a raw mountain into a mountain biking paradise.
May brought us back to the Bay Area where I got to visit a few local spots. One great ride was at the Demo. Soquel Demonstration Forest contains some legendary trails, one of which is The Flow Trail. This dirt is world famous for its swoopy, flowy greatness. We were there on the first day after the trail was reconditioned and it was running fast! A separate run down the Braille Trail, an obstacle-filled black diamond run, made the day complete. I cleared a whole lot more of the features than I usually do!
On a quick ride at Santa Teresa, I managed to take a turn wrong and go over the bars. I busted my finger landing on a rock and I was immediately taken out of the mix. I was off the bike for a solid month. The finger lost some permanent range of motion but I can still use the brake levers!
It had to happen – I finally caught covid! I spent two weeks in bed reeling from this brutal illness. I’ve never been so sick in my entire life! Fortunately, I came out the other side unscathed and ready to hit the trails!
The family took 3 weeks to see several states and a few national parks. We hit Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. The family trip was super fun and we even got a ride in while we were in Durango!
With Dennis, I was able to ride Twin Buttes, Telegraph, and Phil’s World. The trails are always more fun riding with him. The trails were fun and, in some spots, pretty fast. We enjoyed the time together, but it wasn’t all hero dirt.
July kicked off with our annual neighborhood block party! We got to catch up with everyone in the old neighborhood and relax for a few days.
After that, I jumped back out to Durango to ride some intense trails with my buddy Cheston! We met many years back at Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, Colorado, and we planned three days of amazing rides in and around Durango.
We started with the trails at Horse Gulch. Riding up Telegraph is always a challenge. That last push at the top will put anybody’s ability to the test! Riding down through Big Canyon was a first for me, and it was an awesome treat! The fast dirt was fun to navigate. I’m looking forward to the days when this trail is more familiar and I can anticipate the twists!
Chet and I took a day to ride the famous Engineer Mountain. Located just an hour north of town, this climb begins at 10,000 feet and continues almost all the way to the top of the peak. The descent is the payoff for all the hard work and it is one of the best in the area. We rode fast through the prairies and zipped through the aspen groves. It was a blast that made the post-ride beers that much better!
On our last day together, we jumped out to the Dry Fork trail just west of town. An exhausting and rocky climb brought us to the Colorado Trail where we met up with Hoffheins. The chunky return to the parking lot really pushed my limits and I loved the tech!
A week later, I drove up to Sun Valley to see my family. I took 2 nights along the way to ride in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. Deer Valley Resort was everything I had been told; fun, intense, challenging, and beautiful! A day at this park isn’t enough, but it will have to do until I return someday.
The last morning in Salt Lake saw me riding up to the Bobsled trail. A recommendation from a Redditor, I jumped on this advanced trail with my eyes wide open and got to experience the hype first-hand!
This is not a black trail by accident. The trail gets steep and it contains jumps and drops. It was easy to catch a bit of air while honing my skills on the steep slopes. Bobsled is a must-see for any serious rider who visits the city. Caution: watch some videos on this trail first – I’d hate for any of this experience to come as a surprise.
Getting to Sun Valley was a relief! Ketchum, Idaho is beautiful this time of year, and it’s always fun to enjoy the town with my Mom and siblings.
One day, we rode Bald Mountain. Baldy is a local world-class ski mountain that I have been skiing since I was a teenager. The downhill trails were moderately challenging.
My family can turn any event into a crazy and fun adventure, and this day was no exception! Dropping in on these trails was a great way for all of us to decompress and enjoy the area.
After returning to Durango, I rode a few local trails in Overend Park and Horse Gulch. The Rooster trail was a test of my patience and it was a brutal reminder that I’m not a young man anymore! Although the downs were fun, the climb seemed almost pointless in its futility. Maybe I rode it backwards?
On the way back to California, I stopped in Sedona and met Ryden Dirty to ride Hi-Line! This trail is a real kick in the jewels! I absolutely loved it, but there were MANY sections that I wasn’t ready for. I don’t know if I’ll ever ride the chute, but I sure had a blast riding with Eric, and I can’t wait to see him at Sedona next year!
August was a pretty mellow month. I got to enjoy a lot of cool trails in and around Santa Cruz, but I also spent a lot of time off the bike. I visited Durango again with a few pals and we did a quick and dirty camping trip. We got rained out a lot, but still managed to have a great time enjoying the town!
My Wife and I made the decision that I absolutely NEEDED a new bike! To that end, I picked up a gorgeous Yeti SB150! This bike is a pro-level rig that can conquer almost any trail around. It was designed and tested in Colorado, so it will be the perfect Durango bike! I look forward to many years and many miles of fun on this turquoise steed!
I was able to take a September trip back to Everstoke! Aaron at MTBing Adventures asked us all to attend to help him design and build a top-notch feature! This sky bridge is over eight feet off the ground and is just the start of what this amazing park will offer to visitors when it opens to the public. We had a fun and exhausting weekend working hard and enjoying the rest afterwards.
On the way home, I stopped off at the Mare Island Pedal Fest and got to see Calirado Kid, Bike Somm, Brian Gong, and a few thousand enthusiastic mountain bikers! Team “Like and Subscribe” rode the relay race and all who were in attendance had a great time!
Riding a bunch of trails back in the Bay Area was a treat! After my travels, it was a pleasure to settle in and hit some local dirt. Skeggs, UCSC, Wilder Ranch State Park, and the Demo greeted me with open arms while I chilled with the family and built my garage bar.
Towards the end of the month, I traveled back to Colorado and jumped up to Moab for a weekend to ride The Whole Enchilada with Chet! It’s always fun to ride with him, and I loved spending the last day of the Moab riding season revisiting this epic ride. It had been more than a decade after I initially saw these trails. It was an amazing day, and I’m thankful that we were able to enjoy it without any injury or malfunction!
Upon my return to Durango, I hit Animas Mountain for a day. This is an unassuming ride that many might be tempted to take for granted. In reality, it is a brutal dance that tests skill and drains confidence. Although the views are stupendous, getting to them makes a rider question their decisions. Overall – even with the tricky mechanical issue I experienced – it was a good day and I got back to the house ready for a great dinner!
A quick jaunt on a local black trail was too tempting to pass up. Snake Charmer was short, but intense. I rode it slow and cautious. BKXC posted his ride on this trail just a few days later and showed me how it’s really done.
I jumped on a plane and flew out to Brevard, North Carolina. I joined up with the old crew for what used to be known as the “Seth’s Trip” and rode with Red Wolf Tours for three days in Pisgah Forest and Dupont. As always, we had some great and silly times riding some super challenging stuff.
Day one saw us in Pisgah, riding trails like Cove Creek, Long Branch, and Buttered Cat. Day two put us at DuPont State Forest on Rocky Ridge and Ridgeline, and day three was back in Pisgah riding Spencer, Fletcher, and Trace Ridge. I had been on most of these trails before, and that made them even more fun! I knew what to expect, and the leaf-covered Autumn dirt didn’t seem so scary.
I had one extra day in the area, so I took the bike out to Berm Park. It was a super fun day, but I had to keep it short since I forgot to bring water and it was 85% humidity that day. I hit every trail once (okay, I didn’t ride Roll The Dice, the double black, but I did ride Clickbait three times, and I got to be one of the first on Ladybird; the newest addition to the park! Ladybird is a fun and somewhat flowy blue trail that is more than twice the length of any other trail at the park and features some great berms, switchbacks, and features! I see this becoming a big attraction at Berm Park.
The flight home was a welcome trip. I got in late and spent some time getting back into the swing of things. I didn’t ride much at all. In fact, my first big ride after the trip was more than two weeks after my return to the Bay area.
The Los Gatos Turkey Ride was a great day to return to the dirt. The day was sunny and warm, and the climb was just as steep and ornery as I remember it! My 26th year on this ride was just as special as my first time back in 1997. This time, I actually got all the way up the steep sections at the top, and I rewarded myself by riding down at a more controlled and safe pace. I usually bomb this downhill, but I need to keep myself off the injured list because I have some big stuff coming up.
December was tricky. You see – we have decided to make the big move to Durango and live there full time. To that end, my riding schedule was heavily truncated. Thank goodness I had a lot of rides in the latter half of 2022, and they allowed me to post videos pretty much throughout the end of the year.
My main riding priorities in December consisted of revisiting some of my favorite places in the Bay Area before I left town. Being a San Jose native, I grew up riding places like Saint Joe’s, Sierra Azul, Calero, Soquel Demo, UC Santa Cruz, and Grant Ranch. I wanted to enjoy these spots a few more times before I started the next chapter of my life. It’s hard to say goodbye.
Unfortunately, while preparing for the move, I pulled my back and took myself out of the action. It’s been a rough time getting ready for the move while not being able to do any heavy lifting – literally! Fortunately, I have an able-bodied Son and a few friends who are willing to pitch in and pick up some of the slack.
I also wanted to visit with friends, family, and a bunch of the old haunts that I grew up with. 50 years in one sport creates a lot of memories. I’ll be back to visit, but who knows how often and for how long…
I have a great life. I have made mountain biking a major priority in my life, and this passion has taken me places that I never thought I’d go and led me to discover places I never could have dreamed of. I’ve traveled thousands of miles during 2022, and 2023 looks to be even more inspiring! Next year’s road trip is still in the planning phases, but looks to be my biggest yet!
January and February will likely be pretty slow on the channel. Settling into a new town in a new state, as well as the fact that Durango gets a lot of snow, means that my posts will taper until the Spring. At that time, I hope to pick up where I left off. Until then, maybe I’ll be able to post some ski content?
I have to say Thank You to everyone who tunes in for these crazy adventures. I have met some great people in the years since I started SpokesmanMTB, and I look forward to meeting many more. The excitement I get out of riding the trails is only eclipsed by the love and friendships I have been lucky enough to be a part of over these years.
I look forward to making even more memories with you. Thank you so very much for traveling along with me. It’s been a wild ride, and it’s not over yet!
Take care, and I’ll see you when I see you!