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  1. #1
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    Mid-October Coastal Central California Trip

    The Mrs. and I have the 2nd and 3rd weeks of October off and I'm thinking of heading south from the Bay area to about Montana de Oro SP or Pismo Beach and then back. We've been up the Nor Cal coast a few times, but this will be the first time south of SF and I'm looking for any worthy riding spots to consider along the way. We'll be driving from Bozeman and back, camping in our truck and will probably bring our older 5" 26'r trail bikes unless there's a compelling reason to bring our newer longer travel 29'rs. We get lots of riding in here in MT/ID/WY and this trip is not biking focused, but we do have bikes to bring...Thanks for any and all info!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  2. #2
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    Not sure what else there is for riding around that general area outside of SLO, but the trails there are pretty fun. I think a lot of trails in Santa Barbara are still closed after last year's fires. On the way, you will have some good riding depending which route you take to cross the Sierras. Tahoe, Downieville, Truckie etc and west toward Auburn have some good riding and can have primo conditions and no crowds in October. Might be worth while driving through Yosemite that time of year with less crowds than summer. A bit out of the way you could hit Santa Cruz or Henry Coe state park. Temps should have cooled down for Coe by then. I've always wanted to ride there.

  3. #3
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    Santa Cruz has a bunch of good stuff, there's the jump lines behind the post office in Aptos (?), all sorts of stuff around Monterey and a few more spots between there and Big Sur. I haven't been out there in a long time but I keep seeing reviews and reports that say I have to go back.

  4. #4
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    Mid-October Coastal Central California Trip

    Well, the small pumptrack in Aptos closed a while back, I’m not sure if the mega huge jump line dirt track is still going .... still, if you are from Bozeman, then riding in Santa Cruz, Soquel and Aptos in October will be a real treat! Redwoods, flow, jumps, lots of vert, and feeling like a fucking hero because you are climbing at sea level vs at 9000’ elevation. You can get some awesome vert in Soquel Demonstration forest and UC Santa Cruz trails ... if you are cool with breaking the law ask some locals to show you other less than legal stuff.

    Also, north of SC by about 40 miles is Pacifica, which has some chunky steep ass gnar (and a shit load of poison oak).

    Actually now that I think about it, SC and Aptos have shitloads of Poison Oak as well as it peaks in late October before falling down over the winter —- learn how to identify it, and just assume you’ve gotten it all over you after a ride. Pretend you are covered in “invisible engine grease” everywhere that is exposed - use a rag soaked in water and dish soap, and wipe down HARD with a lot of friction. Watch some YouTube videos on cleaning urishiol and you’ll be okay.

    I don’t know if there is really any legal bike-tailored riding between Aptos and SLO.

    Near Monterey there is Toro State Park, lots of vert can be had with scenic views but the riding is more fun in SC/Aptos in my opinion. Coe has endless miles of seldom used single track, see if it’s not too far out of the way. TahoeBC knows those trails really well - I never made it that far because I just couldn’t get enough Annadel and Aptos when I lived down there.

    Enjoy the golden state!
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  5. #5
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    May 2011
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    Hit Tahoe in October if you can - the fall is the best time to ride there since we usually get late afternoon thunderstorms and then clear mornings with tacky dirt. And no one is around. I almost like it as much as winter.

    As others have suggested, Santa Cruz has a lot of great options between Soquel Demo, Wilder Park, etc.

    If you do go further south, there's still plenty of great trails left around Santa Barbara - with some pretty legit / expert level sections (you'll want your beefier trail bikes around there for sure). A few trails, including McMenemy and Romero, did get washed out by the post fire floods, however. But Jesusita / Tunnel and Camuesa / Little Pine are still fantastic rides, amongst others. And you can even follow them up later in the day with some fun laps around Elings Park right there on the Mesa near downtown. If you do end up down that way, PM me and I'll send you some routes. Same deal for Tahoe, of course.

  6. #6
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    May 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchralphMacchio View Post
    Actually now that I think about it, SC and Aptos have shitloads of Poison Oak as well as it peaks in late October before falling down over the winter —- learn how to identify it, and just assume you’ve gotten it all over you after a ride. Pretend you are covered in “invisible engine grease” everywhere that is exposed - use a rag soaked in water and dish soap, and wipe down HARD with a lot of friction. Watch some YouTube videos on cleaning urishiol and you’ll be okay.
    You're not doing a very good sell job on Santa Cruz

  7. #7
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    Santa Cruz barely has any poison oak compared to Annadel / Sonoma County. It’s not a big deal, you just rub down your arms and legs in the shower after your ride with Technu Extreme - that stuff works wonders. I rarely get poison oak doing that- really only happens if I forget.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    You're not doing a very good sell job on Santa Cruz
    No, I’m offering rad beta on what to do after riding the less traveled or less than sanctioned trails. Dish soap, or Tecnu, and a wet rag in the bag of your truck will save you lots of misery after a dope ride!

    P.O. is all over Pacifica and Aptos, also all over East Bay and Annadel trails ... and on the unsanctioned stuff when going fast it’s just a fact of life that you will be stained with the invisible grease that comes off those leaves. Even going for a nature walk on the Big Sur Coast - where there are woods, there is poison oak.

    I keep a travel size Palmolive in my camping bin and also at home in my shower (at least I did when I lived in East Bay anyway, not much P.O. here in Western O, way less than Southern O or NorCal), it’s a lot cheaper than Tecnu especially because I refill the little bottle from my Costco bottle.

    Anyways, check out Burger. in Aptos and Epicenter Cycling. Both places will hook you up with beer, beta, and burgers.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  9. #9
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    Sep 2008
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    Thanks, guys! Great beta and much appreciated.
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  10. #10
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    May 2011
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    Good call keeping a wet rag and tecnu / palmolive back at your car... especially if you're not going to hit the shower for a few hours. I should probably start doing that.

  11. #11
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    Aug 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Temps should have cooled down for Coe by then. I've always wanted to ride there.
    It's been a long time since I rode there, but compared to nearby offerings, it wan't 'destination riding' for me. I actually hated it but then again it was about 100 degrees. Anyone ridden there recently?

  12. #12
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    Coe always looked cool to me because there seems to be a lot of trail and it is big enough the interior is pretty remote. Good for bikepacking and big rides.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Coe always looked cool to me because there seems to be a lot of trail and it is big enough the interior is pretty remote. Good for bikepacking and big rides.
    It has that reputation for big remote rides, and in mid-October it could possibly be hot but only during peak afternoon hours. If you want Coe beta, PM TahoeBC and ask him to reply back in this thread - I can't think of any active forum member who would know more than him about the park. These days he's mostly too busy riding his bikes and being retired to need a distraction like TGR/Sprocket Rockets, unlike the rest of us desk jockeys ...
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Donner Summit
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    600
    Be warned, a lot of bike theft in SC. Good call bringing older bikes and keep an eye on them, even if they're locked. Great riding though.

    Riding in Demo is pretty straightforward, look at a map and check Trailforks or MTB project. Sawpit is gone but Braille and Flow are both fun in different ways.

    UCSC (upper campus) is a maze, best option is to find a local guide or just explore. It's worth the time though.

    I've only gotten PO once riding Demo and UCSC, it's not really that big a deal. Most of the popular trails (including unsanctioned ones) are kept trimmed back. Ticks can be an issue too but they're not as bad in the fall. Check exposed areas thoroughly after a ride.

    There are some good trails in the SLO area, not much in between SC and SLO (well, plenty of beautiful coastline but not much riding).

  15. #15
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    May 2011
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    Wilder Ranch in SC has some pretty fun sections... I assume you can tie those into the UCSC trails at some point to do a bigger loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by teledad View Post
    There are some good trails in the SLO area, not much in between SC and SLO (well, plenty of beautiful coastline but not much riding).
    Unless you make a pit stop in Cambria and hit this:



    I kid. What was the story with that anyway? Private property? I wonder if it's still there?

  16. #16
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    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Wilder Ranch in SC has some pretty fun sections... I assume you can tie those into the UCSC trails at some point to do a bigger loop?
    Yeah, just cross the road a little past the upper water tanks and either loop into town or do a loop and double back. Though the "fun sections" aren't really in Wilder (they're on UCSC land next to it).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Mailboxes ... then pedal back to the water tower and drop Sweetness ...
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  18. #18
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    Jan 2008
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    Paper St. Soap Co.
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    SLO has some cool trails, neat to ride single track right next to the ocean. Cool town also. Get a tritip sandwich at Firestone Grill.

    I you haven't biked in Tahoe, highly recommend. All the classic stuff is good, TRT, Toads, Flume, etc. Get a burrito at T's Mesquite Rotisserie. Burger at Char-Pit.

    I have not biked in Santa Cruz, but plan to be there Thanksgiving week, so I will watch for suggestions from this thread.

  19. #19
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    Just got back from the trip and opted for the low hanging fruit of Wilder Ranch State Park and Soquel Demo in Santa Cruz and Montana de Oro State Park near Los Ossos. Also did a ride up to Berry Creek Falls on the Skyline to Sea trail from Wadell Beach as well as across the Golden Gate Bridge and around SF for an afternoon. No poison oak issues! Great weather every day...mid 60's to mid 70's and sun. Wasn't a riding focused trip, but always good to have bikes along.

    Wilder Ranch:
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    Soquel Demo (Flow)
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    Montana de Oro
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    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  20. #20
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    Jan 2008
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    How is the smoke? Looks like weather should be getting better, but still dry.

    So far I'm planning:
    1. Soquel Demo Forest Flow & Braille
    2. Wilder ranch
    3. UCSC

    other ideas?

  21. #21
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    Mar 2007
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    Eugenio Oregón
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    Watch the winds. Sustained onshore flow (NW-S) will be good for riding in Santa Cruz. Sustained Offshore flows (N-E) will be bad.
    Smoke in Bay Area was awful last week, unhealthy concentration of PM2.5.

    Here's a link to airnow.gov conditions and forecast for Santa Cruz:
    https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=...ity&cityid=548

    Not looking good for near term, hopefully by Thanksgiving it goes back into prevailing SW flow:
    "Expect elevated AQI PM 2.5 levels of USG and UNHEALTHY across the region this weekend. This may continue until meteorological conditions change allowing winds to blow settled smoke and haze out of the area. "
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Tech Bro Central
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    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    How is the smoke? Looks like weather should be getting better, but still dry.

    So far I'm planning:
    1. Soquel Demo Forest Flow & Braille
    2. Wilder ranch
    3. UCSC

    other ideas?
    I'm in Palo Alto, and the smoke is still nasty around the Bay, but it seems to have cleared a bit towards Santa Cruz. PurpleAir kicks ass for up-to-date air quality info.

  23. #23
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    Jan 2008
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    That is a nice map. Fucking fires.


    Looks like there is some trails in Nisene park worth checking out?

  24. #24
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    Aug 2007
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    I'd skip Wilder Ranch

  25. #25
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    May 2011
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    Wilder Ranch has some fun trails IMO... obviously not like Demo.

    Just a heads up they've been ticketing people lately for the illegal trails near UCSC.

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