My trip in Stateside is now drawing to a close, but not before checking out the area of Marin where mountain biking was born on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. It is a stunningly beautiful region that has some great climbs through majestic Redwood forests and the undulating highway one that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
You may have heard of the Studio Velo KOM challenge that is on Strava, a challenge that is open to everyone that owns a GPS device and wants to track their climbing progress. You can check out the really cool Studio Velo KOM Challenge blog here: http://www.komchallenge.com/. These guys, who sponsor the challenge, have their bike shop located just down the road from my hotel and are very friendly and knowledgeable about rides in the region. I have done two road rides so far here and both can be seen on Strava. Check the out on my dashboard. I would call the California region – “Strava-Central” just because of the sheer volume of segments created by competitive riders. The Marin County area has countless numbers of segments as just on my two short rides, I have counted nearly 60 segments! One segment that seems to be hotly contested by riders each week is the Chicken Run; a route that follows an undulating twisting narrow road on the Tiburon Peninsula. The official fast time is 16min 42 and belongs to Andrew Touchstone. I could only manage a time of 18min 51 for the 11.5km course in 16th position!
Apart from the brilliant road riding that can be had here, there are also numerous mountain biking opportunities to be had. Today, I will be heading out on an Ibis mountain bike to check out the trails on the fabled Mount Tamalpais where many of the Pioneers in the sport rode their “clunkers” to start the mountain biking movement back in the 1970s, including Mark Slate, Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Charlie Cunningham, Steve Potts, Charles Kelly and many others. In the early days, there were quite a few iconic mountain biking companies and WTB is one of the original companies from those days that is still very active in this area. While I was visiting the WTB Head-quarters, I got to meet Bobby McMullen (RideBlind Racing), a phenomenal blind bike rider who is sponsored by WTB – he uses a ride guide to call out the obstacles that are upcoming and Bobby relies on his hearing and feel to negotiate tough down-hill trails!
Below are some photographs I snapped while out riding.