Summer 2019 MTB: Northstar to Santa Cruz

Summer, Sweet Summer. Every year, I long for your arrival, and once here, cherish the grace of your annual visit. Brightening our days, inviting us to go outside – anywhere, and showing us Nature’s miracles are some of your highlights I appreciate the most.

Another upshot of Summer? As a teacher, I am on vacation! Hallelujah! I savor every moment; each year’s Summer reprieve becomes that much more treasured. Whenever I hear people talk about how little money we make, I have to quietly smile on the inside when I think about how rich we are in that impossible to appraise commodity called time. It is up to us how we use all this time off, but most teachers I know are hot out the gate once that final bell rings in early June. As for me? Well I think I caught a trace of Mrs. Deetz running off, but all I can see is her dust.

While other seasons of the year may bring better mountain biking weather, Summer offers a long window of time to get your ride in the morning, or evening. Santa Cruz gets pretty hot in the summertime, though not like the Central Valley. The regulating coastal fog helps us stay relatively comfortable, but there are some Summer days when it is too darn hot to ride during the daytime. This is where evening rides come in.

I think it needs no preface that my mountain bike videos are not “sick”, “sending it”, or anywhere near the same echelon of Red Bull Rampage. When I make videos, it’s mostly because I learn from them; it helps me become a better rider. Second, I know if I’m going to ride somewhere new, I like to watch others’ videos – and not necessarily the rippingest experts, but people who ride kind of like me, too. It gives me a snapshot of what to expect, and I often learn something by watching others ride. Maybe mine will help someone else out there. Or not. It’s all in good fun, anyway.

Here are a few videos of riding in the Santa Cruz Mountains over the last couple of weeks. I also had a fun ride down in Carlsbad in the San Diego area where my sister lives; Rancho La Costa Preserve is near her house, and has some pretty cool trails.

One place I wish I lived closer to is Northstar. While only a four-hour’s drive from my house in Santa Cruz, its manicured berms and thoughtfully designed trails beckon. I’ve been riding up here for several years now, but only a few times each Summer. It has become a cross of amusement park and mountain playground, a true smile-on-your-face-guaranteed wonder in the Lake Tahoe area. They maintain the trails so beautifully, you’d think they were precious babies. And of course, you don’t have to climb up to ride downhill! The laws of physics are in your favor with chairlift access.

Feel the berm! I was craving that exact feeling – flowing through a berm, angled on your bike just right to offset sliding, and charging out the end of the turn – so I made a trip up on Monday 6/24. There might have been all of fifty riders on the mountain it was so empty; a nice contrast to the busier weekends. Another benefit of Summer vacation!

Here are a few videos of Livewire, Gypsy, Boondocks, and Coaster trails.

Go get your ride on; get your play on! Get your whatever-it-is-you-love-to-do on! It’s Summer!

Northstar VideoBlog

Northstar, California 7/10 – 7/11/18

Ron and I had an awesome time mountain biking at Northstar for a couple of days, followed by Downieville the next; I filmed four of our rides from Northstar, shown below. The Sierra Nevadas are breathtaking this time of year, with pops of color jumping off the landscape from bursting wildflowers, and long days to fill with fun activities to your heart’s content. I’m going to let the pictures and videos do the talking here, but let’s just sum it up with one word: heaven!

Packer Saddle, top of the Downieville Downhill

Campsite at Lower Little Truckee Campground

White Pelicans at Martis Creek Lake

Sardine Lake, near Packer Saddle

Livewire Trail Video:

Gypsy Trail Video:

Dog Bone Trail:

Lower Sticks & Stones/Pho Dogg Trails:

Happy Summer! As always, it goes by too fast. Enjoy every last second!

Katrin