Winter Wrap-Up, Spring Equinox

Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring! In the temperate regions of Earth, we are defined by the cycles of four distinct seasons. As we say goodbye to Winter and welcome the Spring, I always feel bittersweet: I love Winter, and I love Spring. There is something so comforting and rejuvenating about Wintertime, however, that I don’t want to let it go. I relish long nights inside while it rains outside; I beam with excitement thinking about the snow that’s falling at Kirkwood, where Ron and I have season passes. Winter is restful, but there’s a lot of progress internally – writing, playing music, home improvements, you name it. Winter is the time to get your ducks in a row so you can go out and play all Summer long. It’s a time for taking care of all those “little” things that you’re too busy to get to when the days are longer and you’re out playing until dark. It’s also time for one of my favorite activities: snowboarding.

Robins, a sign of Spring

Last weekend, Ron and I spent three days snowboarding amid a massive Winter storm that ultimately dropped five feet of powder! We rode Heavenly on the first day because Kirkwood wasn’t accessible with both Carson Spur and Pass both closed on Highway 88; with our season passes, we got half-off tickets. I hadn’t ridden Heavenly since I was a teenager, when my Dad and I had a magical afternoon in Mott Canyon. Ron killed it driving through the blizzard conditions on Highway 50 over Echo Summit as I slept most of the way, getting us to Heavenly, where it was dumping. We hit Gunbarrel, a notoriously moguled run, but with waist-deep powder and inches falling by the hour, it was bottomless pow – truly Heavenly! We had an amazing day exploring the mountain mostly by ourselves, as there were few people there on that Friday. Riding on a weekday is a real treat!


We stayed at one of our favorite places in South Lake Tahoe, the Lakeshore Lodge & Spa, for two nights. Looking out on the lake invokes serenity and gratitude. As the sunset through snow flurries, I couldn’t help feel that I never wanted to leave this place. Tahoe has a special place in my heart, through Winter and Summer seasons, and I dream of owning a cabin up there someday.




Kirkwood was amazing the next couple of days. Every run was soft, buttery goodness with no bumps or hardpack. We had fresh powder on every run, and got epic first runs on the backside of the mountain, Chair 4. Flowing over freshly fallen powder is indescribable. You have to experience it for yourself to know the feeling. It’s like floating while being gently pushed by wind. There’s an effortlessness to it, a real flow that just goes without force. There is nothing quite like the Sacred Silence of Snow


It doesn’t hurt that I’m riding an amazing new snowboard: a Burton Custom Flying V 158cm that I am in love with. I also have new Burton Ion boots and Malavita bindings. My setup is tight. The board is unsinkable – even in 4’+ of powder, its nose stays up like duckbill. Through untracked powderfields, it cut with authority. It’s quick and responsive, yet plows like a barge. Both sportscar and Cadillac, I’ve found my perfect board!




Fresh Tracks at Kirkwood


These trips to Tahoe, Winter or Summer, are gems I treasure – each one faceted in its own way, its luster shiny or earthy. Experiences outdoors with our loved ones are what life’s all about. Doing what we love with whom we love is a true gift to be cherished. I’m grateful that we got to ride our bikes a lot more this Winter than last year when Él Niño brought record rainfall.


Thunder Saddle & Eagle Bowl

Speaking of bikes? I’m getting a new bike! I just ordered it a few hours ago, and am beyond excited to get it in a couple of weeks! What is this new steed? A Santa Cruz Hightower LT! I demo’d it about a month ago, riding all my favorite trails in Santa Cruz, and absolutely fell in love with it. I’m happy to use my Grassroots discount with Santa Cruz bikes for this one! Even with it, I might be eating canned tuna and crackers for awhile until it’s paid off. But at least I’ll have a rad bike! I’ve got my priorities straight, alright.

With Spring approaching, our calendars start filling up with plans – parties, camping trips, and races. I’ll be racing the Sea Otter Classic in April for my fourth year, and have a full slate of races scheduled through Summer. I cannot wait to ride my new bike at the races! After almost five years on my Specialized Camber Comp, I was beyond ready for an upgrade.

I hope your first day of Spring is inspiring you for the longer, warmer days ahead. Whatever your passions, enjoy them whenever you can, as much as you can. Passion is a gift, and should be revered and celebrated where ever it’s directed. We are lucky to have people to love, and things we love to do. At the end of the day, having fun is one of the simplest yet most profound experiences in life. It gives both purpose and motivation. Having fun is living life the way you want to, allowing yourself the liberty to pursue your interests, while connecting with people in a loving, positive way. Each person’s definition of “having fun” is unique, and equally respectable (given that no one is hurting anyone intentionally, of course). To each their own. Doing what you love with whom you love is having fun.

Get after it and go have some fun! Celebrate this short life and make time to do what you love to do. We are lucky to live in a world where we can focus on such a concept. Enjoy the start of Spring as the Winter storms linger, blessed may it be so.

Follow your flow, and lead with Grace.

– Katrin Deetz

Riding Down a Flow Trail

Soquel Demonstration State Forest (“Demo”) is a gem within the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Its name is what it is: a demonstration of how logging can be paired with recreation. In the case of Demo, it’s mountain biking mecca for the South Bay and Santa Cruz regions. Though a bit of a drive to get to, it’s always worth it in my opinion.

Where else can you find miles of uninterrupted, well-designed and maintained flow trail within Santa Cruz? Yes, we are spoiled with a plethora of awesome trails in Santa Cruz. But when all six stages of Demo’s Flow Trail were completed a few years ago, it opened up a new standard for how long and “flowy” a downhill could be. It is beautifully crafted and diligently kept up by the stewardship of many mountain bikers, like MBOSC, who lead “Dig Days” for trailwork. Conversely, Demo also sets the bar for how much climbing you have to inure for such a reward. A 3:1 ratio of climbing to downhill feels about right. These rides will keep your endurance and strength up, no doubt.

Today’s weather forecast had snow in it for the Santa Cruz Mountains! Last night a freak cold front passed through, and snow fell above 1,500′ in the region. I didn’t see any today, but it sure felt like snowy weather at 40°F. I think the cold kept some away as I didn’t see that many people. I love the peace, quiet, and solitude of a long ride. It always sets me right.

Here’s some footage from today’s ride. Ride on!

Riding Sweet Lines

Here’s some footie from today’s gorgeous mountain bike ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Its name remains a topic of contention: Sweetness Or Magic Carpet Ride, depending upon whom you ask. Some OG’s insist this trail is called Sweetness; trail maps online indicate Magic. Whatever it’s called, Ron and I are lucky it’s only a few miles from our house. Sweet!

It’s a four-day weekend for President’s Day, and normally we’d be in the mountains snowboarding. This year? It’s basically Summer, and we’re home in Santa Cruz. We can’t control the weather, so might as well enjoy it, right? I think we’re all thirsty for some more Winter, though.

In the meantime, ride on everyone! May you flow with grace where ever you roam.



Today’s Ride

I think the third time’s a charm. This is my third edit, and I finally got somewhat decent footage with my new GoPro Hero Session 5 (1080p at 60fps with Superview). This is one of my favorite trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and today was a gorgeous day to enjoy it. With rain (finally!) in the forecast for next week, I’m getting all I can of this trail before it puddles up. As for those gap jumps I’m riding past? I’m working my way up to those, doing smaller jumps in the meantime. You can get as rad as you want (or not) on this trail.

Happy (almost) New Year to all! Here’s to one last ride of 2017 tomorrow.

Christmas Eve Ride

I love the Holidays.  The Winter Solstice, promise of longer days in the forecast, and time spent with loved ones make this time of year especially good for riding.  I need all of the sunshine and endorphins I can get on these short, cold days, and there’s nothing like a good bike ride to lift the spirit.  With little precipitation thus far this rainy season, the trails are in excellent condition – tacky and grippy, and not muddy.

I had a wonderful Christmas Eve ride today with my husband Ron on one of our favorite trails.  I’m still learning how to find the best setting for my new GoPro, as this second edit shows, but here’s a glimpse of today’s “Drop” (that’s the name of the Bro Safari song in the video that’s part of the jukebox of songs I play in my head while riding).  It’s such a fun trail, though I’m not sure this helmet-mounted camera angle really captures how awesome it feels to ride it.  It’s a blast out here, and these trails are one of the top things I’m grateful for this year.

Happy Holidays to all, and cheers to all of the riding we’ll do in 2018!



First Edit

I finally did it: I got a GoPro!  A Hero Session 5, to be precise.  This weekend, I put it to the test on two local trails that my husband Ron and I ride regularly.  They’re a source of true joy, and we’re grateful to share them together.  While certainly no Red Bull Rampage footage, here’s a glimpse into mountain biking in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California; my first official “edit”.  The funniest part starts at about 2:20 when it gets dark and I ask Ron how we get back to a place where the trail is “wider” (riding narrow singletrack in the dark always adds an element of adventure!).

I’m looking forward to sharing future adventures from land, water, and snow!


Flow of A Ride: Sea Otter Classic 2017

A Beginner’s Foray Into Mountain Bike Racing

The Sea Otter Classic is the world’s largest cycling festival, taking over the Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway for four days every year since 1990.  There are dozens of bicycling races: everything from Criterium to Cross-Country, Downhill Mountain Biking to the newly added E-Biking.  Thousands of people flock to this beautiful area near Monterey, California to celebrate two wheels in motion, as I did today on April 20, 2017 for fun in the sun on Day 1 of the festivities.


Today was my third year racing at the Sea Otter Classic in the Open Women’s Enduro Mountain Bike race.  For anyone unfamiliar with what “Enduro” is, it’s basically a category of racing that combines downhill and cross-country trails, which are divided into timed laps.  Your cumulative time ranks you, so you can relax a bit on the untimed transfer sections in between the laps.  It’s about 15 total miles.  I’ve only done one race where we were timed consecutively from start-to-finish, the Santa Cruz Old Cabin Classic, and it felt like a lot more pressure to keep going.  I like the format of the Enduro better so far.  Today was my fourth race ever, and it definitely felt like the best!

I arrived around 7:30 a.m., and checked in for my racing bib and wristband.  There was a heavy drizzle, but tons of excitement in the air.  Probably every bicycling and mountain biking company in the world have booths set up in the pit of the raceway; bikes of all kinds are going every which way; enticing aromas are brewing at the food tents.  By about 7:50, I proceeded to practice the Downhill Course (Stage 1), along with hundreds of other riders, literally.  With a 9:18 a.m. race-time, I figured I had plenty of time.  The line moved at a snail’s pace, however, taking about 45 minutes to get to the start.  I had a great practice lap, and took advantage of the shuttle back up to the start.  By the time I made it up to the top of the Downhill Course, though, it was 9:22!  I lined up at the end of my group, with only about six girls left to go in front of me; I barely made it on time.  And I didn’t have time to practice the Dual Slalom course.

True Faith

The rest of my ride was full of flow and grace; no falls or close-calls.  I pushed my speed, but maintained good control.  I enjoyed myself more, appreciating the ubiquitous wildflowers and birds.   It was much better than the first year I rode in 2015, when I made all kinds of rookie mistakes.  I practiced the Dual-Slalom three times in the morning before the race, thinking it was the Downhill course.  By the time I realized the race was starting, I had to hurry over to the actual downhill course, having never ridden it.  I rode it too fast and ate it face-first on the downhill.  Although I was bleeding a little and had a dirty face, I was fine, so I continued riding.  I got off-course, however, and rode the Dual Slalom again (the fourth time that morning), before riding stages 2 and 3.  I fell on a sandpit section of the second stage, but was okay.  By the time I got to the Dual Slalom lap that actually counted, it was my fifth time doing it that day, and clearly an advantage.  I rode it in 56 seconds, not bad compared to others.  This proved one of the most obvious lessons: the more you practice a course, the better you’ll do.

In 2016, I raced again, and did better; I felt more familiar with the course, and had returned to practice riding the trails of Fort Ord National Monument all of two times.  My rank went up a little (I was 36 out of 48), but mostly I was happy I didn’t fall!  I enjoyed the experience a lot more, knowing a little more of what to expect.

This year, I specifically trained on the sandy trails of Bear Mountain, near my house in Ben Lomond.  The topography is quite similar to Fort Ord, with lots of variations of sandstone – everything from pits of beach sand to tacky, grippy, compacted sand.  I don’t typically ride there often, but it’s been a great place to work on my skills in the sand. However, nothing compares to riding the actual location, and I probably should’ve made time to preride the course this year.  Nothing compares to practicing the actual trails; duh!  I wish we’d have more mountain bike races on the trails of Santa Cruz, where I am at home.  I know I’d do better than I did in this race.  Although I’d still like to improve, I went up in rank this year, improving by 33 seconds from last year (15:45 compared to 16:18, cumulative times); a 7% percentile improvement in overall rank.  I’ll take it!

Why am I trying to race at all?  Self-edification.  Growth and improvement are important to me.  I love a good challenge, physically and mentally.  Setting a goal and working toward it motivates me and keeps me excited about life.  I also feel like I have some unfinished business in the realm of competitive sports.  It’s a long story, but after years of playing many childhood sports, I stopped playing competitive sports in the eighth grade  (yes, I regret that! Especially quitting soccer).  By the time I tried to get back into it as a Junior in high-school, I was too far behind compared to my peers to make Varsity-level.  Although I’ve always been athletic and active, I have a hunger for more winning, more success athletically.  Being a sponsored, competitive athlete is something I’ve always dreamed of.

I like the mental challenge of a race; in fact, that is probably the biggest challenge for me.  I’ve done some running races, too, and I can get distracted, either by external stimuli (other people), or internal (self-doubt; comparing myself to others).   I know I’m a good athlete, and I want to learn how to be a pillar of grace under the pressure of competition; to tune out the background noise.  I want to learn to perform at my fullest potential, despite what other people are doing, or the obstacle of crowded pathways resembling the old Atari video-game Frogger.  Yes, I’d like to prove myself as well; ego is part of it.  But it comes from a place of unfulfilled dreams, that resonates with me on a deep, emotional level. Athleticism is part of my identity, and to be recognized for it someday would be awesome.  I have a flame lit under me that, instead of needing to be extinguished, needs to burn and glow.

I try to keep a few things in mind during a ride, summarized with the letters A-G: Awareness, Balance, Confidence, Determination, Endurance, Flow, and Grace.

Each word embodies an essential quality for a successful ride, in my opinion.   Total awareness is everything; without it, riding is plain dangerous.  Balance is key, not just for physically shifting your weight, but for balancing effort, approach, and expectations.  Confidence is what you get from all those rides over the years; it’s the muscle-memory of instinct.  It’s sure-footedness, committed action.  Determination is my trait; tenacious K.  Endurance is the obvious one to see you through the long, hard climbs when your muscles are tight.  Flow is the secret code that unlocks the beauty of the whole experience; it connects everything together into positive, forward momentum.  Grace is the blend of all these traits, where skill and intention combine for a smooth ride; it’s being a courteous, conscientious rider.

Ultimately, it’s a lot of fun to go for a ride in a beautiful place with a bunch of cool people.  I loved talking with other competitors and hearing their stories.   We all shared a good, hearty laugh watching a pair of Wild Turkeys gobble in unison.  Meandering through the booths after the race, warm sunshine on my face, watching the pros ride the pump tracks was a total highlight (names are on the Rider’s chalkboard in one of the pics).

It’s inspiring being around so many others who share the same passion.  I love being part of the mountain biking community – an outdoorsy, thrill-seeking, and fun-loving crew of people, all trying to push themselves to their very best.  I can’t wait for next year!