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  1. #26
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    I'd say, half the battle is attitude, the other half is fitness, and the final half is ....
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  2. #27
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    I went to stcp (nice acronym btw) in a Sunday afternoon, and the polvadero lot was full of golfers. Not a lot of mtbrs, though. I actually had to cut my ride short for lack of water. It was overly hot, and I just wasn't expecting that. I headed back and found a little extra water in my car, so I went again. Not as far, though. I didn't get to Rocky ridge.
    Last edited by sauprankul; 11-18-2012 at 06:35 PM.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

  3. #28
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    Duplicate post

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish View Post
    Interesting sentiment about STCP. I rode that park along with bedrock a ton when I first started mountain biking in 1990 because I could get there from my house without driving. This was on a low end rigid Yokota bike, none of this fancy suspension nonsense!

    It was absolutely challenging, but also a ton of fun. I wouldn't rule it out, although I do agree with the sentiment of avoiding rocky ridge. The route IAmHolland laid out is a good one. Great post that he made, btw.

    Francois said, "half the battle is attitude." I'd go further and say that 7/8's the battle is attitude. No matter where you go, do so with the intention of exploring and taking lots of breaks rather than trying to do the fastest lap. You can really bond with friends under the shade of an oak tree while catching your breath.
    I was really hoping for more experiences like yours since we're very adventurous and capable people, but everyone seems to put a big warning sign on STCP, so I want to put some trust in people with more experience. It's just the youtube videos make STCP look like a place that could be very enjoyable for my group, and a challenging but satisfying ride. The only thing I think would impede us would be any long, steep climbs, but going down Stiles Ranch looks like a blast and nothing too tough.

    On the other hand, I just can't get myself to looking forward to Arastradero as much. Is the bowl really that fun? I see people having trouble getting back up on the other side but in my mind I'm not seeing why they are having such a hard time. It looks like a very relaxed ride, and something to just hit after work or something.

    In terms of fitness, both my friends are about 135 lbs 5'7" and are very good runners with high endurance but new to mtb, while I'm 170 5'11" myself with decent endurance as I play basketball and bike about 15-20 miles with slight elevation on the weekends. We did a 14 mile all-day Yosemite hike last year with 4k elevation change and I think we're in better shape now than when we did that. We're also 23 so we have that mix of seeking adventure and stupidity/naivety.

    That feeling of danger and risk to get your heart pumping and senses focused is so addicting. I wouldn't be trying set lap times on Strava or being reckless on the trails, but that feeling of satisfaction and catching your breath after doing something challenging doesn't seem like something I can get out of Arastradero.

  5. #30
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    Russian Ridge, Long Ridge, and Montebello are all good for intermediate riding if you are wiling to drive further.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    I was really hoping for more experiences like yours since we're very adventurous and capable people, but everyone seems to put a big warning sign on STCP, so I want to put some trust in people with more experience. It's just the youtube videos make STCP look like a place that could be very enjoyable for my group, and a challenging but satisfying ride. The only thing I think would impede us would be any long, steep climbs, but going down Stiles Ranch looks like a blast and nothing too tough.

    On the other hand, I just can't get myself to looking forward to Arastradero as much. Is the bowl really that fun? I see people having trouble getting back up on the other side but in my mind I'm not seeing why they are having such a hard time. It looks like a very relaxed ride, and something to just hit after work or something.

    In terms of fitness, both my friends are about 135 lbs 5'7" and are very good runners with high endurance but new to mtb, while I'm 170 5'11" myself with decent endurance as I play basketball and bike about 15-20 miles with slight elevation on the weekends. We did a 14 mile all-day Yosemite hike last year with 4k elevation change and I think we're in better shape now than when we did that. We're also 23 so we have that mix of seeking adventure and stupidity/naivety.

    That feeling of danger and risk to get your heart pumping and senses focused is so addicting. I wouldn't be trying set lap times on Strava or being reckless on the trails, but that feeling of satisfaction and catching your breath after doing something challenging doesn't seem like something I can get out of Arastradero.
    The fitness aspect will help you somewhat on climbs, but for technical riding you guys should get familiar with your bikes first. You mentioned first bike ride, and everyone is getting pictures of newbs learning to ride. So, yes, warning flags will go off every where. MTBing is all intervals, a hike is the opposite of that. The steady cardio will help you on longer extended climbs.

    Anyhow, go by yourself, try it out. Don't take first timers to a place you do not know anything about. You're the guide.

    Another thing to be wary of, videos. They smooth out the terrain by a factor of 10 I would say. Videos of Rocky Ridge make it look buff, and it's anything but, as an example.

  7. #32
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    I think you are struggling with wanting something new and awesome, being a beginner, taking first-timers all on the same ride. The best thing you can do is just do it and go out on your own more and explore the area. You and your friends should be going on a lot more rides so don't try to pack it all in on the first ride. There is sooo much more that we can suggest but it's really not wise if you are taking first-timers.

    The other good option is Saratoga Gap - Long Ridge area. It is one most stunning areas around. The key is to start at Skyline Blvd at the trail crossing (not Highway 9 and 35).



    Do the lasso loop. And if everyone is doing great, cross the road when back at the car and take some of that singletrack that parallels Highway 35 to Highway 9). That singletrack is awesome but can be treacherous for first timers.

    fc

  8. #33
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    Personally, I would do loops around Peter's Creek. I think the Gap is a bit much for newbs, although walking is fine. The loop is very long for a newb and though Gap looks flat, it's undulations really add up (intervals).

    In FC's Strava, it's the lasso part that I'm talking about (and others in this thread have mentioned). The Gap proper is technical, but not horribly so. There are some parts where you can eat it if you are not aware or awake. It's been buffed out, so it's easier now than it was even a year ago.

    What FC says is right, take a chill ride man! If you want gnarcore, I'll take you on stuff that will guarantee somebody is air lifted out. So, why? Just chill, and introduce newbs to some cool and easy stuff. Singletrack, hit the singletrack. Arastradero has some nice ones for beginners. It's where I learned to ride. Fremont Older is also nice, but for me it was tough because it has longer steeper climbs....but if you know where you're going it won't be hard. I rode Arastradero by myself the first time, and I took it in all the wrong directions (hit all the steep climbs). It was much better when I went with someone who knew where to go.

    It's all about the route, and the guide. Start out slow and easy

    I take my son here, skipping the Gap although I'm going to take him on the Gap now as he is ready for it.



    Here's a good Arastradero loop, yeah I don't really ride this place except with kids or wife.


  9. #34
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    STCP really isn't bad, but the issue I see with it is new riders not having the confidence to ride over all the rocks on Stiles/RR and running into issues there. Basically, you just have to blast down it and pick the line you want. I know on Stiles I've never had issues riding over any of the rocks. RR is a bit different, since there are bigger rocks, and it's a straight shot so you're always at speed.

    I took my gf down Stiles at the demo day and she crashed, She didn't know how, and I was long gone by that point.

    I don't know what type of rider you or your friends are, but I know when I was new I would have been more intimidated by Stiles and RR, just because I never realized you can just ride at speed and let the bike soak up all the rocks. Hell, when I was test riding the Glory, the guy told me to ride over a curb and I thought he was crazy. I watched him do it and then did it myself and got the biggest grin.
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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    STCP really isn't bad, but the issue I see with it is new riders not having the confidence to ride over all the rocks on Stiles/RR and running into issues there. Basically, you just have to blast down it and pick the line you want. I know on Stiles I've never had issues riding over any of the rocks. RR is a bit different, since there are bigger rocks, and it's a straight shot so you're always at speed.

    I took my gf down Stiles at the demo day and she crashed, She didn't know how, and I was long gone by that point.

    I don't know what type of rider you or your friends are, but I know when I was new I would have been more intimidated by Stiles and RR, just because I never realized you can just ride at speed and let the bike soak up all the rocks. Hell, when I was test riding the Glory, the guy told me to ride over a curb and I thought he was crazy. I watched him do it and then did it myself and got the biggest grin.
    This pretty much sums it up, and FC's earlier post about first ride. Learning how to operate a bike efficiently, while trying to navigate technical bits can be overwhelming. Nobody knows you or your friends so the judgement is ultimately yours. The recommendation on experiences is out there, though.

    I would totally take a newb MTB'er down Stiles if they have biked (BMX or road) for a while. If they have done neither, there is no way I would even think of it. It's like taking a kid on a real bike and saying "go, fly, learn!" and giving them a push off from the top. The first thing will be "where's the brake", and if they don't know how hard to squeeze or modulate, it's a guaranteed endo, or they try to plant their feet and who knows what happens after that. If they don't know how to move their pedals, it's a probable pedal strike, and either a high or low side crash. Stiles isn't as rocky as Rocky Ridge, except for some parts near the parking lot.

  11. #36
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    Yeah you guys give some great advice, I appreciate all the help and knowledge you guys are throwing out there! Saratoga Gap looks amazing, I've been to the Big Basin area and it's beautiful, so I'm excited to try that in the future.

    My choices are probably limited to Arastradero or STCP for this weekend, since we'd be leaving after noon and not have as much sun. I'll start with Arastradero and see how they react to it, and go from there for the next ride. It's just hard trying to find that right balance as one of the people going along is on a borrowed bike and this ride will help determine whether he really wants to put the time and money into this. I'd love to have him come along for rides in the future and this first impression will make a huge impact on him.

  12. #37
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    STCP is more than Stile Ranch and RR, friends. Those are just two trails in a park where there's about 20.

    There are a lot of trails in that park, including Bernal Hill, Mine Trail, Vista Loop, etc. A fun, not so technical downhill would be Ohlone Trail. It's relatively smooth with no rocks, roots, or anything else that may cause worry. Norred to Heaton Moore is fun, wide open, but some loose stuff to make it interesting.

    Fortini can also be fun for the new rider (going downhill).

    The Rocky Ridge Roller Coaster can be fun, as there's little whoops to be ridden. You don't have to go all the way up Rocky Ridge... simply take a rest at the peak of the Roller Coaster and turn around. Going that way is fun, too.

    STCP offers a lot for the beginner rider. Bugs me that all people talk about is RR and Stile Ranch - those are just two trails.

    BTW, I ride up and down all of STCP on a 1986 Rockhopper, set up 1X9, rigid fork, quill stem and cantilever brakes. And I'm a fat insurance salesman with sleep apnea and high blood pressure... so don't be intimidated. STCP really isn't all that bad.

    It might be time for me to host a Tour De STCP ride again...

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    STCP is more than Stile Ranch and RR, friends. Those are just two trails in a park where there's about 20.

    There are a lot of trails in that park, including Bernal Hill, Mine Trail, Vista Loop, etc. A fun, not so technical downhill would be Ohlone Trail. It's relatively smooth with no rocks, roots, or anything else that may cause worry. Norred to Heaton Moore is fun, wide open, but some loose stuff to make it interesting.

    Fortini can also be fun for the new rider (going downhill).

    The Rocky Ridge Roller Coaster can be fun, as there's little whoops to be ridden. You don't have to go all the way up Rocky Ridge... simply take a rest at the peak of the Roller Coaster and turn around. Going that way is fun, too.

    STCP offers a lot for the beginner rider. Bugs me that all people talk about is RR and Stile Ranch - those are just two trails.

    BTW, I ride up and down all of STCP on a 1986 Rockhopper, set up 1X9, rigid fork, quill stem and cantilever brakes. And I'm a fat insurance salesman with sleep apnea and high blood pressure... so don't be intimidated. STCP really isn't all that bad.

    It might be time for me to host a Tour De STCP ride again...
    Wow, somebody actually understands.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    Wow, somebody actually understands.
    Well, it is my backyard trail. I ride the place almost everyday.

  15. #40
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    Forget it. Raining this weekend.

  16. #41
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    Only raining today-early sat. Sunday should be good still.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Only raining today-early sat. Sunday should be good still.
    don't go to arastradero after a rain


  18. #43
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    Ooh that's not pretty. Should I avoid any place altogether this weekend or will STCP still be okay?

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Only raining today-early sat. Sunday should be good still.
    Watch out for trail closure at STCP. They close the whole park down if somebody spills a water bottle.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    ...We're also 23...
    Oh - yah, go tackle STCP fer sure.

    It'll be hard for ya (running fitness does not equate cycling fitness)...and you'll probably come out bleeding a little...and thoroughly amazed when a 50 yer old geezer rips by you on a climb, or downhill

    In the end though I'd hazard a guess y'all will have had a blast - even though it'll hurt a bit.

    my .02




    PS - if it rains a bit stay the hell away...the mud is evil....freaking Damien OMEN evil....
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Only raining today-early sat. Sunday should be good still.
    Don't be too concerned about rain. We've had 4 months of dry weather and all this recent spit rain is just keeping the dust down. Sunday looks awesome anywhere.

    fc

  22. #47
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    Arastradero updates if trails are closed due to rain, which happens quite easily.

    Seasonal Trail Status - City of Palo Alto
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Watch out for trail closure at STCP. They close the whole park down if somebody spills a water bottle.
    For temporary trail closure information due to wet weather, please call (408) 355-2200, press 7 and some other number.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Yeah you guys give some great advice, I appreciate all the help and knowledge you guys are throwing out there! Saratoga Gap looks amazing, I've been to the Big Basin area and it's beautiful, so I'm excited to try that in the future.

    My choices are probably limited to Arastradero or STCP for this weekend, since we'd be leaving after noon and not have as much sun. I'll start with Arastradero and see how they react to it, and go from there for the next ride. It's just hard trying to find that right balance as one of the people going along is on a borrowed bike and this ride will help determine whether he really wants to put the time and money into this. I'd love to have him come along for rides in the future and this first impression will make a huge impact on him.
    The Dero should be cool. It's fun. It's got some rolling singletrack, albeit short, and you can do some jumps and what not once you reach the bowls (there are 2 of them).

    You can use the Strava I posted and line that up with a paper map or an online map. It hits all the single track there.

    Fremont Older is also good, if Arastradero is closed. It's a bit steeper though, but you guys might be able to handle it. Get a map and look for the Toyon trails. The other parts are OK, Toyon is the feature (IMO).

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    don't go to arastradero after a rain

    Does this happen as much to hardtails? I don't want to let rain ruin my weekend. My frame has some pretty good clearance, and I think it has more clearance than your bike. I'm running tires almost a 1/2 inch less wide than the limit.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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