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  1. #1
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    Fun Beginner-Intermediate Ride Near South Bay?

    I have a couple friends who are going on their first ride, while I started just a couple of months ago myself. I want to take them somewhere they'll have a blast so they continue riding. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to take them? We have entry-level hard tails and I'm looking for somewhere within half an hour of the Milpitas-San Jose area. Hopefully they stick to it enough that we can start going to somewhere like Santa Cruz later on.

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    If you go to too boring (aka easy) of a trail the first time, your newbie friends will forever be scarred by that first impression. Take them to Santa Teresa County Park. 101S, Bernal Road exit, then left on Polvadero (confirm these). After entering the parking lot, you will see a gate at your 2 o' clock. It might be locked, but there is a smaller (almost invisible) gate right next to it that should be open.
    Nice trails that have some decent climbs, descents and rocky singletrack. There are easier and harder parts of this park. Take plenty of water, because you'll not want to go home soon. And take a good camera. The view is spectacular.
    And some other trails when you're done with this (but it'll take you more than one visit, I think, to cover all the trails in Santa Teresa), check this out. South Bay Rides - Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Santa Teresa is a great suggestion. St. Joe's in Los Gatos can also be fun, although a bit crowded if you're going on a weekend.

    The two places that really got me hooked on mountain biking in the South Bay were bedrock, which is now a golf course, and some of the single track at the bottom of St. Joe's which is now illegal for bikes. I used to do laps and laps there on my Trek 850. For many years when I lived in Los Gatos I'd poach that trail on my birthday if it wasn't a weekend...

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    Yeah Santa Teresa/Rocky Ridge Trail was definitely high on my list as I've heard great things about it and it is relatively close-by. We are planning to go this Sunday and I definitely want to give them a good first impression of what MTB has to offer. Thanks for the help! Any other suggestions for future rides would also be greatly appreciated.

    That website is also really awesome.

  5. #5
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    What are the fitness levels of your riders? No offense, but I have a hard time believing someone who started a few months is intermediate unless you're really gifted and ride 5x a week. I've been riding 2 years, and I consider myself barely intermediate....barely. Intermediate is endurance capacity and speed capacity and technical capability.

    STCP is not a beginner place. It is steep, and other bits are technical. They will get an impression alright, something that it's too darn tough. Take them somewhere easy, but fun. Arastradero works, and you can get a fun loop through that park.

    If you must focus on STCP, starting from the golf course, you're going to be climbing up some steep stuff if you don't make the right turn off onto Ohlone. If you stay on it you're going to end up on the steepest part of the park. I don't know about you, but I don't call the possibility of hiking all the uphills enjoyable.

    Start easy, and/or pick a place you know. Going somewhere new to introduce new riders is a VERY BAD IDEA.

    Taking total newbs down Rocky Ridge, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are stopping, guiding, and warning and showing lines. Folks have broken things on Rocky Ridge, body parts.

    Go out further than 30 minutes away, but if you must ride Santa Teresa, here is a cardio-easy ride that will be enjoyable, and yet challenging due to some sketch parts.

    Start at Harry Rd and Camden Ave, just outside IBM.

    Here's a map of STCP

    Park on the Road HERE

    Go through the entrance to a trail on your right. It's a flat ride. You will ride this to the another gate. Go through that.

    You will end up HERE

    Follow the road in front of you for a bit, look for a parking lot on your left, it's just a hundred yards or so.

    This is the San Vincente entrance to STCP

    Go through that entrance, and take Fortini Trail all the way to the parking lot area. There's a small trail on your right that will ride around the right side of the parking lot, from where you will be standing.

    This is the trail, Mine Trail

    Ride that, that's Mine trail (or just a small part of it), until you reach an intersection of multiple trails.

    Intersection of trails

    Go across the road and go into the parking lot, heading towards the right (looping around the large lot).

    Look for a trail on your left

    Just enter and continue to go around counter-clockwise. That's the Pueblo Trail. You want to take Pueblo until you start to head up a bit to a small parking lot on your right.

    Small parking lot, and entrance to it on the far side

    Rest a bit in the lot, the lot is on Bernal Rd. Turn right to head down Bernal Rd, just a bit and then go through an entrance on your left, it's about 100 feet or so.

    Turn into this spot

    Take that trail a bit and turn left onto Joice Trail. Turn right onto Bernal Hill Trail (going left will take you onto Joice still, which pitches up very steep, you will be hiking this, as a newb, guaranteed, so avoid it. It's not a bad ride on the Vista loop, though, but it's rough getting onto it.

    Anyhow, turn right onto Bernal Hill Trail

    Follow it, you will go up a bit, some short steep loose part, and then you will descend a steep, loose part.

    Turn right onto Norred Trail

    At the end of Norred, turn left to go further down hill. You will pass the chicken farm and end up at

    Heaton Moore

    turn right to go on the road, follow the road, you will go back to Bernal

    Turn right to go UP Bernal

    Turn left to enter Santa Teresa

    Turn right to climb up Ohlone

    Go to the very end, it pitches up steep at the end for about 10 yards or so.

    Turn left onto Hidden Springs

    Take Hidden Springs up to the intersection of trails

    From there, you get back onto Pueblo Trail and go back to the Small Parking Lot

    This time, stay on the trail and descend Mine Trail.

    Here's a choice point

    Turn right to climb up the backside of Stiles, or turn left to just take the fastest way back to the car.

    Both Stiles and Fortini trail will meet back at the San Vincente parking lot area. Climbing up the backside of Stiles is not steep, mildly technical. The descent into the San Vincente lot is the more technical area, but I think it's more enjoyable to descend than climb for newbs. Plan your time, true newbs will be stopping and walking lots.

  6. #6
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    Rocky Ridge + newbies = lots of walking or lots of bruises.

    Saratoga Gap or Arastradero are better places to introduce beginners to the sport.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  7. #7
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    None taken, I wasn't sure myself whether to head there with beginners(I don't consider myself intermediate at all and am still a newbie) but it seemed like a doable challenge if we took it at a good pace. We're all in pretty good shape and are active outside of mountain biking(running/basketball) so our fitness level is pretty good. We just lack a lot of experience to do anything too technical.

    Thanks for the heads up and taking the time to write that up, it's very helpful!

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    As I said there are easier and harder parts to that park. I started at the polvadero lot and remember being on Ohlone, over looking where Bernal rd makes a big hairpin kinda turn. I didn't encounter much more than a few rocks and some steeper slopes. I did have to walk up some of the slopes, but that was because I was not keeping momentum, and because I'm not too fit.
    I don't believe I hit Rocky ridge, but I'll try to do that this weekend. Maybe I'll see you there!
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  9. #9
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    Saratoga Gap was my first place to ride in the area after a few years off, and that was just over a year ago. Demo was next, which was definitely a bit much. Arastradero is nice, easy, and you won't get lost. I think the Gap is a bit bigger. I just rode out and back once I was ready.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    I started at the polvadero lot and remember being on Ohlone, over looking where Bernal rd makes a big hairpin kinda turn. I didn't encounter much more than a few rocks and some steeper slopes. I did have to walk up some of the slopes, but that was because I was not keeping momentum, and because I'm not too fit.
    I don't believe I hit Rocky ridge, but I'll try to do that this weekend. Maybe I'll see you there!
    Rocky Ridge is not forgettable. It's a very unique trail to the area.

    The trail from the golf course is the Coyote Peak Trail.

    If you didn't turn onto Ohlone, you'll end up going up Ridge Trail or Coyote Peak Trail, both have climbs that are over 15% grade. I like to ride up Ridge, and I've gone up Coyote Peak Trail. It's tough. If you make a left off Coyote Peak Trail, you'll be on Boundary Trail, which is the steepest trail of the park.

    Anyway, if you missed the turn for Ohlone, you'll know it. You'll pretty much walk all of it or turn around and head back to Ohlone.

  11. #11
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    Arastradero!

    Pearson-Arastradero - City of Palo Alto

    Maybe Russian Ridge/long ridge area. Stay out of stevens canyon unless you can ride out (lots of climbing on fire road) of that one.
    The gap might be good, but there is a bit of tech stuff and new people on tech stuff is never great for their continued enjoyment of the sport.

    Almaden quicksilver would be a good choice if they have fitness and are not great riders.

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    Thanks everyone for your input! I'll definitely have a few places to hit up now it's just deciding which one to start with.

  13. #13
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    I learned to ride at Fremont Older OSP. Haven't ridden there in many years since but I remember it having a nice mix of fire road, single track (Seven Springs Trail if I remember the name correctly) and some decent views (Lookout Point...?).
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  14. #14
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    The cop that took my stolen bike report rode crits before becoming a cop. She said her first ever MTB ride was on Rocky Ridge and it wasn't the best time.
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    The Peter's Creek/Long Ridge loop is fairly short, scenic, and has fun singletrack. There are a few technical switchbacks, but certainly nothing like rocky ridge.

    Also, White Oak trail in Montebello is really fun, although it's short and I just don't know a good-sized loop in there that doesn't have a brutal climb.
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    I'm deciding between Santa Teresa and Astradero. Astradero seems very tame from the youtube videos I've watched though, and reminds me of Alum Rock Park which is right by my house. I definitely won't be doing Rocky Ridge trail if I go STCP but I'm looking into some of the trails my group could handle. Stiles Ranch seems like a fun one and the trail that iamholland posted sounds like a good one.
    Last edited by alazamboozle; 11-07-2012 at 02:56 AM.

  17. #17
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    I would recommend Arastradero. It is safe, gradual, has epic views, has singletrack and fun area called the bowl.

    You want to keep their first ride simple and full of options. Their fitness is probably not ready, their bike not working right and their control and comfort level on the bike not quite there. Unless they ride a bike regularly, it's going to feel like an alien beast. It takes dozens of hours to be comfortable with balance and with the controls like shifting and braking.

    No one will be scarred by an experience that is too easy. What will ruin them is crashing, getting lost, walking or just being unprepared for a mechanical. It would be really good if you can go to Arastradero beforehand and scope it out. Get your bearings, know where the steep parts are and where the fun parts are. There is no joy in getting lost or looking at the map every two minutes. And bring all the tools and extra food for them. Bring a camera too and keep taking photos.

    There's a place there called 'The Bowl' and 'Red Tail Loop'. Those are fun areas.
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    Half the battle is attitude. If you're having fun, they will have fun. And be the first one to say hi to anyone you encounter on the trail.

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    Last edited by fc; 11-07-2012 at 10:05 AM.

  18. #18
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    So spoketh the ultralord, and so did the newbs obey. The newbs enjoyed their day and all in the world were at great peace.

    (That means I agree. I wouldn't take 'em to ST Park.)

  19. #19
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    Another vote for Arastradero. Stiles at STCP, if you start from Harry/Camden in Almaden, is steep, punishing and difficult...I'm going there this afternoon if you want to come preview it.

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    The Bowl is definitely a fun place to ride to at Arastradero. In fact, that's the only place I've ever ridden to in the park, starting at the little parking lot by the entrance to Palo Alto college or something like that.

    Just don't go there after a heavy rain haha. It's got some fun, short steep sections and little jumps you can go off of. Great place to start practicing since you can get plenty of speed and just keep riding it over and over.
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  21. #21
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    I wrecked at the bowl, a few times, both of them as a newb. It scarred me.

    Everyone is against ST, for good reason. But even more so, is that you are a tour guide. You must *know* this place like the back of your hand and adjust to your riders. They are hurting too much, detour. Not enough, hit some more steeper stuff. That is what will make a good event. It is not so much the place, but the tour that matters most. The stoke they get from the guide is very important.

    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    I'm deciding between Santa Teresa and Astradero. Astradero seems very tame from the youtube videos I've watched though, and reminds me of Alum Rock Park which is right by my house. I definitely won't be doing Rocky Ridge trail if I go STCP but I'm looking into some of the trails my group could handle. Stiles Ranch seems like a fun one and the trail that iamholland posted sounds like a good one.
    Arastradero is tame, and that's what makes it good. It's also not steep, and if so, it's only short sprints. They will get a taste of what is needed. There will never be a sense of being out of control, or in danger.

    Stiles may be a bit tough, but you'll have to judge. I know people that have fallen on Stiles and taken injuries and they weren't exactly newbs neither, but more in the post-acclimation period and spreading their wings a bit. There are a few spots where you can endo, and if you are not familiar with controls you will crash and probably hard.

    The route I posted is almost the easiest route you can take. You can short cut it, by not crossing Bernal. It will depend on the fitness level. The ride, IIRC, is over 10 miles, and your riders may not be able to handle that. I think, not sure, it's about 13 or so, which is quite alot for a newb. Most newbs go out for about 5 or 6 and get worked hard mentally and physically. New controls, new situations, etc.

  22. #22
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    +1 for Fremont Older.

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    Alright I can't go against the majority here so I'll be taking them to Arastradero. Won't be able to go until past noon on Sunday though, so I hope it won't be too crowded.

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    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.

  25. #25
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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

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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 07:35 PM.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Duplicate post

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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.

  29. #29
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    Russian Ridge, Long Ridge, and Montebello are all good for intermediate riding if you are wiling to drive further.

  30. #30
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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.

  31. #31
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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

  32. #32
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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.


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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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    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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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    Forget it. Raining this weekend.

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

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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


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

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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.

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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....
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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

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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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    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.

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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).

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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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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    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.
    Yes. The dirt around here (at least at STCP) is straight up clay. Like, you can re-enact the sexy pottery scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in the movie Ghost with what we got here.

    It sticks to everything, and you go NOWHERE. Stops me dead on every bike I've ever attempted to ride through that stuff: cyclocross and MTB.

    Call the trail closure hotline before you guys make the trek over.

    I was out there today on my cyclocross bike, and the dirt was nice. It was raining off and on, but the trails were open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Yes. The dirt around here (at least at STCP) is straight up clay.
    All of this part of San Jose is clay. Even houses in the area are clay. Landscapers usually remove a chunk of it or mix it with soil and build up more soil on top. Clay holds water for a long time, it's not loose and doesn't run through to lower layers.

    Anyway, it should still be fine now, it's early in the season and there's more water the ground can hold before it turns to mud. Riding should be fantastic right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Yes. The dirt around here (at least at STCP) is straight up clay. Like, you can re-enact the sexy pottery scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in the movie Ghost with what we got here.

    It sticks to everything, and you go NOWHERE. Stops me dead on every bike I've ever attempted to ride through that stuff: cyclocross and MTB.

    Call the trail closure hotline before you guys make the trek over.

    I was out there today on my cyclocross bike, and the dirt was nice. It was raining off and on, but the trails were open.
    I'll be riding on the cx bike tomorrow. Debating ST orrrrrrrrrrr other stuff.

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    Some d-bag left a troll'y comment on my video, saying it was sad to see somebody fall on "beginner trails". I deleted it.

    I f'ing hate trolls. Get a life.

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    Hell I fell on RR and I hardly consider myself a beginner, at least not for a trail like that.

    I realized tonight I think my pocket knives fell out of my backpack when it happened too.

    I think I know where I will be riding Sunday!
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    Hell I fell on RR and I hardly consider myself a beginner, at least not for a trail like that.

    I realized tonight I think my pocket knives fell out of my backpack when it happened too.

    I think I know where I will be riding Sunday!
    Damn Tapatalk! Posted my video remark in the wrong thread.

    I went out on my cyclocross bike to crush some PR times on the climbs at STCP. I should really look up where the Strava segments start and stop, because it was fail all around.

    BTW, descending the rocks on a cyclocross bike is pretty painful. I don't do it often, but yesterday I was reminded why I don't do it often. Climbing - fine... descending on those skinny tires - ugh...

    Top of Stile Ranch - first peak.

    Fun Beginner-Intermediate Ride Near South Bay?-img_2895.jpg

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    Must be nice climbing on that. I know the ASR-5 carbon I rode once was really easy to climb up Stiles, so that much be that much better. Going down, well, I guess just take it slow haha.
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    Hi everybody, no report from the OP yet, so I'll give you my own.
    If you have something against me or my pictures, PM me and I'll take them down.

    I went to STCP today, and I was crunched for time and had only 35ish mins to do what I had to.
    I started today at around 2:35 and ended at 3:15ish.
    Beautiful weather, beautiful trail conditions. Not too hot, cold (OK, maybe a little) or windy. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The trails were neatly packed and the dust was settled.

    I took all the tools I would need at all, several bars, and waaay more water than I needed.
    I didn't get to RR trail though.
    I got to this point on Hidden Springs

    I have some form of OCD and, well, until I completely MASTER RR, I will keep going there every week.
    Here's the route I took, and it's the fastest way I know to get to RR from Polvadero. NOTE: This route does not take you to RR because of the U turn at hidden springs.

    The way up there was a pretty steep climb (see panorama above). But the descent was def worth it.
    It was also pretty challenging.
    I used these 1 5/8" tires:
    and these tennis shoes and cage pedals:

    on this bike Motobecane Elite Trail Review
    and I'm a VERY unhealthy guy with almost zero balance and reflex, so if I can do it, you (OP + company) can too.
    On the descent, I was pretty much dragging my brakes all the way. like so:

    This picture shows my (bad) grip position. I was holding this as hard as I could for quite a while. Surprisingly, no wrist pain!
    My brakes faded like crazy. I was pulling as hard as I could and I still had to drift through some corners (awesome).
    By the end of the ride, my jaw was in pain from me clenching my teeth and I was practically yelling at my bike to stop.

    Was it long? No 35mins
    Was it fun? Yes
    Was it painful? Only where it's supposed to hurt.
    Was it a workout? Yep
    What did you need? Bike, shoes and around 50 fl oz of water
    Did you fall? Nope.
    Would you bring a newbie here? Yes, but only for this route. I didn't get to RR.

    YMMV
    Last edited by sauprankul; 11-12-2012 at 07:24 PM.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    ...

    I went to STCP today, and I was crunched for time and had only 35ish mins to do what I had to.
    I started today at around 2:35 and ended at 3:15ish.
    ...
    Beautiful weather, beautiful trail conditions. Not too hot, cold (OK, maybe a little) or windy. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. The trails were neatly packed and the dust was settled.

    ...

    By the end of the ride, my jaw was in pain from me clenching my teeth and I was practically yelling at my bike to stop.

    Was it long? No 35mins
    Was it fun? Yes
    Was it painful? Only where it's supposed to hurt.
    Was it a workout? Yep
    What did you need? Bike, shoes and around 50 fl oz of water
    Did you fall? Nope.
    Would you bring a newbie here? Yes, but only for this route. I didn't get to RR.

    YMMV
    Glad you could make it out! today was a great day for riding/running/hiking/whatever outside.

    Some things you might want to consider in the near future that might help depending on how much/often you ride.
    Find better pedals in the near future. Nothing wrong with flats, but those metal/plastic/alloy/whatever ones offer crappy grip and I would look into getting something with more grip before doing more technical descents.

    I'm not sure how big of a tire you can shove in your bike, but more volume is better for something like RR.

    If you're having brake fade issues, look into a larger front rotor and adapter and if you can swap the stock pads out for something that doesn't suck.

    If you're planning on doing lots of mountain biking I'd ditch the kickstand.

    But looking good, Glad you're getting out and into the swing of things!

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    Looks like an awesome quick ride you got out there today. Beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot. I just got back myself and had a blast. My friends and I had trouble on some of the climbs so we just got off and walked our bikes. The ride was very challenging, but going down Norred and Stiles Ranch was amazing. I love those switchbacks so much. I used the route that IamHolland posted, so huge thanks to him for taking the time to post that up. All the pictures and step-by-step instructions were super easy to follow.

    Here's a link to my route today:
    STCP Ride | Mountain biking Workout | Endomondo

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    The reason I pointed out the crappy tires/shoes (actually these shoes are one of the best for tennis)/ pedals was to show that you don't need the best gear to take the route I took.
    Brake fade was mainly due to me draggin my brakes. Hehe. This would have been avoided if I had more confidence in my tires.
    Aw don't be dissin' ma Greenfield, homie. Srsly, though, that thing is a lifesaver. I use it every time I stop for a break. I don't want to throw my bike on the ground or have to look for a tree. And it doesn't extend on its own or weigh me down. At least, not yet. I may ditch it along with the 3rd chainring when I am doing more techy stuff.

    thx, though
    Last edited by sauprankul; 11-11-2012 at 08:37 PM.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Ridge is one of my favorites (Ohlone is the top for STCP), it's a pleasant ride. Sadly, it's too short, but STCP is a pretty small park.

    Glad you had a good time on the route.

    There's a couple of good descents that I routed you around. They are nice, but the hard thing is that there isn't a whole lot to do after you descend. One of the good descents that you can try next time is going down Mine instead of turning left onto Joice. It's a fast sweeper, and just awesome, and it's in trees! I routed you around because, it's a steep descent, and you miss some other parts that can get some adrenaline pumping, like the sketch descent down Joice. Try it next time though. I like to rip down that thing at 20+mph, but....watch out for pedestrians or people climbing. If you brake hard (at this time of year) you may skid out on the fallen leaves and eat it in a ditch.

    So, what's the word? Are your buddies going to stick with it? Stoke comes and goes, and some people that buy fall out of it over time. Some sooner than later. So, don't pressure too much, so you don't feel guilty about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Here's a link to my route today:
    STCP Ride | Mountain biking Workout | Endomondo
    NOT trying to thread jack...
    Hey I checked out that Endomondo thing. Looks cool (because it's free). Do you like it? I think I'll start using that. I was wondering how fast I went down ridge trail.
    Do you just use your phone for this?

    Oh yeah, what did your friends say? Are we expecting some more eMpTyBeeRs?
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Looks like an awesome quick ride you got out there today. Beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot. I just got back myself and had a blast. My friends and I had trouble on some of the climbs so we just got off and walked our bikes. The ride was very challenging, but going down Norred and Stiles Ranch was amazing. I love those switchbacks so much. I used the route that IamHolland posted, so huge thanks to him for taking the time to post that up. All the pictures and step-by-step instructions were super easy to follow.

    Here's a link to my route today:
    STCP Ride | Mountain biking Workout | Endomondo
    Thats nice loop! Gj on getting out there and getting a ride in! If no one ate it, and everyone had fun at the end of the day, sounds like you guys might be headed back....

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    Yeah the leaves caused a few near wipes in some spots but we managed to regain control. The ride started out slow but once we hit some of the descents they seemed to enjoy it. Going down the switchbacks on Stiles Ranch was a great way to end the ride and I could see that they really enjoyed that section of the route.

    Hopefully it's something they want to stick with, but only time will tell. I'm planning to go on a ride every Sunday with them and enjoy some more trails around the Bay. This was definitely a successful first ride for us so thanks to everyone for all the input you had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Yeah the leaves caused a few near wipes in some spots but we managed to regain control.
    That's awesome. I saw you didn't take RR. Smart.
    Glad that their first ride worked out well for them! Now go and check out Demo.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    NOT trying to thread jack...
    Hey I checked out that Endomondo thing. Looks cool (because it's free). Do you like it? I think I'll start using that. I was wondering how fast I went down ridge trail.
    Do you just use your phone for this?

    Oh yeah, what did your friends say? Are we expecting some more eMpTyBeeRs?
    Yeah I love the app and I use it on my phone. Should be on both Android and iOS. I mapped the route that IAmHolland posted beforehand through their route-making option and uploaded it to the website. Then I just accessed it on my phone and followed the route. It was super easy to use and I've had no problems with it, so I'd definitely recommend it. There are some other good apps out there but I haven't felt the need to try them since Endomondo has done a pretty good job for me so far. Their website is top notch and I like looking at all the little stats about my rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    Thats nice loop! Gj on getting out there and getting a ride in! If no one ate it, and everyone had fun at the end of the day, sounds like you guys might be headed back....
    It was sweet. One of us fell just going down the fire road when he slipped on something, and my back tire wheel fell off when I hit this uphill part(I'm still confused at how this happened but I'm assuming it must've loosened up), but other than that we came out of it in good shape, albeit sore and tired. Definitely going to try to go back there in the near future and do a better job on some of those climbs.
    Last edited by alazamboozle; 11-11-2012 at 08:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Yeah I love the app and I use it on my phone. Should be on both Android and iOS. I mapped the route that IAmHolland posted beforehand through their route-making option and uploaded it to the website. Then I just accessed it on my phone and followed the route. It was super easy to use and I've had no problems with it, so I'd definitely recommend it. There are some other good apps out there but I haven't felt the need to try them since Endomondo has done a pretty good job for me so far. Their website is top notch and I like looking at all the little stats about my rides.



    Yeah it was sweet. One of us fell just going down the fire road when he slipped on something, and my back tire wheel fell off when I hit this uphill part(I'm still confused at how this happened but I'm assuming it must've loosened up), but other than that we came out of it in good shape, albeit sore and tired. Definitely going to try to go back there in the near future and do a better job on some of those climbs.
    Sounds like you guys have the cardiovascular fitness required to ride here... Just need to get the bike riding muscles used to the idea of that riding up hill thing!

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    Here's my ride from there today. Well actually half of the first loop I think and then I lost the GPS at the top of a hill...

    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Nov 11, 2012 RR loops and pocketknife searches near San Jose | Times and Records | Strava

    They don't call it Rocky Ridge for nothing. I took my left foot off to catch myself at one point so I was rolling along with my right foot only on the pedal, and of course was all the way down. Ended up rolling over a rock and heard the grinding noise immediately. Not too much damage surprisingly.

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    Let's see if we can get more pics, tips, reports etc. about STCP/rocky ridge next week.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    Let's see if we can get more pics, tips, reports etc. about STCP/rocky ridge next week.
    Rocky Ridge is an interesting trail... I prefer the challenge of climbing it, but descending it requires speed to get over and around the big rocks. The moment you slow down is the moment you're more likely to stall and go OTB. I've descended and climbed it on every bike fathomable - from rigid to full suspension - and it's always the same thing... speed.

    I ride that park nearly every day, and like I said, there are SO many more trails than just RR and Stile Ranch. If folks are interested, myself and a couple other Team Social Pace guys can probably guide a group around the park next Sunday. Personally, I know every nook, cranny and good line on most of the trails. If you're interested in having a heart attack, Leopold Porkstacker can tow a couple of folks up Boundary Climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    Here's my ride from there today. Well actually half of the first loop I think and then I lost the GPS at the top of a hill...

    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Nov 11, 2012 RR loops and pocketknife searches near San Jose | Times and Records | Strava

    They don't call it Rocky Ridge for nothing. I took my left foot off to catch myself at one point so I was rolling along with my right foot only on the pedal, and of course was all the way down. Ended up rolling over a rock and heard the grinding noise immediately. Not too much damage surprisingly.
    Ouch! Did you find your pocket knives though?

    Pedal strikes suck, I've struck a few pedals at RR, it's not pleasant when it tosses you sideways. I've done the one foot thing before too, lol. It sucks, I usually stop though and regroup. Having the foot all the way down is not good at RR, it's a death trap in certain spots.

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    I've never seen so many replies for a first ride. I think we have a great new member here that can geek out with the best of us. Welcome to the club!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    Ouch! Did you find your pocket knives though?

    Pedal strikes suck, I've struck a few pedals at RR, it's not pleasant when it tosses you sideways. I've done the one foot thing before too, lol. It sucks, I usually stop though and regroup. Having the foot all the way down is not good at RR, it's a death trap in certain spots.
    Man I found the exact spot where I crashed because some ear plugs were also in my backpack but no luck. They were right on the edge of the trail so it's possible someone picked the knives up on the trail. I looked all in the grass as much as I could.
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    I've never seen so many replies for a first ride. I think we have a great new member here that can geek out with the best of us. Welcome to the club!!

    fc
    Thanks, I can't wait to rack up some more rides. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people responded in this thread. You guys have a great community here and I've found out that many MTB'ers in general are very friendly.

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    Hey guys, I'm back with more thread ....ing!
    I noticed one thing, everybody in this thread seems to agree that RR is hard, but nobody ever said WHY it was hard, other than what is implied by the name.

    Anyway, soggy weather last night, but the sun seemed to fix it a little. Makes me thankful to be living in the bay area...

    Mountain biking Workout | Endomondo Here's the route, I didn't care to pause during the several breaks I took. They were painful, cuz I woke up with a sore throat... but it only affected how I drank water, really.

    Started around 2:15, ended around 4:00. Trails were VERY muddy and SLOW. I couldn't coast at all on the flats. I ran my PSI lower than usual, so traction was decent. Started on the climb up coyote peak. the whole time I was thinking, "Man, this would be awesome to rip down." but I really wanted to descend down rocky ridge.



    From (next to) Coyote Peak:

    And the moment you've all been waiting for:

    That marked the end of my climb. It started out REALLY narrow and U-shaped, with plenty of little rocks. The dirt was like marsh, sucking up my tires like anything. It was the slimiest stuff I've ever seen.

    It became easier, and I hoped that it wouldn't last like that, because truth be told , the beginning was less than dramatic. But then this happened:

    Here's me looking back at a tricky spot. That was later in the trail and where I took a relatively long break. I took it because I almost went OTB after I stopped here. I needed to get my act together.
    Big, jagged rocks, narrow track and mud all while descending. noob friendly? Nope.

    A 2k x 4k video @ 960fps in 3D with 9.1 surround sound wouldn't do justice to the experience. My bike took a real beating, being thrown up down left right up to 6 inches because of the rocks. I appreciated having the suspension fork, crappy as it was, because I would not have been able to keep the wheel on the ground otherwise. My arms locked once because of a small drop and the impact hurt a little, but I brushed it off and kept pedaling. I would have been better off with a 8" FS bike with fat tires, but that would take all the fun away...
    I really had to focus on my lines, because if I didn't, I would have slid off a rock and fell. But somewhere along the trail, something snapped, and I let go of the brakes (for the most park), shifted up, and started bombing the rocks, and not caring about lines. It was scarier, but less tedious.
    Anyway, I made it through without falling. I only had to kick off of some rocks which had narrower passages through them.
    I couldn't imagine how one would CLIMB up this kind of a trail. And it would be kind of a waste, wouldn't it? I dunno.
    Around the end, there was a small bridge which marked the end of the "actual" RR. The rest was just fire road and gravel.
    But here's the sad(or laughable) part: At the intersection of Mine and RR:
    I noticed that my pedal was sticking out a little. I tried to tighten it, but alas! my drive side crank had stripped. I limped back, walking the climbs and flats, and coasting on one pedal down the descents. Sigh. I'm gonna have to buy a new crankset now. Oh well.

    This was my first a) Muddy ride b) Really technical ride c) Mechanical failure.

    Other than that, this ride is the one I'll compare my other rides to for a while. And while I could have done better, I think there's some fun in not knowing what you're doing, isn't there?

    Edit: woooow I just realized that this post makes it seem like had a bad time. That was NOT the case. Repeat: it was FUN. The climb up Coyote peak was more scenic and flowy than anything, so that def wasn't the best part, unless you're into the "suffer fest" kinda stuff. Rocky ridge, while extremely challenging, was also extremely fun, and completing it unscathed boosted my confidence a lot. The view was decent, but nothing like Coyote peak, and if you focus on the view, be prepared to EAT it. The ride WAS jarring, but why do we go on roller coasters? The best part was that it was more tech stuff than cardio so it was more enjoyable for me. When I reached mine trail, I appreciated the relatively flat and smooth trail, although I had a perma grin from RR. Of course, that's where I discovered the stripped crank and my grin quickly turned to a grimace. I can't say really that it was "worth it" because I could have had the same fun without that mechanical (perhaps more). Anyway the limp back isn't anything worth mentioning so yeah.
    Long climb followed by jarring descent and finally smooth gravel then fire road and a tad bit more singletrack. Highly recommended.
    Last edited by sauprankul; 11-19-2012 at 11:30 PM.
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    It was an impulse decision.

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    To really enjoy RR you need a light 6" travel bike that's just enough to soak up the bumps and easy enough to toss around. I loved it on a Mojo HD, hated it on the Glory. I felt so slow going through the rocks. The only good part was I could sit down and pedal for a lot of it while the rear suspension soaked up most of the bumps. Just couldn't pick up enough speed quick enough on the Glory and felt like I got bogged down in the rocks. I would it a bit steeper to where I wasn't needing to pedal and could concentrate on no pedal strikes.

    Good to hear you got out there and rode though, and hopefully you can keep going back until it's easy to ride.
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    Do you really need a Glory or even a Mojo for RR? I would say a Superfly DS/Epic/Anthem X would be able to handle that trail well enough. Anything more than that would just be overkill, unless you're ripping the trail to shreds. 29er roll easier and the suspension takes the edge off rocks.
    Last edited by sauprankul; 11-19-2012 at 12:34 AM.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    Do you really need a Glory or even a Mojo for RR? I would say a Superfly DS/Epic/Anthem X would be able to handle that trail well enough. Anything more than that would just be overkill, unless you're ripping the trail to shreds. 29er roll easier and the suspension takes the edge off rocks.
    I've personally found it's easier to ride over rough stuff with more travel to smooth it out. If you don't mind the weight going up, it makes it a lot easier going down. Shorter travel bikes kills my arms, especially since it's pretty much always been a demo bike and the suspension isn't set up.

    The Firebird I rode yesterday didn't do this to me, but I also blew through the front travel on a 2-3 ft drop to flat, so I assume it was set up on the soft side.

    I also can't ride a 29er going down.
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    Well, it seems that we differ in opinions because I doubt I would buy a long travel bike for any trail I'm fit to ride. And if I was fit to ride it, I probably wouldn't need a long travel bike. But I have no clue, not so much under my belt.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
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    Right now I only have one bike so if I want to ride somewhere I bring that. I don't have the money to buy the perfect bike for every situation so I bought something that works for what I like best and just use it wherever. Should be getting a Firebird in a couple weeks though so now I can pedal up and hopefully ride more instead of being limited by climbs. Based on how much travel I usually use, this should work just about the same as the Glory where I usually like to ride. I'd rather be overkill than underkill so at least you're not wanting a better bike.
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    +1 for fremont older
    +1 for arastradero
    stcp is possible if you plan the route carefully. I bring newbs there all the time but I start from san vicente and stay off all the steep and rocky trails.

    Iamholland wrote up an amazing post. Thanks man.

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    My prob with STCP as a beginner park is that it's pretty limited unless you want a) hefty climbing or b) technically dangerous trails.

    RockyRidge is very easy to get caught up and fall, and stiles while easy compared to RR, has the problem of the very tight switchbacks. The trails isn't hard, but you need to make a very tight turn with no room for error as it's a sharp drop-off downhill.

    Sure there's some loops you can make in the middle of it going between the picnic area and the small upper parking lot and then heading back down the western trails. However, if you head down towards Santa Teresa Blvd, you generally face either some steep climbs or boring paved road.

    I do enjoy the trails as they're close to my house and it's a good cardio workout, but even as a runner some of those climbs have sections that are aerobically tough.

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    I think we have an attitude problem here. Instead of seeing the trails or workout as challenging, we should see them as skill-enhancing. Even if you go to like demo or w/e (I may try that when I develop more CVE), don't go with the attitude that you are going to have a bad or even difficult time. I don't know if you guys have the same mentality as me, but I LOVE challenging myself. (That's not the same as hurting myself) So whenever I try something I think or even KNOW I can't do well yet, I just don't give and YOLO it hehe.
    I push myself because I know that in the end, the reward will be worth it.
    Stop scaring the noobs, STCP is nice, but don't get too ballsy and go down stiles or RR at 30 MPH. Do things in moderation, but try hard.
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    My second ride was at Demo. I just did more walking than I do now.
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    Oh haha gonna watch your vids.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    I think we have an attitude problem here. Instead of seeing the trails or workout as challenging, we should see them as skill-enhancing. Even if you go to like demo or w/e (I may try that when I develop more CVE), don't go with the attitude that you are going to have a bad or even difficult time. I don't know if you guys have the same mentality as me, but I LOVE challenging myself. (That's not the same as hurting myself) So whenever I try something I think or even KNOW I can't do well yet, I just don't give and YOLO it hehe.
    I push myself because I know that in the end, the reward will be worth it.
    Stop scaring the noobs, STCP is nice, but don't get too ballsy and go down stiles or RR at 30 MPH. Do things in moderation, but try hard.
    I don't think there's an attitude problem, but I think there's an interpretation problem on your end.

    I don't know who "you guys" are, but OP was/is n00b, and was/is n00b to the park. The best would be a guided tour, which I tried to give without actually being there. Trying to introduce friends to a park that the introducer does not know is the problem. Most everyone was guiding around that, as far as I can tell. STCP has the capability to cause problems with that factor in mind. Trying to give advice without taking into consideration other's capability, motivation, fears, is also a problem. Taking responsibility for one's self is one thing. Taking responsibility for a group is another. When guiding a group, you need to be able to adapt and flow with the situation, unless you want the group ride to suck.

    Chill out a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    Should be getting a Firebird in a couple weeks though
    Sweet! Post up a quick review if you do, somewhere, and/or PM it to me. I might pick up a FB to replace a frame. I just built up a Nickel, and my Mission is too close to the Nickel, so might step up a bit. Just in the thinking about it stage right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    Sweet! Post up a quick review if you do, somewhere, and/or PM it to me. I might pick up a FB to replace a frame. I just built up a Nickel, and my Mission is too close to the Nickel, so might step up a bit. Just in the thinking about it stage right now.
    I demo'ed one last Sunday, and basically as far as I could tell it descended as well as I would want, but actually allowed me to pedal places that weren't downhill. I wish I could have demoed it at Demo to really get a feel, but oh well. You could that it was lighter than a DH bike in that it was more playful and didn't feel quite as planted going downhill. I'm glad it's air suspension because I blew threw the front travel on a 3ish foot drop.

    First ride at Demo will be the real test. I think a trip to STCP for an RR run is also needed. I rode it in Waco, TX and the Nevegals proved lacking as well as the dusty/dry dirt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    Sweet! Post up a quick review if you do, somewhere, and/or PM it to me. I might pick up a FB to replace a frame. I just built up a Nickel, and my Mission is too close to the Nickel, so might step up a bit. Just in the thinking about it stage right now.
    A Pivot??? What??

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    Okay... let me volunteer a Tour De STCP. TSP used to do these twice a year, but we've been slacking.

    I know this park like an iPad with youporn on the bookmark bar. I literally ride it 3-5 times a week for the past 4 or 5 years - that is thousands of times over and over. I can help with line selection, and show you ways to clear this stuff. I will also show you Stile Ranch, and all the stuff on the Santa Teresa side. If you want a fun, fast, short, single track, Ohlone trails is great - there is a lot of stuff like that. Like I said, RR is just ONE trail there among 20 or so.

    That is, if you guys want.

    We will go slow enough so nobody gets dropped. If there are any takers, I'd be happy to gather up some of the TSP guys this weekend and do a newbie friendly jaunt. "Like" the TSP Facebook page and let's plan it. https://www.facebook.com/TeamSocialPace

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    I demo'ed one last Sunday, and basically as far as I could tell it descended as well as I would want, but actually allowed me to pedal places that weren't downhill. I wish I could have demoed it at Demo to really get a feel, but oh well. You could that it was lighter than a DH bike in that it was more playful and didn't feel quite as planted going downhill. I'm glad it's air suspension because I blew threw the front travel on a 3ish foot drop.

    First ride at Demo will be the real test. I think a trip to STCP for an RR run is also needed. I rode it in Waco, TX and the Nevegals proved lacking as well as the dusty/dry dirt.
    That sounds like what I'm looking for. The other frame I'm considering is the Canfield The One. It's heavier though, so not liking that much. The DW Link pedals nice! I've seen demos at Tamarancho, I'll try to catch the next one there.

    I would put a 180 fork on whatever bike I'd get. The mojo HD is in the mix too, but too popular.

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    A Pivot??? What??
    Hush you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Okay... let me volunteer a Tour De STCP. TSP used to do these twice a year, but we've been slacking.

    I know this park like an iPad with youporn on the bookmark bar. I literally ride it 3-5 times a week for the past 4 or 5 years - that is thousands of times over and over. I can help with line selection, and show you ways to clear this stuff. I will also show you Stile Ranch, and all the stuff on the Santa Teresa side. If you want a fun, fast, short, single track, Ohlone trails is great - there is a lot of stuff like that. Like I said, RR is just ONE trail there among 20 or so.

    That is, if you guys want.

    We will go slow enough so nobody gets dropped. If there are any takers, I'd be happy to gather up some of the TSP guys this weekend and do a newbie friendly jaunt. "Like" the TSP Facebook page and let's plan it. https://www.facebook.com/TeamSocialPace
    I'll be there in spirit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    That sounds like what I'm looking for. The other frame I'm considering is the Canfield The One. It's heavier though, so not liking that much. The DW Link pedals nice! I've seen demos at Tamarancho, I'll try to catch the next one there.

    I would put a 180 fork on whatever bike I'd get. The mojo HD is in the mix too, but too popular.
    Yeah, The One is pretty sweet, but I've always viewed that as more of a DH bike for whatever reason.

    They come with 170 forks, but if you're just getting the frame then you should be fine. I've heard the fork is a 180 that's dropped, since Fox doesn't make 170's. I really wish it came with a 150-180 so you could drop it for climbing, because I would love a 180 except for climbing. And if it doesn't climb well enough I've defeated the whole purpose of getting the bike in the first place.
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    I'm in! Sunday????

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    Might see if the wife would be interested.

    Sent by smoke signal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauprankul View Post
    Hey guys, I'm back with more thread ....ing!
    I noticed one thing, everybody in this thread seems to agree that RR is hard, but nobody ever said WHY it was hard, other than what is implied by the name.
    RR isn't bad going down it.

    Climbing it is a challenge. We had a challenge on here to climb without putting a foot down or walking (dabbing). Everybody who I expected to clean it, did. I still haven't cleaned it - last time I attempted a full-on clean I put my foot down ONCE in the most stupid area on that damn trail.

    That place you had difficulty you termed "the tricky spot" is called "The Stairs" To go down it, you need speed, body english and wheel placement. Even with a hardtail - I've done it on full rigid a ton of times (no suspension). Climbing it took me a few times to understand how to clean it, again - you just need speed.

    I don't have a full suspension bike, but it (RR) all can be done with some speed behind it, descending or climbing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alazamboozle View Post
    Looks like an awesome quick ride you got out there today. Beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot. I just got back myself and had a blast. My friends and I had trouble on some of the climbs so we just got off and walked our bikes. The ride was very challenging, but going down Norred and Stiles Ranch was amazing. I love those switchbacks so much. I used the route that IamHolland posted, so huge thanks to him for taking the time to post that up. All the pictures and step-by-step instructions were super easy to follow.

    Here's a link to my route today:
    STCP Ride | Mountain biking Workout | Endomondo
    Nice! I wonder if anyone here has said so yet but - let your friends know, even fit people do get off and walk their bikes in the beginning so that's pretty normal. It takes time to adjust to that kind of work and learning to shift your weight, shifting in time, etc. You all will be climbing the steeps in no time, though. I take it that it won't deter any of you, as the downhills seem to have made up for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    RR isn't bad going down it.

    Climbing it is a challenge.
    No ...., Sherlock!
    "You'll be descending this beautiful as well as challenging singletrack trail [RR] when the loop is done in this direction. In my opinion, you'd have to be either nuts or masochistic to do it in the opposite direction." Source: Santa Teresa (Suggestion 1) - Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides

    Nothing against you Dion, you may be too advanced! Or just buff haha. g4u fellow veggie!
    I really have NO CLUE how one would climb that trail as there were several spots where there were NO GOOD LINES. I had to plow through the rocks and take the drops. How would you reverse the drop?

    Anyway, you were right, RR wasn't too bad going down it, I guess I'm the only one who took it by descending and therefore took the easy way out! So everybody here climbed RR? Next time!!!!!!!!

    EDIT: Oh wait... My bike's OOC. No!!
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

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    Nah... climbing it is just about line choice, knowing where to accelerate to get up and over things. Being able to do pedal-ups really helps - but you just really have to keep it pinned.

    What do you need for your bike?

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