If you have been following any major mountain bike sites in the past couple of years, you probably have heard of NICA. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association runs races for high school teams across the United States. I race for the Santa Cruz Mountains Cycling Team, which is a part of the Norcal League. We began our season with a team ride at Wilder Ranch State Park this past Saturday.
We started just outside of the park near the brand new Westside Pumptrack. To start off the ride we rode the “Bluff Trail”. This double track twists through farm fields, following the coast for about 7 miles. After a relatively easy start, we started the treacherous Baldwin Trail Climb. This is a steep, single track trail that climbs from the coast up into the meadows and forests of Wilder Ranch. It is also quite bumpy, making the climb that much more challenging.
Next up was a quick loop on Enchanted Trail. The Enchanted Loop will humble even the most advanced riders. A short, technical downhill is followed by a short but extremely steep uphill. I have never rode this trail with out my legs screaming at me by the end.
After that we continued up the system of fire roads all the way to the top of the park. Then we concluded the ride by descending all the way back down to the starting point. Nearly 5 miles of fast downhill single track and fire roads!
Our fastest paced group rode about 25 miles at a nice steady pace. I personally rode 41 miles since I rode to and from our meeting spot. I put my my new Specialized Epic Comp to the test, and it rode great. I will keep posting updates on the team and my racing experiences, so keep checking back!