I look up to Downieville!
In about 1992, Charlie and I rode up the big long trail,–by the name of Lavezzola Creek trail –back when there were precisely fifty people who’d even put bicycle knobs on those trails. Took us two and a half hours. Now it’s a 45 minute, 20 dollar bus ride, thanks to years of local and regional collaborations which resulted in Yuba Expeditions, the celebrated not-for-profit bike shop/outfitters.
More than two decades later, fate plopped me smack dab in the middle of a women’s mountain bike camp earlier this month. I was a guest professor at Shine Riders women’s downhill camp. Considering that Lindsay had ruptured her spleen ( she’d been thinking about the six million details of the upcoming weekend, while riding the rocks around her property around Folsom), it’s a miracle the camp went live, complete with the usual high-caliber clientele (every woman of the four had advanced degrees. One in law, one in vet medicine, one in genomics, and one in public accounting–i was the odd woman out with a piffling “Bachelorette” in French).
Needless to say, conversations ranged across topics from global health and the environment to the relative merits of flat pedals vs. ‘entrapment’ lock-in pedals.
When you put seven women across the age and ability and acumen spectrum, great things happen in the interstitial hours that follow the 3 or 4 hour downhill rip. This camp did not disappoint. Even the meals–beautifully crafted by Tristan of Fox tech and his aid-de-camp “the silent partner”.
The menu included healthy dishes like chickpea quinoa salad that was heavenly, farro, staggeringly delicious custom-charcuterie sausage with nettle greens by El Salchichero’s founder and bicycle R&D tester Chris LaVeque. It would have been tough to top that opening culinary gambit, but the following morning’s bacon again wowed this mostly omnivorous tribe of eager riders. I found myself cramming six pieces into a sandwich to stave off my usual noon mid-ride hunger pangs. No sense in getting “HANGRY” just cause my worthless sports bar ran out of calories.
For me, real food’s the only way to go, and i teach it in my Instant Finesse classes. Why ingest faux food unless forced to by Poor Planning or Inability to get to Santa Cruz farmers market for El Salchichero products?
Does this sound like a blatant product placement? I sure hope so. I brought home seven cooked pieces of said bacon which I’m using up in increasingly tiny amounts, (see Xeno’s paradox or this David Pratt piece with mention of Madam Blavatsky, one of my heros) to make it last.
Chris, did you send in that scary broken pedal to Crank Brothers?
We had great shuttles, great learnin, great gab, and even a few great ‘biffs’ (lame way to call a crash, to lighten impact on worried parents, spouses) which will no doubt go down in herstory.
For my personal herstory, it’s the apres-bike connecting that lingers more than the trail surface features. At 49 wines, francophone Will Clark and I exchanged lively ‘shoulder French’ conversation, and learned that one of the campers, scientist Melissa Cline, had spent a year and a half at the Institute Pasteur a decade ago finishing (if I remember correctly) her PhD.