The times when you’d show up to an event, race what you brought, pack and leave seem to be gone forever, as we see more all day or even multi day event that include food, music and socializing around the main event.
I had the pleasure to participate to the Mendo Hopper a few weeks prior, where we rode from Ukiah to the Mendocino coast, camp one night and race back up the next day.
The competitive side of the event is not the key anymore, at least for the majority of the riders, the focus is on the adventure & fun side of it.
The Old Growth Classic is a prime example of how “racing” events are changing.
First off, not a gravel grinder, but just a bike race.
The trendy buzzword didn’t appear anywhere.
On August 25th 2018, two days of camping in the secluded Little Basin camp, that the majority of us never knew existed. Then great food, live music, beer, expo with cycling vendors, all of this in a beautiful setting nested in the redwood trees forest with absolutely no cell coverage: unplugged for 48 hours. Just awesome!
This is probably the best produced event I’ve seen in a while. Impeccable organization, a large number of volunteers, managing parking, camping, food and everything else.
Now about the course: first race ever in the Big Basin state park. This must have been a quite challenge to coordinate and negotiate with the local organizations.
The course is a wicked mix of gravel, dirt, and a little pavement stretching down to the ocean across two parks with stunning views. The powdery chalky fire roads have seen a resurgence thanks to the rise of gravel.
The 53 miles deliver a grueling 7,300ft of climbing, quite a rough ratio as Amanda Schraper mentioned during the awards….
The swag bag was also outstanding, thanks to the title sponsors, offering very useful and environmentally responsible items such as reusable plates/silverware and the necessary pint glass.
Ibis provided demo bikes on site for those who wanted to experience the race on an Hakka MX. The bike was clearly conceived on these trails.
Here’s a super nice recap.
I encourage you to donate to the MBOSC (Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz) as they have been doing an amazing job to promote and support our local trails and organizing kick ass events. Please donate.