So it was almost two weeks ago we awoke to a dark and stormy Saturday morning. I’ve learned from experience that no matter how nasty the weather Humboldt seems to throw at us, there will be intrepid cyclists wanting to ride the Banana Slug. We loaded the van in the rain, and it rained HARD on us almost all the way to Weott. As we picked our way down a drenched Highway 101 we could see the snow level had dropped overnight to well below 1000 feet. There was no doubt the riders would encounter snow on Dyerville Loop Road, or so we thought. As we arrived at the lower parking lot at Humboldt Redwoods State Park Headquarters shortly after 9:30 a.m., I was not at all surprised to find Grant Lay and Mark Griffin already there. And as I expected, more riders were showing up before we even had time to set up a shelter, registration, coffee, and food.
We had some late arrivals, but it didn’t appear to bother anybody that the start was obviously going to be delayed; riders didn’t seem too eager to get started anyway. As it were – just as the sun peeked out from behind the threatening clouds – we got seven determined riders on their way around 10:15. It was a little more casual than our typical “almost promptly” and nobody seemed to care.
The sun beckoned, so Jenny and I packed everything into the van but the table and shelter and set out on a leisurely ride to Albee Creek Campground. We figured we had about three and a half hours before the really fast riders could possibly show up, so we got back to the van with over an hour before we expected anybody. To our surprise, the first arrivals trailed us by only a few short minutes, and they came from the north, not the south as one would expect. Turns out there was an impassable slide on Dyerville Loop Road only a couple miles in, and the riders collectively decided to shift gears – so to speak – and ride up to the top of Panther Gap and back. In the end, all riders returned in less than three and a half hours; there were no mechanicals, crashes, or mishaps of any other kind. And though there were some sprinkles, the soakers had already passed by, and for the most part the weather was really nice. Finally, I got the feeling there was a bit of relief among the riders they didn’t have to ride through snow after all.
Oh, and for the record, Grant Lay was the only rider to do all four slugs this year. I think next year we’re going to throw in some bonus points for those who complete all four.
Here are the final results from our Panther Gap/Dyerville Loop Banana Slug:
Final Results from the series will be posted soon.
Sorry for the late notice, but don’t forget tomorrow – April 8, 2017 is our Dyerville Loop Banana Slug Winter Training Ride. We’ll meet at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center near Weott. The ride will start almost promptly at 10:00 a.m. Plan on inclement weather. Know your limitations, and be prepared.
For a description of the ride, visit Jim Robbins’ North Coast Bike Rides blog. Here’s a link to this specific ride: Dyerville Loop – long
As always, we’ll have coffee, bagels, and fresh fruit. As well we’re bringing a pot of home made vegetarian black bean chili for after the ride. Bring your favorite accompanying beverage.
See you tomorrow!
P.S. Here are the standings going into the last ride for points.
Once again, the sun graced another Banana Slug Series Training Ride in what is looking to be one of the wettest winters on record for Humboldt County; our good fortune seems downright puzzling. Saturday arrived with what looked more like summer weather – relatively warm, and early morning low clouds with light drizzle. The low overcast burned off and gave way to scattered high clouds shortly after the dozen or so riders departed on the Lone Star Junction Challenge a few minutes after nine o’clock.
With only one exception, all the riders who intended to complete the course did just that. That exception was Sean Simpson who experienced a mechanical mishap on what is arguably the steepest descent on the ride. By all appearances, the carbon rim on his front wheel burned through due to excess heat and failed catastrophically. This caused the tube to blow out the side of the rim and a large segment of the tire peeled off where it failed. Sean maintained control of his bike, was fortunate not to have crashed, and he emerged physically unscathed. Grant Lay saw Sean’s predicament shortly after it occurred and was able to get a cell phone signal while he was still quite a way out. When our support crew caught up with Sean, he had removed his riding shoes, shouldered his bike, and was trudging slowly down the hill barefoot. Despite his predicament, he seemed in good spirits, and surely was grateful it didn’t include loss of skin and blood as a failure like that can easily produce.
Special thanks to Ryan Wiegman for the photos. He came out with the sole purpose of documenting the ride. Thank you Ryan!
In the end, nobody had to fend off any dogs, and everybody enjoyed the ride. All the riders finished with respectable times considering the challenges presented by this route. Without further ado here’s how it played out.
Here’s to hoping for more great weather on April 8 when we ride the Dyerville Loop!
Hey there Sluggers,
A quick reminder that our next Banana Slug Winter Training Ride is Saturday, March 11. What has become a standard slug ride, we’re doing the Lone Star Junction Challenge. We’re meeting at Freshwater Park at the foot of the Kneeland climb. The ride will start almost promptly at 9:00 a.m. Coffee, Bagels, and fresh fruit are on us. This ride will net you three slug finish points, but it’s not easily earned. Be prepared for a lot of steep dirt road; conditions unknown. Perhaps we’ll reconnoiter in the week beforehand. We’ll keep you posted.
And while we’re at it, here are the latest 2017 Banana Slug point standings.
See you out there
How long can our good fortune hold out? As one of the wettest winters I can remember drenches the north coast, we’ve found a nice-weather window for our Banana Slug series two months running. Historically — and perhaps a bit ironically — our March ride seems to be the wettest of the series. Will the sun shine on us for the Lonestar Junction ride? Only time will tell.
And even though the weather was awesome — or maybe because it was so awesome — we had a relatively small turnout for the Butler Valley Loop ride. Typically, this is our largest ride of the year; last year we had over thirty riders. This year we barely broke twenty.
The riders were off shortly after 9:00 a.m. with a couple of us getting a later start and a detour in Blue Lake to retrieve a forgotten helmet. As some of us predicted, Mark Severy pulled no punches and with Shaun Lyle on his wheel, they finished with a jaw dropping time of 2:39. As well, all riders who started the ride finished the ride, and were awarded at least two points.
Here are the results:
Greetings Fellow Banana Sluggers,
This coming Saturday, February 11, 2017 is our second in the series of Banana Slug Winter Training Rides. This month we ride Butler Valley. We’ll meet in the parking lot of Arcata Community Center at 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The ride will start almost promptly at 9:00 a.m.
We’ll have fresh fruit, bagels, and coffee for you too.
Also, we’re making some minor changes in the ride award points system. All finishing riders will be awarded a number of points according to which ride it is in the series. The January ride is worth 1 finishing point and each subsequent ride will add another point. What that means is this coming Slug is worth 2 points for each finishing rider. It follows that Lonestar Junction will be worth 3 finishing points and Dyerville Loop will be worth 4 finishing points. We’re still undecided whether or not to award any points for the Forks of Salmon Century, as we don’t keep timing for that ride. We’ll keep you posted.
See you next Saturday morning, rain or shine,
Sluggo’s buddy, Wooly
Banana Slug #1 was a huge success. With all the wet weather we’ve had this winter, I wasn’t sure if we were going to have nice weather for our first Banana Slug of the year. Last year we got a pretty good dose of rain while climbing Monument. It wasn’t the most pleasant ride. Fortunately, the sun was shining Saturday morning and the temperatures were comfortable.
I’m not sure if it was the awesome weather, or the fact that we started in Blue Lake next to Mad River Brewery that brought out a record January crowd. We had 28 riders on the roster, and a few unregistered folks along for the ride; I counted 35 riders heading out as the ride started almost promptly at 10:00. A number of the riders informed me that they planned on doing the originally planned route, the ride up to Lord Ellis Summit via Bald Mountain Road/Snow Camp Road. On their return, they confirmed that the route was somewhat less than ideal. In fact, one of the riders slid out and crashed on a patch of ice as he maneuvered to dodge an oncoming vehicle. He was bruised, but okay. Weather and conditions permitting, we’ll do that ride next January. It’s a really fun ride.
There were no surprises about the finishers either. The top riders were in good form, and could have finished in under two hours had they not stopped to hang out and enjoy the awesome weather. We had quite a wide variety of riders too; it wasn’t all hammer fest. There were a lot of people taking their time and enjoying the day.
And on that note, we are awarding points this year. The point system will work like this: All registered participants get one point for finishing the ride. First rider will be awarded five points, second will get four, third three, fourth two, and fifth one. As well, we will have separate awards for men and women. The top sluggers will be awarded a trophy for the year and will hang onto it until they are awarded the following year.
Here’s to hoping our February event is graced with such beautiful weather.
Here are the results. And though technically they didn’t “finish” the ride, I’m going to give all the Lord Ellis riders a point for their adventurous spirit. They earned it, and then some.
Greetings Banana Sluggers and all fellow cyclists,
We’re going to keep all our rides from February through June the same as last year but we have something special for you in January. We would be remiss if the ride didn’t have a certain amount of dirt involved; we’re calling it the Lord Ellis Challenge.
We’ll start in Blue Lake on Taylor Way next to Mad River Brewery and head for Korbel. We’ll climb up Maple Creek Road to the Bald Mountain Road junction and turn left. There are some rough gravel sections here just for a warm-up. We’ll climb to Snow Camp Road and turn left again. This is where it turns to dirt and the road climbs just a bit more. Then comes the fun with a sketchy gravel road descent to Lord Ellis Summit. From there we’ll turn left again onto Highway 299 and continue our descent. We’ll turn left one more time on Blue Lake Boulevard just after the truck scales and head on into Blue Lake. It’s doable on a road bike with 23c tires, but will put your dirt handling and flat fixin’ skills to the test.
Oh yeah, and after your ride you can enjoy lunch and a beer at the brewery.
As always, we’ll have coffee, fresh fruit, and bagels.
Without Further ado…
Oh yeah, and we ride, rain or shine.
See you out there
(on behalf of Sluggo)
Join RCMBA for National Public Lands Day in King Range National Conservation Area. Meet at Tolkan Campground Saturday, September 24 at 9:00 a.m.
Dress appropriately, long sleeves, pants, and work boots are a good idea. Bring water and food during the trail work. Gloves and tools will be provided.
Camping is free Friday and Saturday nights for all trail workers. There will be a hosted barbecue at Tolkan Campground after the trail work. We’ll have hot showers set up for camping trail workers too.
Sunday is just for ridin’ and chillin’.
For more information e-mail RCMBA.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-668-1716
Dear Fellow Cyclists,
First the good news; RCMBA’s inaugural Stormy Saddle Enduro is only one week away. It will be an event to remember and to repeat in years to come. We’ve had a decent response to our call for volunteers, but we need more. If you are considering going out there just to enjoy the spectacle, what better chance to help out at the same time! If you’re going out there to race, we can still use your help on Friday, and Sunday as well. Though the race will be held on Saturday, there are many many things to do before and after. Your help will be greatly appreciated, and it will help us keep moving forward into next year. All volunteers will be fed lunch to keep them fueled up.
Now for the better news. We’re planning an after race barbecue for our wonderful volunteers. Redwood Meat Company is donating fifteen pounds of tri-tip that we’re going to slow cook on mesquite for a few hours, and we’ll have veggie burgers for our non-carnivorous friends. As well, we’ll have green salad, potato salad, and bean salad and Tim’s homemade monster chocolate chip cookies.
Did we mention beer? Mad River Brewing Company has donated a generous quantity of beer. There will be plenty of beer and non-alcoholic beverages to keep you hydrated and to complement your meal.
Now for the bonus round. If you’re a volunteer, and camp out Saturday night, we’re going to have a portable shower rigged. You don’t have to cave out all sweaty and grimy.
We’re holding a special meeting on Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. for volunteers at Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), 611 I Street, Suite B on the SE corner of 6th and I streets in Eureka. If you cannot make the meeting, fear not, we still need your help and will not turn you away, but if you can make the meeting please be there.
If you would like to join us and help out with this event, and have not yet let us know, please e-mail RCMBA.email@example.com, or call Tim at 707-668-1716.
It’s gonna be awesome!
Greetings Fellow Cyclists,
RCMBA’s Stormy Saddle Enduro at Lacks Creek is shaping up to be a spectacular event. We are looking for about 35 volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up, course marking/striking, course marshaling, stage timing, traffic direction, food service, and beer service. We want this to be an event to remember, and to continue well into the future; having local community’s support is essential. Volunteers will be fed lunch, and after the event, we’re having a special barbecue just for volunteers. The grill will be manned by yours truly; expect nothing less than excellence.
If you have already signed up to volunteer, we will be contacting you shortly. There will be a volunteer briefing sometime early in the week of the event. Date, time, and place are to be announced.
If you would like to volunteer, please contact me, Tim Daniels, by responding by e-mail to RCMBA.firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 707-668-1716.
See you on the road and on the trails.