Mountain Bike Festival Showcases Santa Cruz as a Mecca for the Sport
Mountain biking has come of age in Santa Cruz.
It’s in our press. Velo Magazine, the national go-to bike publication for racing news and information, publishes an annual Ultimate Ride Guide. This year’s Dream Destinations article features Santa Cruz as one of 15 top mountain bike destinations around the world! We’re right there with Mallorca, Whistler, and many other notables.
It’s in our government. At nearly midnight last night the city council voted 6-1 in favor of the Pogonip Multi-Use Trail after reviewing what Ryan Coonerty called the most public input he’s ever seen on an issue in his career. This 1.5 mile trail connects downtown to upper UCSC with a hiking, biking and equestrian dirt path through the redwoods of Pogonip, opening up a part of the park that has long been closed and overrun by drug dealers and illegal campsites. The Parks, Police and Fire departments all support the trail believing an increase in positive use of the area will displace the negative use. Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, led by President and 2012 NEXTie winner Mark Davidson, was the primary citizen support group offering manpower and funds to see it to fruition.
It’s in our economy. A hotbed of internationally recognized bicycle companies, racers, and top pro shops, Santa Cruz County is home to over 30 bicycle businesses employing over 700 people. Santa Cruz has been on the forefront of bicycle innovations with designer and entrepreneur luminaries such as Keith Bontrager (Bontrager wheels, handlebars, stems, etc), Jim Gentes (Giro helmets), Bob Fox (FOX Racing Shox), Rob Roskopp (Santa Cruz Bicycles), and Hans Heim (formerly of Santa Cruz Bicycles and now Ibis Cycles).
It’s in our community. The Fox 3rd Annual Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival (SCMBF) will take place April 14 & 15 in Aptos Village and be the biggest yet. Come see what all the mountain bike hype is about. For two jam-packed days, the SCMBF will be home to exciting events for riders at every level, aged 3 on up. Whether you want to participate, spectate, improve bike-handling skills or check out the latest gear, there’s something for everyone. Proceeds will benefit projects and organizations that support mountain biking in Santa Cruz County.
Hike into the redwoods to witness the first legally sanctioned race at Soquel Demonstration State Forest and one of the first Super Enduro events in the nation, where national and local pros such as Mark Weir, Ross Schnell, Jeff Kendall-Weed, Abigail Hippely, Kathy Pruitt, and Mary Moncorge race 25 miles up, down and around the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Prefer to see a variety of events all in one place? At the festival grounds, events like the short track, pump track and jump contest, put all the action right in front of you.
The Short Track is a cross-country mountain bike race around a ½ mile track. Contestants race for 20-30 minutes depending on the category and then it’s one more lap and a mad dash to the finish.
Pump Tracks are popping up all over the county because they’re a fun and social way to hone your mountain bike skills and fitness in a small space. Akin to skate parks, these dirt tracks are twisty courses with jumps and berms that challenge riders to use arm and leg strength to pump a bike as quickly as possible through the course without pedaling or braking. In fact, last year local Scott Chapin won the Pro Men’s division on a bike that didn’t even have brakes or a chain!
The Post Office Jumps (named for the adjacent Aptos post office) are world-class dirt jumps that have contributed to several locals developing into internationally known big air riders…most notably Cam McCaul. Witness firsthand the gravity-defying style of these incredibly courageous & talented athletes at the last organized Jump Contest on the Post Office Jumps before their demolition this summer with the development of Aptos Village.
Ride your trusty cruiser to the festival, valet park it for free and test ride state-of-the-art demo bikes from some of the leading manufacturers on the planet. Shuttle to the top of Soquel Demonstration State Forest and ride the trails back down to the festival. Tasty drafts will be offered in the beer garden, and this year’s festival will feature an all-new food court. Check out the latest gear in the Expo, and maybe even win some in the raffles. Hone your dirt skills with clinics focusing on mountain bike handling and pump track skills. Bike jumpers can test new tricks at no risk, landing on the Big Air Bag. Kids aged 3-12 can take a fun lap around the short track or try their skills at the Kids’ Rodeo. Be sure to stay for the Saturday after-party open to all participants, spectators, and volunteers featuring Oakland funk/reggae/rock band WhoGas which takes the stage at 5:30pm.