Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Trails to me

The Northern California/Nevada district championships are this weekend at Ft Ord.

The women's race is 60 miles.

In Ft Ord miles thats like 97 miles.

It doesn't matter which roads you take in Ft Ord, the racing there is hard. Wind, chip seal, rollers and ghosts of armies past haunt you.

I've done enough road races, practice crits, time trials and intervals in Ft Ord to last a lifetime, thank you very much.

Which means, while my honey races (if he feels better anyway) the road race, I'll be hitting the happy trails.


I think I can be credited/blamed for calling the happy trails the happy trails. Not even sure myself anymore. Only thing I am sure of is that the name stuck for a reason.

Ft Ord is full of intersecting, intertwining, unmarked, dippy doodle, yippyskippy singletrack. The climbs are never too long, the descents never too technical, but the singletrack and scenery is plentiful. And the routes are endless.

Ft Ord is part of the Bureau of Land Management and includes about a 100 miles of trails that are both marked and unmarked. The Army left behind many trails, foxholes, and weird little buildings and things. Its a creepy cool place.

The soil is sandy and so the trails are good all year long. Only slightly muddy in winter and only slightly sandy in summer.

If you passed by this land, by car, you would think it barren or boring. But its some of the most interesting habitat I've ever ridden in. The oaky, manzanitaish, meadows sit atop ancient sand dunes and are home to deer, eagles, bobcats, badgers, bunnies, roadrunners, pigs, owls, rattlesnakes, scorpions, coyote, turkeys, and mountain lions. Oh, the mountain lion stories I could tell you. We'll save those for another post.

Ft Ord hosts a gazillion memories for me. I lived there as an army brat and lived close to it for most of my young life. I remember the px, the commisary, the hospital and going "hunting" with my dad on the trails. I also remember the artillery going off over that place almost every night. It was like 4th of July almost daily during manuevers.

That damn place had such a hold on me that I bought my first house on the boundary of the ft ord lands. That meant the trails were at my doorstep. Ahhh....

Happy trails. I learned to mountain bike on those trails. I met my first mountain biking friends on those trails. I taught some to mountain bike on those trails. We gave birth to Velo Bella on those trails. I got scared out of my gourd and sloshed out of my mind on those trails.

I have so many excellent memories of happy trails. Many of them involve myself and Laura, on after work rides in dusk or dark, on our cross bikes, having the times of our lives. The times where you are lost in the joy of conversation with a dear friend, while pedaling around and goofing off. Acutely aware of the company and scenery, but not even noticing the time flying by.

How many times were we suprised that it was almost 9:00?
How many times did we get so cold that we could barely get to our cars?
How many world problems did we solve on those trails?
How many times did we spook each other with mountain lion stories?
How many times did we go "pooooft" into the sand?
How many times did we get lost?
How many times did we laugh so hard that we almost fell off of our bikes?

How many times did we save each other's sanity while gliding along the on our steelmen?

Eventually the fog and the promise of 6,000 homes to be developed on the former ft ord scared me away. I moved to the sunny rural slopes of Corralitos.

And although I love it here, I often miss those trails, the adventures, and the company of the best training partner and girlfriend I ever had.

Can't wait to hit those trails this Saturday.

Ft Ord Trail Map
BLM Ft Ord Site


At 11:29 PM, August 01, 2006, Blogger X Bunny said...

that is just so absolutely totally sweet

made me smile

which isn't an easy task right now as i stay up late to pack again already.....

At 12:58 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger PAB said...


heck, it about made me cry.

I guess we're bringin cross bikes this weekend!

At 7:48 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Miss Mary said...

i think you & Laura took me on my first ride at Ft. Ord. I was scared shittless the entire time and you gals were the best.

thanks for the post, this ones awesome.

and i'm bummed i won't be there this weekend to ride with you, perhaps next time. (you can get the scoop from ana)

At 8:42 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Erein said...

Oh what fun! I never knew there was so many great trails in Fort Ord, besides the terrible Sea Otter trail. Definitley going to go check it out! Thanks! :)

At 8:53 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Erein said...

hey, are those the same trails the cccx races use?

Wow. Was that even english? well, you know what I mean. :)

At 9:08 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Velo Bella said...

The CCCX uses a small portion of the happy trails. But usually none of the fun ones. The better trails are on the other side of the street from where the races are usually held.

At 9:22 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Eclectchick said...

Hey, I think I recognize the official Texas Hellweek Mascot (turkey vulture) in those pics!


At 10:36 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Lilly Bella said...

*sniff*... *sniff*...

I miss you too, It's just not the same telling jokes to myself...and I have to carry my own CO2 to defend myself from those giant kitties. You still think that gust of cold air will work and the kitty will leave me alone?

I'll dust off my purrty blue steelie and zip zag, swoosh woosh with you.

At 10:41 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Lilly Bella said...

Oh and what do chu mean with the word HAD? Am I not still #1 on the speedie dial thingie? I guess I'll have to work my way up again...We are goin to have sooo much fun this weekend. Happy Trail Happy Hour awaits!

At 10:47 AM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Velo Bella said...

I'm going to find my yellow bell and put it back where it belongs.

ding ding ding

At 12:00 PM, August 02, 2006, Blogger Olaf Vanderhoot said...

dippy doodle, yippyskippy singletrack

you're so badass.

At 4:13 PM, August 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yay! a trail map, been looking for one!!! thanks!

At 4:22 PM, August 02, 2006, Blogger bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

You're gettin' me all nostalgic for those adventures, and I don't even mountain bike!


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