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Shamisen Appreciator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
dRj0n and I will be meeting up in Aptos for a week at the end of July and I'm wondering about riding options. We'll have a car, but would prefer to use it at little as possible. The maps show quite a few options, but it's not totally apparent how much traffic we'd encounter if we do drive, or the total elevation we'd expect if we rode from the house. I'm sure Jon is fit, but I'm pretty torched after ~3500ft days. I could probably handle a little over 4K ft of climbing but wouldn't be able to ride the next day.

So...if we ride the Aptos Creek Fire Road from Aptos up to the Soquel Demo forest for a couple of laps and back, am I going to need new knees? It's all down hill back to the beach right? I carry a Steripen to fill up my bottle on local rides...is there running water off trail that doesn't have too much petrochem in it or should I bring something with more capacity?

Also, a buddy from Napa says we should meet him up at Annadel, which I'm inclined to do but we have wives and children to keep happy...Looks like 2.5hrs each way on the map but what's the reality? I need to start formulating a plan to stuff seven people in my van for a long day, or prepare our better halves for a long day with no transportation.

Thanks All!

Edit: we're both pretty decent riders and are happy to ride most things that don't include big doubles. XC is fun, more tech is better. For comparison, we met up in Cumberland BC a couple years back for a couple of weeks.
 

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Get a shuttle from Epicenter to Demo. Do two laps on flow/braille there and then come back on the fire road or wherever. That's about 4000-5000'. Stash some water near the top of Demo for when you're halfway done.
 

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Aptos Creek is long but aside from one section, not particularly steep. I've done that ride with one short loop inside Demo on my singlespeed. Wilder is also within biking distance of Aptos, although if it was me, I'd drive to the trailhead.
 

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Also, a buddy from Napa says we should meet him up at Annadel, which I'm inclined to do but we have wives and children to keep happy...Looks like 2.5hrs each way on the map but what's the reality?
The reality is that you'll likely hit traffic. 2.5 hours is best case scenario.
 

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Wēk Sôs
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Get a shuttle from Epicenter to Demo. Do two laps on flow/braille there and then come back on the fire road or wherever. That's about 4000-5000'. Stash some water near the top of Demo for when you're halfway done.
+1.

Climbing up Nisene Marks and 2 laps @ Demo is about 8K, IIRC (it's over 7K). To get out of Demo you have to climb also, to various exit points.
 

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orthonormal
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Climb up to the Sand Point overlook. Hang out for a bit and when you see a group show up looking like they’re ready to do more than just ride a fire road, start a conversation. It’s not necessary to climb all the way to Demo to have fun.
 

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Ariolimax columbianus
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our buddy Cyclepath Outfitters | Mountain Bike tours is runnin shuttles now, maybe hit him up for a ride to demo? looks like you're a frame builder? if you know black cat todd he lives like right there so maybe hit him up? pack your water...doubt you'll find anything potable up top. or you can borrow an ebike and just poach like most do anyways...j/k...but yeh....seems to be a trend here.
 

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ol'guy who says hi &waves
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Don’t know it all but know enough that driving from Aptos to Santa Rosa to ride is not a good idea. There is plenty here to keep you busy, plus an ocean just down the hill. If it is too foggy go up to uc or demo.
 

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Don't know it all but know enough that driving from Aptos to Santa Rosa to ride is not a good idea. There is plenty here to keep you busy, plus an ocean just down the hill. If it is too foggy go up to uc or demo.
Second this. One drives from Santa Rosa to Aptos to ride, usually not the other way around.

Meet some people on your ride, there are always friendly folks at the benches. If you can, ask them to show you other Santa Cruz areas. If you're desperate you can head to Fort Ord in Monterrey for some XC or Skeggs.
 

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Shamisen Appreciator
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are the trails at UC not exactly legit trails? Is that why they're not on TrailForks and why you're all recommending a guide? I want to make sure that I abide by the local etiquette...no Strava tracking and such. John Caletti is a friend of mine and I'm sure we'll see him while we're there and could convince him to show us around.
 

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orthonormal
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Are the trails at UC not exactly legit trails? Is that why they're not on TrailForks and why you're all recommending a guide? I want to make sure that I abide by the local etiquette...no Strava tracking and such. John Caletti is a friend of mine and I'm sure we'll see him while we're there and could convince him to show us around.
Correct
 

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F*** it
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I would start by having John or another local show you around if possible. Almost all the good stuff in the Bay Area is currently undocumented. And if you haven't been there before, John's shop is like a museum!
 

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If you're going to ride Demo, just drive to the parking area. Then do double laps and call it good.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride Braille. Ultimately, day#1 I rode 2 laps of flow, day #2 two laps of Braille.
The weekend was about 40 miles and 7000' or something.
Two flow laps were about 26 miles, because I went up the road. Looking back, it may be slightly easier to ride backwards on the road from the parking lot to the cutoff climb to where you'd go to Braille/Flow. I would do the same rides again, mostly. Next trip I'd probably ride flow then Braille the same day. I'm not a flow trail rider so double laps for me weren't superb. I enjoyed it though but I can't rail that type of trail as well as 'flow' riders.

I'd hate to spend all day riding up the hill to then ride more once in the riding area.
 

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Shamisen Appreciator
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the beta everyone.

We rode from La Selva up to Nisene on the first day to explore a bit and what was supposed to be a casual exploratory one-bottle ride, turned into a bit shy of 30 miles after we met a local who showed us around. Donut was my favorite of the day.

My buddy John Caletti showed us around Wilder and UCSC before a stop for some excellent Mexican food near his shop.

A few days ago, we took off from La Selva again, up through Nisene and over to Soquel Demo with the intention to ride Braille and the flow trails. We started with the flow trails thinking that we would get the bulk of the climbing out of the way after but I think I miscalculated the exit route. I thought that Hihns to Sulphur Spring was the least intense way to climb out, but I died in the heat and stagnant air climbing out of Sulphur Spring Road and with only one bottle left and 20 miles back to the house, it seemed wise to skip Braille and head back.

We met another local at the exit who showed us the entrance to XXXXXXXXX that he said would link up with XXXXXX. We rode it, but didn’t manage to link up and never saw an offshoot. I maxed myself out trying to out-climb a few horse flies, finished up my water by Sand Point but the cruise down was welcome, as was dunking my head and chugging a few bottles at the market in Aptos.

All in, it was about 40 miles and something over 4K ft of climbing, which is beyond my comfort level, but made for a fun and memorable ride

thanls to whomever edited my post. My apologies for including trail names.
 

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Sounds like you found your way around pretty good. A demo lap from La Selva is no joke, probably well over 5k feet of climbing. I have only done it once and had to bum water from some one in the parking lot after climbing hihns road.
 

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Shamisen Appreciator
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sounds like you found your way around pretty good. A demo lap from La Selva is no joke, probably well over 5k feet of climbing. I have only done it once and had to bum water from some one in the parking lot after climbing hihns road.
I figured that could be true. My Elemnt Bolt regularly under reports elevation gain by around 20% compared to my friends devices.

Either way, it was a long day and I'll probably be wondering for a long time if I would have enjoyed Braille more. I definitely preferred the roughness of the ridge trail over the flow trail. The flow trails are very well built and it was great, it's just my preference to go for more primitive rougher track.
 
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