Amy Ousterhout // Big Epic
I was excited to ride the Bay Area Epic since it would motivate me to do a long solo ride and also to explore some new trails! I attempted to check out the course the week before racing it. However, I aborted that ride 16 miles in at the top of Country View when I discovered that my saddle bag had come open and dropped my car key out somewhere between there and the start! I backtracked to search for my key, but was unable to find it (fortunately the staff at Calero found it so I was able to recover it eventually).
On the day I completed the Epic, the first 16 miles passed pretty uneventfully--I felt pretty familiar with them after riding them in both directions the previous weekend. I was grateful that the weather was cooler this weekend. I found the trails in Santa Teresa to be the hardest of the day. I ended up walking/jogging a lot of the very rocky Stile Ranch Trail, and a couple of steep parts along the Coyote Peak Trail. By the time I got back to Calero around mile 30, I was feeling a bit tired and was hoping that the remaining 42 miles would be easier, or would at least require less walking!
Fortunately, the rest of the course was pretty non-technical. I saw 4 snakes, 2 of which spanned most of the trail, causing me to get off my bike and carefully skirt around them. I really enjoyed the climbs up the Mine Hill Trail in Almaden Quicksilver and the climb up Mt. Umunhum! As I passed the Mine Hill Rotary Furnace for the second time around mile 48, I was feeling pretty good about having completed most of the climbing. However, my Garmin warned me that it was low on battery, which motivated me to pick up the pace for the last 24 miles because I knew that navigating the unfamiliar trails without my Garmin would be much more difficult. Thankfully, my Garmin did survive all the way through the end of the ride!
Overall I really enjoyed the Epic and hope to revisit these trails soon!