Pacifica is a beautiful place on the California coast just south of San Francisco. It has a reputation in the Bay Area as always being foggy, but that’s really not the case, at least not all of it. It certainly wasn’t this past Sunday, when most of the Bay Area was pretty hot and a group of us decided to get an early-for-us start on a ride there.
Some of the mountain biking Pacifica is best known for is a steep rocky area with several trails on it: Boy Scout, Mile and Crack. We planned on hitting some of the steep descents, so most of us broke out the heavy gear such as full-face helmets and armor, normally not used by us in the Bay Area.
Getting to the top requires some fairly serious hike-a-bike. One used to have to climb all the way up along the same route that one descends, which I’m sure you can imagine isn’t optimal, with other bikers flying down at near terminal velocity in sections. The locals have built a new set of switchbacks parallel to the descending line which, while it doesn’t keep you completely off the descent, is far better than it used to be. The new trail is really soft and narrow, with lots of freshly cut poison oak encroaching on it, so I’m hoping it gets some use to bed it in and push the vegetation back a bit.
It got pretty hot by the time we reached the top, and I wasn’t feeling too well. “Crack”, the fall line trail that we descended first, is a steep, rocky and sometimes loose affair. One of its challenges is that there’s no warm-up to get accustomed to that type of riding—it just starts at 100% and keeps on going. Those things combined to keep me pretty conservative the first half of the way, which isn’t how this kind of ride should go. I think the next time I go, I’ll plan to stop and session some of the features on Crack and get some extra practice in on this terrain.
Below Crack is Boy Scout, which has a lot of built-up jumps. I don’t really jump much, and although some of our crew have been practicing, a lot of the stuff on Boy Scout is still beyond their skill set. We did play around on the jumps for quite some time, and some local kids were there showing us fogeys how to do it.
The bottom of Boy Scout is a lot of fun. There are some steep drops, railing berms and some g-outs and jumps that are within our skills, and just a ripping good time. Unfortunately, the altitude gained at the start passes by all too quickly on the way down, and I think a lot of the group felt like it wasn’t a lot of return for the effort put it, especially on such a hot day. It was still fun, and I really think sessioning it would be fun.