Rider: Dylan Crane
How many of you are California dreaming? Well, you’re not the only one. After I left New Zealand last October, I returned to another winter and had a bad itch to find warmer weather. In all my years of traveling around the US racing, I had never spent any time in California, aside from Sea Otter Classic. There are numerous world class riders that have spawned from this area and my curiosity finally peaked. I HAD to get out there and explore what all the fuss was about.
I was still recovering from lingering symptoms of my last injury and had just received my new Chilcotin so I was in desperate need of some lengthy time in the saddle warming myself back up to race speed and getting comfortable with the new bike. Thankfully the bike made it much easier than I was expecting and within a few days of arriving in Santa Cruz, I felt right at home.
Living out of a van and being privileged enough to work remotely meant that I didn’t have to stick to a strict schedule but my general plan was to start in Northern California and over the course of 6 weeks, slowly work my way south to San Diego. I wanted to try and find as many hidden gems as I could within this time, before I was supposed to be back in Utah for work. Luckily I had Mikey Haderer on hand to show me around for nearly the entire time along with a number of other friends that lived in the golden state.
Not surprisingly, most of my time in NorCal was spent in Santa Cruz. It absolutely lives up to its reputation as a mini PNW and differs from most other areas I visited in CA in that regard. I will definitely be revisiting this incredible spot in the future.
This trip really opened my eyes to what riding in CA was all about and I can understand why there are so many great riders that come out of the area regardless of its population density, which I'm sure plays a small part. While they may not be listed on Trailforks, it has a vast number of trails that vary widely depending on the riding you’re looking for. Want to know the biggest thing that I noticed?
They know how to build corners here. It’s so different from riding in CO where most of the trails you'll see outside of a bike park are hiking trails with flat corners. As for what’s on deck for me after this trip, if I’m not down in NZ, you’ll likely find me spending more time in CA in the future.