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By Karen Kefauver – Sentinel correspondent
March 4, 2011
Link to Sentinel article

Gearing up for cycling eventsWhile the weather conditions have ricocheted recently from record heat to surprising snowfall, one thing has remained consistent: Santa Cruz cyclists are staying busy biking, planning and helping out. Here’s a rundown of some of the exciting things many have been up to this winter.

Trail Care in Santa Cruz

There is plenty of buzz about the return of the second annual Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival on April 9-10 in Aptos and the Xterra triathlon and running races [www.xterraplanet.com] coming to Santa Cruz the weekend of May 14-15.

You may not know, however, that Santa Cruz has been selected as one of about 70 stops on the 2011 schedule of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew. On the road since 1997, the award-winning Trail Care Crew program has inspired volunteer trail work across the United States and abroad. Its mission is to help government agencies and land managers who have limited funding for trail construction and upkeep.

On March 25 — from 10-11:30 a.m. at Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz — Chris and Leslie Kehmeier of Colorado will present “Better Living Through Trails.”

Their talk will explore the relationship between Santa Cruz and its trail system. With statistics and case studies, they aim to demonstrate how to turn a quality community trail system into a destination trail system, and show how to effectively market a trail system.

The next day — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wilder Ranch State Park — the Kehmeiers will teach trail building techniques. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required.

For more information, visit www.MBOSC.org.

Bicycle Bits

Wet weather is also a good time to plan ahead for your spring and summer rides. Take some time and find out about all the great bicycle races and events in Santa Cruz County. One of the most popular events, due in part to the promise of chocolate-dipped strawberries at the end, is the Strawberry Fields Forever Ride [www.strawberryfields.org]. It starts and ends at Pajaro Valley High and includes route options of 25, 65 and 100 miles. Registration for that event is open and it usually sells out quickly.

Any cross country mountain bike racers in high school in Santa Cruz or Santa Clara counties can race with the Santa Cruz Junior Cycling Composite team, which began its season in the NorCal High School Mountain Biking North prologue on Sunday. Coaches say they are committed to recruiting women racers and have joined forces with the Bicycle Trip to offer referral fees, in the form of gift certificates, to find female racers. Learn more at www.santacruzjcc.com.

Another rainy-day option is to settle down for a good read on biking. Two books are worth checking out. Santa Cruz resident Martha Kendall recently released her book, “Full Cycle: A Family’s Ride Across Spain” [www.marthakendall.com]. In it, Kendall details how, as a new cyclist, she packed up and bravely hit the road to bike abroad with her husband and two teenage sons.

Willie Weir, a popular cycling journalist, has published “Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist,” which chronicles his global bike adventures with his characteristic humor and thoughtful observations. A number of Santa Cruzans plan to attend his talk at the REI Saratoga store on March 28.

I’d like to send out a warm welcome home to the Santa Cruz County framebuilders — Calfee Design, Caletti Cycles and Black Cat Bicycles — who represented us in Austin, Texas, at the North American Handmade Bike Show [NAHBS]. For news from this year’s show, visit www.2011.handmadebicycleshow.com.
Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, is a freelance sports and travel journalist based in Santa Cruz and an avid cyclist. She blogs about cycling for the Sentinel at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside, and her Spin City appears monthly in the Sentinel.

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