Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MBOSC at the Sea Otter Classic 2010

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) was really busy at the Sea Otter Classic this year. I think it was the biggest year yet for us. The weather was the best I have ever experienced in the 13 years of attending the Sea Otter. Lots of fun was had by all of those who attended. How can you not have fun when in an immersive environment surrounded by shiny bikes, pro events and 20,000 of your closest friends?

The success of this organization is a testament to the volunteers and officers who make it happen. No one draws a salary and there are very little benefits to this type of work. At the end of the day it's people like you and I who want to improve mountain biking in Santa Cruz. We do it because of the passion for the sport and we love to ride in Santa Cruz County. There are a lot of people to thank and one concern about a note like this is that someone will be left behind.

MBOSC provided all the volunteer course marshals for the Dual Slalom races and they went off really smoothly. This is a testament to the organization of Megan Zemney who did an amazing job of co-ordinating the volunteers for the DS and the booth. Megan really stepped it up this year to lead many initiatives. She is an effective leader and really took ownership of many tasks and drove them to completion. Not only that but she managed to practice and race downhill and took 4th in her category! That's a podium folks! Thank you Megan for your passion and energy and driving MBOSC in a really fun direction. She also needed some downtime and went off the grid last weekend in Yosemite.

There were so many volunteers on the DS course who really stepped up and represented MBOSC in a very professional and courteous manner. There are too many to name but I would like to give a big shout out and thank you the guys who worked multiple shifts and on the long day on Sunday. This included Dwight Follien, Alan Strahsburg, Kevin Brouwers, Dan Abernethy, Rich Henthorn, Bob Walden, Buff and James Bradley. I would like to especially thank Tracy Cotten for all the shifts on the swaile and stepping up to lead the crew on Sunday when we wanted to give him the day off. That Sunday shift was pretty brutal and went 2.5 hours overtime. We'll make it up to you guys!

The raffle for the Titus El Guapo was held on the last day of the Otter and we successfully met our goals. We raised over $5500 - which is more than enough to pay for the SDSF parking lot project and managed to implement electronic memberships during the process. We are really happy to say that we signed up and/or renewed 27 memberships during this campaign. Thank you all for your generous support!

The raffle couldn't have been executed without the help of some very key people. First of all, Sebastien Praly developed the online payment system and web pages. Things were a little tense when PayPal shut us down for a while and we had to work out some bugs but he managed to get it back on track. Michelle Lamelin did all the posters and graphics and worked closely with Rick Graves at Cluch Couriers for doing all the printing. We highly recommend using Clutch Couriers services for fast, effective printing at a reasonable price.

Eve Davidson did a stellar job of doing the back office work of member, raffle fulfillment and accounting. She is the reason that MBOSC continues to run so smoothly and effectively and she ensures that the organization is compliant and efficient. I don't thank her enough for all that she does and she has managed to put up with my bike advocacy "hobby" for all these years.

There are so many who helped with the raffle in so many ways. Steven Gemelos, Bob Walden, Jo Rathbun and Daryl Breuninger for their work in promoting and supporting the raffle. I would also like to thank our shop partners Lars Thompsen at Trail Head Cyclery in San Jose and Wade Hall and Matt Potter at The Spokesman Bicycles for selling tickets and hosting the El Guapo for all to see. Thanks to Michele Lamelin, Alan Strahsburg, Josh Moore, Jo Mutch, Daniel Abernethy, Marty Abaurrea and especially the man in the top hat Steve Cooper ("Cooper"!) for driving ticket sales during the Sea Otter. It was phenomenal and impressive how much raffle tickets we sold in the last 2 days of the Sea Otter.

A very special thanks to Jason, Jeff and Mike at Titus Bikes who believe in what we are doing and support our goals. We really appreciate your partnership and look forward to the next event where we can work together.

Camping at the Sea Otter was a blast and it was great to get to know our fellow mountain bikers. Initially MBOSC bought 3 campsites and offered free spots to members and volunteers. Camping was pretty sparse this year so we managed to spread out (take over?) 2 additional sites. We must have had at least 35-40 members and affiliates of MBOSC camping with us. I think we have firmly cemented the reputation of Santa Cruz mountain bikers as ones who have the most fun at the Sea Otter campsites. It was quite a party. Firewalking, bonfires, and propane fireballs. Beer and fire probably don't mix but there was never any concerns about safety. Needless to say the cops seem to think that we had the funnest campsites because they kept visiting us... at least charges weren't laid and no one got hurt.

We would like to thank Charlie Meehan, Jason the brewmaster the crew at Seabright Brewery for making sure that at the end of a hard day at work we had enough delicious IPA to make things right again. Charlie has been a loyal supporter of MBOSC over the year and we really appreciate his patronage. The fuel of bike advocacy is great beer and Seabright Brewery delivers the goods.

Finally, there were numerous people who dropped by the booth to say hello, buy raffle tickets and have renewed your membership over the past month. The MBOSC officers and volunteers appreciate your expression of support and we thank you, thank you, thank you! Together we have accomplished a lot of great things to improve mountain biking in this County. We are starting to get some momentum and it's building into something big. There are so many people who are passionate about mountain biking in Santa Cruz and MBOSC represents a small fraction of those enthusiasts. Imagine what we can accomplish if we represented all the mountain bikers who enjoy Santa Cruz County? Tell your friends about us! Encourage them to
get informed on the issues. There is so much to grow and there is so much potential. Collectively we can turn Santa Cruz County in a world class mountain bike playground.

Thank you all for making MBOSC a stronger club! Whew! I'm glad that's over. I can't wait until next year.


President, MBOSC

Titus El Guapo Raffle at the Sea Otter Classic

The raffle for the Titus El Guapo was held on the last day of the Sea Otter. It was a very successful campaign. We managed to raise about $5500 with raffle sales and we also used this bike raffle as a motivation to do online memberships - which is something we have been wanting to do for a few of years.

We had an amusing way of conducting the raffle at the MBOSC Sea Otter booth. Cooper was a great barker/host who really drew the crowd in and pumped them up. I gave a pitch for MBOSC, thanked the audience, Sea Otter and Titus and mentioned why we are raising funds. Then I held my blindfolded 7 year old daughter upside down in the raffle bin. She shuffled the tickets and the crowd told her when to pick the winner. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind about the randomness of the drawing.

The winner was Mark Woodhead - a Santa Cruz local and one of the founding members of MBOSC. Mark is no longer active with MBOSC leadership but he does lead the weekly ride. Winning the bike was good karma for him and he has promised to be more active in the future. I wasn't surprised that a good friend won the bike (since a lot of my good friends bought multiple raffle tickets) but I'm pretty impressed at how many tickets we sold at the Sea Otter. Titus has a great reputation and a strong enthusiast base. Many bought tickets to support MBOSC and the cause. But many out of towners bought tickets because they love Titus and wanted to win the El Guapo.

Thank you all for participating. We raised about enough money to fully fund the SDSF parking lot environmental mitigation project. We're golden. All mountain bikers of Santa Cruz County and the visitors to Soquel Demo State Forest are winners!

May 15th Jump Jam at Depot Park in Santa Cruz

The City of Santa Cruz, The Bicycle Trip and Barry Swenson Builders are hosting a Jump Jam at Depot Park in Santa Cruz with a cash purse.

Come celebrate Bike Week Santa Cruz and rail and trail day. There will be booths (including MBOSC) and food and drinks and bike valet parking provided by People Power.

DATE: Saturday, .May 15th 2010

TIME: 11am – 2pm

WHERE: Depot Bicycle Trip Jump Park Santa Cruz (Big Bike festival, post rail trail road ride)

ENTRY PRO JAM DEMO ADMISSION: free for demo (invitation only)

COMBINED CLASS PRIZE MONEY: 1st place = $ 500.00, 2nd place = $ 300.00, 3rd place = $ 200.00,

CLASSES: small wheel 20” BMX and big wheel 26” mt. bike (invite only)

EVENT JUDGES: general Public Voting (ballots and pens and pencils)

PRE-EVENT SET UP: Saturday, May 15th 8:00 to 11:00


8:00am to 11:00

Set up: contest + Sound Equipment

10 – 11:00am

Registration + Safety Check + practice schedule

10:00 to 10:30

Bicycle group Leaving Depot park on the train

11:00am to 12:00

Start practice schedule

11:00 to 10:30

Bicycle group Leaving Roaring camp ride down

11:30 to 12:00

Bicycle group rolls in to the park

12:30 – 1:00pm

26” big wheel Pro demo (1/2 hr)

1:00 – 1:30pm

20” big wheel Pro demo (1/2 hr)

1:30 pm -2:00 pm

Combination Pro jump competition (1/2 hr)

2:00 to 3:00

Breakdown and clean up

Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Donations at Work: Wilder Ranch Trailhead Sign

Back in September MBOSC held a showing of Freedom Riders to raise funds to pay for a new trail head sign at Wilder Ranch State Park. The mountain biking community was proud to donate $3,500 towards the design and construction of this interpretive sign.

The sign is important to the mountain biking community and mountain bikers of Santa Cruz. We start our all inclusive weekly Saturday ride at this sign and it's a great way to orient visitors to the park. The old sign didn't reflect the current status of the trails or the park boundaries. Also, this new sign was falling apart and was an embarrassment. It was not up to the high standards of a California State Park.

We are happy to preview one of the latest layout for the new sign. This was a collaborative process which involved many members of the State Parks and interpretive community. One of the pending changes is to replace the road biker and child with renderings of mountain bikers. We hope that the sign will be installed by the end of May.

Thank you all once again for supporting our fundraisers. Your donations help improve mountain biking facilities in Santa Cruz County.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Your Donations at Work: Soquel Demonstration State Forest Parking Lot

Soquel Demonstration State Forest (a.k.a Demo, SDF or SDSF) has some of the most legal technical trails in the Bay Area and is managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (a.k.a Cal Fire or CDF). The forest manager, Ed Orre, is supportive of mountain biking so it's a place where a lot of mountain bikers and advocates like to invest their time and efforts to make the trails first rate. Unfortunately, CDF is a state agency and is impacted by the same dysfunctional budgeting process that all state agencies must face.

Back in November we learned there was a lot of pressure on SDSF from a variety of sources.
  • The budget had been severely cut and staffing levels had been reduced by at least 80% since 2006
  • The parking lot has been the site of a lot of weekend raves and parties
  • Fish and Game had concerns about sediment runoff from the parking lot entering Soquel creek
  • Redwood Empire owns the parking lot (SDSF has an easement) and are indifferent to the needs of mountain bikers.
  • Both Redwood Empire and CDF will be doing timer harvesting this spring and summer and will use the parking lot as a staging area.
Mountain bikers have enjoyed the use of the Redwood Empire parking lot as a safe and secure way to get ready for a ride and enjoy a post ride beverage with friends. The parking lot is also the scene of great bike demos hosted by local shops like Trail Head Cyclery which include beer and BBQs. Unfortunately, due to some of the issues outlined above the parking lot is currently closed and we must take our chances by parking along Highland Way.

Fortunately, the mountain biking community are doing things to mitigate some of these problem. We held the first Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival featuring the California premier of Women of Dirt to raise money for the parking lot environmental mitigation project.

We are happy to say that we are putting your money to work in order to address the parking lot issues. MBOSC Vice-President Daryl Breuninger, Forest Manager Ed Orre and Erosion Control Professional Steve Butler met in January to assess the scope of the environmental mitigation project. MBOSC member and volunteer Drew Perkins provided detailed topographic maps of the parking lot based on elevation data using a very precise GPS in an airplane shooting a laser at the ground many tens of thousands of times a second. These topo maps were created by Drew and donated to the erosion control specialist. Thanks Drew!

The contractor Steve Butler came up with an erosion control plan and submitted it to Ed, Stewards of Soquel Forest and MBOSC. The solution includes re-graveling the surface, installing parking control logs to prevent "wild driving" (which creates sedimentation), constraining parking areas and adding culverts to direct the runoff. Your donations from the Bike Festival allowed us to make a down payment on the plan and the work.

Unfortunately, we didn't raise enough funds from the Bike Festival to cover the costs of this project. We still regard the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival a huge success since we met a lot of our social and organizational goals. We made a profit and met our minimum fundraising goals but we could have made a lot more given the value of the donated goods. Our expenses for the festival were high yet we didn't charge anyone for participating. All the Festival income came from movie ticket sales and the raffle. We had a lot of people and companies donate goods and we offered complementary tickets to these companies and the Pro riders who participated. In all we comped over 100 tickets ($1000!!) and we also handicapped ourselves by not allowing the MBOSC officers and event organizers to participate in the raffle (good for about $500-700). We had a lot of fun and brought the community together and established the reputation of MBOSC to run logistically complicated event in very little time (it was 6 weeks from inception to execution!). However, a movie and raffle is not the most effective mechanism to raise funds. We are still learning about effective fund raising. We will probably use a silent auction to raise money from some of the big ticket donations so we can raise more funds next time. Anyway, I digress...

MBOSC is committed to fund the environmental mitigation project for the parking lot regardless of the funding source. This can be through increased memberships or by donations. Titus has generously donated a Titus El Guapo (a ~$4700 bike!) to help us raise funds for the SDSF parking lot project.

Please support SDSF by becoming a member or donating to MBOSC and the El Guapo raffle. You can donate to MBOSC at http://mbosc.org/join.html. We will do the drawing for the bike at the MBOSC Booth #239 at the Sea Otter Classic.

Thank you for supporting mountain biking in Santa Cruz County! We love mountain biking and we love Santa Cruz. Mountain biking in Santa Cruz is the best and it's up to the mountain biking community to keep it that way.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Monthly Soquel Demo ride with Titus bikes on Saturday

The 2010 Sea Otter Classic is around the corner (hope for sun!) and the big bike companies are coming to our area full of demo vans of nice shiny bikes.

Titus has been an awesome supporter of MBOSC and will be at our monthly SDSF ride this Saturday April 10th at 10 am. You should probably show up at 9:15 - 9:30 to get a bike. Let me know if you want to reserve one of these bikes and I will put it in the spreadsheet:
  • X Carbon Medium Black
  • X Carbon Medium Black/Yellow
  • X Aluminum Medium Red
  • X Aluminum Large Red
  • Rockstar Medium White
  • FTM Carbon Small Black/Red
  • FTM Carbon Medium Blue/Silver
  • FTM Carbon Large Black/Red
  • FTM Aluminum X Small Blue
  • FTM Aluminum Small Blue
  • FTM Aluminum Medium Blue
  • FTM Aluminum Large Blue
  • FTM Aluminum Large Blue
  • El Guapo Small Orange
  • El Guapo Medium Orange
  • El Guapo Large Orange
You can learn more about these bikes by checking out the Titus website

Titus has graciously donated an Orange El Guapo (a $4700 value) to MBOSC as a fund raiser. The bike is currently on display in the front window of Trail Head Cyclery. We are raising funds to pay for the parking lot environmental mitigation project at SDSF. If you want to support demo as a place to ride with a safe place to park then please support MBOSC and our fundraiser!

Raffle tickets for the El Guapo can be purchased online or at Trail Head Cyclery in San Jose or The Spokesman in Santa Cruz. You can buy raffle tickets online at http://mbosc.org/join.html.

We will also be selling raffle tickets at the demo at Demo on Sunday at the MBOSC booth and at the MBOSC booth #239 at the Sea Otter Classic.

Come out and buy lots of raffle tickets! Support MBOSC, SDSF and bike advocacy in Santa Cruz County!