So shitbike didnt actually follow me up to Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa, but his spirit was in me as I ventured on to the dirt for a day. It had been a while since my last mountain biking adventure, so @thesunisnotyellow and I saddled up some Santa Cruz Tallboys and went looking for trouble.
On the drive up we did some research on the trails and park. A couple forums warned us of the extremely nice people and intensely beautiful scenery, but we really had no idea what to expect. Our usual scenery includes concrete masses, walls of glass and the more-than-occasional yelling crackhead pissing on a bench, so any escape was welcome. We made sure to check the map of the entire park just so we could ignore it. As we ventured into the first trail, a decision was made to keep it chill and go with the flow.
I cant say I am the best mountain biker, but I am the guy who is having a blast the entire way. We shred through a couple different trails. I am convinced within the first hour that this is the best set of trails I have ever ridden. The scenery is as beautiful as was warned. One trail led through a line of trees straight to a pristine lake, another out to a meadow for the perfect water break.
Every person we passed along the way was more than happy to give right-of-way, say hello and wish a happy ride. I can’t think of the last place I was where manners were such a constant. We met some young riders, some old riders, and even some hikers, all gave a greeting of some sort and went on their way. You were never disappointed to see another rider, the park was so big that even on a saturday you only ran into a few.
After a solid two hours of shreddin the gnar, we called it quits and headed for the closest watering hole, which just happened to be one of the best breweries in the world. When in Santa Rosa, don’t ever leave without grabbing a pint of Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewery. The place is always packed and the endless supply of their award-winning beer can quench the thirst of any man. The two of us grab a pizza and a sampler of the best brews. Each sip down, Russian River lives up to it’s wall of awards.
When weighing your options for off-road adventures on the bike, don’t rule out Annadel just because it isn’t close by. Make a day of it, you will be surprised just how much it pays off. A word to the wise though, full suspension is recommended for anyone as bad as me at riding anything but a road bike.