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Did the 42-mile “Epic” at Santos yesterday; AtLarge 1-day 30% off sale!

Monday, August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


The 42-mile IMBA “EPIC” MTB route at the Santos MTB park is always a fun and challenging ride. Yesterday Mike and I decided to tackle this ride again, as we needed some real saddle time in the dirt–the Black Bear Rampage is less than two weeks away.

We like to do this route starting from the Landbridge trailhead. The Landbridge trailhead is situated more or less in the middle of the EPIC route: about 24 miles for the first half, then a quick stop at the truck to refill our CamelBaks before continuing on to complete the final 18 miles. Doing to the route this way also allows us to hit the most technical trails–Nayls and Ern ‘N Burn–on fairly fresh legs. Nayls and Ern ‘N Burn are super fun (my favorite trails at Santos, in fact), but they are definitely leg burners.

It was a fairly overcast day, and there has been a lot of rain, including a pretty heavy rain on Saturday night. Thanks to the cloud cover it was not quite as hot as it has been lately, but the humidity was off the charts, especially once the sun started heating up the air. The trails were pretty slick in places, but most of the sandy sections were nicely packed down.

Mike's Ibis Mojo and my Trek Fuel EX 8 after the ride.

Mike’s Ibis Mojo and my Trek Fuel EX 8 after the ride.

The ride was a blast! Neither of us experienced any muscle cramps, there were no wrecks and there was only one minor mechanical (Mike’s front tire went soft, but Stan’s Sealant did its job and everything was fine after adding some air). Overall it was just a super fun day of non-stop pedaling. We also ran into several friends along the way, and had fun chatting it up with Evan S., Tj, Bill B. and Larry G.

The only blight on an otherwise fun day of riding was an insane woman on a horse.

Most of the trails at Santos are bike-only trails, but there are several shared use trails. One of those, Limerock road, is a wide trail that is shared by bikers, hikers and equestrians. The rule is bikers should always yield to horseback riders, as bombing past a horse on a bike can easily spook it. Mike and I, of course, always stop our bikes the instant we see horses approaching and then talk to the riders. I’ve been told by several horseback riders that the horses like it when the riders talk because it helps them to understand what we are.

Anyway, the first couple of groups on horseback that Mike and I ran into were super friendly and cool. The riders were appreciative that we quickly stopped our bikes, engaged in a bit of friendly conversation with them as they safely passed and we only proceeded after asking the horseback riders if it was OK to do so.

[I normally don’t use blue language in my blog, so fair warning that there’s a little bit in the section that follows.]

Then we ran into Hellbitch the Horse Nazi (the name I actually gave her was much worse than that, but I’ll refrain from posting it here). Not long after we encountered the previously mentioned equestrians, we came around a corner and saw a lone rider, perhaps 75 yards down the trail. Of course Mike and I instantly stopped our bikes.

As Hellbitch the Horse Nazi approached Mike and I were all smiles, and we expected to have another friendly encounter. What actually happened shocked us both: as this woman approached she launched a verbal assault against us. Two guys who did the absolute right thing, and we were being yelled at? We couldn’t believe what was happening.

As she continued her tirade, I noticed that the stench of her insanity was causing the foliage along the trail to wither and blacken. I started to think we’d accidentally turned off Limerock Road and into the Twilight Zone. Horse Nazi sternly informed us that “we were all alike” and that we “have no respect for others”. Still shocked, we explained that we stopped our bikes the instant we saw her–what more could we do? Undeterred by reason, Hellbitch passed by while hosing us down with a fresh batch of batshit insane. The horse looked embarrassed, as if he wanted to say, “Don’t look at me, pal, I gotta live with her.” I politely wished her a nice day, and I may have added that she should look into having the stick removed from her ass. My only regret was that I did not take her picture, as I would have definitely posted it.

Hey, not everyone is going to be cool. There are jerks on horses, and there are jerks on bikes. I do think it’s important to get the word out there about proper trail etiquette, so I’ll wrap this section of the blog up with a few words to that effect. Remember, on shared trails bikes always yield to horseback riders. Perhaps this woman had a bad experience with some other riders, and then took it out on us. That doesn’t justify her behavior, but it could help explain it. Please always be respectful of others on the trail. Don’t be this guy (thanks to Mike for posting this video):


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John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “Did the 42-mile “Epic” at Santos yesterday; AtLarge 1-day 30% off sale!”
  1. I guess coming up behind a horseback rider is a touchy spot to be in. I gather you don’t yell your ‘Hello’ too loud, as that might spook both the rider and the horse.

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    • That’s a little trickier than when we’re approaching from opposite directions, but generally not been a problem. The way I usually handle it is to slow down and hope the rider hears me and stops. I’ll then either ride by–with permission–or dismount and walk my bike a safe distance past before resuming the ride.

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  2. Reno is a huge equestrain community and for the most part we all get along pretty well, that being said I will never understand why it is OK for an equestrain to leave a 12″ high pile of horse crap on the trail. Dog owners have to pick up after their dogs, why not horseback riders?

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  3. Spot on, John. Jerks come in all flavors and you guys did the right thing. Hopefully it didn’t ruin your day. I’d hope she had a good day too, but it seems there would be no possibility of a good day for her.

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