On September 7th, the SF Urban Riders will be putting on San Francisco’s first sanctioned mountain bike race in McLaren Park. A fundraiser for the McLaren Bike Park, the feature event is a short track race. Riders will be cranking around a fun 2 mile loop in the park over a mix of terrain ranging from twisty single track to a short road climb. The course is surprisingly fun and diverse; having dabbled in a short track or two in the past, the experience should be a fun entry to competitive endurance events for many, and a fun venue for seasoned athletes.
We’re helping promote the event, and to get folks stoked on the course, we’ve been doing an afterwork group ride every Tuesday. Heading out from the Mission we’ve been running a lap or two of the course, then crossing the road boundary to access the rest of the park and riding the best single track in SF. Most riders aren’t even aware of McLaren Park, so for many, finding out there are already fun, bike friendly multi-use trails in existence is a bit of a pleasant shock.
While most folks coming out have been astride mountain bikes, we’ve had a few riders come out on their cross bikes. The terrain consists of a somewhat mellow tread, so hardtails and light weight bikes tend to be the most fun and fastest through the park. There are off camber turns you can carry a lot of speed into that keep things interesting— I’ve had some fast drifts over loose stuff that kept me on my toes. Expect a lot of downhill passes during the event; it promises to be a good photo op with a bit of fun drama. (at least when I’ll be coming through)
There are also some fast sections with abrupt switchbacks that come up quick as well; they’re a challenge to ride fast and maintain momentum on, but ridiculously fun.
We’re planning to head out to record some video soon; it’s far easier to show than tell.
For more info on the SF Mountain Bike Festival and the McLaren Short Track Challenge, head over to SFUrbanRiders.org.