By Joh Rathbun and Adam Newman
For the fourth straight year, the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz will welcome riders and visitors to Aptos Village, Calif., for the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival this weekend, April 13 and 14. Conceived in 2009 by a few officers of MBoSC, the festival raises funds for neighborhood bike parks and legal, multi-use trails.
Back this year are many competitive events like the short track, pump track, and dirt jump competitions, as well as the skills clinics, expo area, kids events, and very important beer garden. The festival continues to grow rapidly. The 2012 edition boasted a 50 percent increase in attendance over the previous year.
Located at the entrance to Nisense Marks, the Aptos village is an unassuming strip mall next to the railroad tracks—until you round the buildings. There, behind Epicenter Cycling is the Aptos pump track and world-famous Post Office jumps. Some jumpers consider Post Office as the Promised Land, but every year the area is under threat to be razed for a new Aptos Village.
After Epicenter Cycling and the MBoSC built the pump track, the area became an even more vital part of the small community of Aptos. People of all ages flock to the area. I met many of my neighbors there, including a 3-year-old bumbling around the pump track with his proud dad watching from the line up. Pros like Cam McCaul and Ryan Howard can be found bombing the pump track late in the day because the sun was in their eyes in the jumps. I felt at home in this little tract of land tucked away just south of Santa Cruz off Highway 1. To see this area demolished for the sake of “progress” disheartens me, because if we’re not supporting our community and its children by providing them with safe and fun areas, where is the progress?
You can help Aptos Village by signing the “County of Santa Cruz: Incorporate a bike into the Aptos Village Plan” petition at change.org.
For now we have another great weekend of the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival to look forward to. You can still volunteer for the weekend, and a full shift will get you a free T-shirt and a lunch token for that day. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
And of course, stop by the Dirt Rag booth and say hi!
About the author: Joh Rathbun is a freelance writer, pro downhiller and columnist for shineriders.com. To stay up to date on West Coast events, like her Facebook page at facebook.com/johrathbun, or contact her at johrathbun.wix.com/freelancewriter.