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IMBA Uses 50+ Motor Vehicles to Put on Its "Environmentally Friendly" Epic Ride!
Due to its remoteness, every rider will be driving his/her own car or
truck, PLUS there will be several support vehicles, EVEN ON THE
TRAILS! So much for "environmentally friendly" recreation! CA State
Parks is also bending their rules by allowing camping where it's
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 21:50:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Paul Nam
Subject: Details on the Coe Epic 07
Okay everyone! Here's the scoop...dive in to learn the details of
Coe Crazy Off Road Epic
About the COe ROMP Epic, May 12-13, 2007
The 2007 CORE is a mountain biking event and essentially a
re-enactment of the 2002 Coe IMBA Epic. The ride is on Sunday the
13th. On Saturday the 12th there will be camping and free time.
Concurrently on the 12th there will be volunteer trail-work
(participation optional). The event is open and free to ROMP members
only. Membership is only $20. Camping and dinner are included. It is
not a race.
The steep and rugged 23 mile course has changed slightly due to a
change in the State Wilderness boundary. The boundary has moved south
slightly and now includes the Alquist Trail, making the Turkey Pond
Trail our resort in that section of the route.
On Sunday ride groups will be staging for the Epic from 8am to 10am
from the Dowdy Ranch trailhead. The ride is not a race. Riders will
form groups under designated ride leaders. Additionally riders will
“buddy-up”. These methods will help keep everyone on track to a safe
In case of exhausted, bonking, tired, or mechanically disabled riders
there will be taxi rides back to camp available from a couple of SAG
drivers sweeping a central road. However, since much of the course is
on inaccessible single-track, bail-outs and rescues may involve
hiking. A rest-stop supported by a local bike shop will be embedded on
the course. Water cached along the route will also aid riders.
California State Parks and ROMP support environmentally responsible
activities. State Park regulations and policies will be enforced.
Riders and campers must practice minimum impact camping and carry out
their trash and garbage. No dogs or pets and campfires are permitted.
A maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour on the wide access road, as
well as the basic speed law, will be enforced.
On the subsequent weekend, May 19th, Coe Park will be officially
opening and dedicating the Dowdy Ranch trail-head facility, to the
public for it‘s first ever seasonal opening. The CORE event is
privileged to be permitted before the grand-opening. Especially in
light of this, those attending must be respectful of public property
and leave everything in good condition. A lot of tax-payer money has
been spent on creating the new facility.
The original 2002 IMBA event was created in part in anticipation of
the creation and opening of the Dowdy Ranch trail-head. Trail work
before and during the event helps keep the trail system established.
The Dowdy Ranch is in the southern end of this large park and accessed
by a dirt road that begins at Bell Station heading north off Hwy 152
about 6.5 miles east of Hwy 156. The dirt road is 7 miles long. Dowdy
Ranch has a great picnic area which overlooks the Pacheco Creek
watershed. Trails in the area are rugged and primitive. The Coe Epic
route takes riders north to the edge of the Orestimba Wilderness and
The Course and Conventions
The trails have been prepared with extensive brushing and flagging for
the Epic. Orange and blue tape have been used. Blue tape appears
announcing turns and junctions with other trails. If you see blue
tape, watch for a turn. Blue tape and orange tape confirm you are on
the route. Riders are encouraged to purchase an official park map,
which costs $8.50, and are available for sale at the event. A simple
map of the ride will be given away as well.
There will be pre-ride meetings on Saturday evening called after the
BBQ dinner and Sunday morning. The ride leaders will be introduced to
briefly describe their pace, points of interest, and time of
departure. Points of interest may range from included swimming holes,
views, photography, natural and cultural history, or simply no
interest except in pure riding.
In order to ensure that everyone has returned by days end, we are
requiring every participant to sign in upon completion of the ride at
a rider log that will be posted on north face of the toilet building
adjacent to the main BBQ picnic area next to a park map that we are
temporarily posting for our event. Please ensure that you write your
name and the time on the sheet. Pre-registered riders will find their
names printed on the list.
Everyone should be registered ahead of time. One reason is so we can
take your order for food preference choice. Another is for emergency
contact information. At Bell Station you will be greeted by a
volunteer who will take down your license plate number and ensure that
you have not brought a pet, and are aware of certain regulations. The
license plate is gathered so that if at the end of the day, a car
remains without a driver, we can figure out who it is that is missing.
The route covers trails of many kinds, and while on average there are
few truly difficult technical sections, there are many steep
over-grade sections. The route actually descends more steeply than it
climbs, but you may not agree. Coe is infamous for steep trails to
climb. This year, 2007, has been dryer than usual, and surfaces are
trending toward loose over hard-pack. Pacing yourself on climbs and
resorting to hike-a-bike may be necessary to ensure finishing the
route. 23 miles and nearly 6,000 feet of climbing and descending on
the types of trails you will encounter is not trivial. Expect to spend
3 to 5 hours of ride time, and a total of 4 to 7 hours out on the
course, depending on breaks and pace.
Most of the ride leaders will have an FRS radio through which from
many points along the ride they will be able to contact the base,
Dowdy Ranch, and the sweep (or SAG) vehicles. In the event of an
emergency or a rider needing assistance we should be able to effect an
expeditious rescue. Since the Dowdy Ranch sits high on a ridge, radio
communication will be effective from many locations. Please bring an
FRS radio if you have one. We’ll be using channel 10 code 10.
We are taking safety seriously. At the same time we would like
everyone to have a fun experience. That is why this information is
presented. For some, this will be an introduction to the Coe
backcountry. It is good to have a safety-net out here. Generally we
advise that you “don’t Coe it alone”.
Depending upon our experience this year, we would apply to run the
event next year, and in perpetuity as long as interest prevails, but
with the more inclusive moniker of a “Coe Mountain Bike Festival“. By
May 2008 trails in the Dowdy Ranch area will have been improved to a
great degree due in great part to an increased focus of volunteer
trail-work activity. The CORE ride would continue to be a part of the
weekend, but would take place among a broader spectrum of rides, bike
demos, and volunteer trail-work activities to appeal to more people
than the basic hard-core cross-country mountain-biker.
This year we are expecting less than 50 riders. The small turnout may
be due to a conflict with Mother’s Day, but may also be due to the
reputation of Coe having arduous terrain, and to the misapprehension
of Coe itself as a riding destination. While all these allegations may
be true, Coe is still a great place to ride with great potential as
trails become better maintained. ROMP will continue to persistently
maintain and improve trails throughout the park. We hope that the
event will inspire an appreciation for the park and attract more
volunteers on trail-days.
The Dowdy Ranch Facility
The Dowdy Ranch itself is a brand new state of the art trail-head
facility with parking, buildings, covered picnic tables, other picnic
tables, flush toilets, potable water, BBQs, equestrian parking, water
troughs, and even a couple of private solar heated showers. The roofs
on the structures are of silver corrugated steel, and can be seen from
many vantage points on distant ridges north within the park, and along
the Epic route. Camping is not permitted at the Dowdy Ranch, with the
one exception of this year’s Epic event. Participants in the Epic will
enjoy a one-time chance to camp at this incredible location.
Camping at the Dowdy Ranch has been permitted in part in appreciation
of the contributions of ROMP lead volunteer trail maintenance
activities. ROMP is responsible for leaving the facility in excellent
condition. We must pack out all trash and garbage we generate at our
event. For the purposes of our event, please do not use the official
metal trash, garbage, and recycling containers stationed throughout
the facility. These should be covered by “caution-tape” to discourage
use. Instead, either use the movable garbage cans at the main picnic
area, or collect your own trash at your site, and take it home to
dispose of after the event.
Wildlife in the area are not used to having human guests in their
home. Regular human visits to the Dowdy Ranch are a new thing. Wild
pigs and coyotes patrol the area, and smaller varmints may take up
residence here. Please do not feed the animals or leave food and
garbage out and unattended. We want to discourage wild animals to
become habituated to the area as a source of food and entertainment.
There is a fair chance that a pig may wander into the camp at night.
As long as your things are neat, secure, clean, and your food put away
in your vehicle you will not be bothered.
The Dowdy Ranch facility has not been designed to be a camping area.
There are no numbered camp sites as we expect at typical park
facilities. There is plenty of room for all the cars and campers for
our event within the facility. Please camp within the picnic area(s),
and do not forge out into un-mown fields to set up your camp-site. You
are encouraged to set-up within the large central equestrian parking
area and sleep next to your vehicle (or in it if you have a
truck-camper). This will be most convenient. For those seeking more
privacy and possibly a better view (views are still good below) a
short mowed path leading to an upper tier of picnic tables can be
taken to the south behind the main building. Additionally other
potential sites exist along the periphery. All of these sites are well
within walking distance of toilets and water.
For directions we’ll quote what California State Parks has published
on the web:
“Dowdy Ranch is located at the southeast border of Henry Coe, the
second largest state park in California with more than 87,000 acres.
It is accessible from Highway 152 at Bell Station. If traveling east
on Highway 152, go 6.5 miles from the Highway 156 junction, turn left
at Bell Station into the turning pocket and wait for the west bound
traffic to clear. Safely cross over the highway and continue 7 miles
north on the unpaved Kaiser-Aetna Road. Plan at least a 30 minute trip
each way. Traveling west, the turnoff is approximately 22 miles from
Interstate 5. Make sure to carry a spare tire and extra water, just in
case. The road has several changes in elevation and many turns and
bends. The speed limit is 25 mph.”
I should add that there is some washboard and a lot of dust!
Gates, entry and exit
The dirt road up to Dowdy Ranch is called Kaiser-Aetna Road. Access to
this road is blocked by a secured gate. For the purpose of our event
ROMP volunteers will be greeting and admitting ROMP members through
the gate. If you have come for the entire weekend, on Saturday after 5
pm, no one will be permitted to leave by vehicle except for emergency.
On Sunday after 9 am the gate will be closed for entry.
Coe Epic 2007 Schedule
Saturday May 12th
9am-5pm Gate open for check-in.
10:00 am Trail work option
11:00 am Guided ride
2:00 pm Another ride
4:00 pm SAG Sweep
6:00 pm BBQ, silent auction, etc.
Sunday May 13th
7am-9am Gate open for check-in.
8am-10am Ride groups depart
10am-2pm Rest stop
2pm-4pm SAG Sweep
4pm-6pm Everyone going or gone home and place cleaned up.
The volunteer activity on Saturday will take place right next to the
place we are camping. There is no long hike, ride or drive to this
one. The trail is called Macks Corral Trail. We will be repairing and
re-establishing the immediate trail bed that stems from the picnic
area. The trail was obliterated by recent construction activity.
Volunteers are required to sign a waiver and suffer a small
indoctrination into the simple practice of trail-work. We’ll be
testing the quality of our work first thing on the Epic route. Please
stop by and check it out, and join in if you like at any time after
10:00 am. Please contact the trail crew leader Paul Nam on-site before
picking up any tool. We'll be working our way down the trail as far as
we can until 4pm.
I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to
humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8
years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)
Please don't put a cell phone next to any part of your body that you are fond of!
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