Rock Cobbler 3.0
Sketchy, gnarly, ambitious, taxing, burly, challenging, testing, exhausting... the list goes on. The Rock Cobbler is all of this and much, much more. Sambarn Productions delivers. Not to mention, instead of overly macho bravado, they lead with honesty and a real sense of concern for their riders. Void of overly exaggerated, fancied up bits of marketing hype in an attempt to build up your anxiety and doubts, the lead up to course reveal are anything but that. At least that’s been my experience. Matt, Greg, Keith and Sam, the event’s main men mainly want to ensure that you have a good time first and foremost. Oh, and they want to make sure you do plenty of suffering along the way. If you actually choose to register, show up, and make the slightest effort to reach out, you are instantly family.
Like-minded lovers of life and bicycles gathered in Bakersfield, CA to endure the 3rd coming of the Rock Cobbler ride. Packet pickup and an optional pre-ride dinner was held at the colorful Pyranees Café, a Basque style restaurant that dished out some serious amounts of food the night before. Giving riders a chance to catch up, meet and share some time sans lycra clad, embro legged, cleat clomping. Not technically a “race” however timing chips and official times would be tracked, so yeah, it really is kind of a race. Some even chose the 10+ mile neutral roll out as their moment to attack, burning countless matches before anything remotely challenging was thrown at us.
Last year’s ride was hard, I assure you it was, but the crew found a way to take it up a notch this year. Not the same route at all including a reversal of the passing through the Rio Bravo Ranch, that forced many a walk up. I remember descending this section last year thinking, “damn this is steep!” but going up always puts things in their true perspective. Over the course of 80 some miles and 7,000 feet of ascending you can expect dirt, mud, grass, rocks, sand, river crossings, cow stomped fields that felt like cobbles in Flanders, some ridiculous hike-a-bike and euphoric downhill single track banked slalom awesomeness.
Although some are out to race, I was out to enjoy. I did my best to ride hard enough to finish inside of my own time goal, but also to stop and smell the roses (I took over 50 pictures over the course of the ride). I don’t get out here very often, not to mention the fact that this ride gets access to otherwise private land, so I didn’t want to rush my way through. The private land access in and of itself makes it worth it, riding your bike through orchards and cattle land, all the while just waiting to see what’s around the next corner, well shit…it just doesn’t get any better.
I want to say “thanks” to my good friend Kevin and his wife Lara for putting buddy Jason and I up, offering us a temporary home base as well as feeding us some solid breakfast tacos the morning of the ride. Many thanks as well to Sambarn productions and their amazing crew of volunteers, Lengthwise Brewing Co., all of the riders especially the folks I shared portions of the course with, friends new and old, and a BIG thank you to Neil Shirley for bringing me a helmet to use…yeah I blew it and forgot to pack one of the 3 I own. Lastly I’d like to say “NO THANKS!” to the guy offering hand ups at mile 55, only after I’d thrown what appeared to be a delicious amber ale down the back of my throat did I realize he was sharing the sold out 17th Annual Barrel Aged Habanero Zues…oh the burn.
Hope to see you all out there next year!
*Bonus footage courtesy of Jason Judy’s youtube : https://youtu.be/rP0LacWsEoE
My Strava file from the ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/488494948
Rock Cobbbler 3.0 Results http://www.tbgtiming.com/2016%20Rock%20Cobbler%20Results%20By%20Class_3.pdf
Rock Cobbler FB page: https://www.facebook.com/TheRockCobbler/