This is the very first of Bike Monkey's Roam Ventures: Roam Venture 1. It's inspired by a very special ride:
"At the onset of the pandemic, in May of 2020 I was invited to attempt a route in the heart of Mendocino National Forest—a very big route. The two of us were very likely the first. It became the greatest day I ever had on a bike—the hardest; the most memorable; the one. It will forever take me from where I am. Simply doing math could have prevented it. But by the time I questioned myself, we were so deep we had to keep going, nowhere near the end. That day is a tattoo. It inspires everything." ~Carlos Perez, Founder.
Our very first venture begins in Ukiah, California, the largest city in the entirety of Mendocino County. Beyond this, places become quite foreign.
This one's for those with a serious pass. You posses a strong sense of adventure, a love of the outdoors and great capacity to find pleasure from extracting yourself on relentless climbs.
We will cover 211 miles of mixed terrain, climbing 24,000' in the process. More than 140 of those miles are on dirt. We'll break it into four days. None of them will be easy.
You're going to camp under the stars. You're going to disconnect. Society may be coming back online, but we're going to unplug.
23 miles, 2200', 50% smooth gravel.
Thursday afternoon we arrive in Ukiah to plot and prepare for the days ahead.
Ukiah is 2 hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We will transfer the gear you were told to bring to our venture vehicles.
At 2:00pm we'll go for an afternoon road and gravel ride to get to know each other and check the systems. Nothing crazy, but a solid climb and descent to make sure we're ready for what lies ahead.
We'll give your bike a quick check to make sure everything is dialed for the next day.
Over dinner we'll get to know each other so we all feel safer pooping in the woods. We're about to watch our daily routines disappear in the rearview mirror. What better way to start than to learn who'll be watching with you?
Lodging Thursday night only at Hampton Inn Ukiah is included with your entry but you may opt out so long as you arrive on time and are truly ready for weekend on Friday morning.
59 miles, 9000', 60% gravel.
Ukiah sits at 633' above sea level. At the end of the ride we'll be sitting a mile above sea level. 40 miles in, we'll take a formal rest and regroup before the final leg which consists of the major climb for the day—a 2000' ascent to the top of Kneecap where our camp awaits. You did pack a tent right?
70 miles, 12000', Gravel.
Getting here was half the story. This is the ride that started it all. We'll nearly kiss 7000' above sea level twice. At the end of the day we'll stargaze as we rest our heads near the backdrop of Hull Mountain with a birds eye view of Lake Pillsberry far below. Today spreads nearly 12000' of elevation gain over 70 miles. It's gravel. All of it.
50 miles, 2600', Gravel, dirt trails and paved roads.
What else is there to say? Sunday looks like this. Hard to see it but somewhere in the last 50 miles of our trip is 2600' of elevation with a singletrack detour around Lake Mendocino on the way home.