I grew up part way up Mt. Tamalpais, or as most locals refer to it: Mt. Tam. I spent many of my formative years exploring the mountain on foot or by bike. I have lived in the Bay Area for the vast majority of my life and feel very fortunate to be so well acquainted with this special mountain. Now that I am racing and training full time, I enjoy the privilege of exploring the many roads and trails meandering around the mountain more than ever.
In Marin County, we are blessed with temperate weather conditions, pretty much year round. That’s another reason why this is such an incredible place to train for a long season of off-road racing. But this winter has been different. First, we were pounded with a relentless rainstorm that washed away many of our favorite roads and trails, forcing our annual ‘Coast Ride’ to be canceled. Just as the sun finally came back out after a long month of rainy weather to remind us what a typical CA winter entails, the temperature quickly dropped and the precipitation resumed.
Instead of the heavy rains we had experienced in December and January, this storm brought something new, something unexpected. Last week it snowed on the top of Mt. Tam and a number of the other peaks and ridges of the Bay Area.
Having spent so much of my life in this area, I am very familiar with how rare this type of weather is. I can recall seeing a dusting of snow on Mt Tam from afar on two, maybe three occasions growing up. After all these years, I’ve still never been able to experience snow up close on Tam.
So when I saw the forecast calling for a dusting of snow on the summit, I called my friend and photographer Jim Merithew and we made hasty plans to beeline to the summit if we awoke to a snow capped Tam. At 6:30 on Friday when my alarm went off, it was pouring rain down low in Mill Valley. I quickly opened Instagram and went to the DawnPatrolTam page. Sure enough those guys were up there for sunrise and the snow was falling. I called up Jim and we decided to go for it.
I stopped by Above Category to pick up my beautiful new Mosaic MT2 hardtail and drove up the mountain to meet Jim. By the time we met up at the Bootjack parking lot, there was quite a crowd and an impressive amount of chaos. People were honking their horns, sliding around in the snow, and ramming their cars into each other. It was insane. Fortunately Jim snagged an ideal parking spot and we split for the trails, eager to escape the melee. As we trudged through the snow and made our way out of earshot of the chaos in the parking lot, all we could hear was the soft snow landing. It was spectacular.
Sure, I’ve seen snow in plenty of places. It’s not a new thing to me. Jim and I recently spent a long weekend in Boulder, Colorado for Old Man Winter and a visit to Mosaic HQ. It snowed a lot on that trip. But seeing snow on Mt. Tam was something different. It was like living a childhood dream. And it certainly had me grinning ear to ear and jumping around on my bike like a young grom.
Jim and I cruised around for an hour until our shoes became saturated and we decided it was time to split. He went back to the car, but I couldn’t resist pedaling my bike up a bit higher to the summit. I pedaled further up Railroad Grade towards Ridgecrest Boulevard and East Peak and was astounded at the quantity of snow. This wasn’t just a light dusting on the side of the road, there were 4-5 inches of fresh powder!
I slid around for a while longer, took a few more photos, and then ripped all the way back down the mountain. The traction was minimal, mud was flying, my brand new bike was splattered with a thick layer of mud and ice, and the stoke was an all-time high.
Thank you Mother Nature and Mt. Tam for providing such an unforgettable day. That was truly special. And thank you Jim for coming out and capturing the moment. Lastly, thank you to Mosaic for the incredible new hardtail. Sorry I’ve wasted no time in ‘breaking it in’. Fortunately I’ve got AC’s Robert and Dane to make it new again!
Did any of you get to experience the historic snowfall?
WHAT I RODE
Frame: Mosaic MT2 Size XL
Fork: Fox Factory StepCast 120mm
Groupset: Sram X01 Eagle AXS
Brakes: Sram G2 Ultimate
Cockpit: Enve Carbon M5
Wheels Enve M630 w/ Industry Nine Hubs
TIres: Maxxis Rekon 2.25”
Power Meter: SRM Origin PM9
Cages: Arundel Team Edition Mandible
Pedals: XTR w/ Meti Ti Spindle Upgrade
Saddle: Form Cycling Throne RS Carbon
Computer: Garmin Edge 1040 Solar
Upgrades/Bearings: CeramicSpeed Coated BB, OSPW, and UFO Chain