|Waterdog Lake wasn't
quite what I expected. It's close by (located in Belmont,
just off Ralston and Alameda), and somehow that makes you think
safe. Think again...if you choose to, you can get quite a
bit of excitement here! Technical, very steep climbs, twisty
singletrack, crazy little descents and quite a bit of poison oak
make this much more challenging than
If you stick to the main trail (called Lake Road) it's not so
bad. But if you want to do some real exploring, I'd strongly
recommend riding with someone who knows the place and be prepared
to be seriously questioned when you bring your thrashed bike into
the shop for repairs and say that you were "just" riding
at Waterdog Lake, and any bike ought to be able to take that!
Great things are happening at
Waterdog Lake! This is a rare opportunity...the city
of Belmont is actually encouraging the mountain bike community to
help plan and build trails. Not enough thanks can go to
Berry Stevens, a long-time crusader for the rights of responsible
mountain bikers. Find out more on our local
|The entrance to Waterdog Lake, at
Lyall Way & Lake Road in Belmont.
||As is the case with most rides on
this website, climbing is not an option!
|But as is the case with most climbs,
there are rewards. The views stretch all the way from San
Francisco to San Jose.
||Why wear a helmet? Sergei
demonstrated this for us by crashing on a descent, breaking his
helmet (but not his head).
I'm not paranoid...these guys were clearly plotting against
me! Left to right are Bruno, Sergei and Pat, all Chain
Reaction employees. There is little doubt in my mind that youth
is, indeed, wasted on the young. Bruno and Pat share bike
handling skills that demonstrate no fear of failure, while Sergei
is just a bit more mortal. I, on the other hand...let's just
say I feel a lot more at home on a road bike!
|The first of several extremely steep
(and fairly technical) climbs. Bruno & Pat made it up; I
got a ways up and then walked.
Looks pretty, doesn't it? Sure it does! Starts as a
wide single-track trail, narrows down quickly and then becomes
about half-an-inch wide (well, seemed that way to me!) as it
meanders past creeks, poison oak (why did that plant seem to wave
after I rode past?) and gigantic spider-web canopies. Low
clearance is a definite issue as I just about had my helmet ripped
off at one point.
|One of the more improved road
surfaces, this time a very rocky, and relatively steep descent.
|Bruno above, and Pat on the right,
demonstrating hill-climbing technique on one of the steepest
section of trail we encountered.
||It's almost impossible to make it
all the way up this; what separates the great from the also-rans
is a lack of fear of consequences when you can't go any further.
|At the top of the hill you're riding
past backyards of homes with true million-dollar views...
||...of cyclists having a great time
doing jumps and thrashing both bike & limb.
||And in this case, bike thrashing
meant Bruno unclipping in the middle of a jump, causing an
unexpectedly-difficult landing (OK, crash) which resulted in a
blown rear tube!