Ancient Peaks MTB Classic
Behind the scenes in SLO, California« Back to News & Reviews
CCN interviewed the organizers of the Ancient Peaks. Based out of SLO, California (San Luis Obispo for the unitiated!), when CCN visited it became clear very quickly why this is such a great area for outdoor sports and course, MTB. So who and what are All Out Events and the Ancient Peaks?
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your mountain biking background?
All Out Events is a husband and wife team. Yishai Horowitz got into events as a senior project for his college (Kristin volunteered for it, just as a friend) and that led to human-powered outdoor events from adventure races to triathlons for the last ten years (and also had a hand in getting them together). We live in a very mountain-bike friendly area, a town literally surrounded by mountains and trails and it's very common to break into the sport as a result. Some of the top mountain bike riders from cross country to downhill and everything in between grow up here or go to college here, and we have a very strong mountain bike coalition that's continually improving the community. Mountain biking is in our blood.
2. When did the idea for Ancient Peaks come from?
One of the top adventure racers from the early 90s moved to town and invited Yishai on a ride. One thing led to another and he told us about a ranch a few miles north of town that had hired him to install a zipline as a tourist attraction and introduced us. Ranching is an expensive proposition, and this ranch is huge: 14,000 acres - the size of Manhattan and populated mostly by cows and vineyards. Its owners were looking for ways to bring additional income from the land without a lot of impact so when Yishai and Kristin proposed a mountain bike course, they jumped at the idea. Their staff have worked closely with us to ensure minimal impact on the environment and are excited to see us built these trails on their property. But rather than just trails, the idea is to make this a premier racing event - California is in dire need of a well-run event, featuring world-class trail systems and we were given the opportunity to do it. We could not say no.
3. What makes the race such a great event?
The ranch property is unique to any other riding opportunity in the region. You'll be flying through dry brush, moist, ferned regions, and oak savannahs covered with mystical Spanish moss on the same course. We have the ability to do pretty much anything we want with the course, and we're making sure we take advantage of it with local experts. We don't just want this to be a race - we want it to be an event. As many vendors, as much beer and food, and as much fun as physically possible. We have all the extras - finish arches, enthusiastic MCs and we have a cash purse for our downhill race. Plus, you get the chance to ride trails that are only open during the event and no other time. We spend a full year developing and maintaining the systems for only two weekends' use a year - you'll never ride somewhere more carefully thought out and exclusive.
4. The 2012 event is coming up -what changes if any do you have for the future?
Last year's cross country course was done in less than four months - there were some awkward things we did that we're redesigning this year based on feedback and our own feelings about the course. It should be a lot more fun and flowy this year.
We're adding a dual slalom and short track event to the gravity days - and we're making two weekends of gravity so fans can get their shuttles up to the top and dominate our insane course.
We're hoping all the positive press will bring out more people and more sponsors to make it even more of an event and community than last year, and we have it timed so the grass should still be green and the weather comfortable and dry!
5. What can riders expect over the course of the day? Any advice for success in the race?
Good food, happy staff, great community, and lots of awesome riding. Train hard, trust your bike, and be safe and you'll have a great time.
6. On an organization side, it must be keeping you busy. Where did you find the time to get out and ride and what's your favourite trail?
Keeping busy and riding is a priority. We have two Australian Shepherds that love riding more than anything else so we try to get them ten miles a day if possible - and since they are limited to certain trails, we do Shooters a lot. It's a neat little unofficial open space trail that starts at the college in town, goes down a dirt road, up a hill across creeks and some constructed bridges and then up, up, up one of the peaks. On the way back down you have a choice of a fun, rolling cross country ride or back the way you came. It's some of the best riding SLO has to offer and we can take the dogs! They LOVE the ramps and burms.
7. What are you riding now and what would be your ideal next bike purchase?
Both of us have old Specialized bikes - event management doesn't exactly make us high rollers, but they're solid bikes with quality components and we're happy. Talk to us in a couple years - we'll be paying closer to what's out there when our pockets are better lined after you come to the race and make all our hard labor and energy worth it!
8. What's your favourite post-ride beverage?
Good, hard rides demand a dose of FLUID recovery mix!
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9. Any closing comments/thoughts?
Putting on these kinds of events is so much work, energy, and a lot of worry that no one will come, but when you do and you're happy with what we've set up for you, it's a high no one can compare it to. It's not hard to compare what we do to people trying to cure cancer, but when someone comes up to me and says they're inspired to work harder or that they found out that they're capable of something greater than they knew . . . maybe that will motivate them to do something earth-shaking! So, come on out and visit us and help us make this an amazing experience!
There are a series of events in June and July, ranging from DS to Short Track to XC to DH. Check out Ancient Peaks on the CCN calendar.