Writing a wrapup story for an event like Kali Kamp is always a bit of a puzzler. With 20-plus people all camping at the beach for a couple of nights and shuttling into the hills to ride the world renowned singletrack of Santa Cruz, everyone’s experience ends up being slightly different.
But I think these two quotes overheard just moments after a particularly rowdy section of trail can give you a pretty good indication.
“That was amazing,” said one guest.
Followed closely by the thoughts of a second rider.
“I think I’m going to puke,” he muttered.
And there it is in a nutshell, Kali Kamp had a little bit of something for everyone.
We were super lucky as the forecast called for the perfect week and the weatherperson was spot on: warm days with big crystal blue skies followed by cool, crisp nights with a sky filled with sparkly stars.
New Brighton State Beach sells out faster than a San Francisco 49ers game and it’s not hard to see why. Situated right on the Pacific Ocean, the park is clean, well run and a little slice of heaven..
We were lucky enough to land a big corner group camp spot, plus two additional lots for the Kali “toy hauler” and some overflow parking.
The food was spot on with big breakfast burritos and piping hot coffee in the morning, followed on Wednesday night by an all-you-can-eat pasta feed.
But the highlight on the culinary front had to be Aaron’s flawlessly executed tri-tip sandwich extravaganza on Thursday night. I think I gained 3 pounds just watching, and smelling, the tri-tip as it was being prepared. Aaron brought along his own custom built stove filled with cedar, and only cedar. It was as impressive to watch, as it was to consume.
Now that just leaves what we thought about the riding.
Well, the riding in Santa Cruz is indescribably delicious.
Even though we have ridden all over the world and been lucky enough to road-trip to all the meccas of mountain biking: Moab, Tsali, Whistler, Snowshoe, Yankee Springs, Downeville, etc… Santa Cruz still holds something special.
With a shuttle at our disposal, we attempted to take in as many of the local offering as possible. Sadly, a bunch of the good stuff up in the Demo Forest is currently closed due to trail maintenance, but we still found ourselves plenty of flowy and some chunky and even a touch of “holy shit” thrown in for good measure.
As it happens with these sort of things, time seems to have a mind of its own. At the start everything feels a little awkward, as you try to adjust to the idea that this is going to be fun. And, in the middle, it feels like you are finally on vacation and this moment is going to last forever. And finally, as you reach the last run of the trip, you try to hold onto all the good vibes, warm fuzzy feelings and big grin moments, in the hope it would never end.
As with a lot of shared experiences where you are thrust into a situation with a bunch of strangers, or long lost friends, it’s not until it is over and you are saying your goodbyes that you realize what a special group of people you have been hanging around and how you will have this glorious, collective Kali Kamp memory forever.
Driving home we couldn’t help but wax nostalgic and start making plans for the next time we can all come together for another one of Kali’s off-site business meetings.
Viva la Kali Kamp.