rock cobbler 11 title

Rock Cobbler 11

Hoping this was a third time’s a charm for me, I was hoping for some mastery for Rock Cobbler 11.

While the course changes every year, I have been developing a sense of the riding even though the routes extend over 80 miles.

Still, there was something different going into this edition as California has been hit with heavy rains this February and while Bakersfield hasn’t been hit as hard as other regions, there was a significant worry about the conditions going in.

On thing that’s known about the dirt is it can get really sticky if properly saturated, but luckily enough the downpour eased up early in the week giving some time to dry out.

While normally you want to ride a Cobbler with 40s and above, Sam Ames sent out an email earlier in the week suggesting we try cyclocross type widths even beginning with 32s.

My bike was already fitted with 45s which would be a problem for most bikes, but my Lauf Seigla had plenty of clearance for mud so I stuck with what I knew.

Rock Cobbler 11 route(Note: most off-road are private lands)

The first thirty miles were familiar transversing the northern ranchlands, but there was an extra hill climb than normal yielding another 500 feet of elevation that would play into the final numbers.

Flipping over Round Mountain Road to Rancheria was my favorite section of the day as after a stable one mile climb, I flung around like a fighter jet sweeping down these massive curves where the green was almost too green for your eyes.

Rolling off of Rancheria brought the most feared section of the day knowing the Cobbler would let up after reaching the high point of the route topping off with a 2.5 mile climb where you’re painfully biking or painfully walking.

After a fun descent into the Grizzly Cycles pit stop that felt like you were joining a party, there was a lot of time to be made up on the road and powering through some rollers in the outskirts.

rock cobbler 11 grass

I knew the final dozen miles would be mostly a breeze other than excepting the signature hike-a-bike that always feels like the worst one ever when you’re doing it.

While expecting antics on our last dirt sector at Ethel’s Bar, I was super relieved not to run through a pool of plastic balls this year with riding through the patio with libations and live entertainment was icing on the cake.

This edition didn’t look any rougher looking at the route, but in practice the extra climbing paired with my wide tires definitely made this a longer experience than I had planned.

I may not ever prepare enough to ride a perfect Rock Cobbler, but you won’t stop seeing me from trying.