Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Santa Cruz State Parks: 3 Family Fun Fall Events to Visit

Here's a sampling of what's happening in Santa Cruz County, California, at some of our finest state parks! Take family and friends or go solo, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 10
10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Welcome Back Monarchs Day  at Natural Bridges State Beach
Come celebrate the homecoming of our over-wintering, migratory monarch butterflies.   It’s a special day to welcome back these winged-travelers—it’s the 30th anniversary of this event. (Plus it takes place on 10-10-10 starting at 10am!)  The park is located at the northern end of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.  For more information, call (831) 423-4609.  Guided walks of the Monarch Grove take place weekends at 11 AM and 2PM beginning October 11 until the monarchs migrate, (Jan/Feb).

Saturday, October 23
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Heritage Harvest Festival at Wilder Ranch State Park
Choose and decorate a pumpkin, take a wagon ride, try your hand at harvest activities, learn to square dance, listen to live bluegrass music, apple tasting, play cow-pie bingo, and much more!   The park is located 2 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1.  For more information, call (831) 426-0505.

Saturday, October 30
Sign ups begin at 6:30 p.m.  Walks start every 10 min. beginning at 7:00 p.m.
The Missing Arm of William Waddell at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Bring a flashlight and see this slightly silly, slightly spooky, slightly true story unfold along the trail.   Register at Park Headquarters.  The park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236.  For more information, please call (831) 338-8861.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gearing up for Cyclocross Season with New Women's Team

I am in the center of this group of Ciclista Bonita, a new women's bicycling team and club. We all attended a Sept. 5 cyclocross clinic in Aptos, California. Photo Credit: Tom Feix.

I have not raced cyclocross for a few seasons, so naturally I'm a little rusty on the signature moves of the niche cycling sport. Jumping on and off my bike, running up steep hills and leaping over wooden barriers while carrying my bike is not part of my normal rides, but it is critical training for cyclocross. Since this style of riding includes such a unique blend of road and mountain bike techniques, practice is key. On Sunday, Sept. 5, I was inspired to pump up the tires on my purple Rock Lobster cyclocross bike and attend a cyclocross skills clinic. Hosted by Bike Station Aptos and Ciclista Bonita  -- a new women's cycling team based in Santa Cruz County -- the clinic boasted professional cyclist Ben Jacques-Maynes as one of the several instructors. The half-day session filled to capacity with 60 people, including a handful of juniors.

"We had a waiting list," said Mary Perez, Ciclista Bonita Team Manager.
Perez is considering hosting another cyclocross clinic in October. Meanwhile, the team is organizing a series of health and fitness talks focused on women but open to everyone.

On Sept. 28, Dr. Goldi Jacques-Maynes of Golden Chiropractic will talk about "Self Care for Ciclistas: How to keep your body happy with simple stretches, foam rollers & massage sticks." The talk will take place at Bike Station Aptos. A $10 donation is encouraged to help support women's and junior cycling programs.

For a listing of other cyclocross clinics and a cyclocross race calendar, visit

Ciclistas Bonitas show their high stepping practice moves for jumping over barricades in cyclocross bike racing.  Photo credit: Tom Feix.
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