Posted Dec. 15, 2003
Blast from the past: Lime Ridge madness

I could go on and on about how rad Lime Ridge was, how much fun we had and how much I learned about fear and pain, but this will have to do for now:

Lime Ridge creeps from the foothills of Mount Diablo and pries apart the cities of Walnut Creek and Concord. (map) Walnut Creek had the time and money to police their side, but Concord, thankfully, had more important things to worry about, so that side of the ridge was a free-for-all for decades. Back in the '70s long-haired kids rode yellow Yamahas, and in the '90s their kids rode mountain bikes.

The original trail, called Mach 5, cut all the way down the ridge, through the old lime quarry, over rollers, through bowls and down to some BMX jumps. You could climb up the Walnut Creek side and rail this on an XC bike, or you could session it DH style. I held a couple bootleg races there, with homemade medals and schwag from the the local bike shop. (Jim Norman, the star of the videos on this page, still has his 1st place chain ring with inlaid chocolate coin.)

In the mid 90s, as bikes got bigger and riding got more vertical, people started building a big slalom course in the upper oak valley. The trail swept from one bank to the other, with ever-bigger berms and ever-bigger jumps. The last I saw, one of the turns had three separate lines, one dropping into a triple jump. After a bermed right there was a 20+ foot double. Good stuff.

Here's the first video Jim and I ever did.

This is Jim the year he won two DH nationals in expert. He went semipro soon afterward.

Then a certain genius decided to build to ultimate practice course. Sort of a cross between the Sea Otter and a French World Cup. If had tight berms, fast jumps, transfers, a corkscrew and all of that.

With houses near the drop-in and a strip mall on the run-out, Lime Ridge has finally succumbed to development. But I hear the kids keep on diggin' ...

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