Hundreds head to Cool for mountain bike race

By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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COOL — Wheels were turning, muscles were aching and mud was flying Sunday morning behind the Cool Fire Station. It was another perfect spring day at the Cool Mountain Bike Race for 425 riders eager for an early season challenge. John and Aaron Hood of Meadow Vista took the race’s family atmosphere to another level. Father John rode with his 14-year-old son Aaron on a brand new, full-suspension Ventana tandem mountain bike. They completed two laps around the 10-mile Olmstead Loop in just over two hours to win the tandem class. “It’s a blast, “John Hood said. “He gets to hear some words that I don’t usually use, but it’s family fitness. This is going to make us all live a lot longer.” The Hoods’ journey wasn’t a completely smooth one. The chain on their bike came off on the trail, leading to a frustrating, but comedic attempt to repair it. “We were so tired, we just couldn’t figure it out,” John said. “It was comical.” The tandem ride isn’t the most nimble vehicle on the curvy, single track sections of the trail. “The hardest part is making it turn,” John added. “It wants to go straight all the time. It will go really fast downhill, but not so fast uphill.” The 17th annual race once again brought together both beginners and professionals on the same rugged trail. The race started under excellent conditions, but the trail turned muddy and slick as the rain came down and made the trail more challenging, even for the top riders in the 425-person field. “By the second lap we were slipping and sliding quite a bit,” said Kevin Smallman of San Leandro, who took second in the men’s professional division. The Cool Mountain Bike Race raised thousands of dollars for the Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition. The money goes toward trail construction and maintenance in the Auburn State Recreation Area. The Journal’s Todd Mordhorst can be reached at or comment at