Monday, November 17, 2008

mother of god I found me a gnarly trail

If you've been following this blog, or if you've ridden with any of the Redstone crew, you'd know that I like difficult trails. I'm not talking about the double black diamond wooden structure "freeride" stuff you find at the resorts, I'm talking about anything you'd normally find in the USFS backcountry. Heck, no problem if you can't ride them - no shame in hiking up or down. Tough trails are generally more fun. I generally don't discriminate against steep trails. Steep trails are fun.
With that knowledge, I went to one of my semi regular riding spots to check out some new riding I've been hearing about. I didn't know what I'd find, but I knew that on the map, those contour lines were pretty darn close to each other on the descent as well as the climb out. To add to that, they were past the "top" and down the other side. It could (and probably would) mean a long hike out with no other bailout options.

Climbing up, I pretty much always stop for this view.

Finally at the top, I see that a trail/road that's been around a while has been recently signed. Good. This would be my way out. I had the feeling that I was descending into a hole and climbing back out.

After some more climbing, I found my turn off. It was marked well. Very well.

The views were amazing from the get go. I lowered my saddle and was off. The pic doesn't do it justice, but it was, in places, frighteningly steep.

With more than a few precipitous sections. Super slack angled dh bikes rejoice.

Other parts of the descent were narrow and fun.

Even found grippy dirt in a couple of spots. Unfortunately, the sweet spots were very shortly lived. Too shortly lived. After the fun and swoop, another churned up super ass steep switchback awaited.

As it turns out, I did have to hike out. Pretty much 95% was a hike. About 900' vertical. Here's a shot looking back at the switchback I just climbed out of. One section was so steep hiking out that I had to use my knee for traction up. sheesh.

I finally made it out and back tot he top just as it was time to click on my light. Whew. I don't think I wanted to go poking around exploration style on a badass hike a bike in the dark.
Night riding is good, isn't it?
Just to give perspective, here's the Google Earth shot of that crazy descent. Did I mention that it was also on the top/side of a cliff. Yep, pretty steep. I ended up walking a whole bunch of it. It was super hard, super steep, and I value my life.

It's the type of trail that I normally would still ride if it was worth getting to the bottom of, but it just wasn't. Get to the bottom turn around and hike 900' back out. No thanks. Now here's the part that really gets me.

The Forest Service gets their panties in a bunch if they find an illegal/social trail, despite how well made the trail is. They could come across a beautifully built chunk of singletrack and immediately want to close it strictly because it wasn't their idea. I understand due process and all and I'm not disagree-ing. There is, however, a reason for that due process. It's so that the public can have input on the trail, hopefully insuring that it will be a well built trail that will see a lot of use. 836 and 837, on the other hand, are completely the opposite. We sat in on several USFS meetings regarding this particular area and we lobbied for the expansion of new and sustainable singletrack. After the public process was done, the USFS agreed to build 1 new trail in an area that didn't make sense. After all of that public process, we get these 2 new trails. A) they weren't on the original agenda (not that big of a deal) and B) they have to be the crappiest built trails I've been on in a long time. How about ripping a moto straight down and back up the fall line? Sure, hyuck, hyuck. I've got a throttle, make that shit steep. See the sign? The one that says if motos can't stay on the trail, it'll get closed? Guess what? It's so steep and piss poorly built, that it's only been around less than a year and it's already starting to get really braided in spots. It's not irresponsible users, it's that no mind was paid when it was laid out. I'll be surprised if it doesn't get closed to motos sooner than later. I'm all about sharing the trails, but we've got to use our brains here. Moto folk, that means you, too. At the very least, when it gets closed to motos, we can show Ed how to reroute the trail to make it sustainable and we can take it over then.

All in all, it wouldn't be a bad DH bike trail, but hiking out with a 29lb bikewas bad enough. I can only imagine how painful hiking out with a 40lb bike would be. I probably won't hit it again. Well, er, not the same direction anyway. I'm a slow learner, and as such, I'll have to ride it backwards to make sure it still sucks. I'm already thinking about that ride. And, no, I won't be featuring this one on a Tuesday nighter.

Tuesday nigher, hey, that's tomorrow! See everyone at 6...

1 comment:

-bb said...

I've been riding those trails all spring, and they're super fun on a slack angle bike (no DH, more an FR bike). But I wouldn't bother riding the other way- while that way seems like the most potential if it were worked on (great place for some stunts), it's not that fun right now. The way you went is better. And I don't think it'll be a sustainability problem with just mountain bikes, but the motos will probably rip it up. I did talk to some moto folk and they tend to avoid it once they hit it once and have to climb out, except for the trials guys. Doesn't seem to be getting a lot of use this spring from anyway except myself and some biking buddies...