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Blazing my own trail

Posted by desflurane on February 14, 2013

Fine weather, time away from work – can only mean one thing!

I slung my bike onto the back of my Jeep again and headed off for the range of hills behind our local high school. They are not especially high, but reasonably steep – providing a few challenging hill climbing opportunities. But what is truly lacking is some nice single track. There is one trail that winds along for about five miles. It’s good, but I want more!

So I resolved to make my own!

I had a location in the back of my mind – a narrow gulley that climbs up for a mile or two, finally opening into a broad saddle between two hilltops right at the top of the range. I decided to start with the middle section, where my imagined route will come out of the gulley and zig-zag up the ridge on its right-hand side. A nice road leads conveniently close to this location, so I started there.

A steep climb from the dirt road conceals the trailhead, so hopefully the four-wheelers will not discover my route any time soon.

I cut in about a mile of trail, traversing back and forth across the ridge line. As I’ve mentioned, the ground is still damp but in the area it is so loose and sandy that the switchbacks are pretty sketchy. I’m going back with my little shovel to build some berms. Hopefully that will make it more rideable. At present there are three or four places where I’m off the bike pushing it around a switchback. Not ideal. I want to keep it challenging, but not impossible to ride smoothly.

I spent a couple of hours on the trail building project, then headed back down to the bottom of the hills for some riding on established trails (which are crazy-wide and heavily whooped out).

I hit the other section of single track and had a great time on it. Definitely riding it quicker than I used to! Finding a little traction along the way certainly helps. More often than not that trail is a loose, rocky mess – challenging because of the baseball to softball sized stones littering the path rather than the difficult terrain. Even with the stones it was in good, grippy condition this time.

The ultimate goal would be to link up the two stretches of singletrack into one nice 10-15 mile loop. Someday!


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