Thursday, November 1, 2007

Newness? Or same old?

The local riding community is all atwitter over a recently built trail. The express purpose of the trail was to cater to the gravity crowd piloting longer travel bikes and looking to challenge themselves with speed, chunk, and drops. It's a rare beast in hyper-litigious 'murrica--a trail officially recognized as The Place to challenge and potentially maim or destroy yourself. Booyah y'all--hold my beer and watch this!

5+ years of meetings and red tape in the making, plus more broken promises and outright lies than any of those involved care to count, now that it's open some are really happy to have it. Others are into it but less enthused. Some (whom have the other 99.5% of the trails in the valley that cater to their abilities and whims and complaints) have griped about it since the start. Since the idea was announced, actually.

I'm in the camp that thinks it's great that this trail exists, even if I am not the demographic it was intended to please. It isn't that different from the other trails around it: Lots of chunk, not so much flow, pedaling intensive (even though it trends downhill), and with some cool alternate lines built in to give different ability levels some fun choices to make as they approach each play area. On my first lap down it I must have found the ever-elusive lobotomy switch, somehow convincing myself to ride ~80% of the "big" or "hard" lines en route (most of which I have yet to touch or seriously consider since).

It's not that the trail is that technically challenging, it's just that it has lots of what we like to call 'heady' moves. A straight 5' drop is nothing to most folks around here, but throw in some exposure, or a funny hitch on the in-run, or a 5+ footer (at speed, with exposure, and a blind takeoff) to a berm into a mandatory hip/8' gap with more exposure, and you can start to see where the challenge lies.

One of the main bitch points (thus far) has been the signage. Many have complained about how intrusive (and huge, and verbose, and gaudy) the signage is, but I'd wager that few of the complainers have stopped to realize that without the signs, the trail wouldn't exist. Period. I'd much prefer it if the signs weren't there, and most riders are certainly willing to accept the responsibility that comes with riding this sort of stuff signed or not. But that's all beside the point. No one believes for a second that the local trail group or the BLM put the signs up to protect anyone other than their own asses. That's the state we live in--might as well complain about the sunrise.

As fun and challenging as the trail is, much of it is not conducive to photography for various reasons: Poor sight lines, poor perspectives, and poor ability of the monkey with the camera to get off the bike and snap some pics... Which is fine--it's the ride that matters here.

The pic of a broom stashed under an overhang just kills me. Rumor has it that a 'rider' complained that a certain section was 'too dusty', and that something should be done about it. How that rider made it to that point alive is beyond me.

The first two signs in the slideshow are legit. I took the liberty of adding a few others to the show to give an idea of what the trail will probably look like in a year or two after the local BLM whores themselves out to local businesses...

Enjoy.

MC