5 Hours in 7 Springs

Remarkably there are not a lot of bike races in my neck of the woods. That’s remarkable because we have some awesome trails. It seams like we should have more races.

My dream is to have a endurance lap race on one of our trail systems. I’ve been thinking and plotting about what a perfect loop would be. Something that takes “an hour” so that if you ride fast enough you get an extra lap. If you ride a little too slow you don’t. Something that has challenging climbs. Something that has “buff” single track. And if possible something that has really flowy downhills.

One of our trail systems up here has all the elements of that dream in it. Elements. But its going to take some work.

Last week I needed to put in a 5 hour ride to prep for the Whiteface race (this Sunday, Yikes!) and I decided to take that opportunity to try out one idea I have for the endurance race lap. The day started off with a little jaunt on the road to the local hill climb. You know, something to warm the legs up. This was followed up by 5 laps.

Here is the profile (ignore the first 17 miles to warm the legs up):


The race lap starts with a steep climb on a two track trail lovingly called “The Climber”. This is a rocky two track that has a couple of really deep puddles on it pretty much 365 days a year. Bike Eating Puddles. The Climber also has a couple of really really steep pitched, baby head sections. You need to look up the trail, pick and line and keep your pedals turning. Nice and technical.

The lap then transitions to “Charlie’s Trail”. Charlie’s is my favorite trail right now. It’s what I would call a intermediate/advanced trail. It has a couple of technical pitches, some flowy sections, and beautiful sites. It’s  a trail that is fun to ride and would be fun to race. The loop then dumps out onto some dirt roads. Its a fast return to the start line with a short but very sketchy downhill section.

I did the lap 5 times. The good parts: The Climber got harder each time. Nice. Charlies run stayed fun each time. Double nice. The bad: The course is too short. It took me about 42 minutes to run, at a fun but not race pace. Too short.

What I really want to do is this: At the end of Charlies is a trail called Kenny’s Climb. That trail parallels Charlies and can be taken back up to the top of the mountain. Its a good trail but it has some pretty technical moves on it and some I am not sure are rideable by anything but a pro-rider (I could be wrong, but I’m not seeing most people bunny hopping up a 2.5 ft ledge).It also has a “skinny” on it that I detest. It’s too skinny (about 4 inches wide) and it’s not straight. Hey in theory I’m all for some challenging bits. And I know that the skinny hate I have is emotional. But asking me to look forward on a skinny and turn my bike is one step too far. Frankly I think there is a good chance someone would be hurt on this going at race pace. So Kenny’s is going to require some work.

Let’s assume you can get back up Kenny’s now you are back at the top of the hill. Did I mention this particular hill is an old ski hill? A small one, but a ski hill none the less. Clarkson owns the hill and the Clarkson Mountain Bike Club has trails on there. They have what they are calling a “flow trail” on it. Only its not really a flow trail. It’s not the kind of trail that you can take your fingers off the brakes and ride the banked, bearmed, buff trail to the bottom. But it could be (and the MTB club wants it to be). That trail dumps back off  into the start/finish line in my dream.

THAT loop would take about an hour. It would have a challenging climb, fun single track and a killer downhill run. Yeah. That’s my dream. And something that would be so worth spending say 8 hours riding in.


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