Monday, October 25, 2010

Windrock (Tennessee)

Our trip to Windrock was a real eye opener. The trails there are phenomenal! Largely natural terrain with an extremely high level of risk and technicality. It's as if the trail builders tied trail between the gnarliest rock piles they could find as they scouted out the path for their trails. They're really impressive and definitely some trails that will leave riders challenged for years.

The weekend marked the end-of-season for this system of shuttle-accessed trails. There were two trucks pulling trailers filled with riders all weekend long. The trails are located on the Coal Creek OHV Park in Oliver Springs, TN. The company allows access for a small fee and offers trails for ATV's and large trucks. The mountain bike trails were available after local riders approached Coal Creek about building on their property. It's a lucky relationship that worked out for both parties.

On Saturday night we even got to watch a Mud Bog at the park.

The only bummer of the trip was my wreck on Sunday afternoon. We were lucky that it happened on literally the last run of our trip, however, since it taco-ed my front wheel and left me unable to ride anymore. Other than that mishap, the trip was great and I think everyone on the trip would be glad to revisit the park next summer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blue Mountain (Pennsylvania)

The final stop of the Gravity East Series was well-picked. Honestly one of the most enjoyable courses (and parks) of the summer. The weather was especially friendly too, raining the week before and stopping for two days of pure sunshine.

As a most excellent bonus to the trip, Rachel and I visited Dave Laverdure, one of my very best friends. Dave moved to Philadelphia years ago and it's a rare pleasure to spend some time with him.

After a night at Dave's, Rachel and I drove the extra hour and a half to Blue Mountain, just in time for a full day of practice. The course was fun and fast, a deceivingly steep course that left the rider at least "touching" the brakes for nearly the entire track. What I liked most about the trails at Blue Mountain was their resemblance to good XC trails, with a more natural, singletrack style. The course was littered with technical rock gardens too, but had a definite "line" through every section.

After Saturday's practice Rachel and I explored Jim Thorpe, PA. The town was alive with activity. Bands on every block and people everywhere. We also took a drive to Lehigh Gorge State Park before the sun set.

On race day the course had dried a bit more and seemed even more enjoyable. I had a great run with little error and a smile on my face the whole way - good enough for 3rd that day and 1st for the season in CAT2. It's been a long summer with a load of races (and highway hours), but it's taught me a lot about the layout of the east coast. I've decided to take a step back from racing next season and focus more on riding, visiting many of these GES stops again to explore THE REST of what each mountain has to offer.