Yesterday I had been trying to decide between Elm Creek and Murphy for today's ride... I eventually chose to take advantage of the weekend traffic and drive up to Elm Creek. Driving from South Minneapolis to the 3rd ring NW suburb where Elm Creek Park Reserve is located on a weekday would be a traffic nightmare. On a weekend though, it is well worth the drive.
This is definitely where Theo Wirth has an advantage... being able to ride from home to the trail is a big plus in my book.
Like Theo, Elm Creek recently had a new section of trail open up. The newly opened section is a roughly 2 mile loop that covers some nice terrain on the southern boundary of the mountain bike area.
Elm Creek doesn't have any "expert" or "advanced" trail... all the trails there are either beginner or intermediate. The new section is simply referred to as the "most difficult" loop (although it is still intermediate level difficulty). The new loop has a few more technical features (log piles), but otherwise has a similar feel as the rest of the trail.
The most challenging of these log piles is pictured below. It's a log pile up and over a crooked tree. A really cool idea, but the ramps are steep enough that most bikes will drag a chainring across the tree. The ramps were also made up of already rotting logs and dirt.
The cool thing about this feature is that you are riding up over a tree. My hope is that a more permanent feature will be built with larger, sturdier ramps that create a flatter top to the feature. This would go a long way to protecting the tree trunk from getting chewed up by chainrings.
I rode from the parking lot to the singletrack via the park's network of paved paths. Elm Creek Park Reserve has some of the nicest paved paths in the Twin Cities area. Some day I'll make the trek up there on my other (more road-worthy) Fargo.
It was sunny, hot and humid today and there were definitely points in my ride where I regretted my decision this morning... Murphy has a lot more shade than Elm Creek. At times the combination of sun, heat, and humidity was brutal. But it was worth it for a fun ride on a great trail. I gotta say that unless our warm weather pattern changes soon, it might be a while before I ride Elm Creek again. That said, I'm really looking forward to riding this trail in the fall.
Stopping can be as much fun as riding...