A new expert loop opened up at Theo Wirth recently... and while it's really short, it's a lot of fun. I got a chance to check it out and I'm really impressed with some of the features. It's a welcome addition to one of my favorite trails. One of the things I like most about Theo is that it's a fun ride to and from the trail, so instead of driving to the trail I rode from home. It ended up being a nice 27 mile ride on a beautiful summer day.
The fat front Fargo's long wheelbase and low bottom bracket didn't make the new loop any easier, especially the new wooden skinny. But it's alright, I'm still in love with the way this bike rides...
After riding over a rock qualifier, the narrow trail continues downhill to a turning rock garden, then through a couple armored gully crossings. Shortly after the gully you climb up to two fun elevated structures. Here are some pics of the new structures...
Wooden Feature 1: The first elevated structure is located on an uphill which makes it a bit more difficult, but it's wide enough that you can pedal hard with little chance of falling off. The feature makes a 90 degree right turn, then slopes downhill to give you momentum for the next feature.
Feature 1 Entrance: (looking forward)
Feature 1 Exit: (looking backward)
Wooden Feature 2: The second feature is a long, low skinny with a tight S-curve and a double camelback at the end. It is low enough that falling off the feature is not an issue (unless you're at the top of one of the camelback humps).
Feature 2 Entrance: (looking forward)
Middle of Feature 2: (looking forward)
Feature 2 Exit: (looking backward)
The S-curve about 1/3 of the way through is the toughest part... it took quite a few tries but I finally cleared the entire thing. My rear tire kept dropping off the inside of the first curve. After walking the bike through the corner I realized that with such a long wheelbase I needed to hop the rear wheel when I was half way through the S-curve. Once I did that, I was able ride the feature cleanly.
The Fargo's low bottom bracket cleared all the rocks along the new loop, but I dragged my bashguard on one of the camelback humps... it'll be interesting to see if other riders hit their big rings and end up damaging the decking.
After the wooden features, the trail starts to climb back up to the main trail. The coolest feature on the climb out, and the most impressive from a trailbuilding perspective, is an awesome rock causeway.
After the rock causeway there is a series of rock steps with a tight corner. I'm not much into slow speed, uphill technical features, but I can see how this could be an appealing challenge for some riders. If you've ridden Lebanon Hills, it reminds me of a smaller version of Tedman's Curve. I didn't put much effort into clearing this section, but I'm guessing it'll require one or two hop/wheelie type moves for me to ride cleanly.
This short section of trail has been in the works for about 6 years. I can only guess what took so long. Whatever the reason, it's just nice to finally have an expert loop at Theo. Thanks to all those that approved, designed, and/or built this loop... good job!
If you are looking to try something new, and a bit more technical, keep your eyes open for the entrance to the new loop.
Stopping can be as much fun as riding...