So despite not participating in much lately and not updating this much this year, I though I'd share the experience of a new trail many of you probably had not ridden yet. The opportunity came about to get out of town for a day to go check out something new with a couple of partners in crime, so I jumped on that chance like I would a freshly-opened bag of Doritos after a night of Wizard Sticks. Narrowly escaping the high winds at Mt. Pleasant CX with Lawman, I made my escape and headed towards Springfield, bike in tow. My goal was to meet Sean and Casey, where we would commence gnar-shredding procedures the next day at the new-ish Two Rivers Mountain Bike Park, near Springfield, MO.
Next day arrives, and we venture out first in search of breakfast provisions, which we found at the Gold Star Diner in beautiful Billings, MO. A place frozen in time, as it still allowed smoking indoors. I felt like Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber:
| "Feels good to mingle with these laid-back country-folk, don't it, Harry?"|
What else did I see off the edge of the lot? A shuttle-able slope-style run:
|Kinda hard to see, but that is like 9-10 badass bermed-out switch-backs, with a wooden wall-ride.|
And there were still almost 10 miles of trail to ride.
The three of us, Casey (his second time mountain biking, ever), Sean (long-time supporter of big tobacco), and myself, the Unflushable Turd. Of course, we start out with a fairly lengthy climb, which brought back memories of gravy-drenched breakfasts and a year of daily drinking. We crested near the top of the slope-style run, and decided to hit it - too bad I left my dropper-post at the store, because I never actually bought one. No matter, we bombed that thing like the Council Bluff pit toilets, and got to the bottom thinking "Holy shit, what was that?!" All I knew was that "I wanted to do it again."
Venturing back up the same hill, we found our way towards the start of the "West Trail" after passing the entry runway for the DH Flow Trail, for which I was more excited than Criss Angel backstage at a One Direction concert:
We continued onto the West Trail, which was a large loop that was definitely a "XC"-style trail, but one that was obviously designed by the same people who are designing flowy gravity-runs. What do I mean by that? These are BUUUUUFFFFFF trails that provide ample opportunity for putting space between your tire-tread and the trail-surface in the form of wicked air, brah. Not that you have to take these opportunities, but while riding the XC trail, expect that little rises and undulation in the terrain will scream out for you to hit the gas for a few pedal strokes, resulting in fun little pump-track sections that are perfectly suited for a XC/trail bike.
|Sean-naynay on the "Bluff Line" section|
Oh yeah, did I mention that sprinkled throughout the trail there are man-made stunts that are low on the drama-scale, but high on the fun scale?
Not to mention all the tee-totters and other randomly-strewn skinnies that we encountered while riding the "West Trail." Plenty of natural obstacles were utilized, and it was pretty obvious that most of the hills were designed for maximum fun while descending, which meant sweeping turns and periodic rises in the ground that would be perfect for air-ing it out. Which isn't to say that the climbing was horrible - as a 225lb dude on a singlespeed 29'er, the climbs were gravely-and-smooth, not-eroded, with occasional short sections where I'd have to be out of the saddle to muscle a steep spot into submission. Did I mention buff? It was clear that in the not-so-distant past, perhaps only a few days prior, someone had taken a leaf-blower to the trail and made it even easier for us to find our way.
After riding the 8-ish mile West Trail, we found ourselves having climbed back to the top of the DH run, which starts with an opening-ramp, shoots you into two tabletops, into a wall ride, and then into the woods for more one-way shredding. It is all "roll-able" and doesn't require you to commit to massive speed and drops, but it certainly rewards you if you do:
|Hey Ladies, there's moar than enough to go around...|
|2nd time mountain biking, for this guy. Nice!|
Expendables-esque level of badassery. This wall ride (one of 3 or 4 that I saw) led us right down the one-way DH trail, which was totally ridable on an XC-oriented bike like we had. It would be more fun with with a proper bike, but you'll be finishing that short run with a huge smile on your ugly face sooner than you can say "fully-active suspension." Oooooo-fucking-wee.
Ending that run with the confidence that Shimano hydraulic brakes allow, we worked our way over to the trailhead where we unloaded our pockets so that we could play around on the "skills park."
The skills park was all laid out right next to the parking lot, so you don't have far to go. That way, much like a Cross-fitter with a smartphone, everyone can see how totally awesome you are.
One of the many things that make this park special is the fact that it was designed as a whole unit, as opposed to most other trails that happen to be in a park, and evolve over the course of years, sometimes decades (not that that is necessarily a bad thing.) The trail network is extremely well-marked, flows better than my colon after drinking an entire pot of morning coffee, and you can download the map at the trailhead wif' yo' phone. We got extra stoked when talking with Jason, a dude we met at the top of the DH run and then again at the trailhead to told us all about the fancy shit that is going on down there.
And I almost forgot the cherry on top - in a shack next to the parking lot, I found what appears to be a defunct jenkem lab. I wanted to make sure I got evidence of it, because it might help to entice our good Doctor and C-Dubbs to hasten their return-trips to MO:
It won't be long now before the State Cross Race lands here in St. Louis - and in everyone's favorite place for CX - St. Vincent Park. No doubt people will complain about it though, because that is what people do - complain about it being too hilly, too flat, too twisty, too straight, too dry, too sloppy, too bumpy, too much like a crit, too mountain-bikey, always too much getting mired in sandy-vag-pits. 'Cept for Peat, whom I witnessed wielding the Sword of Positivity this past weekend: upon arriving in a conversation he was having with someone who was complaining about that bad grass-mowing, he simply responded by saying "I think it is great - the course it great, everything about it is awesome." The more people show up to race and/or heckle, the better the atmosphere will be.
In the meantime, please view this local news story (not local to StL though, unfortunately:)
As usual, you're welcome!