Monday, June 13, 2011

cuyuna trail

First off I apologize for my lack of blogging. I'll try to catch you up as quick as I can. My week at work pretty much sucked like usual. Monday we went out to eat with Kelly's family for her birthday which was actually Tuesday. Tuesday we, Kelly, Jerry and I, hung out and went to Kelly's parents for brats and to discuss our up coming trip to Tennessee.
On Wednesday I went for a quick ride. It was pretty good, The weather was nice and I wasn't feeling amazing at the beginning but towards the end the flow was coming and I was feeling it. After the ride I went for a walk with Jerry.
Thursday wasn't anything special but fun. After work I decided to just kick it with the fam since I had a full weekend of riding ahead of me. We made dinner, went on a group walk and rented a movie.
Friday I got up early with Jerry hung out with him and got my stuff ready for the weekend. I left home about 1030am and drove to St Cloud. I stopped at Revolution Cycle and Ski to chat with the guys for a bit. When I got there they got busy, figures, but it's good to see that. It means they are doing well and I'm glad. It's a great bike shop run by a great group of guys. It'It was good to chat/ride with them! I still haven't got to ride with them this year but I will figure out a time to get up there.
After the hour in Cloud I hit the road and stopped for a sandwich in Baxter and then headed up to find the trail head in Ironton/Crosby. I hung out there for a bit, chatting with some other riders waiting for my uncle to get up there. When he got there about 330pm we hit the trail.
Not sure how it should go next, it's like the chicken or the egg, should I do the trail report or the ride report first, hmmmm.
Let's go trail report and then you might understand the ride report better.
Here it goes, first off I'm giving it a solid 8.5 out of 10 which would be the highest I've given a trail in MN. Lebanon is a solid 7 if that means anything to you.The same guy that designed Lebanon built this trail and I think he took what he learned from Leb and amped it up for this trail. The trail is broke up into two sections one named Huntington and the other Yawnky and connected by a couple mile long two way single track that is a blast to ride in it's self. (forgive me if I get some of the names wrong)
I'll start with the Huntington side.This trail flow is so amazing.  You start off on a dirt road leading away from the parking lot and then have a choice of going left to the Huntington side or right to the connector trail the leads you to Yawnky. When you hit the Huntington trail you start with a rather long but Roley climb up what is labeled a green trail and is two directional just like all of the green trail and then come to a trail break where you can either go right to blue or stay on the green.  This is where the decision time comes. You can either start your fun there or put it off a little longer and get the full experience. What I mean is that the Huntington side has 3 or 4 main sections, I can't completely remember and I can't find my map, the green trail like I said is two directional and really is like the belt way or similar to 494 if you are familiar with the twin cities. It loops the out side and allows you to get the main areas the quickest. So I suggest that you stay on the green until you get to the last "mountain" Mucker Mountain and begin the fun climbing that is followed by a fun down hill. Each little blue section is followed by some connector trail and leads you to Sand Hog Mountain which is by far my favorite! The climb is long but not that bad and the pay off is by far the best. It is so fast and so flowy. It is really the only one that has jumps and there are so many berms! I think I only got to ride it three times but it leaves you wanting more each time!
The next hill is connected by a trail called the side winder and leads to another sweet trail called the screamer, also another awesome trail that leaves you wanting more. It has some sweet 6ft rollers spread through it and some monster berms. The rollers can be a bit dangerous if you don't have the skills to handle it. You either have to scrub some speed or pump them hard which will lead to more speed for the next one and there are at least a handful of them in a row before you are thrown into a couple back to back berms so you better check yourself before you wreck yourself, haha. Ride within your limits and you will have a blast on all the down hills because they are so smooth, fast and flowy. There are a couple more cool sections, the ferris wheel and I can't remember the name of the others.
Overall the trail isn't that technical in the sense of obstacles on the trail, although there are little "play grounds" scattered all over the trail. They just jut off and have some technical features and then you connect back up to the main trail. What makes the trail technical is the occasional loose rocks and shale on the climbs, some sandy loose areas, including some corners, and the speed in which you ride at ! If your trail vision isn't spot on you can get your ass in some serious trouble. It is tough to see very far in front of you since you are always riding on the side of bluff and through trees. There are some tight quick corners that will catch you off guard. They do try to give you a heads up with caution sharp curve signs but unfortunately, at least for me, they lull you into a false sense of security as some of the "sharp curves" I could take flat out and they were fun and then the next was a sandy hair pin! So I would recommend that your follow the signs until you figure out which corners you can and can't rip through.
The connector trail is a great trail the only draw back is a bonus at the same time and that is that it's two directional. The down side is that it seemed that every time I was ripping I ran into a group of people coming the other direction. The plus side is that it's like riding a new trail each direction because it flows well both ways!
The Yawnky side, to be honest, I didn't get to ride that much of it since they had it set up for a time trial. Of what I rode it was a lot of fun and it was similar but different to the other side. The main thing is its all built on one hill and has a larger play ground at the top that was closed during the time trial as well as a dh run called the bob sled so that leaves a lot to be imagined.
Ride report.
I rode about 17miles on Friday night which was a blast. I never seemed tired since it seemed like we were lost about every 10mins and that required that we stopped and looked at the map which allowed me to to catch my breath and drink some water. I got my crash out early, we were ripping down this short down hill and flying over some of those 6ft whoops and thought my vision was great but there was a tree and it looked like the trail went right of it but actually went left and by the time I realized that it was too late. I had my ass hanging off the back of the bikes and breaks locked up but I wasn't on the ground and so when I hit the ground and hooked up I was about at the tree and rock pile and then I was over the handle bars head first into a rock pile. Thankfully I had a helmet and a backpack on they really saved my. Got up brushed myself off and laughed and hit the trail.
Saturday was a full out epic day, 27 miles and 4 hours of riding. We road all of the Huntington trail and the time trial section of the Yawnke trail. It was a great day and I felt great all day until about the last 30mins. My uncle went to meet his family at the park and I wanted to ride the two down hills again so I worked my way back there and my legs were starting to ache on the climbs and shake a bit on the down hills and my calves were starting to cramp but I wasn't ready to quite. It was like crack a dirt roller coaster that I didn't want to get off of but then I ran out of water and that was the final straw so I rode back to my car and headed to the park.
I met up there with my uncle and aunt and my cousins had some food and a couple beers. I chatted with Kyia and Anderson at the Hidenbay stand. Anderson did the time trial and was racing in the XC race on Sunday. At about 7 Hans Rey had a trials demo, damn that guy is crazy good on a bike! There was a local guy that was killing it too! I was glad I got to see Hans ride, after that I headed home.

Over all it's a great trail, honestly the best trail I've ever ridden and probably the best trail in MN and probably one of the top trails in the Midwest. I would totally recommend that you all make the trip up there. It is about 25miles of trails so if you can I would make a full weekend out of it. There are a lot of places to camp and there are tons of resorts if you want to go that way. Things to bring, lots of water and snack because you can spend hours on the trail. There is a bike shop in Crosby so if you forgot some bike part you can get it there. The right bike, they were all saying a hard tail 29er, I would disagree. I think the perfect bike is whatever you feel comfortable on but a 120-160mm travel full suspension bike will probably allow you to have the best time. There aren't many jumps or high speed rocks or roots to really need much suspension so you can get away with a hard tail but they typically don't have the right geometry to really let loose on the dh sections!
Well I hope it wasn't too long! Get out and ride!

Keep it real!

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