Monday, December 7, 2009

Sugar Hallow investigation

Sunday I took a break from Christmas shopping and spending too much money in stores I'd rather not talk about and I got out in the woods on my bike where I belong. Lately there has been some rumors flying around on my local mtn bike forum of a new or semi new trail system in a local city park by the name of Sugar Hollow. The system is rumored to have been built by a group of boy scouts and to have 8 - 10 miles of singletrack. I decided Sunday was a good day to go out and lead an investigative team to see if the rumors of singletrack goodness were true or not.
I downloaded a map off the city's website and jotted down a few notes of which way to ride that some mystery guy posted earlier in the week. On my way out of the house I noted that the weather was a bit warmer than the previous day but I grabbed my winter riding jacket just in case I got lost trying to navigate my way through the woods with a poor excuse for a map. Upon arrival the sun was shining but as soon as I stepped out of the warmth of my truck I realized that I was going to need the jacket for sure.

It must have been 5 or 6 degrees colder with the wind whipping around the parking lot freezing my finger & toes, a great way to start off a ride. Even tough guy Chris Dillow looked cold as we waited and waited and waited on Fat Tony to roll in. When F.T. finally rolled in he apologized for being late and muttered something about baking cakes and pies. As luck would have it F.T. has yet to repair his brake lever despite repeated attempts in his bike shop/kitchen. I offered up one of my trusty steeds as a loaner and he accepted.
Unfortunately tough guy Chris Dillow and I continued to get colder and colder as we waited on F.T. to switch out my, never let me down, SPD pedals for some others named "Candies", which are also loaners because Crank Bros. is repairing his supposedly bomb proof "Candies". What a great name for a bike part that supports a majority of your body weight.

Once all the part swapping was complete we finally got our ride underway, frozen digits and all.
We entered the woods and I was surprised to see alot more snow than anywhere else. What little snow we got on Sat. had melted away by that afternoon.

There was indeed 8+ miles of singletrack that circled the campground. We did have to ride though the campground to connect all the segments of the trail that were short and broken up in places so I would definitely suggest taking a map with some sort of route planned out.
The trail did lack switchbacks in some necessary places causing us to do a bit of hike a bike. The one set of switch back turns we did find lacked the smooth "S" curves that I'm used to and used a more "Z" like approach making it a bit difficult to ride in the snow and wet leaves. I won't complain much though as 8+ miles of singletrack located right in the city is a rare gem and with a little work they could be a great set of trails to ride after a hard day in the office.

Before we started the ride I told F.T. he was welcome to ride either the Monkey or the Mamsita, he chose the Monkey since they have previously spent time on the trails before with success. Sunday was a bit different story and I think it may have had something to do with the "Candy" pedals he out on. On one of the more technical sections the KM threw her chain sending F.T.'s knee right into the stem. He danced and rolled around on the ground in pain while I had a talk with the Monkey, told her to play nice and replaced the chain.
As we rolled into the parking lot I looked at my computer and noticed we were about 2 miles short of the expected route. I rechecked the map and realized that we had indeed missed a large section but decided to leave it for another ride in favor of the warmer conditions of our cars.

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