I spent a couple of hot and sticky hours on the mountain bike trails at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis on the morning of the 4th of July. Most of the single track is intermediate level, with just enough elevation to have fun on the twisting turns. There are a few intermediate technical obstacles along the way (left photo above), and one XX loop with a berm, one jump, a rock garden, and one very difficult man-made skinny:
The biggest challenge for me on this skinny was having two turns (a left, then a right) that could not be negotiated without hopping the rear wheel on my 29′er. I could make one of the turns but not both.
After a half-dozen attempts, I got off my bike and studied it. I saw that I was not positioning my front wheel correctly so that hopping my rear wheel would place it at the widest portions of the skinny (right photo), allowing me to ‘straighten the turns.’
After another half-dozen attempts, I was still losing my balance on one or both of the turns. More study revealed that the skinny at these turns was slightly uphill, which meant that my weight needed to be forward a bit to be completely centered. Doing that, plus focusing my eyes ahead on a tree once I positioned my front wheel, allowed me to clean it on my next try.
Props to the Theo dirt bosses at MOCA (Minneapolis Off-Road Cyclists Association) for giving me a workout. Hopefully on my next visit, I’ll have a better clean-to-attempt ratio than 1/12.