Rather, there’s a downed tree just a few feet from it on the east bank that makes for a much more difficult skinny. Wall of Death competition winner Heath Weisbrod alerted me to it last week saying that he’d cleaned it, so I tried it on Sunday morning.
As you’ll see in the video below, my first attempts went nowhere. So I thought the problem might be that the bark on top was crumbling so I pulled it off. Look closely at the photo of the log. Unfortunately, I made problem worse (again), as it exposed some moist spots that were underneath the bark. I tried it anyway and landed flat on my back. I told Heath about my misadventure and said that John Gaddo’s rule is that you have to clean an obstacle three times before you can ‘claim’ it and optionally name it. He wrote:
I cleared it 3 times totally clean. Once at night Thursday and twice more on Sunday. 3 and done! "Sqrl Log." I have witnesses both days. I was there until just before 11:00am Sunday.
I even got it one more time Thursday night (my first attempt) but reached out to the tree for stall then finished. So I’m not counting it.
Why ‘Sqrl Log’ for the name? Heath’s username in the MORC forum is RedSquirrel.
At the Battle Creek group ride (Every Wed. at 5 & 6pm) we were discussing how we have never seen anyone climb the Wall of Death trail with no dabs. So we decided to put a bounty of a case of beer… People are always looking for more technical trail features, well here you go.
After a few weeks of discussion, the idea of scheduling an informal competition emerged and an informal contest announcement thread was launched, announcing a date and miscellaneous rules and rewards. My suggestion to include a go-slow competition riding down the Wall of Death (WOD) was adopted.
Yesterday at 1 pm, crew of BC Dirt Bosses and volunteers (including Tom Gehring, Travis Miller, Brett Swenson, Paul Thorsgaard) got things rolling for the ten competitors, including yours truly.
For the hill climb, they had 7 flags spaced out from the bottom to top for markers to indicate climb level. If you dabbed between marker 3 and 4, then 3 was your score for that run. But the ultimate criteria for the winner, like any hill climb, was fastest to the top with no dabs. Next criteria was furthest up without dabbing.
The champion: Heath Weisbrod. He went much higher than anyone else without dabbing on both his 2nd and 3rd runs. Here’s my video of his 3rd run in which he gets his front wheel over the final timber before dabbing:
Ray Brown took second and Troy Lawrence third.
Hill climb results (points using the scoring system)
1st: Heath Weisbrod (furthest up without dabbing)
2nd: Ray Brown: 12
3rd: Troy Lawrence: 11
4th (tie): Mike Andert: 8
4th (tie): Brett Swenson: 8
4th (tie): Griff Wigley: 8
7th (tie): Chip Bennard: 4
7th (tie): Jose Diaz: 4
7th (tie): Larry Marx: 4
7th (tie): Tony Marx: 4
The go-slow downhill competition was to see who could take the longest time to descend the Wall of Death. If you dabbed, you were eliminated.
Mike Andert won easily. He was the last rider of the competition and after demonstrating his prowess at balancing, he graciously rode to the end when it was clear he’d beaten Heath’s time. He could have balanced there all afternoon.
Go-Slow competition results (seconds elapsed)
1st: Mike Andert: 33.71
2nd: Heath Weisbrod: 19.9
3rd: Ray Brown: 18.59
4th: Griff Wigley: 17.9
5th: Tony Marx: 15.1
6th: Jose Diaz: 10.1
7th: Troy Lawrence: 9.0 (dab)
8th: Larry Marx: 8.72
9th: Brett Swenson: 5.0
10th: Chip Bennard: DNS
RESULTS OF BOTH COMPETITIONS:
Props to the Battle Creek Dirt Bosses for hosting this unique, um, group ride. As a geezer, I’m happy to just be participating in any competition so I was pleased with my two 4th place finishes. Plus, I got a chance to meet a bunch of riders for the first time, people I’d only known from the MORC forums.
My Aug. 23 blog post about the MN River Bottoms Trail included a mention of the big cottonwood tree that had recently fallen across 9 Mile Creek, providing a bridge across. Someone had created a walkway on a portion of it to make it easier to cross.
Yesterday, I noticed that the tangle of branches on the east side of the bank (left photo from Aug) has been cleared away, with a small ramp constructed (center photo) to make it easier to ride your bike up onto the log when riding across it east to west. And on the west side, the splintered trunk of the tree has been trimmed back (right photo), making it easier to negotiate the sharp turn when riding across west to east.
I rode across it both directions a couple of times and noticed that big chunks of bark on the west end of the log were starting to come loose. So I peeled off some of the bark (left photo), only to discover that there was considerable moisture and sap underneath, making it slippery as gorilla snot. I rubbed dirt on it, which helped a bit but not quite enough to prevent the wheel from slipping (center photo). I’m guessing it should be fine in a day or two, though.
A mountain biker named Brian Smith took a 17-second video of me crossing the log east to west:
I didn’t make it up the dirt bank on that run but did get up it the other two times.
However, it’s much trickier riding the log west to east because of the drop down the bank prior to making the right turn on top where there’s a crevice in the tree trunk that can grab your front wheel about the same time your rear wheel is hitting the beveled right edge of the trunk.
Brian also took some photos of me riding the log west to east. Here are three:
Fun stuff. Props to the volunteers who’ve whipped this log into shape for the rest of us.
Update Nov. 11: I used my smartphone camera to record this 19-second video of me riding back and forth across the tree yesterday. Unfortunately, I dabbed and didn’t have time for a redo.
Update Dec. 2: Here’s a POV video of Heath Weisbrod riding the log on a fat bike:
It’s suddenly summer. Last Tuesday we got 6 inches of snow here in Northfield but by Friday it was 65, yesterday 70 and today near 80. The trails along the MN River Bottoms dried out in a hurry so today I spent a few hours on the segment between Hwy 169 and 9-Mile Creek.
I captured some video of me riding a few of the log skinnies there and edited them into a 2-minute video, including two of my many crashes.