Tag: <span>Lebanon Hills</span>

I’m getting better at the skinnies at Leb. Instinctively leaning the bike instead of turning the handlebars is the key.

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Above: Last week was the first time I made the right hand turn on the man-made skinny. I used a front wheel hop at the apex of the turn.

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Above: I made this log for the first time about 6 weeks ago. Last week, I almost did it again, ending up a couple feet short.

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Above: I got about 3/4 of the way up this log last week. My goal is to get all the way up, do a sharp turn around on the hillside, and then go all the way back down… with no dabs or falling off, of course.

Once that happens, I’ll still have a ways to go. Look at this video for some amazing skinny rides:

Learning to ride

It’s pretty cool to have a such a large and fantastic mountain bike park, Lebanon Hills, in the middle of big Twin Cities suburb (Apple Valley), adjacent to the MN Zoo and just ten minutes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America.

Also cool is the abundant wildlife in the park. Last week I heard owls hooting back and forth to each other very close to the trail.  Today, I came upon a white-tailed deer and two fawns just a few feet from the trail. They just stood and stared at me.  And a few minutes later, I spotted a clump of sulphur shelf mushrooms at the base of a tree on the trail. Into my pack it went, as it’s delicious—known as ‘chicken of the woods.’

white-tailed deer at Lebanon Hills sulphur shelf mushrooms at Lebanon Hills sulphur shelf mushrooms at Lebanon Hills

Update 08/29:  fried sulphur shelf mushrooms, ready to eat.

frying sulphur shelf mushrooms fried sulphur shelf mushrooms, ready to eat

Trails

One of the reasons I keep going back to Lebanon Hills to ride (other than it’s only 35 minutes from Northfield), is that the fabulous trails are supplemented with lots of optional technical areas.

In early August, I brought my camera with me and took photos of these technical areas, placing my bike in the photos to give some perspective to the obstacles. It was a sunny day so I used a flash with most photos—otherwise, the sunlight shining through the leaves confuses the camera lens.

The photos are pretty much in order as they appear on the trails.

On a subsequent loop a few days later , I took five more photos with my cell phone camera of areas I missed.  I’m not exactly sure I’ve placed these in the correct order with the others, however.

The album photos all have unique URL’s, so if you want to reference a photo of a specific obstacle, eg, Tedman’s Curve, you can link to it.

See the album of 73 photos, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:

Photo album Trails

uphill steps at Lebanon HillsI’ve cleaned some steep uphills with steps/logs recently (St. Olaf College, Lebanon Hills) after reading about the techniques in this BetterRide.net blog post:

MTB Skills Tip w/ Pic, Technical Climbing w/Andy Winohradsky

Losing traction, “bogging out”, doing accidental wheelies, and/or getting a case of the “swirvies”, are all common causes of riders not making it to the top of technical descents.

Oh yeah. But I’m now getting the hang of how to do it right.

  • scoot far forward on the saddle
  • lower your chest (nose near the handlebars)
  • keep your elbow elevated
  • only stand slightly and briefly in order to make extreme weight-shifts or grossly accelerate the bike

Learning to ride

new beginner loop map at Lebanon HillsI spend the afternoon on Saturday at Lebanon Hills, much of it on the new riding area that opened a week ago.

It’s considered a beginner loop, though some folks in the MORC forum trail discussion are referring to it as a beginner + loop. Trail designer Tim Wegner wrote:

I believe that we felt there was a bit too much of a gap between the old beginner trail and the intermediate trail as far as features and skill required to ride. The new beginner addendum trail kinda fills that gap. It is a bit more difficult than the old beginner trail but not as much hard climbing as the intermediate trail. I think this new segment of trail will really fill the bill as far as helping to enhance rider skill development. Perhaps this segment should be labeled advanced beginner????

Ryan Lieske on the upper open area of the beginner loop at Lebanon Hills Lower open area of the beginner loop at Lebanon Hills Upper open area of the beginner loop at Lebanon Hills
I had the good fortune to meet current MORC Chair Ryan Lieske on the new loop and took a bunch of photos of him riding the five big berms in the upper open area and the smaller berms in the lower open area. Looking good, Ryan!

I also took several photos of beginners riding these features, including the 21 whoops and the 6 larger jumps in the lower area.  The father and son in the center photo above repeatedly rode those, whooping and hollering for joy every time they went down.  And true beginners can get through the area without actually having to ride the ‘obstacles’ as evidenced by the photo of the woman on the right, who, when she noticed me taking her photo, shouted "I’m scared to death!"  No wonder: her mountain biking outfit consisted of short-shorts, a tank top and a baseball cap. Oy. But she got through it.

I spent an hour practicing the lower berms of the open area. I probably rode them 20 times, which was easy to do since it only takes a minute or two to get back to the top of them. I then went back and rode the 5 big berms of the upper area (which only takes 5-10 minutes to get to the top of those). My skill and confidence had increased dramatically. Thank you, Tim!

See my album of 33 photos, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:

Photo album Trails

 Ben Witt, Curtis Ness, John Ebling at Lebanon HillsI rode Lebanon Hills for the first time last night. Amazing to have a mountain bike park like that in the middle of a big suburb.

I barely kept up with these guys. L to R: Ben Witt, Curtis Ness, John Ebling.

Trails