Can you tell that a certain someone was out of town?
Tag: <span>Theodore Wirth Park</span>
I’d never heard of the term ‘pedal ratcheting’ as a mtb skill until recently when I noticed that it’s one of the skills covered in IMBA’s ICP Level 2 course. See it demonstrated at the 1:18 mark of this video by ICP’s Lead Instructor Trainer Shaums March.
Pedal ratcheting turned out to be helpful last week in two instances. The first was when I was attempting to ride this multiple rock/elevated boardwalk skinny in the skills park at the Lebanon Hills MTB Trail system. I was on my 29’er, trying to get through in the opposite direction from normal (more difficult) without a rear wheel hop:
Clay Haglund of Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) and his stepson Justin Wiersgalla met me at the Theodore Wirth Off-Road Cycling Trail this morning. We spent most of our time riding the new Glenwood flow trail (see my Oct. 11 blog post about it) but did manage to ride all of Theo’s fun and flowy XC trails, plus ‘session’ a bit on the skinnies and rock garden in its XX section.
These aren’t photos, just some screengrabs of the video I took (below).
There was a great turnout for the soft opening of the new trail at the Theodore Wirth Off-Road Cycling Trail on Wednesday night. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Minneapolis Off-Road Cyclists Association (MOCA), and MORC put on the event. Tyler Pederson, who works at the MPRB and blogs at Bicycle Kismet, made some opening remarks and was the entrance gatekeeper so that things didn’t get jammed up at the start.
Tim Wegner at Trail Source LLC was the primary builder and I’m guessing he had more than a little help from the MOCA/MORC dirt bosses.
As you can see from the photos above, the trail loops up and around a big hill, so you’re pretty much either climbing or ripping. The view from up top is stunning, with a great view of Wirth Lake and the downtown Minneapolis skyline. There’s a picnic table up there, too, a perfect spot to catch your breath after the first big climb.
I didn’t take photos of any of the rollers, berms, jumps and table tops but to me, they seemed perfect. An intermediate rider can roll them all slowly and advanced riders can get plenty of air. I’m far from advanced on this type of trail but there were a couple areas where I could manual over two small rollers and a couple of table tops that I could almost clear. I can’t wait to go back.
I followed a group of young riders who were doing a shorter loop so that they could repeatedly ride the first big downhill segment without descending back to the start and having to do the big initial climb. They would push their bikes straight up one of the construction trails and then take a short cut on top (right photo) which connects to the start of the downhill segment near the picnic table. It seems like a logical option to add, much like the shortcut loops at Leb that the dirt bosses there have added in several places.
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.