Mid-Summer Greensfelder Report

by Matt "I might live close by but I don't ride GF as much as you think" Hayes

I haven't ridden Greensfelder for a couple of months so I figured I'd better get out there and check it out before it rains. With work not pushing me into the late-evening hours today and the weather being as sweet as it is I had to go. Plus, I wanted to check out the maintenance and reroute progress.

Breckenridge is coming fast and the SS Worlds in Durango are not too far away now so my lack of dirt riding needed to come to an end. This past weekend at Brown County was a good start but I hope to ride trails every weekend now. I managed to ride 16 miles (2,356 ft) using my secret loop formula that whips you into shape for the Colorado mountains. The gnarly trails are used for the downhills and the sustained climbs are get you out of the valley. There's two absolute death walls thrown in to remind you that all of Colorado is not fun and games (and there's a long way to go at GF.)

The 16 miler utilizes the "usable" equestrian trails that aren't too heinous (what the hell is the Mustang trail - a mud logging toboggan or an ATV course?????) and include the DeClue and Dogwood bike-friendly trails. Only a minimal amount of trails are ridden twice except to set you up for the next lollipop. You could add another 8+ miles riding DeClue and Dogwood backwards.

Remember, Greensfelder is like a Colorado trail; until the dry summer heat arrives, all bets are off. The season of peak trail conditions is short so make sure you get out here soon. Ride here often and all other trails will be cake. Promise.

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Click the pics for full-size.

Overlook - pretty impressive terrain only 30 minutes outside St. Louis. So much potential, not enough volunteers.

There is a trail here and is best used going down. Dirt is optional. Not Dogwood or DeClue. Prepares you for...

The cascade rocky downhill - looks like Chubb only less users and more consequences. However, this is kid play compared to the Staircase O'Death.

The new Eagle Valley is a fast crushed limestone KATY with climbs. Bring your 'cross bike come winter.

Like a road, it features signage reminding you that wiping out on your hybrid will stain your Ambercrombie shorts

Old Greenrock is a fall-line disaster. It looks steep here so you know it's completely jacked in person. Super-rutted. A portion of this trail is used temporarily to get to the new expansion we've been working on.

A couple of trees are down on Declue paralleling the rollercoaster.

Ron, leader of the GF maintenance crew, has done a great job getting water off the trail. Here you can see the long Dogwood climb back to the car (going CCW) is rerouted to get out of the swampy seep.

GORC has requested these postings for years and they are finally up kindly reminding trail users to respect the park and trails.

The outhouse at the roundhouse couldn't take any more abuse and disintegrated into a pile of mulch. Full organic free-range mulch, now available at Whole Foods.

Look for Greensfelder to get better in the coming years and I personally hope to see you at the workdays this fall.

New Signs to Help Inform Trail Users

Both St. Charles and St. Louis County Parks are making active efforts to educate trail users about how much of an effect they have on trails if they ride them when they're wet. The signs are in all of the kiosks at St. Charles County Parks, and have also been installed at Chubb and Greensfelder.

Unfortunately, not everyone bothers to read the signs. As you can see, Bangert Island is starting to look like Castlewood.

Flowin' at Brown County State Park

by Matt Hayes

July 18-19, 2009

Twelve of the GORC crew headed east for a weekend of riding the fast, flowy trails of Brown County State Park near Nashville, Indiana. Tom, Mari, Scott, Marvin, John, Bryan, Steph, Rob, Matt, Lisa, Josh and Valerie represented St. Louis in fine fashion and had quite the time jumping trail rollers, getting sideways on the many berms and balancing over some bridge skinnies. It's safe to say that Brown County is one of the top midwestern biking destinations.

Starting the descent from Hesitation Point

This is Brown County State Park

In four hours you can be out of St. Louis and in Brown County State Park riding hardpack dirt trails with rock obstacles sprinkled throughout the forest. The climbs are single speed friendly and the views are open and spectacular.

With over 21 miles of trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, it's hard to find anything to dislike about the trail system. Two rollercoaster-esqe loops and an incredible out-n-back ridge runner are the most popular but if you look hard you can drop in on the expert-level "Schooner." Serious exposure, technical rock and log croppings force you to get off or get good real quick.

Riding around the drain, it's cool to see where you've been and where you're headed

A piece of Schooner - the expert-level trail - switchback to rock cascade

Unbeknownst to us we randomly came across Nate and Aaron from Grand Rapids, Michigan buzzing around the park. They rode with us throughout the weekend and we reminisced about their great trails we had the opportunity to ride when they hosted the Midwest Mountain Bike Summit this past May.

I'll keep the recap to a minimum and let the photos speak for themselves. The still images don't do the trails justice but our man Bryan had his new HD wide angle all-in-one helmet video camera capturing the moments and should be available for viewing in the near future.

Finally, may I suggest that you rally the Indiana kids to host a Midwest Mountain Bike Summit in the coming years. It could be legendary.

Rock drop with alternate line available - on the way down (or up) from Hesitation Point

Enjoying the grade-reversals

Armoured and rock-solid

Quick Notes:
The 16,000+ acre park is a popular destination for locals and out-of-state visitors. They have a lodge and a large camping area but be sure to reserve weeks ahead of time as they are frequently booked up.

There is a $7.00 entrance fee per day for out-of-state vehicles.

Over 21 miles of mountain bike trails.

There are dedicated equestrian-only trails. You won't find horses on the mountain bike trails. Trail runners and hikers have the right-of-way, however.

The trails can be busy on the weekends so keep a lookout for families and hikers coming your way.

If you like single speeding, bring the bike. The trails are not steep, and while there are some large rocks to ride up and over, you won't encounter loose gravel or super-technical roots.

Make sure you ride up to Hesitation Point - the park's main lookout. The ride up to the lookout is about 3.5 miles long and climbs 400 feet. The downhill is amazing.

Some of the original loops were hand-built but the newer stuff, such as the trail running along the ridge, is machine-built. A small trail dozer roughs the trail in and volunteers clean up and finalize the look and feel of the singletrack. This method speeds up the building process by putting the back-breaking deep benchcutting used at Brown County into the hands of the trail dozer operator.

Marvin rounding the bend

29ers dominated the ranks