It's been nearly two weeks since I've ridden the ribbon of dirt out at Elm Creek Park Reserve and two weeks is too long to be away. The trails were in beyond perfect condition and very, very fast.
This trail system, now approaching its second summer, has gained unbelievable popularity. It's fast, free flowing, not too technical, but technical enough, and provides something for everyone.
Although I grew up in Northern Minnesota I've come to love these hardwood forests and all they have to offer.
My friends Matt and Bob laughed when I told them I was having a hard time not stopping and taking pictures. I did manage to go nearly an entire 12 mile lap without taking one photo. That is until I came to this spot on the trail...
It was great to be back on the rigid single speed, but after nearly four hours of riding my shoulders were a bit sore and stiff. My legs...they were just fine.
The trail transitions nicely from forest to prairie and the prairie section can be really fast, but you have to watch out for loose corners when the conditions are too dry. My amigo Matt found this out when he hit a soft patch while ripping a corner and did a pretty good endo. He tore open his right knee and smacked his head pretty hard on the ground. I guess, this is why we wear helmets. I guess. We also had a close encounter with a snapping turtle and a deer:)
Fortunately we didn't encounter any of these. Griz is a local legend in the Elm Creek cycling community and has probably put more work into this trail system than anyone else around. He apparently had an interesting encounter with a grizzly bear on one of his trips to Montana. I haven't heard the story yet, but I'm sure it's a good one.