I also wanted to A) experiment with cornering, primarily on bigger bermed corners since I’ll be instructing riders on those at Welch Village’s new MTB park in a few weeks; and B) ride lots of drops and gnarly stuff to see what it’s like on my new full-suspension Kona Process 134 Supreme from Michael’s Cycles.
Here are several videos from the trip, with some commentary on each:
Michael Knoll & I rocked and rolled our full squish Kona Process bikes on some fun and challenging COGGS trails in Duluth last week.
We spent the most time in Piedmont’s NIMBY cluster of X & XX technical trails as well as Admiral Rockbar. Then it was over to Home Brew with a stop at the Kissing Booth before ending the day with a run down the Keene Creek trail — 1.5 miles/500 ft of elevation change — an amazing whoop-di-doo run.
Here are three videos of me following Michael on Admiral Rockbar, Kissing Booth, & Keene:
I’d heard rumors earlier this year that one of Piedmont’s X segments, Admiral Rockbar, was extended recently to include some rock drops and a long rocky uphill.
I was at Spirit Mountain last weekend for the PMBI Level 1 instructor course (more on that to come) and I was eager to ride Rockbar before I left town. I saw COGGS Board Member and Ride Coordinator Dave Cizmas there and when I asked him about it, he told me he’d helped on the planning and route selection for the extension and that he’d managed to clean the uphill once. I was even more intrigued.
But with the heavy rain on Sunday, all COGGS trails were still closed. on Tuesday morning. I texted Dave and he said he thought Rockbar would be fine to ride, as long as I didn’t ride anything else at Piedmont. When I saw COGGS Board Member/Fundraising Coordinator Pam Schmitt at Duluth Coffee Company on Tuesday morning she ‘deputized’ me to go have a look at it since other COGGS crew members were unavailable to check it out. I felt honored. A reconnaissance mission!
I parked in the small lot along Haines Rd where there’s quick access to the Admiral Rockbar segment without having to ride the other portions of Piedmont that were too wet to ride.
The dirt portions of Rockbar were damp but hard-packed. The rocks were somewhat slippery from the mist and heavy fog. I sent Pam a text that I thought Admiral was fine to ride.
Since I was by myself and the rocks were moist, I decided to hike-a-bike down the tricky downhill section along the Haines Rd cliff (for which I won a Camelbak Enduro Hydration pack last year, details here):
I also carried my bike down the biggest of the new drops:
No cajones? Not so much in the spring. More so in late fall when I have all winter to heal.
I concentrated instead on the uphill portion of the new extension. I spent about an hour sessioning its three tricky spots:
I tried a few XC mountain bike races back in 2011 when I first started mountain biking and while I enjoyed the atmosphere of the races, I didn’t really enjoy the riding that much, as it seemed to be 90% aerobic endurance, not my forte. I began to equate ‘endurance’ with ‘suffering’ and haven’t competed in any XC mtb races since.
So when I started learning about mountain bike enduro racing last year and that COGGS was again hosting a Duluth Enduro Series in 2015 for members, I became intrigued because of the format. The way they explain it:
Enduro uses a time trial format with racers starting special stages 30 seconds to a minute apart. There are two types of stages: Timed stages (or Special Stages) and Transits. All of the Timed stages will factor into your final place. Timed stages are mostly downhill, but will have a few flat sections or small climbs. Transits require riders to make it to the start of the next timed stage within a given time, however there’s no benefit to finishing the Transit faster than your competitors.
Enduro is a form of Mountain bike racing in which there is a greater proportion of downhill sections, which are timed, to uphill and cross country sections. This aims to test rider’s technical bike handling skills as well as providing endurance and climbing.
But since I live in southern Minnesota, a 3+ hour drive from Duluth, and since the Duluth Enduro Series races are held on Wednesday nights, I didn’t give too much thought to actually competing.