After another restful night, it took us a while to get ready. With two days of riding and the repeated physical battery from all the gnar that Mountain Creek has to offer, we took a bit longer than usual to make it out the door.
Seeing that it was our last day out, we didn’t want to kill ourselves, but we still planned get in an honest day of riding before heading back home. So to make the 12 pm check-out time, we spent an hour quickly going over the bikes and packing away our gear so that we could check out first and then ride the rest of the day.
It had rained very hard over night, and we were all looking forward to the change in terrain. Remembering what John had said about the slopes, we were expecting tacky surfaces: Mountain Creek dries up very quickly. With the 90-degree temperatures, the trails would not be soaked, but should be moist enough to keep the sand from flying.
Sure enough, the rain really improved the trail surfaces! We were worried the rocks would be wet, adding to the “excitement,” but that was not the case. In fact, the rocks were the first spots to dry.
One funny thing I noticed was that nobody really felt like leading the charge. Jay’s eyes above say it all: “I am not pinning it on this run.” We all just wanted to follow and take it easy, unwilling to keep up the pace. In a way it was a good thing, as it took two easy runs before we really got our hearts pumping, thanks to an Upper Dominion to Evil Bob run (double diamond)–which I really think should be a triple! There’s nothing like not being able to stop on sniper rocks with inconveniently placed, off-camber slabs to push your heart rate through the roof!
Despite that, it was pretty awesome knowing that the bikes could take it. Finishing off that run via Alpine (full of wooden berms) was simply a blast, especially when you top it all off with the Phantom drop at the very end. Speaking of which, when we made it to the Phantom drop, we met up with a black bear that was just kicking around a large rubble pile.
It was pretty funny, really: just a couple of days ago, John mentioned that there was a bear that hangs around, and he said that if we do encounter the bear, not to look him in the eye. So what were we all doing? Yep, looking the bear in the eye. He was just sitting there sizing us up… I was thinking that I had just to be faster than one of the guys in the group. Glen was thinking of kicking Chris off his bike, Jay was thinking about what John had said a few days back… no problem. Lucky for us, the bear decided to just wander over the rubble pile without bothering us. Now if only the GoPro pics turn out…
Check out the black bear in the upper left of the frame.
Heading back up the lift, I wanted to hit any run starting off with Outlaw again, so we ended up hitting that along with a mix of Legion, Waterboy, Asylum, and Utah, flowing through to Frog Pond and Indy. Getting a fast, clean run in, I was super stoked, but I knew I should call it a day. The last run through Stalker was awesome: the bike just sailed over all the tops of the rocks with no issues. It was almost as if the bike had control as the steering was surprisingly light. Again, I hope the video from the GoPro HD2 turns out well, as Chris followed me down that entire last run.
I called it a day a bit early to take a few photos, but the boys ended up hitting the hardest run: BMW to USO (US Open). From what I hear, it was an extreme challenge, filled with big, gnarly sniper shark tooth rocks and holes that will swallow a front wheel whole. Totally masochistic!
Check out this video that Chris put together from our time at Mountain Creek:
Mountain Creek Clips 2012 on Pinkbike
When I was done taking some photos, I happened to meet up with the guys cleaning up the bikes for the ride back:
Mountain Creek is definitely worth a stop if you are into the downhill scene. There are a ton of other activities here as well, with an XC loop that just opened up and a full-featured water park that many people from all over take advantage of. There are even small sports fields where you can play on soccer, football, and baseball. There’s also an Alpine Mountain Coaster that should be up and running soon!
So when you get a chance, be sure to check out Mountain Creek! As far as my experience, I had an excellent time and plan on returning many times, and not just for the DH–on my way down I noticed a bunch of possible trailheads that are begging to be explored.
As far as equipment, the guys and I came away with a more intimate understanding of a few different things:
- The biggest realization that we had is how strong wheels really are. After the crazy thrashing we dished out over three days, the Mavic Deemax and Easton Havoc 150′s required no truing. In fact, they didn’t even dent. The Fulcrum Red Heat stayed true but had one tiny ding. Other than that, they too were great.
- We also noticed that running tubeless is the way to go: no burping and no flats. I choose to run freeride Muddy Mary’s while Jay and Chris ran the Downhill versions–1 ply vs 2 ply, with no real issues either way.
- A carbon crank does scratch on the rocks, so be careful. Aluminum cranks don’t care about rocks.
- Expensive pedals are just that: expensive. Lets face it, they will all get scratched and scored. The Answer pedals that Chris ran stayed in great shape, while the Loaded ones I used got the edges all torn up.
- Most importantly, go over the bike every day. Parts will come loose!
A big thanks to Hugh at Mountain Creek for arranging the accommodations while we checked out the bike park! For more information, click on over to Mountain Creek’s Bike Park page.