August 29, 2016
I rode the Jump trail, Voodoo, and the Crack trail, and I ought to preface this review by mentioning that it was about 95 degrees and humid when I rode, and the last thing I ate before riding was a gigantic bean burrito that had sat in the car overnight.
Second of all, it is good to note that the lake in the middle of this area is supported by a fairly large dam, which means it is not actually the low point of the network. just by looking at the map I assumed that sections that go towards the lake are downhill, and away is uphill. This is frequently not the case.
For example, the first trail I rode was the Jump trail, which I expected to be a fun, fast downhill with several jumps on it. In reality, it has one rock-drop at the entrance and soon turns into a technical climbing trail UP to the lake. A fun, well made trail, but not what I was expecting.
Voodoo trail was great, with challenging technical climbs and descents, really cool rock features, and terrific dirt. I felt appropriately challenged and was occasionally rewarded with fast flowy sections.
When I did the Crack trail I was almost out of water at the start, which was an issue in the heat, but I still swear it managed to be uphill both ways. Whoever said that most climbs here are short and punchy must have forgotten the 2 mile grind up a fire road with no shade to get out of the Crack trail. Every time I got to the top of a hill I'd go around a corner and keep going up until I found myself back at the start! Many of the descents were just straight and fast, speeding you over chattery rocks and delivering you efficiently to the next climbing section so your displeasure could continue unimpeded by any kind of excitement. Despite this, there was one very fun downhill section which definitely made up for my frustration. I won't ruin the surprise but its called the Crack trail for good reason, as you will find out when riding this fun and unique section.
I did not have very much fun overall while riding here, but I can't blame the trails for that entirely. They are beautiful trails with plenty of interesting and challenging features, and I bet I would have had a blast in cooler weather. If I have the chance to come back, I'd probably take the shortcut out of Crack and try out some of the other trails I missed.