November 24, 2016
It is a ~15 mi series of 3 one-way loops and they mark every -.25 mi or so, which is nice. It is in a river valley with nice views of the Occoquan Reservoir. It is a lot of climbing: up and down, up and down... they seem to want to maximize flow but the downhill sections are relatively short. It is all single track and most is cut into the side of hills with copious built-up berms. There are some features they built in that are challenging, like some rock gardens and RR tie-like steps and several tough, rooty short climbs. There are some surprises: in a couple places the trail goes around a tree and a surprise 1 foot drop is on the other side. There are a handful of ramp-facilitated multi-foot drops (with ride-arounds), some bridges, skinnys, and log piles. A remark from personal preference... the park seems... "unnatural." When you look through the forest, the cut-in trail and the large berms are very noticeable. It seems like they made the most of a small space, but I often remarked to myself, "what were they thinking?" in reaction to the trail seemingly forced on the land instead of the land dictating the trail. The rock gardens are mostly and obviously man-made. With natural rock gardens, there is usually some sort of awareness that a rock garden may be coming: a gradual thinning of the soil, increase in exposed rock on the lead up, or entering a dry wash. That really characterizes much of Fountainhead: it is fine riding, but for me was missing a connection with the land. Context: I ride around Richmond, VA, but have also ridden in AL, Durham/Raleigh area, and various trails in VA.