September 29, 2017
I feel like I almost need to leave two separate reviews. Being from the midwest, I am used to long loops with rolling hills. This was definitely more sustained climbing followed by downhill descents. Day 1 we parked at the north trailhead with intel on what to ride. It was very clear to us on the map where we were going. However, once on the trails, it was horrible. It felt like every 90 seconds there was a trail crossing, and they were rarely marked. We were constantly having to consult trailforks to see where we were, and if we were still on the route we were told to follow. It got to be a slog and no fun. I just want to ride - I want to turn off my thinking for 90 minutes, and then look where I'm at and figure out how to get back. On this day, we found the Bear trails to be relaxing, as I think we may have ridden 10 minutes straight there. I enjoyed the descent on Oriental Express. I actually looked to see if there was somewhere else to go on Day 2 because we were so put off by the lack of markings. However, we decided to go back and park on the south side. We headed off towards the trailhead and saw a "no trespassing sign" and turned back. However, we saw 4 bikers heading our way and asked where to go. They said to follow them, and, of course, the trailhead was past that sign. Ha. Well, we ended up following them for the next 2 hours as the leader knew his way. I know we climbed up Stick, Brick, Stone, & Kaiser with a detour to go down Happy Hour. I'd recommend that route as it avoided the fireroads and made for an enjoyable ascent. At the end we went up Wonderland to begin our big descent. Evolution was the "big deal" here and we rode it a couple times. I rolled it, as I'm definitely more of a XC rider, but it was still fun and challenging in that regard. I know we also rode Unemployment Line and Cheech & Chong, which were all do-able for someone with intermediate-advanced skills from the midwest. Day 2 was oodles more fun and exactly what we had hoped for. The moral is to ride with someone you know or attach yourself to someone who does. Being armed with a paper map & trailforks still wasn't enough for us.