March 23, 2016
Of the Westchester parks Sprain is probably aerobically the easiest (the climbs are punchy but short) but technically the most difficult. My first time there I found the main trails to be well marked but all the alternate lines made it confusing and I kept getting turned around. This said, the alternates are nice since riders of different abilities can ride together. But, despite some flowing sections there is definitely a lot of unavoidable technical challenge here ranging from tons of big log rides to tricky rock gardens and tight, rocky switchbacks - not to mention the rollers and drops Sprain is known for. To fully appreciate the park riders will have to be intermediate-advanced with strong technical skills. This doesn't mean beginners shouldn't try Sprain; they should just come expecting to be humbled and work their way up from the easier trails. Kicked my ass the first time but its a great place to build skills.
I'll give it a 4 for excellent use of a small space, unique, challenging terrain, and accessibility to NYC. Deduct a bit for confusing signage. Try to ride it with someone who knows the loops first time out. Also, despite Sprain's reputation you don't need to be a freerider or ride a big suspension bike to enjoy the trails. Plenty of people ride hardtails, they just ride more carefully.