This 4th of July weekend, the Bunny and I went camping at Lake Siskiyou campground. On Saturday, The Bunny dropped me off at the Mt. Shasta Ski park for a day of downhill Mt. biking. This was my first time at the park, so I was very excited to have a full day of pure downhill riding.
The first thing I noticed was the body armor; most of the other riders were wearing…this made me feel a little “Under Dressed”. And I was hoping I wouldn't be needing armor to get out of here alive!
My first two runs I stayed on the service road, which I thought would be the easiest route down the Mountain. The road was full of large rocks and sandy washes ready to grab your front tire. I crashed and did a forward head plant, and then rolled to the flats, next to the ski lift.
“Are you okay” the lift operator asked, as he grabbed the first aid kit and started quickly toward my location. “I’m OK,” I said, just a small cut on my elbow…” I washed the blood and dirt off, and then covered the wound with a Band-Aid, “Time to try one of the other trails,” I was thinking.
My 3rd run, I found heaven…The Flow trail. This is a really well built trail, with a built-in watering system to keep the banks firm. The banked S-turns are linked together like a snake, following the contour of the slope.
The lift operator advised me, “Keep your speed up, stay off your brakes, and trust your bike.” “If you go to slow though the banks you’ll wash out and crash.” After having two great runs down the Flow trail, I stopped for lunch with Richard Coots, the Mountain Manager.
After lunch, Richard grabbed a bike, and he took me on a tour of the some of the other trails in the park. We went up the Douglas Butte lift…there he showed me one of their new trails off the south aspect of the Butte. This trail needs a lot of work to make it safe enough for an intermediate rider like me to ride. And I didn't see anyone on the trail, going for it.
From there we rode around to the north aspect on the service road, and looked at the downhill race course. Richard said that they are expecting over 100 racers on July 20th for this event. If I go, I will be watching and taking photos at the large jump, (see photos), about 1/3 of the way down the hill…Looks like this spot could be action packed, and a great photo opportunity!
From the race course, Richard took me over to the Perimeter trail, which is an uphill climb… I didn't like this, but followed him anyway. “Why am I climbing the hill, when I have a lift ticket,” I kept thinking. Once we got to the ridge above the pound, I pulled out two cold beers from my pack… “Cheers!”
The downhill section of the Perimeter trail was a little rough & narrow, but I was able to ride it. So it’s safe enough for an intermediate rider to navigate without getting hurt. Once we got to the bottom of the run, Richard had to go back to work, so I took a couple more runs down the Flow trail…this is, by far, the best trail on the hill!
“What a wonderful day of downhill,” I was thinking, but the day wasn't over. I still had to ride back to Lake Siskiyou campground, 15 miles away. Two miles down the Ski highway, I turned to the west onto the 31 road, which is approximately 7 miles of paved downhill with no traffic, (very fast).
To my surprise, I came out in downtown Mt. Shasta. From there I crossed over the freeway, and then cut though the Mt. Shasta Resort Golf course. I stopped for a beer at the Golf course, and then dropped down to the Lake Siskiyou shoreline trail, a nice shady 4 mile ride back to the campground.
Total time for the ride was one hour & approximately 90% downhill… a very easy ride. I would have to rate Saturdays ride a “9,” and remember “you’re only as good as your last ride,” so Saturday I was a 9, but next time I ride at the park, I’ll have knee & elbow pads! And I’ll try not to do anymore forward head plants! And then maybe I can be a “10,” for the day….or not?
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