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  1. #1
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    Giant Salamander, again

    I rode the new Giant Salamander trail the same week it was reopened earlier this season. I also read the reports about how Giant Salamander was some combination of destroyed, sanitized, or needlessly meandered and thought about my last ride on that trail and started to have doubts about my recollections. I remember a pretty fun, challenging trail this year, that wasn't what it used to be.

    I rode it again in the climbing direction last week, and crashed pretty hard on it, but didn't hit my head. I found it to be a more enjoyable climbing trail than it was last year, still hard, but easier than it was.

    Today I charged down it again with a great rider hot on my back wheel. I sucked up the lips as much as I could, trying to keep my front wheel on the ground. I pushed really hard into the turns, and struggled to keep things together and keep Tom behind me. At the bottom, I was reminded that this is a great descending trail, a challenge for sure, but no more dangerous than my drive up to Skegg's.

    I can't rebut the "not what it used to be", because its not. Nothing is. When I started riding Resolution, and the current incarnation of Manzanita, they were wide and smooth, with huge, hideous ski jump sized water bars. Could have pushed a baby stroller up and down it. Now they have aged to the point that natural rocks pervade most parts, and control the rideable lines, much like I think GS will be like in a couple of years.

    Sure the District uses imported rocks in the turns, and the rocks will move under your wheels. Bad idea, I think, but not a permanent situation. Those rocks will sink into the tread, or get pushed off of it, before too long, and we will be left with the trail that the District will own and maintain, that is also fun and challenging to ride. Not to mention a delivery system to some pretty great parts of the preserve.

    I think we need to count our blessings here.

  2. #2
    bike dork extraordinaire
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    Just rode it for the first time yesterday. A nice trail that meanders down the hill with some tight turns and good rollers. But challenging? No. Right now it's so smooth I could ride my rode bike down it. Perhaps that will change with time, but I'll stick to the fun trails in the future (manzanita, blue blossom, resolution, steam donkey, etc.).

  3. #3
    MDJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirkrameroy
    Just rode it for the first time yesterday. A nice trail that meanders down the hill with some tight turns and good rollers. But challenging? No. Right now it's so smooth I could ride my rode bike down it. Perhaps that will change with time, but I'll stick to the fun trails in the future (manzanita, blue blossom, resolution, steam donkey, etc.).
    I just don't see how people think steam donkey is a fun trail...especially better than GS. GS isn't challenging to ride slow, but can be riding fast going down (and I'm primarily a DHer). It's like a big Giant Slalom. Steam donkey isn't a challenge either, just boring.

  4. #4
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    GS rules (given the right loop!)

    personally, I used to ride the former GS going uphill, it was the section of my loop which was the most challenging ("The Great Climb" to me). I was initially upset when it was re-configured, the great climb was no longer a challenge ...

    I took a couple different rides out there to find the best loop given the changes and scoped out a ride that I call 'Bats in the Belfry' (map outline looks like a bat =) ...

    turns out the new loop kicks arse over the original ... you know the whole 'Lemons into Lemonade' thing!

    Skeggs totally rocks!
    [SIZE="1"]"Often life has many clouds, but they quickly pass"
    - Mark Pi Fortune Cookie
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  5. #5
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    I rode GS for the first time ever in the climbing direction. It was a good climb to connect up to Manzanita. I was wondering the whole time I climbed it which way most people rode it. I seem to always be climbing where every one seems to be descending.

  6. #6
    SOG
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    I just picked up a new cyclocross bike and have been having a good time out there. GS will never be the same but it is typical of Skeggs. We have seen many trails closed over the years here.

  7. #7
    Too Much Fun
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    What that HELL...

    Quote Originally Posted by backpedal
    I think we need to count our blessings here.
    This is the INTARWEBS! Who let a voice of reason in??



    Agreed. Things change, trails change. GS is different now. Is it markedly less fun now? Hard to say, my FunMeter 2000 is hard to check while I'm riding.

    In the end I don't really care as long as I'm still able to clean the stream crossing!
    - -benja- -

  8. #8
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    New GS is fun roller going down at speed. With fast descent it's quite a challenge and better watch for few sharp outside turns (typically around tree) and launch ramps closer to the buttom. They both can throw you out easily.

    It reminded me Connector trail at Auburn in a good way.
    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.

  9. #9
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    It depends.

    Everything depends on what you like.

    Downhill, the old GS used to rip and in fact was one of the last trail at Skeggs that ripped. Now, it does not rip at all, it rolls. If you like ripping downhill, it sucks now. if you like rolling, it's an improvement.

    Steam donkey rips, especially the second half. It's short but if you balls out it rips, no question about that.

    None of this applies to people who like to CLIMB. Totally different issues there.

  10. #10
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    Being Passed by Ten Riders

    I was on my ride at Skeggs today and while climbing Methusalah before getting to the GS exit. At this point about 5 very fit riders on singlespeeds and cross country bikes zoomed past me. At the GS trailhead the 5 riders stopped to wait for the other 5 people in their group.

    At this point I decided to keep riding and headed up GS. By the time I got to the new section the lead rider had caught up to me and was right on my tail. I told him I like to ride very slow so I said let me know when you want to pass.

    After making the tight right hand switchback I moved to the left and he was able to get by me. About 40 yards further up the trail 2 others passed me. As I continued to climb at a slow pace 3 other riders past me before getting to the first bridge.

    I was really enjoying the climb at this point and while climbing I couldn't help notice how the trail tread was getting packed in. I also observed how the outer bank of the trail was getting covered with leaves and on certain sections small redwood trees were starting their journey to the sky.

    At one point I tried to let a rider on a singlespeed pass me but she stalled out and dropped 30 yards or so. Another rider passed me and said he was trying to catch his sister who apparently always kicks his butt.

    Oh well, I will probably always remember that climb and the other great memories that Skeggs has given some of us old farts.

    As far as I am concerned Midpen did a good job on the re-alignment of GS and I wonder if it will ever become a winter ride.

  11. #11
    EEP-OPP-ORK-AH-AH
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    Quote Originally Posted by traildoc
    I was on my ride at Skeggs today and while climbing Methusalah before getting to the GS exit. At this point about 5 very fit riders on singlespeeds and cross country bikes zoomed past me. ...
    good stuff - I was out there yesterday evening on a solo ride and also noticed there was a large group riding for a Wed ... weather was just right, a little chill in the air - finished up as the fog was moving in ... perfect!
    [SIZE="1"]"Often life has many clouds, but they quickly pass"
    - Mark Pi Fortune Cookie
    [/SIZE]

  12. #12
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    Salamander is better now. It's more flowy, longer, and it's ok on the climbing direction now.

    Plus, it is way more sustainable now (against erosion) and will be around in the same form in 5-10 years.

    It is good now and it will be even better after two seasons after it gets packed in and carved out.

    bravo!

    francois
    IPA will save America

  13. #13
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    I think the part of gordon mill leading to the downhill of GS is great. the climb out isn't bad at all. But a few of the jumps/high rolling hills seemed to lead to certain doom if i took them fast. that is most likely cause i am a wuss. Also one part seemed a bit like the natural line took you off the trail. besides that very swoopy and still very fun.

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