What is the most technical trail in the bay area?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What is the most technical trail in the bay area?

    Pacifica's Crack and Mile have grown too easy. What trails around the bay that offer the same difficulty or greater?

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    If you expect us to name legal trails, the list will be very short. If you expect “non-designated” ones, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    The hardest trail in Ca I’ve ridden has been in SLO. There is a few clips of it in this video. If you know, you know.
    https://youtu.be/wqrbVkEJQm8

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    I know I'll get roasted for this but in MY personal experience, I'd say Braile in Demo is where you can find trouble if you're looking for it. There is a small very steep rock garden at Rockville that is pretty gnarly...it's red on Trailforks.

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    That video is way harder than anything I've seen in the bay area.

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    With jumps or just natural technical? With all due respect, Braille cant compare to crack and mile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    The hardest trail in Ca I’ve ridden has been in SLO. There is a few clips of it in this video. If you know, you know.
    https://youtu.be/wqrbVkEJQm8
    RB - do you still GoPro some of your rides? I know on YouTube you have some, from a year or more ago.
    I think some folks (me) would love to see vids of some of your more recent rides. Don’t have to name the place, of course.
    Thanks!

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    My favorites trails are "area closed" and "no bikes", funny how so many trails have the same name.
    Seriously, most of the best are on a need to know basis and you'll only find them riding with Locals. Most technical steep? rocky?
    Apples and oranges.

  8. #8
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    There are other trails in that area of equal difficulty (there's one parallel to Crack).

    And honestly, if it feels easy, maybe you can hit it at World Cup speed. Then let us know... =)

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    Isn't braille the hardest legal trail in the area? It's tame compared to the unsanctioned stuff, but nobody will tell you about those on a public forum.

  10. #10
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    Does Rockville count as technical?

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    I don't think there are any legal trails in the Bay Area that can't be ridden down without dabbing by a reasonably skilled rider on a fully rigid bike from 2005. Another way to put it: there are few/no trails that a reasonably fit rider couldn't ride in the uphill direction. I think that definition was something RBoardman posted in response to a similar thread a few months ago.

    That said, there are a few trails on the back side of China Camp that aren't terribly difficult to ride down, but are certainly difficult to go smoothly fast down.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

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    Haven't ridden Pacifica but I'd take a ride at Pleasanton Ridge if you want steep and fast stuff. Easily the toughest stuff I've come across in the E.bay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso View Post
    Another way to put it: there are few/no trails that a reasonably fit rider couldn't ride in the uphill direction.
    Just one example:

    Legal. I would love to see someone ride up it.

    What is the most technical trail in the bay area?-unnamed.jpg

    What is the most technical trail in the bay area?-cascade.jpg

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    LC- Do you ever get down to Santa Cruz? There's no shortage of trails that will challenge you!
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    I'll nominate South Leaf at Skeggs, but it's more XC techy as it's short hits of steep up then steep down with rocky/rooty/narrow hangups. Not sure it's what you're on about, or if Menso could clean it in both directions on a NORBA era rigid, but it's got some tricky bits. Legal too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by render ranger View Post
    Just one example:

    Legal. I would love to see someone ride up it.
    That looks like a good candidate! Where is that?
    Edit: found it. Cascade in Rockville. Too bad strava has it as 0.04 miles. Even so, I'd like to go ride it next time I'm in the area (down, not up!).
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Mackenzie View Post
    Does Rockville count as Bay Area?
    Fify.
    “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

    George Orwell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Mackenzie View Post
    Does Rockville count as technical?
    There are some alt lines there that have broken folks. Take a class there with Ian Massey sometime and try to follow him!

    "There's a simple formula for making most any trail more technical (and sometimes less technical): ride it faster."

    That's the kind of thinking that produced flow trails. Pass.
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    Lots of people ride down Cascade In Rockville, not that tough now the cheater lines have formed. Riding down the middle, much harder. I would love to see someone clear it going uphill, someone with good trials skills. Maybe this guy.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-...-whistler.html

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro View Post
    Isn't braille the hardest legal trail in the area? It's tame compared to the unsanctioned stuff, but nobody will tell you about those on a public forum.
    There are some pretty technical hiking trails in the Bay Area if you know where to look, that I may or may not have accidentally ended up on a time or two.

    At one point in time Cave Trail near pacific was bike legal. Not sure if it still is, and now there are steps down the steep sections which I guess makes it more of a challenge.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_sbay View Post
    RB - do you still GoPro some of your rides? I know on YouTube you have some, from a year or more ago.
    I think some folks (me) would love to see vids of some of your more recent rides. Don’t have to name the place, of course.
    Thanks!
    Got rid of my GoPro a while back since I never used it. Got tired of only getting decent footage 1 out of every 5 rides. I would forget to turn in on, or mud would get on the lens, or it would be angled wrong, or I’d forget to change it, etc. Also I mainly ride SC which is very hard to get good video because it’s so dark and it looks so flat on camera.

    Here is one of the last videos I recorded. Trails are always harder in “poor” conditions.

    https://youtu.be/uWnVRHsbDa0

  22. #22
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    There's a simple formula for making most any trail more technical (and sometimes less technical): ride it faster.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    If you expect us to name legal trails, the list will be very short. If you expect “non-designated” ones, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    The hardest trail in Ca I’ve ridden has been in SLO. There is a few clips of it in this video. If you know, you know.
    https://youtu.be/wqrbVkEJQm8
    I know all of those but we really don’t need folks driving down from the Bay Area looking for them. There are other, also illicit, trails closer. Some awesome riding there and Art’s is a great shop but I guess I don’t really get the reason for “sharing “ most of these.


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  24. #24
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    If Crack and surrounding Pacifica trails (like the parallel one mentioned) are too easy for you, then congratulations you have won mountain biking - you will have a very hard time finding more tech DH trails in the Bay Area - and sometimes it is more about the fact that you have probably just memorized your go-to lines on those trails - trying riding different lines especially on The Mile waterfall

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    There's a simple formula for making most any trail more technical (and sometimes less technical): ride it faster.
    ^


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  26. #26
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    Theres one trail at rockville that is really hard to ride down, but its more slow tech, can't remember what its called but not sure its legal as it's not on trail forks. Not cascade though. also idk if you're going for the "humble brag" there, but if mile has grown too easy just pick different lines.

    also castle park(?) trail near JMP can be pretty gnarly depending on the line you take.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Got rid of my GoPro a while back since I never used it. Got tired of only getting decent footage 1 out of every 5 rides. I would forget to turn in on, or mud would get on the lens, or it would be angled wrong, or I’d forget to change it, etc. Also I mainly ride SC which is very hard to get good video because it’s so dark and it looks so flat on camera.

    Here is one of the last videos I recorded. Trails are always harder in “poor” conditions.

    https://youtu.be/uWnVRHsbDa0
    Fast riding on the greased trails! Nice.

    I hear you re GoPros. And I have the added problem that I suck.

    OP - if u can post a vid of your Mile and Crack, could help folks with suggestions.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_sbay View Post
    Fast riding on the greased trails! Nice.

    I hear you re GoPros. And I have the added problem that I suck.

    OP - if u can post a vid of your Mile and Crack, could help folks with suggestions.
    Yeah, there is no way those trails are is “easy” even if you can ride them clean ever lap. Even Paul who can hold his own in the pro class at any local enduro makes it look rough and tough.

    Not sure if this link will work:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B_-WFXOH...d=qe64puhp75jn

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Yeah, there is no way those trails are is “easy” even if you can ride them clean ever lap. Even Paul who can hold his own in the pro class at any local enduro makes it look rough and tough.

    Not sure if this link will work:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B_-WFXOH...d=qe64puhp75jn
    Link works. Dayum, that is a mtb video.

    OP - that link/vid could be good reference.

  30. #30
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    Been trying to learn how to become comfortable jumping and doing drops recently. This was my first time hitting this and my style is that of a dead fish in the air. But at least I didn’t die, always a plus. There used to be a guy with a mis-matched colored Nomad that used to post good sends on here all the time.
    https://youtu.be/LpOiBPVyzmo

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Been trying to learn how to become comfortable jumping and doing drops recently. This was my first time hitting this and my style is that of a dead fish in the air. But at least I didn’t die, always a plus. There used to be a guy with a mis-matched colored Nomad that used to post good sends on here all the time.
    https://youtu.be/LpOiBPVyzmo
    Yo... that's some serious air. Probably as big/bigger than Medium at Cmont with higher consequences.

    Nothing fishy with that technique. My dead sailor on the other hand...

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron m. View Post
    Yo... that's some serious air. Probably as big/bigger than Medium at Cmont with higher consequences.

    Nothing fishy with that technique. My dead sailor on the other hand...
    Everything at Carlmont scares me.
    But yeah, this one you have to keep it in control for quite a ways after landing because you are going fast and there isn’t anyway to scrub much speed until you’re at the bottom.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambow View Post
    Lots of people ride down Cascade In Rockville, not that tough now the cheater lines have formed. Riding down the middle, much harder. I would love to see someone clear it going uphill, someone with good trials skills. Maybe this guy.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-...-whistler.html
    I was going to suggest this one.

    Oat Hill Mine in Calistoga is very technical.

    Rough Go in Annadel ,
    as well as 2 Quarry when ridden fast.

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    I think carlmont is more challenging than Pacifica. Definitely there are lines that require bigger skill and bigger commitment there, compared to crack and mile. I haven’t ridden either recently, but I think that’s generally true.

    But if technical = rocky then no, it’s not more technical.

    I am not holding my breath that it will open this year, but I think sticks and stones and tell no tales at Northstar are tougher than crack and mile if you want big awkward rocks on steep. Not Bay Area of course but close-ish.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Been trying to learn how to become comfortable jumping and doing drops recently. This was my first time hitting this and my style is that of a dead fish in the air. But at least I didn’t die, always a plus. There used to be a guy with a mis-matched colored Nomad that used to post good sends on here all the time.
    https://youtu.be/LpOiBPVyzmo
    way to send it, good job.

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    You can try Angwin if you are tired of Pacifica.

    https://youtu.be/WuLzQdF4LdM

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    You can try Angwin if you are tired of Pacifica.

    https://youtu.be/WuLzQdF4LdM

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    Personally, I always found Pacifica challenging and I was a season pass holder @ Northstar the same year. Alas if you ride terrain enough you learn how to mute the aggression. Bay Area isn't a DH haven you have to travel. Auburn use to have some technical terrain worth mentioning. There are scattered trails about that offer some eyes wide open action but they are short & hidden. When I was thirsty for DH and growing anxious w/ the terrain my buddy told me to ditch my 7"+ ride and go full ridgid. There was a video floating about where someone did Pacifica on a road bike.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    If you expect us to name legal trails, the list will be very short. If you expect “non-designated” ones, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    The hardest trail in Ca I’ve ridden has been in SLO. There is a few clips of it in this video. If you know, you know.
    https://youtu.be/wqrbVkEJQm8
    FYI, there is a huge dispute with the land owner on the trail in that video (well, the one that has the most footage of) and it is shut down until further notice. Anyone who knows that trail understands how lucky we are to have an advanced technical trail and we all need to respect the owner by not riding it for a while. Some kids were building shoot-offs into other properties which pissed off the wrong people. If we can let it all die-down, we might be able to keep it for the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmallory View Post
    FYI, there is a huge dispute with the land owner on the trail in that video (well, the one that has the most footage of) and it is shut down until further notice. Anyone who knows that trail understands how lucky we are to have an advanced technical trail and we all need to respect the owner by not riding it for a while. Some kids were building shoot-offs into other properties which pissed off the wrong people. If we can let it all die-down, we might be able to keep it for the long run.
    All these trails are at MDO State Park, right?

    I was just showing off some of the gnarliest trails I know, definitely not advocating anyone to go ride them as they are ALL “illegal” as far as I know, hence why no names or locations were shared.

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    If nuking crack or mile is too easy, go on Google Earth. Take a look at the hillsides of Mission Peak in Fremont and go for it. It’s freeride, so different lines each time (always keeps it interesting). Good luck dodging ebrpd and its heli as it’s not the most legal thing to do.

    careful of cliffs, Google Earth is deceiving

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    I think there are a lot of apples to oranges comparisons as "technical" can mean different things in different contexts and can mean different things to different people - it's apples and oranges to compare airing out huge drops / gaps at Carlmont or slowly picking your way through the techy climbs at Annadel or Oat Hill to the DH trails at Pacifica - they are all technical in their own way and require different skill sets - but as far as steep, rugged tech DH trails, I don't think there is anything that has been mentioned in the Bay Area that is even in the same league as the Pacifica stuff, but getting up to N* or down South would definitely be a good challenge along those lines

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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    I think there are a lot of apples to oranges comparisons as "technical" can mean different things in different contexts

    I think its 100% clear he's talking about technical DH, not technical XC.

  44. #44
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    When Pacifica becomes too easy and boring, just pack it up and move to Virgin, Utah.

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    Come on Little Carrot, you started this thread but have not responded to any replies. Let’s see some footage of you riding down these “easy” trails to see if you are legit or just BS’ing us as you tiptoe your way down them.

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    Mt Tam - Temelpa... very illegal and technical.... plenty more options where that came from if you go pick up any of the numerous bay area hiking guides.

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    Santa Cruz has some extremely gnarly trails if you know where to look.

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    I mean depends, if you mean rough tech terrain crack and mile are probably some of the best in the bay. There are quite a bit steeper trails in Santa Cruz though and jump trails that are a fair bit more technical than those in Pacifica. If ya want to check em out, id gladly show ya some.

    What is the most technical trail in the bay area?-img_0601.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Come on Little Carrot, you started this thread but have not responded to any replies. Let’s see some footage of you riding down these “easy” trails to see if you are legit or just BS’ing us as you tiptoe your way down them.
    Haha, after I get a bike. I sold mine, the bike market is hot at right now. Gotta jump on it while I still can. Growing up riding Mile and Crack is what makes it easy for me.

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    I was too good so I sold my bike too.

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  52. #52
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    Bob Roll calls sand a technical feature. Ever try bombing sand dunes?

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    Valid question and not to be annoying but since there likely aren't many good options, another direction is to just take less bike. I find skeggs extremely boring on a mountain bike but on a cyclocross bike its a good challenge. Similarly braille isn't too wild on a 6" trail bike but good fun on a hardtail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akdmx View Post
    Valid question and not to be annoying but since there likely aren't many good options, another direction is to just take less bike. I find skeggs extremely boring on a mountain bike but on a cyclocross bike its a good challenge. Similarly braille isn't too wild on a 6" trail bike but good fun on a hardtail.
    Yeah, I would have more confidence riding Mile with my rear brake line cut than riding a cross bike on real singletrack. Some guys can shred bike with drop bars on trails, but I’m one of those people who like to buy the latest and greatest technology to compensate for my lack of skill.

    For example, just installed a 170mm Fox 38 tonight.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleCarrot View Post
    Haha, after I get a bike. I sold mine, the bike market is hot at right now. Gotta jump on it while I still can. Growing up riding Mile and Crack is what makes it easy for me.
    Growing up doing miles of crack is what makes it easy for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    All these trails are at MDO State Park, right?
    No, that's not MdO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleCarrot View Post
    Haha, after I get a bike. I sold mine, the bike market is hot at right now. Gotta jump on it while I still can. Growing up riding Mile and Crack is what makes it easy for me.
    Pics or it didn't happen....

    This is starting to smell like a troll...

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    The little voice in my head when I'm driving up to Carlmont.


  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    There's a simple formula for making most any trail more technical (and sometimes less technical): ride it faster.

    Also, less travel or both.

  60. #60
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    She-it. Thats nice.

  61. #61
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    Oof - I don't WANT to know. Some of that looks kinda terrifying.
    Sycip Unleaded 650B
    Sycip Ti Gravel

  62. #62
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    While there are some gnarlier stuff in the bay which i'm not going to share with the internet, like the rest of the responses here, I'd highly recommend underbiking. You climb faster and descend slower so you spend less time uphill and more time downhill... It's safer cause you'll be going slower meaning it's safer for everyone else like dogoes and hikers and such. You'll feel like you're going damned fast though...


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    When I get my steed, I will do a video of me bombing mile at night. Make the bios happy

  64. #64
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    For me Crack & Mile have been the hardest trails around that I've ridden if you don't count Tahoe. I think there may be some spots that are tough here and there, but those are pretty sustained jank for a distance. Rockville has some tough spots but other than Cascade that was mentioned earlier none of it comes close to Crack & Mile. Most of the toughest spots in Rockville are only a single feature on an otherwise fun but chunky trail. I think like others have said if you are pinning that stuff then maybe try getting a hardtail and see if you can beat your FS times on that.
    </robert> ::: B1KER.com - Be One

  65. #65
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    how about Stage 5 of the CES China Peak, that trail gives me nightmares.

    but as others have said just ride the trail faster, even super cruisy trails can become very tech if you start making trail gaps, or hit ruts or rock gardens at speed

  66. #66
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    I thought that I finally mastered mile and then today it didnt go well at all. Getting too old, it hurts for days afterwards. It would be easy on a dirt bike with 12" of suspension travel.

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