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  1. #1
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    kettle vs blue mounds

    Okay, I have one day (this Monday) I can get away from the city during my week long visit. What's the best spot to go? Was looking at the reviews and it looks like Blue Mounds is a bit more fun than Kettle? True? Any other options within 3 hours or so of Schaumburg?

  2. #2
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    Both are good...

    But if it's technical singletrack you are after then Blue Mounds is the place to ride. It's full of non-stop rocks and roots.

    www.madcitydirt.org

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbaryenbruch
    But if it's technical singletrack you are after then Blue Mounds is the place to ride. It's full of non-stop rocks and roots.

    www.madcitydirt.org
    How many miles of trails in each place?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by reklar
    How many miles of trails in each place?
    Blue Mound has about 12-13 miles.

    Kettle Moraine has >25miles if you include the Connector Trail and the Emma Carlin Trails along with the John Muir Trailhead.

  5. #5
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    kettles if you want to rip it up with your big ring, blue mounds if you want to challenge line picking skills.

  6. #6
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    My vote: Kettle

    If you have not been to either, you have to put both on your hit list.
    Me, I like it flowy and fast. For this Kettle wins hands down. It is also closer for you in Schaumberg.
    I find myself getting in the small ring at Blue Mound then staying there. Where the rocks at Kettle are classic baby heads, the rocks are Blue Mound are very pointy. One trail is called Dragons Back if that gives you an idea.
    Don't know what your fitness level is but I'd challenge you to do the "big loop" at Kettle. That is the outer blue, connector to Emma, outer loop at Emma, connector back to John Muir then finish the blue loop. That is 25+ miles that you'll feel the next day.

    Have fun.

  7. #7
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    id say blue mounds is more fun in my opinion its almost am/fr-iey because of all the rocks to jump up on/drop off of and natural drops and stuff, its very challenging technically and physically

  8. #8
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    If you have full suspension go to blue mound but it was pretty tough on a hard tail, my dad snapped his back axle. So be careful and watch you lines!

  9. #9
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    The miles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nater
    Blue Mound has about 12-13 miles.

    Kettle Moraine has >25miles if you include the Connector Trail and the Emma Carlin Trails along with the John Muir Trailhead.
    The guys I rode with Sunday calculated 16 miles to ride the upper park, and then loop to Pleasure Valley with a spur that's the Poker Town new trail where you come back to the upper park and loop through and out at Serpentine Climb. BMSP miles hard miles compared to Kettles miles.

    I have no bike computer but doing that had me more beaten the day after than the Kettles because of the climbing and all the upper body moves for the BMSP terrain.

    I love both Kettles and BMSP but admit some bias because I ride big tires, heavy bike and WaltDizzy who posts here and I are the trail managers there.

    If you ride the Kettles look out for the new connector trail that eliminates some of the road riding. Walt and I had a sweet moment running into one of the stalwart trail guys there who showed us that trail and it was fun to pass our perfect excuses for not ever making each others' trail days.

    As far as BMSP: Everybody owes Walt a big thanks for fixing up Serpentine Climb and the out and back section of Poker Town needs to be ridden. The major work to still be done this year will be elsewhere such as the big Cam Rock IMBA visit this weekend. The rains were very hard on older parts of BMSP, we apologize for that, but we need to ride too. We really appreciate the interest in the park and suggest people register at www.madcitydirt.org in order to know what's going on in the area, and we hope to meet ya'll at the Cam Rock IMBA event this weekend!

    Back to Kettles vs. BMSP: My general method for deciding is go to Kettles if there has been rain and BMSP if I'm up for hurting myself or my bike.

    Enjoy!

  10. #10
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    Verdict

    So where did you go and what did you think?

  11. #11
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    good question. this summer i have been riding 4 days at blue mounds, 3 days off, 4 days at kettle, 3 days off, wash rinse, repeat. I find that It's a good way to train (hopefully going to do both races in october if my collarbone heals up) because bluemounds is a lot of upper body strength stuff (at least on my aluminum rigid) and extreme technical skills, whereas kettle is more endurance oriented. at blue mounds, i almost never exceed 10mph. (although the experience with suspension fork might be different). At kettle on the other hand, it's easy to maintain a pace of 12-15mph and there are a lot of fun moderate hills.

    blue mounds classic trails (ie: not overload): pros: most techincal track in southern wisconsin hands down. if you choose the hardest lines and not the bailouts, there are going to be moments with "trials" style ratcheting and balancing on 5-10 foot tall rocks. cons: no uphills and downhills. might not even get out of breath.

    blue mounds overload trail: 1100 feet of elevation change.. biggest downhillls and biggest uphills around.. i would say a decent amount of FSers that i see at blue mounds "classic" trails refuse to ride the overload because it is too hard for them endurance wise. some excellent banked hairpins that can be ripped real hard as you fly down a long long descent along a valley ridge -- you wont find this at kettle.

    kettle moraine: very fast moving, better flow. you'll ride a little bit of everything but there are no screaming 200 foot descents here and no car size boulders either. kettle is nice because it has a lot of varied environments and the scenery is really quite beautiful. it has soil that changes rapidly from gravel to sand (many large sand traps on some trails) back to dirt. no mud here. typically very dry. kettle will allow you to really get into a good endurance zone, because the hills are all manageable and are always rewarded by manageable descents. Rock gardens here cant even be compared to the ones at bluemounds, so you wont have to worry too much about slowing down. there are some cool sections of pine forest here that are kind of fun to zip in and out of. also a handful of interesting technical line options that seem to have been placed recently (some non-elevated single-wide log bridges, a couple of jumps and several logpiles that make up the more technical line on some of the descents).

    Kettle - bring tires that are good for sand.. there are some 50 and 100 yard sand traps that are just beasts if you havent discovered the best lines in them.

    BMSP: bring good cornering skills because these downhills are truly epic

    Also, kettle has several trails with what i call "razorback" ridges, where you go up and down over and over again without having to pedal ... similar to a rollercoaster. pretty sweet (check out the short loop on emma carlin trails).

    Tough choice.

    If i had to pick only one though, i would say BMSP just because it has recently been cleaned up and the technical stuff is mindblowing. Ride one lap on the overload trail to get your adrenaline rush going, and then get a good upper body and skills workout on devil's garden, serpentine climb, and holy schist.

    Have fun! both are excellent places to ride!


    ps: watch out for some re-routed sections at KM. there is some surprise sand on some of the turns. just ask my collarbone
    Last edited by Everyzig2101; 08-08-2008 at 07:16 PM.

  12. #12
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    What bike for Blue Mound?

    I've never been to Blue Mounds but am planning on hitting it in the next month or so. So for those familiar with Blue Mounds, what do you recommend for a bike setup out there (especially for those of us unfamiliar with the trails)? I'm a somewhat experienced XC rider, but based on some of the comments about BMSP, It sounds like it may be more technical (or at least different technical) than anyplace I've ridden before. I have several bikes, but would probably go with either my FS (a typical 4-inch XC FS bike) or my longer travel steel hardtail (an inbred 456 with a 120mm fork). I have the hardtail setup for more technical riding (short stem, wider risers, 2.4 motoraptor up front, platform peddles) while the FS is a typical modern XC setup (I use clipless pedals on the FS). I'm leaning towards the hardtail because of the technical stuff, but it's not my fav for longer rides and I prefer the FS for faster downhills.


    Quote Originally Posted by Everyzig2101
    ps: watch out for some re-routed sections at KM. there is some surprise sand on some of the turns. just ask my collarbone
    Yeah, I rode out there yesterday (did Muir, connector, and Carlin) and the recent dry weather has really softened up the sand. I don't ever remember encountering that much soft sand out there before (don't let that stop you from going though, the vast majority of the trail is very firm).
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=trailville]I've never been to Blue Mounds but am planning on hitting it in the next month or so. So for those familiar with Blue Mounds, what do you recommend for a bike setup out there (especially for those of us unfamiliar with the trails)? I'm a somewhat experienced XC rider, but based on some of the comments about BMSP, It sounds like it may be more technical (or at least different technical) than anyplace I've ridden before. I have several bikes, but would probably go with either my FS (a typical 4-inch XC FS bike) or my longer travel steel hardtail (an inbred 456 with a 120mm fork). I have the hardtail setup for more technical riding (short stem, wider risers, 2.4 motoraptor up front, platform peddles) while the FS is a typical modern XC setup (I use clipless pedals on the FS). I'm leaning towards the hardtail because of the technical stuff, but it's not my fav for longer rides and I prefer the FS for faster downhills.


    you got it... while i've never ridden a full suspension, i would think it might be your best bet for a one time ride. especially with the clipless pedals. i would think you'd get knocked out of your pedals a lot on the hardtail, and not already knowing the best lines, you'll probably be frustrated being halfway between suspension and rigid. i know i prefer rigid over hardtail at blue mounds, but that might be because i've ridden the trails more times than i can count.

    I met walt the other day (the main man for trailbuilding at bmsp) and he was riding a 5 or 6" travel bike (i think) so i'd say your fs would probably be your best choice, especially because it would be a shame to be unable to totally rail the downhills on overload. and if you have to walk a few hill sections, it will still be worth it.

  14. #14
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    eh id say go steel hardtail, especially not knowing whats ahead of you its really nice to be able to bail off of the bike in a super hurry with flats (but im biased i ride flats), the short stem, and fatty tires will help out alot on the rocks, im riding a similar setup(s) an iron horse warrior and mongoose ritual both with 100mm upfront and sometimes i feel like alittle more travel would do me well and the ht might have alittle more fun factor jumping up and down from boulders

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    eh id say go steel hardtail,

    yes.i always take my gunnar, since its made like 10 miles away from the trails how could i ride something else? i dont think its a coincidence that it rides kettle perfectly.

  16. #16
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    Read this as far as "what bike".

    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    I've never been to Blue Mounds but am planning on hitting it in the next month or so. So for those familiar with Blue Mounds, what do you recommend for a bike setup out there (especially for those of us unfamiliar with the trails)? I'm a somewhat experienced XC rider, but based on some of the comments about BMSP, It sounds like it may be more technical (or at least different technical) than anyplace I've ridden before. I have several bikes, but would probably go with either my FS (a typical 4-inch XC FS bike) or my longer travel steel hardtail (an inbred 456 with a 120mm fork). I have the hardtail setup for more technical riding (short stem, wider risers, 2.4 motoraptor up front, platform peddles) while the FS is a typical modern XC setup (I use clipless pedals on the FS). I'm leaning towards the hardtail because of the technical stuff, but it's not my fav for longer rides and I prefer the FS for faster downhills.
    http://madcitydirt.org/forum/index.p...ic=242.new#new

  17. #17
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    Alright bitflogger, I realize that you can ride just about any bike on any trail, but you're not really recommending I ride a department store bike or a BMX at Blue Mound, are you?

    Things were simpler when I really only had one bike set up for trails, but since every bike setup involves some type of compromise, it's nice to have different setups available. For my local trails, each bike provides a whole different experience on the trail. I sometimes ride on my rigid singlespeed or even on my 700c touring bike (with cross tires), but that's not what I would recommend to someone else if they were to ask.

    Anyway, I'm really looking forward to checking out Blue Mound. I also need to find some time to hit some of the other trails around Madison (Cam-Rock and Quarry Ridge). In recent years I've pretty much just been riding locally (Southeast WI) so there's a whole list of Midwest trails I need to try someday. Back in the early to mid 90s, I use to ride all over Wisconsin, but the trails back then (at the least the ones I knew about) were mostly just the XC ski trails (big hills, wide non-technical trails).
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville
    Alright bitflogger, I realize that you can ride just about any bike on any trail, but you're not really recommending I ride a department store bike or a BMX at Blue Mound, are you?
    No, really just suggesting that you just enjoy the ride, and it really was special to see that father and son with the attitude that father had.

    I see all sorts of bikes there from the kid's BMX to racers to free ride bikes. FWIW: I think a 120-150 mm dual suspension bike and some beefy tires are ideal and some I know tell me their rigid single speed is where it's at. Also watch your tire pressure and don't go too low and get pinch flats.

    Enjoy your visit, and I suggest registering on www.madcitydirt.org if you live in the state. You'll get wind of what's up, where to ride, and can give a shout out for people to show you around.

    Good luck.

  19. #19
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    Question. I went to Levis Mound last year and it was a great time. However, I don't feel like driving 4 hours this weekend to go riding somewhere new. I know both Blue Mounds and Kettles isn't the same as Levis, but if you guys had to choose either, which one would be the closest to the same terrain as Levis?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burtonrider250
    Question. I went to Levis Mound last year and it was a great time. However, I don't feel like driving 4 hours this weekend to go riding somewhere new. I know both Blue Mounds and Kettles isn't the same as Levis, but if you guys had to choose either, which one would be the closest to the same terrain as Levis?
    Same terrain? Neither is going to offer the veiws from the mounds as Levis. Although Blue Mound does have a nice view from the top of the observation tower.

    Same type of trail surface? I think the Kettles comes closest of those two.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burtonrider250
    Question. I went to Levis Mound last year and it was a great time. However, I don't feel like driving 4 hours this weekend to go riding somewhere new. I know both Blue Mounds and Kettles isn't the same as Levis, but if you guys had to choose either, which one would be the closest to the same terrain as Levis?
    Another vote for neither having same terrain.

    Kettles shares the sand, but I would describe Kettles as a place where I can roll long distances - a fun hilly and sometimes sandy little road ride turned to dirt where you can have a lot of fun cranking out the miles per hour.

    BMSP is a place with more penalty for failure and having to be more on it as far as your bike handling and some climbs that need power and skill. A lot of BMSP has one line you have to pick right or you're dabbing or walking. There's about 600 of vertical in the park and I've heard just the Overlode trail is 1100 feet of climbing.

    Oh, BMSP is not fun when wet.

    Conclusion: Ride one day A and the other day B.

    Enjoy!

  22. #22
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    blue mound sounds nasty, how does it compare to either LaCrosse or Decorah? Similar in technical difficulty? I love both those trails, amazing....

  23. #23
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    I've ridden both trail systems albeit a few years back (just getting back into the sport now..every molecule is a quiver!) and If a good whippin' is what your after, DO check out the BMSP..I am absolutely in love with the John Muir/ EC trails in the Southern Kettle Moraine State park. Fast, tight, hardpack twisting and grinding through picturesque pine an hardwood stands.. absolutely breathtaking in more ways than 1!
    It helps that I live less than an hour from the trailhead at South Kettles!
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerBEN
    blue mound sounds nasty, how does it compare to either LaCrosse or Decorah? Similar in technical difficulty? I love both those trails, amazing....
    If Blue Mound is nasty one should be careful about travel to real mountains. I used to spend 1-3 months a year in the Tetons and I've biked in Ozarks and Appalachians and think some might be intimidated if they have not had the exposure you'll get at a place like Blue Mound. One will increase their chance of a good time if they can prepare with rides where you will have the climbing and crossings under your belt. I guess same for rides where you have to pick the right line and have some penalty for failure.

    Nothing is right or wrong here though. I hit the Kettles yesterday and it was fun to have the fast and easy (less penalty for failure, line doesn't matter so much) riding along with the aerobic workout.

    Gear may also make a difference. I go with large tires everywhere and trade my feet belts for flats and shin guards at BMSP.

    One way or another it's the time to visit Blue Mound because the greased roots and greased rock early season conditions are gone.

    I look forward to a La Crosse ride.

  25. #25
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    I just rode Blue Mound for the first time last weekend (have been to South Kettles many times). For perspective, I am a bigger guy and ride a newer 120mm full suspension XC bike, and its was about perfect for Blue Mound. I can say though its the one place around that you could benefit from an all mountain bike like the Trek Remedy or Enduro SL, as you could really then pound some of the stuff.

    Overall impressions is GOOD (not great), as it's a depart from the normal smooth singletrack around Wisco. I love technical rocky trails, and have ridden places from Moab to Utah to Colorado, but Blue Mounds was a good challenge as you combine a lot of smaller sharp rocks with tight twisty trails. They have done a good job of using the natural landscape and rocks, and there is also potential to put in wooden obstables over ditches, gaps and rocks.

    The one thing I did think needed improvement was the overall 'FLOW' to the trails. I understand they are attempting to utilize the limited land and make it technical, but its a slow paced trail in many parts with LOTS of smaller rocks and roots that by the end your saying 'enough' already instead of a more of a $hit eating grin on your face. At times the trail follows goofy lines that are not conducive to lining up proper runs at rocks and other fun obstacles...I would rather have a nice line and a bigger obstacle like a 3 ft rock drop than an uphill rocky line leading to a small rock roller (if that makes sense). There are also abrupt rocks right after some previous drops/rocks - think where you roll down or off a rock and then BAM, immediate edgy rock right in your front tire line. Overload was pretty challenging as its had a lot of climbs...good stuff. The round wooden log being used as a bridge over the rocky ditch at the start of Overload: the line to it is horrible, and its a round log (not flattented on the top) with a high degree of consquence if you fall. Flatten that top and make a better line at it - it was the only thing I didn't attempt clearing as I thought it was a bit sketchy.

    I think some more flowing sections using berms that aren't completley filled with small rocks that seguy INTO rock gardens would help the fun factor, as you feel like you are getting a bit more reward.

    Overall though it was really fun and i would recommend everyone try it at least once

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by motard5
    I
    The one thing I did think needed improvement was the overall 'FLOW' to the trails. I understand they are attempting to utilize the limited land and make it technical, but its a slow paced trail in many parts with LOTS of smaller rocks and roots that by the end your saying 'enough' already instead of a more of a $hit eating grin on your face. At times the trail follows goofy lines that are not conducive to lining up proper runs at rocks and other fun obstacles...I would rather have a nice line and a bigger obstacle like a 3 ft rock drop than an uphill rocky line leading to a small rock roller (if that makes sense). There are also abrupt rocks right after some previous drops/rocks - think where you roll down or off a rock and then BAM, immediate edgy rock right in your front tire line. Overload was pretty challenging as its had a lot of climbs...good stuff. The round wooden log being used as a bridge over the rocky ditch at the start of Overload: the line to it is horrible, and its a round log (not flattented on the top) with a high degree of consquence if you fall. Flatten that top and make a better line at it - it was the only thing I didn't attempt clearing as I thought it was a bit sketchy.

    I think some more flowing sections using berms that aren't completley filled with small rocks that seguy INTO rock gardens would help the fun factor, as you feel like you are getting a bit more reward.

    Overall though it was really fun and i would recommend everyone try it at least once
    Hi,

    I agree very much with your sentiments. We're working with a trail that was laid out by some folks who seem to have had a different goal. Whatever their reasoning the result seems to be that the trail climbs into the most difficult rock stunts, and has too many turns that require a track stand (or close to it) to hit the correct line. As the need arises, new re-routes will be built with better flow.

    EDIT: Some of the areas with "LOTS of smaller rocks and roots that by the end your saying 'enough' already" are the result of severe erosion from the June 7th 2008 rain event. You remember the one that flooded big pieces of Iowa? It caused severe erosion on parts of the trail literally overnight. We will start re-routing these areas next spring, but the work takes time (volunteer hours), something we're always short of. /EDIT

    Thanks for your positive outlook! We're working as hard as we can to keep the best of the trails, and fix what is failing. I'll be posting a revised priority list for trail work at www.madcitydirt.org on the Blue Mound forum. I'd appreciate some feedback. I can't promise you that your issues will be fixed, but I do take into account what irritates the people who use the trail. I appreciate hearing your views very much.

    The log bridge that you describe is non-authorized trail work. Not sure what to do about it. I hate to crush initiative, but on a bike it's a long fall to the bottom. I think we can get the park management to put something in this fall, but they have too much to do with too few hands right now. I don't want to fix it right now because I have too few days to ride as it is. My advise is for *everyone* to please use it as a foot bridge only. (There are other skinnies in the park with much less danger.)

    Long-term it appears that the State of Wisconsin may have the opportunity to acquire the land uphill from that severely washed out ravine. If that comes to pass, we will have the opportunity to not only bypass the spot where we currently have to cross the ravine, but also replace the current steep descent and climb with a more sustainable and (for most people) fun trail that follows the contour line. Not to mention that a possible bypass would add some additional trail to the loop.

    Walt
    Last edited by Walt Dizzy; 08-19-2008 at 07:54 AM.

  27. #27
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    great points

    Motard nailed it. Lack of flow, momentum, speed, and trail logic are common thoughts while gripping the bars at BMSP. However there is respite in Happy Valley just across the street. These trails are very fast and smooth with great flow, speed, and trail logic. Combine the loops and enjoy. I have ridden both numerous times and the descriptions posted thus far are correct. It just depends on what you like. Both are fun and worth the trip. Recent rain makes BMSP treacherous as the rocks turn into slippery buzzsaws.

  28. #28
    Witty McWitterson
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    I really like both trails. Both of them have very distinct features that appeal. I love the technical aspect on BM. Its easily one of the hardest trails I've had the pleasure to ride. I only have one mtb really, a rigid SS(yeah, I'm one of those), and it works just fine for me. I can certainly see where some suspension would be nice to have though. I'm usually pretty beat by the time I get out of there.

    KM is fast, fun, flowy, get your groove on kind of trail. I like that too. Not technically challenging, but you get your challenge in by being at the redline and going fast. Pushing your tires, seeing where they give, where they grab. Rigid there is the only way to go imo.

    As far as comparing these two spots with Decorah and LaCrosse (and my trails for that matter), is that they're all totally different beasts. Decorah trails are sweet flowy and technical. LaCrosse(HPT) is much the same, though there seems to be less flow there. I can't wait to see what they come up with on their trail expansion. My trails (Prairie du Chien) are a healthy mix of HPT, and BM. Lots(and I mean lots) of climbing, and some really nice rocky sections. The trails are by no means sustainable, and are often rutted so deep that you can hardly ride them. They are made by horses, so some climbs simply are not ridable. That being said, they are still fun, and pose a serious challenge. Kind of like what mountain biking used to be BTID. An adventure. These trails are not ready for prime time, but they are ridable and fun. There are no maps. You will get lost. I can point you in the right direction to get started.
    Just a regular guy.

  29. #29
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    As far as I'm concerned BMSP is the BEST XC trail in the midwest. Unless you're on steroids or aren't human, if you do the whole single track and then Overlode( I honestly think Overlode is more fun than the WORBA trail; the descents are amazing and the climbs are challenging as hell; in like 3-4 miles you climb 1200 feet) you will be shot. Blue mounds distances wide isn't very far; but you will spend hours going slow on a very techy trail and you will love it. Guaranteed... I like to ride freeride but I still love a good ride at BM.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssdaddy
    Motard nailed it. Lack of flow, momentum, speed, and trail logic are common thoughts while gripping the bars at BMSP. However there is respite in Happy Valley just across the street. These trails are very fast and smooth with great flow, speed, and trail logic. Combine the loops and enjoy. I have ridden both numerous times and the descriptions posted thus far are correct. It just depends on what you like. Both are fun and worth the trip. Recent rain makes BMSP treacherous as the rocks turn into slippery buzzsaws.
    Greased sharp rock has always been a problem, but other problems are getting better slow but sure. Not all of the trail Walt and I supervised was our design, but what we've flagged has been more flowing whether it's new work or re-routes. Exceptions have been where property lines, time and crew size were limiting.

    Many may not know that our grant required completion in same calendar year so compromises had to be made with so few people and so much to be done. The two of us made a few miles in just 10 days at one point in the year and we had larger crews for the walls and turns. Our original lines and many of the flags still exist and all we need to make it happen are help and/or money for machine rental.

    You will be seeing the more flowing trail and trail closer to contour for two reasons. We like it and you may have noticed that our work with proper grade, outslope and radius survived the record rains. The design for Pokerville is also flowing, close to contour when possible, and there's a neat ravine there with lots of possibilities.

    If you're impatient for change or interested in general please register at www.madcitydirt.org where we list and discuss all going on in the area. We also have a PayPal link where you can donate.

    We really appreciate people enjoying the trails and we find it a great honor to be the managers there. Thanks again for riding there and we hope to meet all of you at the work days, race and social events.

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    Bmsp

    I was not ripping. I appreciate the efforts you guys have made, especially given that it is a state park. I camped there for four nights last year and rode 2-3 hours there per day on a hardtail. I was beat to a pulp and the technical challenge there is immense. Don't change anything unless it is eroding. I like the fact that you need a Jeep for the original loop and an M5 for the stuff across the road. Riding BMSP will make you a better rider or a higher insurance risk or both.

  32. #32
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    Yep, I have ridden MANY trails that were much more boring, easy and less fun. We rode the entire loop including Overload at the beginning and were glad we did.

    Everyone has their 'idea' of what a trail should be like, so I wanted to provide my input after finally riding it. Given the time and budget contraints, I think the trail kicks some major tail and can't wait to go back. And by improving the 'flow', I don't mean dumb it down, make it less difficult, I just think as things progress tweaks would widen that grin factor. I wish I was closer to be able to help more!

    I think one great idea down the road would be to potentially put a 'skills' park through one of the valleys/ravine of Overload...that way one could skip one set of the climbs if they so chose, and the valley could offer up some inticing ladder bridges, ramps etc

    either way stoked to see the progress, thanks for the efforts!

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    i rode blue mounds this evening, just an easy loop, the green right by the pool to (i think its called chert dip, the blue) and up serpinetinies climb then bailed out on basalty bail, i would have done holy shiest but ran out of gas on some climbs because of working all day

    oh and there was this HUGE blow down log that had been cut up into kinda a skinny that was on the side of the trail, so walt or bitflogger is that legit to ride? it had saw marks horizontally across it for grip but i thought id ask before i rode, it looks pretty sweet though

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    i rode blue mounds this evening, just an easy loop, the green right by the pool to (i think its called chert dip, the blue) and up serpinetinies climb then bailed out on basalty bail, i would have done holy shiest but ran out of gas on some climbs because of working all day

    oh and there was this HUGE blow down log that had been cut up into kinda a skinny that was on the side of the trail, so walt or bitflogger is that legit to ride? it had saw marks horizontally across it for grip but i thought id ask before i rode, it looks pretty sweet though
    Somebody needs to hack off what Walt sliced with the chain saw. Walter lied about being on strike and was working in another area last week. Some work will be done prior to the race so register at www.madcitydirt.org to know what's up. I won't say no to anybody wanting to work on that.

    The pre-race work could be a chance to get quite a few things fixed up. I'm no way a racer and suggest that people volunteer because it's our biggest fund raiser and the prep will only benefit anybody riding. The race day is sort of fun and you can ride too so I expect an announcement for both pre-race help and race day volunteers.

    Back to the OP. I want to get a Kettles or BMSP ride in so post on the madcity dirt rides page, and again thanks for all the support and interest in the park.

  35. #35
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    yea im regeistered on the corpa site, madcitydirt too, im pretty sure its my same spazzy name too, i just check mtbr a ton more often, dont know exactly if i can make the race or not (leaving for college in a weekish) but i could make it home that weekend more than likely

    Edit: i would be up for helping do the log or fix some trail problems if i was home on a work day

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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy
    yea im regeistered on the corpa site, madcitydirt too, im pretty sure its my same spazzy name too, i just check mtbr a ton more often, dont know exactly if i can make the race or not (leaving for college in a weekish) but i could make it home that weekend more than likely

    Edit: i would be up for helping do the log or fix some trail problems if i was home on a work day
    This is tentative, but there will be a meeting with DNR staff about the bridge build late Thursday afternoon this week and there are tentative work days for the bridge construction. Again, there will be work for race prep. All opportunities for people interested or wanting improvements to work withing the rules that include one of the trails managers present.

    The madcitydirt.org site is the official place where dates and times will be posted.

    Thank you.

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    Hey guys, I'm thinking about riding BM this weekend. This sounds more technically difficult than anything I've ridden, although I've only rode Kettle south, Palos (outside chicago), the trails in Peoria, IL and some stuff out in southern california. Has anyone been to Palos or Peoria and can compare the technical difficulty of those to Blue Mound? Should I invest in a full face helmet to save my teeth? ha.

  38. #38
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    Full face not needed....

    You don't need a full face helmet or full suspension to have a blast at Blue Mounds. It's no so much super-technical/dangerous but rather non-stop technical for the entire trail. Some of my best rides out there have been on a hardtail.

    When are you riding this weekend? I might be riding BM at about 5pm on Saturday.

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    Thanks sbary..

    I'm not sure when I'll be riding, but it will be on sunday. The plan is to drive up friday night, camp, and ride as much as we can on Saturday.

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    ill most likely be riding blue mounds this weekend also

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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman
    H...Has anyone been to Palos or Peoria and can compare the technical difficulty of those to Blue Mound?..
    Like night and day. Palos is flat a smooth, almost no rocks, it's easy to average 12-16 mph. BM is super technical, it took me a while to understand that BM is meant to be riden a little faster than walking. If you're not a trials rider and it's your first time, be ready to walk the tough sections or risk damaging your bike. Pump your tires up as high as you can take 'em, BM is a pinch flat paradise. I'm ready to give BM another shot, esp since I starting reading the threads in this forum. I'm not used to BM style, it's different than anything I've ever rode.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    ...We're working with a trail that was laid out by some folks who seem to have had a different goal. Whatever their reasoning the result seems to be that the trail climbs into the most difficult rock stunts, and has too many turns that require a track stand (or close to it) to hit the correct line. As the need arises, new re-routes will be built with better flow....
    Walt, you guys are great. It's impressive what's been done and I like the idea BM is a "work in progress". What weekend are you doing the trail work? My boys and I are interested in helping. 2 strong backs and one old beat up back

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    Walt, you guys are great. It's impressive what's been done and I like the idea BM is a "work in progress". What weekend are you doing the trail work? My boys and I are interested in helping. 2 strong backs and one old beat up back
    http://madcitydirt.org/forum/index.p...79.0;topicseen

    Rather last minute, but all the work days and is posted on the www.madcitydirt.org site. Most work is done in the spring. We will be building a bridge in Pleasure Valley, but dates are not yet set because it the watershed feeds a cold water fishery and needs the final assessment and approval from the DNR.

    Thanks again for your and anybody's interest. All support whether labor or money will help us both fix and finish an epic ride location with camping and swimming minutes from Madison.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    Like night and day. Palos is flat a smooth, almost no rocks, it's easy to average 12-16 mph. BM is super technical, it took me a while to understand that BM is meant to be riden a little faster than walking. If you're not a trials rider and it's your first time, be ready to walk the tough sections or risk damaging your bike. Pump your tires up as high as you can take 'em, BM is a pinch flat paradise. I'm ready to give BM another shot, esp since I starting reading the threads in this forum. I'm not used to BM style, it's different than anything I've ever rode.
    I've never had a pinch flat at BM, but i have had sidewall tears. And good point about riding only a bit faster than walking. When i had my bike computer on, i was only clocking 5-8mph. I wonder how fast people ride it on suspension. This is not the trail to ride with a heavy bike, i dont think..

  45. #45
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    Riding speeds....

    Blue Mound hosts a race on 9/20....www.bluemound12.com.

    We have 3,6, and 12 hour categories. The course is about 8 miles and consists of nearly the entire singletrack loop (not overload). If you start at the pool trailhead and ride the whole loop around the mound you've got a pretty good idea of our course.

    Last year the winning six hour rider, Jeff Kerkove, had a fast lap of 55 minutes and finished with five laps....in 2006 he snuck in six laps in just under six hours.

    The winning 12 hour rider in 2007 had 11 laps with an average speed of 7.81mph.

    The fastest laps I have seen at the race were in the state singlespeed champs of 2006. The Lalonde brothers posted 46 minute laps (SS / full rigid). That's just over 10.3mph....sick.

    Just some perspective of the Blue Mound speed factor.

  46. #46
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    I'm reviving this thread since I finally got a chance to ride Blue Mounds yesterday (I've been riding Kettle Moraine since the early 90's).
    Kettles has over 30 miles of singletrack trails. It's a mix of sections of fast flowy hardpack, sections of hardpack with lots of babyheads and roots, and some sandy sections. It's not really all that technical anymore since they've gradually rerouted the trail to eliminate the steep eroded sections. There still are climbs and descents, but they are more gradual. Overall it's a pretty fast-riding trail with a fair amount of diversity.

    Blue Mounds (based on my single visit), feels like two separate trail systems. The main singletrack loop (7 or 8 miles) that basically goes around the mound is very rocky. There are numerous rocky gullies where the trail crews have pieced together rocks to use as crossings. The rocks at blue mounds are not like the typical rounded or square-edged rocks you generally encounter in the upper midwest. They have a much rougher texture and come in all kinds of oddball shapes and sizes. Though there are occasionally some faster clean hardpack sections, the trail around the mound is mostly very slow-going technical rock-garden riding (my average speed was about half the speed I usually do at the kettles). There are some ups and downs, but not really anything I would call a significant climb or descent. There are some large rock features (optional) along the trail that are more trials-like obstacles. Some of them you can launch off of (a little freeride), though there is not always a clean landing. For this trail, you want big rugged tires, and pedals that you don't mind bashing up a bit.
    The other loop (overlode) at blue mounds is about maybe 4 or 5 miles long and is mostly fast flowy hardpack singletrack with numerous long climbs and downhills. The climbs are not technical but they are seriously strenuous, and the downhills are long fast gradual downhills. The only technical part of overlode are several creek crossings (the creek is a larger version of the gullies around the mound). The difference between overlode and the trail around the mound is amazing. I had previously asked a "which bike" question for BM, which is tricky to answer since the ideal bike for the trail around the mound is very different from the ideal bike for the overlode trail.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

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