Rode 'The Wiss' this past weekend...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rode 'The Wiss' this past weekend...

    ..with all the changes they are doing (it seems a little bit 'tamer' than a few years ago..)
    Last edited by 247; 05-16-2012 at 06:50 PM.

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    Interesting pics. For all the riders and riding done in the wis, you see very few pics of the actual trails and technical features.

    I'll assume you're being sarcastic or mocking. Because the only way to tame that rock in your pic #1 is to use old fashioned drilling and blasting to cut it down. And the steps in pic #3 are not tame at all, and I recall a less-gnarly half-pipe/chute before this section was rerouted. And that narrow pass through the tree and down over and through the rock chute in pics 5 and 6 is intimidating as hell, before the tree fell (last fall's rain and wind storms) it was still intimidating, but less so than now.

    It'll be interesting to hear others opinions on this. I hear a few people, more so on here than than anywhere else, say the wis is getting smoothed out, dumbed down, made easier, etc. I can see that in a few short, flowy sections, during a dry spell surfaces get smoothed out. But then after a heavy downpour ruts appear and the smoothness goes away. And I have to wonder if the people who say this include the sisters, the downhill to the stream crossing, the rocky uphill near the Indian (all in the northwest Chestnut Hill side) in these opinions.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    Interesting pics. For all the riders and riding done in the wis, you see very few pics of the actual trails and technical features.

    I'll assume you're being sarcastic or mocking. Because the only way to tame that rock in your pic #1 is to use old fashioned drilling and blasting to cut it down. And the steps in pic #3 are not tame at all, and I recall a less-gnarly half-pipe/chute before this section was rerouted. And that narrow pass through the tree and down over and through the rock chute in pics 5 and 6 is intimidating as hell, before the tree fell (last fall's rain and wind storms) it was still intimidating, but less so than now.

    It'll be interesting to hear others opinions on this. I hear a few people, more so on here than than anywhere else, say the wis is getting smoothed out, dumbed down, made easier, etc. I can see that in a few short, flowy sections, during a dry spell surfaces get smoothed out. But then after a heavy downpour ruts appear and the smoothness goes away. And I have to wonder if the people who say this include the sisters, the downhill to the stream crossing, the rocky uphill near the Indian (all in the northwest Chestnut Hill side) in these opinions.
    All I would say is that compared to 15-20 years ago, many parts of the Wiss have become "tamer". This is mostly on the Valley Green side. At the same time, some parts have gotten more difficult. For example, the trail after the climb to the chief - thinking of the climb - has gotten more difficult! In my mind, it is a tradeoff. Some sections are easier while others have stayed the same or actually gotten more difficult because of the erosion.

  4. #4
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    Good job!

    Great pics!

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    Quote Originally Posted by XCoalMiner View Post
    Interesting pics. For all the riders and riding done in the wis, you see very few pics of the actual trails and technical features.

    I'll assume you're being sarcastic or mocking. Because the only way to tame that rock in your pic #1 is to use old fashioned drilling and blasting to cut it down. And the steps in pic #3 are not tame at all, and I recall a less-gnarly half-pipe/chute before this section was rerouted. And that narrow pass through the tree and down over and through the rock chute in pics 5 and 6 is intimidating as hell, before the tree fell (last fall's rain and wind storms) it was still intimidating, but less so than now.

    It'll be interesting to hear others opinions on this. I hear a few people, more so on here than than anywhere else, say the wis is getting smoothed out, dumbed down, made easier, etc. I can see that in a few short, flowy sections, during a dry spell surfaces get smoothed out. But then after a heavy downpour ruts appear and the smoothness goes away. And I have to wonder if the people who say this include the sisters, the downhill to the stream crossing, the rocky uphill near the Indian (all in the northwest Chestnut Hill side) in these opinions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    All I would say is that compared to 15-20 years ago, many parts of the Wiss have become "tamer". This is mostly on the Valley Green side. At the same time, some parts have gotten more difficult. For example, the trail after the climb to the chief - thinking of the climb - has gotten more difficult! In my mind, it is a tradeoff. Some sections are easier while others have stayed the same or actually gotten more difficult because of the erosion.
    The Wiss has gotten a lot "tamer" in the last two years. It could be from the extreme weather (hurricane, heavy rain, etc). The only reason those climbs seem tougher is because a lot of the rocks have been kicked loose and more have been washed into certain areas. I've always thought the wiss had poor drainage, and piles of loose rocks from runoff have confirmed that.
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  6. #6
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    Where do I find this place?

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    if by "tamer" you mean more sustainable your absolutely correct.

    i ride there multiple times a week and have for years. they are constantly redoing the erosion prone areas with more sustainable alternatives. the people building them are definitely not looking to make tha park any easier. in fact lots of them are mountain bikers and are trying to make the trails better for biking. in my opinion they are doing a bang up job.

    this is gonna happen with or without mtb input (Sustainable Trails Initiative | Friends of Wissahickon) so just thank your lucky stars that a few local mtb riders have really stepped up and become the major players in trail redesign in the park.

    this has also had the side benefit of increasing overall trail milage in the park (with some big new areas being worked on as we speak). as a local i couldn't be happier with what is being done here. if i had time i'd offer up a tour which i am sure would leave you grinning ear to ear but alas i have three kids and no time for social rides.

    if you like what your seeing please consider giving some money to FOW or going to some of their workdays. if you do; you'll soon see the wiss is in pretty good hands IMHO.

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    So were you happy with the level of difficulty you found or looking for more challenging terrain? Hard to tell from your post. =)

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    for anyone looking to get there huck on i highly recommend checking out launch mtb park (spring mtn).

    your just never gonna get true freeride trails in a public setting so if you wanna go huck the gnar gnar check that place out! season passes are probably less than you were thinking of spending on your next bike upgrade. good dudes building there as well so terrain keeps improving from what i hear!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    for anyone looking to get there huck on i highly recommend checking out launch mtb park (spring mtn).

    your just never gonna get true freeride trails in a public setting so if you wanna go huck the gnar gnar check that place out! season passes are probably less than you were thinking of spending on your next bike upgrade. good dudes building there as well so terrain keeps improving from what i hear!
    Do you need a FF helmet there or do they also have a more XC (technical) oriented downhill line?

    I don't have a FF or a DH bike and was wondering if it was worth checking out.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmiah View Post
    Where do I find this place?
    Sniped from the PMBA website: PMBA Tri State MTB Map - Google Maps

    Two Wis maps: Wissahickon Trail Map | [PMBA] Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association

  12. #12
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    There is an outer loop there that goes towards the east. It's part of the old XC trail from the heydays of racing. It's a lot of fun, and a regular lid should suit you fine. However, if you take most of the lines on the western side of the mtn, definitely get a FF. A lot cheaper than a trip to the dentist.
    Kenn Rymdeko
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  13. #13
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    C'mon Kenn...I was there with guys riding full rigid 29ers.

    Most of the really gnarly stuff can be ridden around. It is worth checking out. Most important thing to bring is your common sense.

    BTW... I am planning on riding the Wiss at 9am tomorrow starting from the Northwestern end.

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    So were you happy with the level of difficulty you found or looking for more challenging terrain?
    Oh I LOVE The Wiss (Best place) I think (hands down) including location (with all attractions in Philly)--Plus I am from Philly but did not build a MTB and ride until 3 years ago (and lived there 1-2 years ago also)--It just seems some areas are 'smoothed out' better than they were before (because 2 years ago I rode the Wiss 5 times a week!!)---Maybe I am a better rider also. BUT there were certain spots there I LOVED the extra Rocky areas!!
    Some places did not drain well (and now they are better)--ALSO new trails are Great there.. I love going back to the car (and getting a hot dog or ice cream if needed)---ALSO I love the singletrack across Lincoln Drive (and Belmont is 5 minutes away)---

    --I do wish some of the brush was cut back (FOW I hear do not ride bikes) and there was some drama with PhillyMTB I read about.. I would like to do a trail day myself (but can only get there now sporadically for a day and just 'have to ride' while in Philly)----JUST because of the ticks you can get from the 'brush there'----- (and know folks have gotten LYME disease there also)---

    BUT Hands Down (greatest ride I think)--even wrote a thread about it here before (but then you have White Clay and Fair Hill also--But love how the trails FLOW (or have to make them flow at The Wiss)-----PLUS with 'The Monster', Singletrack, and Technical areas (AND the drops at the Indian)---I think the WISS has everything you could want in a ride (Plus when you crash someone is usually around to help)----not like some 'out of the way trails in the Northeast)----

    ALSO I think with my Hardtail 29er (it makes the trail more challenging there)---Riding that trail mostly was the reason I decided to build a 29er HT..... I think its the Perfect Place for a 29er HT!!!

  16. #16
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    Here are some pics I took 1-2 years ago. It includes the singletrack across Lincoln Drive (that some people I have talk to about the Wiss had no idea this area existed)
    Last edited by 247; 05-16-2012 at 06:50 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    C'mon Kenn...I was there with guys riding full rigid 29ers.

    Most of the really gnarly stuff can be ridden around. It is worth checking out. Most important thing to bring is your common sense.
    That's true. It's definitely not for the meek though. I've seen a few people on XC rigs head out of there in the back of an ambulance, and I've ridden it on a hardtail a bunch myself, because I didn't have a FR bike. I remember one day a mother showed up with her two kids on department store kids bmx bikes, bought them lift tickets, and sent the 7 and 9 year olds on their way while she set up a chair and read a book at the base of the mountain. THAT was an interesting day. A couple friends and I acted as tour guides for the little guys, and they made more than a dozen runs.

    In the interest of safety, if you are riding a hardtail or XC bike, I would recommend walking each section first, because it can be done but be smart about it.
    Kenn Rymdeko
    "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." - Mark Twain

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenn72 View Post
    I remember one day a mother showed up with her two kids on department store kids bmx bikes, bought them lift tickets, and sent the 7 and 9 year olds on their way while she set up a chair and read a book at the base of the mountain. THAT was an interesting day. A couple friends and I acted as tour guides for the little guys, and they made more than a dozen runs.
    Wow, mom of the year.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 247 View Post
    (FOW I hear do not ride bikes)
    this may have been true years back but now lots (i'd say most actually, maybe?) of the main FOW trail crew are mountainbikers.

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