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Thread: Wiss opinions

  1. #1
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    Wiss opinions

    Ok I just rode Wiss for the second time today and started at Pachella field and went left (northwest) after I met the trail. This was all very do-able and fun. At some point I got turned around and went down to Forbidden Dr and crossed over to the opposite side of the river using the bridge near Green Valley Inn, (heres where my question comes in).

    I went left (NW) from that bridge and up into some very steep and rocky trails (near Indian Head), while I was able to ride down most of it I ended up having to walk my bike up several spots as that I either couldn't get enough grip (or exhaustion). I also found an uphill near Bells Mills rd (back on south side) that just went on forever and I had to walk my bike.

    Do most of you find spots at Wiss (mainly uphill) that just aren't ride-able ? or do my skills (and lungs) just need more work

  2. #2
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    Your skillz and lungs need some work, but even after that I find that all the planets need to lined up to clean some sections. Although there are a few guys that can clean the whole loop, that feat takes some serious skill and a big gas tank.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

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    Its a matter of sustained output with well timed short bursts of power to get over some of the more loose or jagged sections. Usually there are lines of least resistance and if you know where they are it is manageable. I can clear them if I'm feeling superhuman, but typically, If I'm riding alone and not feeling any need to impress anybody or myself, I hoof it. But the downhill, particularly the "Indian Steps" make it all worth it.

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    The Indian Steps (if those are the ones heading to the NW with the steep drop on the left) are a blast,,I would like to do them on a FS bike though. I had a few blow outs during my ride and and the leaf coverage wasn't helping my grip

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    There are definitely a couple parts that I always end up hoofing, particularly in the Indian section. And the leaves do add some additional degree of difficulty. I dont quite have the skills or the legs to ride the whole park without getting off the bike a couple times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ash216 View Post
    There are definitely a couple parts that I always end up hoofing, particularly in the Indian section. And the leaves do add some additional degree of difficulty. I dont quite have the skills or the legs to ride the whole park without getting off the bike a couple times.

    Its probably a combination of both. I end up walking parts but I think its because I need to be in better shape and it doesnt help that I dont use clipless pedals and only flats. Wet leaves don't help much either.

  7. #7
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    Climbing in the wiss can be hard and there's a lot of it. you just need to practice more, build up both your legs and technical ability and you can get it done. Keep in mind, there are guys who can clean the Monster at Bell's Mills on singlespeed bikes, so it can all be done.

    My first experience at the Wiss was also my first experience mountain biking, I got lost and quickly found myself on trails that were way over my noob skill set. By the time I found my way back to the paved trail on Lincoln Dr, I'd decided that maybe mountain biking wasn't for me; when I got home, i ordered a set of road tires for my 29er, it was that demoralizing. Keep at it, you will get stronger, your technical skills will improve and in time, it won't seem so daunting and you'll be walking less and less.

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    I agree with everyone else that practice and conditioning are key but also don't let it get you if you have to get off the bike. It feels great when you clean something you've never cleaned before (or haven't cleaned in a while) and conversely it can be frustrating the other way around, but that's the nature of biking a place like the Wissahickon. I've been riding there regularly since 1996 and I don't think I've cleaned the rocky uphill to the gazebo above Valley Green Inn in at least 10 years, and not for lack of trying. Every weekend I blow that one. That day I do manage to clean it, I may just do a mic drop with my bike and walk on out of the park and be finished with mountain biking. Nah.

    Just keep plugging at it!

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    Thanks for all the replies guys, I'll keep hammering away at it. At most places I'm able to clear 99% of the hills but I'm maybe 70% at Wiss..But boy do those downhills make my bruised ego feel better.

  10. #10
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    I agree with what everyone else said but...feel your pain. I learned to MTB at the Wiss about 26 years ago. I started small and just started expanding my loops as I learned more. I also started riding on a Bridgestone MB6. Look it up. To me, the hardest parts of the park are what you mentioned, heading up the Indian and The Monster. Also, a couple hard climbs on the east side of the creek, south of Inn, riding northbound. Not sure what they're called. They have to be a segment. Other than that, once in a while I ride with this hammerhead that does "Rock Vegas" and does the steps up to the indian riding southbound. I hate when he does that.

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    Just keep riding OP. Pretty much what everyone has said already. Before you know it, you'll be cleaning stuff without a second thought. Things like the Monster aren't really all that technically hard, they just take stamina to make it through. Probably, in the not so distant future, you'll be climbing the Monster as a half-way mark through your ride and thinking about how daunting it seemed. Years back the Monster was much harder than it is now, and then they sort of 'dirt paved' it. You could damn near fly up it at that point. It's been getting back to the sort of exposed personality that it was 15-16 years ago though and it comes down to being able to keep turning a gear over and also being mindful of your rear wheel traction when you're riding over certain rocks etc. Rear wheel slips will drain your gas tank with little to show for it. Like stomping on the gas pedal in a car with poor compression. Technique is key and Wiss is a great place to develop technique that will serve you well anywhere else you ride. Also, riding with other people, especially one's that are better riders than you, will help you immensely. You'll see lines you hadn't before, things you didn't see as doable being done, and you'll probably be pushed to ride a little beyond what you're doing now in terms of distance and comfort zone. Those things will foster your ability and strength faster than you know it.

    See ya out there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post

    Do most of you find spots at Wiss (mainly uphill) that just aren't ride-able ? or do my skills (and lungs) just need more work
    I'm sure you can do better, but it's not just you. I can usually clear the whole loop without putting a foot down when I do it counter-clockwise. There are several spots that I still have trouble with, after 20 years, when I ride it clockwise.

    I was there Monday too, maybe we passed each other

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    I'm sure you can do better, but it's not just you. I can usually clear the whole loop without putting a foot down when I do it counter-clockwise. There are several spots that I still have trouble with, after 20 years, when I ride it clockwise.

    I was there Monday too, maybe we passed each other
    Let me ask you a question, there's a newer area, west side of the park, pretty far to the south, that they built with gigantic stone "steps". They're step ups going counter clockwise. You can clear those?

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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post
    Let me ask you a question, there's a newer area, west side of the park, pretty far to the south, that they built with gigantic stone "steps". They're step ups going counter clockwise. You can clear those?
    I know the ones you are talking about. Those are hard. I have seen some guys fly up them though. There are certain lines that help there. My friend can do it but he has clipless pedals and I really think they help there to pull the rear of the bike up and keep your momentum.

    I can get up the first few with my flats but my bash ring usually hits the one and I lose all momentum. I think I have to adjust my line. My friend says the second half of them are easier then the first half.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by glorth2 View Post
    Let me ask you a question, there's a newer area, west side of the park, pretty far to the south, that they built with gigantic stone "steps". They're step ups going counter clockwise. You can clear those?
    Yes.

    They're better (easier? Kind of) than the original trail that they replaced. The original trail wasn't as steep, but the surface was so loose it was extremely difficult to not spin out. It all washed away during a bad storm so now there's the re-route.

  16. #16
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    Being clipped in helps.

    Also, try to work on becoming "ambidextrous" with your pedal position. Everybody has a dominant lead foot, but if you can learn to apply power strokes with your non-dominant leg as well as your dominant one, while maintaining your balance, you don't need to think about your approach as much. Start by riding down the street and popping little wheelies with your non-dominant leg as the leader. That way, if the space between the steps allows you to crank a half rotation to keep your momentum, but you end up with your "weak" foot forward, you can hopefully get the same "pop" up on to the next step. Hope that makes sense.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Also, try to work on becoming "ambidextrous" with your pedal position. Everybody has a dominant lead foot, but if you can learn to apply power strokes with your non-dominant leg as well as your dominant one, while maintaining your balance, you don't need to think about your approach as much. Start by riding down the street and popping little wheelies with your non-dominant leg as the leader. That way, if the space between the steps allows you to crank a half rotation to keep your momentum, but you end up with your "weak" foot forward, you can hopefully get the same "pop" up on to the next step. Hope that makes sense.
    This is awesome advice, and advice that those of us that can do those steps, do without thinking about but wouldn't think to explain it. All I'd add to it is make sure you're in a gear that will let you 'pop' as 92 says. If you're in too tall of a gear, you'll tax too much and not get that lunge you need. If you're in too low of one, you'll possibly throw yourself off kilter because of having little to 'push against' so-to-speak.

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