Another work trip to the Dallas area. Another opportunity to explore Northshore trails mountain biking in Grapevine Lake, TX and restore a little pride the trails previously stole. You can read all about that here. With the sun setting around 6:45pm, I started my ride from the Murrell Park entrance around 5pm. It was time to crush Loops 1, 5, and 6. And crush them I did, except for where I didn’t.
As mentioned in a previous post, Loops 5 and 6 are the more technical of the seven loop options. Only having ridden them once before, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. Regardless, a cautions approach wasn’t taken. It was full throttle; and a good thing too! A surprising 6ft root drop with smooth transition into a dry creek bed wanted to eat me. Had I been slow and cautious, it would have. Instead, momentum carried into the drop ensured a soft landing and swelled my ego to unhealthy heights.
Slow technical rides where the wheels easily get hung up on trail chatter, are what I prefer. It’s these kind of trails I learned to ride on. Both eastbound and westbound directions on Loop 6 bring a riders skill, or lack thereof, bubbling to the surface. Anecdotally, I cleaned about 90% of the loop. There were a few sections that hung up front wheel while my bodies momentum decided to keep going and folded over the bars. That’s always fun. . .
Without doubt, the most challenging portion of the ride is the monster wall near the end of Loop 5 westbound; it’s a technical dream. It’s a nightmare. It owned me. I cleaned it. . .once. I tried eight times. For those counting that’s a success rate of 12.5%. One could round to 13%, but it’s not deserved. The image above is a look at the monster. The line to left is most commonly attempted and is deceiving. What secret lies in store for brave folks that attempt the climb, is an invitation into the monsters mouth. That’s right, the climb forces riders into the center where the chunk and rockier ledges hang up wheels or worse, lift the front end and send brave souls tumbling backwards down the face. Ask me how I know.
I hope my job sends me back to Texas soon. I will slay the beast with greater success. Also, maybe that’s not true.
On my way back to the car, I stopped at the Murrell Park MADD shelter where the DORBA Wednesday night group ride was getting ready for their 6:30pm start. Everyone had lights for these shorter Fall months. I learned that the ride takes place year-round. For those interested, get or bring some lights! Most had helmet mounts with 1200 lumen output. The group split into two: some headed eastbound for Loops 5 and 6; others hammered westbound on Loop 1. Skill level and mood dictate who does what. I hopped onto the back of the group headed westbound on Loop 1 toward my car. Glad I had an excuse to bail.
A little more-ba on DORBA
In the few trips to Texas, I’ve learned that DORBA is heavily involved in the mountain bike community at various locations around the metro area. They, both directly and indirectly, maintain a vast network of trails for the public’s benefit. Kudos to them and their efforts for making mountain biking accessible and fun for the newbie and seasoned rider alike. Check them out below.