Yesterday, I finally decided to take on the blue trail (Scrappy Mountain Loop) of the Syllamo system. Most of it, at least- I wanted to ride the Syllamo’s Revenge course route, so I started going counter-clockwise on the orange loop and turned off at the orange/blue trail intersection.
From there, the gnarliness began- the trail headed (mostly) down, and was generally a bed of rocks ranging in size from golfball to softball. Tough, but nothing the big wheels couldn’t handle. Eventually I came to the 1st of 3 Livingston Creek crossings and 1st of 2 highway 5 crossings.
From the Highway 5 trailhead on, the trail got technical. It started by climbing up a narrow gravel road- not bad until after a minute, when you see the trail sign telling you to turn left- I looked left and had one of the first “WTF” moments of the day when I couldn’t see a trail- just some rocks. As I would quickly learn, when you can’t tell where the trail is, it’s usually the pile of rocks. That part of the trail was pretty technical. The climbs weren’t too long, but there were a couple of spots that I didn’t even attempt to clear. Nearly two miles later, the trail dumped back out on Highway 5, then crossed Livingston Creek, was flat for a minute, then crossed the creek one last time (the 3rd crossing was the only one that was a bit hairy- the bank was kinda tall on both sides, so I ended up dropping in and taking a small detour through a shallower section).
From there, the trail went up. And up. It didn’t stop going up. For nearly 3 miles, not only did I encounter some of the steepest trail I’ve laid tires on, it was also incredibly rocky. Oh yeah- and did I mention that it just kept going up?Ã‚ It was nuts. It was the type of trail where you’d stall out, get off and walk through the steep rocks that just stalled you out, only to see more of the same just ahead. I’m happy to say that I cleaned some of it.
Random steepness- the trail goes straight over that big rock at the top.
Yeah… good luck with that…
Eventually I reached the last of the climb- a logging road that pitched up steeply and led back to the trailhead at Green Mountain Road. After the singletrack I’d just been on, a “smooth” piece of “road” ascending at what was likely double digit grades was actually a welcome sight.
Once I was back at the car, I had a snack and headed back out on the yellow trail (Jack’s Branch). The “technical” sections of it were pedestrian compared to what I’d been through in the previous hour, so the main difficulty was the fact that I was in hour 4 of my day, and my legs were feeling it. I made it around, though, for a total of 28 miles- 4hours, 10 minutes of riding, and nearly 5000ft of climbing (according to the Garmin).
I have to say that even though I’ve only been out on the trails a handful of times now, Syllamo is quickly teaching me how to ride my bike. I’m looking forward to Syllamo’s Revenge in May…