|Nothing like some sweet Woolly flow to get you stoked for a long day in the saddle! Photo Credit: Jason Kunshier|
By Dallas Wynne
On a casual group ride a few friends discussed the idea of completing a metric on our local singletrack mountain bike trail as part of the Cup O’ Dirt Challenge. The plan included an all day grazing stack table at the trailhead picnic area, and a scoreboard to track the mileage totals of Keith, Jason, Nate, Ben, Tyler, Starr, and myself.
|The lap log sheet for the 2015 Woolly Metric. Photo Credit: Benjamin Mullin|
The Woolly mountain bike trails were hand built by dedicated enthusiasts over the past 8 years. The rugged and slightly renegade nature of the trails make them a challenging, fun, and unique ride. The 8 miles of trail consists of mostly flow trails, some significant climbs, grassy meadows and short stretches of limestone trail connectors.
|Dallas’s Trek X-Caliber at the entrance to the Wissahickon section of the Woolly Trail on Woolly Metric Day. Photo Credit: Jason Kunshier|
With the possibility of afternoon rain showers we started out shortly after sunrise. The trail thread was slick from the morning dew which caused two spills in the first lap, but by the second lap the trail as tacky and confident. I had intended to take it easy the first few laps as I knew it was going to be a long day, but I soon found that I was averaging close to my normal lap times. If you tried to dog it, it just seemed harder. Using gravity and maintaining smooth speed is key.
|The name sake of the “Erratic Rock” section of Woolly on Woolly Metric day. Photo Credit: Jason Kunshier|
The trailhead buffet made a glorious pit stop after each 45 minute lap. Having food and water readily available without having to carry it was a welcome change to every other ride of this length. On the other hand the technical nature of riding singletrack requires more mental focus than the typical gravel grinder, this is doubly true when riding 8 laps of the Woolly. As a local to this trail you become intimately familiar with every rock, root and stump. When to sweep corners wide, and when to square them off. The continuous action of shifting, braking, leaning, and standing made it impossible to mentally check out.
And so went the workmanlike process of completing laps, filling water bottles, and eating 300- 400 calories with each pass of the trailhead picnic table.
By 2:00 pm Tyler and I having started early were tied at 54 miles, while the rest of our crew were between 38 and 45. At that point the heavy rain arrived which signaled the closure of the Woolly. We met briefly and decided to finish our metric on the crushed limestone goodness of the nearby Gandy Dancer State trail that would not be damaged by riding in the rain.
At over eight hours, this is the longest and Woolliest metric of the year. We all agreed that it would be worth doing again next year.
Stay tuned at www.woollybikewoollybikeclub.com
|Endless beauty and flow awaits YOU at Woolly! Photo Credit: Jason Kunshier|