Tim and I decided that we would go for a spin up Burke Mountain today rather than The Woodlot. We really wanted to see what trails had been dismantled recently and it would be nice to try a different hill from our normal ride. The plan was to meet at 7:00am at The Hub corner store and leave one car there, that way we could drive the other car to the gate and not have to pedal back up the hill when we come out at the bottom of Flywheel.
Once Tim arrived we made our way to the gate of Burke and unloaded our bikes and prepared for our ride. As we were unloading our bikes, an old acquaintance of Tim's (Victor) was just starting to depart on his ride with a friend of his. We knew we would likely catch them on the ride/push up so we said hi and see ya on the hill.
Our overall plan was to ride to the top and decide where to go from there. So as I said earlier, we knew we were going to catch Victor and his buddy on the way up and we did. Every now and then the four of us would stop to have a little rest chit chat and then continue up the hill. Tim and I went up to Triple Crown while Victor split off lower on the hill at the junction that leads to Sawblade. Once Tim and I reached Triple Crown we geared up, had a look at the condition of the top of the trail and started our ride.
It had been quite some time since I went for a spin on the hardtail and the first section of the ride was what one would call punishing. I was not riding the bike the way that I should, I was riding it like my full suspension bike anticipating that the bike would take the edge off the roughness of the trail (now Triple Crown really isn't a very rough trail but I was just taking a beating this time down). One thing the both of us noticed was that this trail was in need of some serious TLC. There were sections of questionable rung and mud holes that it looked like nobody had thought of fixing for a very long time. I figure it would take 3 guys with shovels and pick axes maybe 1 day to buff up this trail to the condition that it deserves to be in.
Once we came out to the Power lines, Tim pointed out to me where another trail started that I had never been down. It was called The Elevator and is apparently a rally steep trail that basically goes straight down the hill but is in disrepair so we decided to skip it and ride Ryan's instead. So we ducked into the trees and entered Ryan's and continued our ride for a short section then stopped for an inspection. I say that because there has been some deconstruction of built up stunts on Burke Mountain by the local parks department. I will not go into why or how this occurred, but needless to say, there are some very upset people. So the deconstruction that occurred included the log ride and ladder sections at the top of Ryan's and the entrance into The Abyss. Apart from that, the rest of the mountain is still intact. One very upsetting thing though is the way in which the 'deconstruction' took place. Whoever was responsible for taking the stunts apart did a very, very poor job and actually left the area in a very dangerous state. Most of the ladders were just cut in half and left on the ground or turned upside down. There were several pieces of rung that were left with nails in them sticking up from the ground just waiting for a hiker or a forest animal to severely injure their feet on these hazards. Both Tim and I were quite angry about the way this area was left. We weren't mad that the section was destroyed (disappointed yes, but mad...no), we were just astonished that such an effort would be made to deconstruct a section of stunt work but only a half ass job performed and the fact that it is now more dangerous than ever before.
We then continued down Ryan's to the entrance of The Abyss to have a look at what had been dismantled on this trail. To our surprise not much of The Abyss had been dismantled, in fact really only the entrance was missing. So down The Abyss went hitting all the stunt work and other such parts of the trail. Both Tim and I were on out hardtails and this is one fact that I think both of us kind of forgot about when we hit the last gap on the path. He sacked himself and I rear wheel cased the last gap pretty hard, tweaking my ankle/foot on the landing.
We then skipped Big Boy Time and just made our way over to Galloway and then Flywheel. Again we both agreed that these sections of trail could do with some TLC. Simple maintenance could go a long way to make is such a better ride. After Galloway we met up with a woman's group ride. To our surprise there were 3-4 groups totaling about 30 women riding down Flywheel. Most were stopped at some point or another getting instruction on sections or just walking their bikes over the run down woodwork. We were very surprised that a group ride of beginner to intermediate riders would be taken down this trail on a wet day like today. We then exited onto the road and made our way back to my car. We then drove up to Tim's car that we left at the gate but on the way there we saw a guy we recognized from The Woodlot. Eric and a friend of his were out for a bit of an XC ride so we talked to them for a bit and discussed a possible group night ride. Then Tim and I discussed our possible next ride and took off for home.