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Ingredients for the perfect trail

I used to think I knew what the perfect trail was. It was behind my house, easy access, had lot's of rollers and then ended with a big drop called "death hill", followed by a huge jump. Of course I was 10 at the time, living in Pleasant Hill, California, and my world had a 15 mile radius.

Over 20 years later, I still look for "rollers", "big drops" and "huge jumps", but I don't think that's all it takes to be the perfect trail.

Trail material: Soft but packed soil. The kind that has just enough moisture to allow someone to follow behind you without having to breath through a filter. Northwest forest soil.

Width: About 24" on the straights and increasing at varying amounts for corners depending on need. Singletrack only.

Length: If it weren't for fatigue, thirst and sore hands from braking, I'd say all trails were too short. Trails should end while you're still having fun, so you don't add it to your list of trails never to ride again. (i.e. Great Western Trail, Payson Bush Trail)

Edges: Trail should curve up slightly at each edge about 3 to 5 inches. Just enough to keep you on the trail, but not so much as to be a trough that can toss you with one mistake.

Incline/Decline: I think if I had my druthers, I would be in perfect shape regardless of exercise and eating habits and all trails would be downhill. I will say, although I really hate climbing, I love how I feel after a long ascent and believe I've earned the downhill. That said, I think I'd still take a chairlift. Decline should be just enough to keep you from having to pedal, but not so steep as to force you to brake constantly.

Corners/Turns: 3 or 4 turns in groups followed by long straight or slightly twisting sections. Should have huge berms so you can ride your bike at a 90 degree angle if you want. You shouldn't have to slow down for them.

Obstacles: Rock beds, logs, boulders, rivers. Keep them together in sections with long fast stretches between them. Should all be rideable/jumpable without loss of velocity. Absolutely no hikers, horses, or bikers going the reverse direction.


Drops/Jumps: These should be much more frequent than obstacles and come in all sizes. They should still come in sections though. Neither should take you from your "riding rhythm" and shouldn't require you to stop and prepare. Both should have landings with downward slopes, but airtime is unlimited, as long as the landing is smooth and within your bike and body's pounding limits.

Location: Right behind your house, but nobody else knows about it except your closest friends. And they have to ask you for directions every time they go.

Temperature: 80 degrees for descents and 65 degrees for climbs.

Scenery: Green meadows, huge mountains, thick forests, aspens, pines, lakes, rivers, moose, deer, etc. Lot's of variety.

Think you've found my perfect trail or have your own suggestions?

Let us know

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> Ingredients for the perfect mountain biking trail

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