Update: May 4, 2015

The Soquel Demo Flow Trail opened on April 17, 2014 and for the first time, riders were able to experience the complete trail with its six segments of bermed glory. With a descent of about 1250 feet and trail length of 3.75 miles, the Flow Trail snakes down the Santa Cruz Mountain crossing the old 'Tractor' trail several times. Built with many objectives in mind, the trail was completed with over 6300 of labor and over 500 individuals working on the trail.

The results so far have been mind-boggling as riders of all levels come out of the trail in a state of bliss or euphoria. It takes the average rider about 15 minutes to descend the trail with very little pedaling involved. The trail is simply that long as the hundreds of berms and undulations never cease to excite and involve the rider. Unlike most trails with straightaways and mundane parts that rack up the mileage, this trail always undulates up and down an turns left and right with massive berms demanding complete focus from the rider.

Mtbr rides the Flow Trail with Ryan Leech, Rob Roskopp, Joe Lawwill and Cedric Gracia.

Mtbr rides the Flow Trail with Ryan Leech, Rob Roskopp, Joe Lawwill and Cedric Gracia (click to enlarge).​

Another quality of the trail is it builds up in intensity as one goes down the six segments of trail. It starts the rider off with flatter descents and smaller berms and it gradually builds up speed, turning g-forces and jump opportunities. The flow builds up to a crescendo challenging the rider, backing off and then delivering more thrills. Though not all have the endurance to do it, the true experience of the Flow Trail is achieved by riding the trail non-stop from top to bottom.

Andrew Taylor descends the Flow Trail with Style.

Andrew Taylor descends the Flow Trail with Style (click to enlarge).​

All levels

One of the greatest achievements of the trail is it delivers an amazing experience to riders of all levels. As we poll first year mountain bikers at the bottom of segment 6, the accolades and high-fives are unbridled. Yet, checking in with the likes of Cedric Gracia and Joe Lawwill gets the same reaction as they are completely stoked by the ride too. The Flow Trail is designed such that it delivers more and demands more from the rider the faster and higher they go. Such is a rare attribute when a single trail can satisfy the descending needs of many different levels of riders.

Hannah Barnes works on Segment 6 of the Flow Trail.

Hannah Barnes works on Segment 6 of the Flow Trail (click to enlarge).​

Some first impressions from riders

"I can't even begin to put words to how that fateful monday changed my life. Demo Flow Trail, thee be thy holy trail. Hallowed by thy shred." - Frank Martinez, Shimano Crew

Joe Fabris flies through the air.

Joe Fabris flies through the air (click to enlarge).​

"Great piece of work, that is a fitness challenge as well as a skills challenge. For me, 13 minutes of pedaling out of corners, whipping the bike around, pumping left me spent, but ecstatic." - Dave Silvas, SF Bay Area

"Rode it for the first time on Saturday: impeccable design and execution- a truly amazing trail. I rode it on a 29" carbon hardtail, and the flow was near-perfect. That said, it was almost good enough to make me quit my job, move to SC, buy a 120mm travel bike, work at a coffee shop, and ride it every day. Superb work." - Alex Broadwick, Wisconsin

Anneke moves heavy objects.

Anneke moves heavy objects (click to enlarge).​

"Sawpit + Braille + Flow = Fun3, a solid ride.

I am liking this flow thing ! Slightly increase in speed means huge increase in difficulty. I think it has been my fourth time there, and as I get to know the trail I am taking more air each time and I am starting to practice a more 'aggressive' position on the berms. I am also enjoying more the transitions, and learning when to pedal and when to pump the bike so to keep momentum and not get tired." - Oscar Sanz

Joe Lawwill of Shimano thunders down the trail.

Joe Lawwill of Shimano thunders down the trail (click to enlarge).​

Curtis Keene loves dirt.

Curtis Keene loves dirt (click to enlarge).​

Mtbr leads a group of 40 down the Flow Trail.

Mtbr lead a group of 40 down the Flow Trail (click to enlarge).​

From MBOSC, The grand opening announcement

MBoSC is excited to announce the completion of the flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF). Over 530 unique volunteers have donated 6,300 hours of labor since February 2014 to build this epic 4-mile trail. We could not have done this without the generous support of our volunteers, sponsors, donors, and members, and we'd love to celebrate the completion of this amazing endeavor with you!

Please join us at the GRAND OPENING ceremony and celebration on Saturday May 9, 2015 at Badger Spring Picnic Area at SDSF from 1-4pm. Badger Spring is located just down Hihns Mill Road from the bottom of Sawpit trail, and is a beautiful spot next to the creek. We'll have a short opening ceremony plus food, drink and live music.

Please note that RSVP'ing for the grand opening is required. Please do so at: MBOSC.ORG

Continue to page 2 for more about the build »

Matt De Young rails a corner on the newly-opened segment three of the Demo Flow Trail. If he looks especially dialed, it could be because De Young was one of the trail's main builders. Photo by Bogdan Marian

Matt De Young rails a corner on the newly-opened segment three of the Demo Flow Trail. If he looks especially dialed, it could be because De Young was one of the trail's main builders (click to enlarge). Photo by Bogdan Marian​

Update: Feb 23, 2015

On June of 2014, the first two segments (of six) of the Demo Flow Trail opened to the public. The flow wasn't quite there yet as the two segments, segment Three and Five were disconnected from each other and were in the middle of a big hill. There was no easy way to access these two segments and one ended up riding quite a bit of fire road up and down to try out these new trails. There was excitement but a hint of doubt as well as a lot of time, labor and money were spent developing these two parts. It was mid-summer too of a dry year so the soil conditions weren't quite dialed to showcase the trail. Many riders checked it out a couple of times but it did not become a staple on most riders' weekend routes.

Fast forward a few months and rumblings from trail workers this winter started circulating about the great progress and quality of the subsequent segment builds, sections One and Two. Bouts of heavy rain and long, dry periods allowed good progress to be made on the build. In addition, the trail builders were learning as they went along and the lessons of the first two segments allowed a more efficient and better build. Feb. 20 of 2015 rolled around and the the builders felt it was ready to 'soft-launch' the new sections. Mtbr went out there on Sunday Feb. 22 and we were absolutely floored by the quality of the trail.

[youtube width="640" height="385"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KtLRDTTaV8Check our first run on sections 1,2,3 of the Demo Flow Trail.

We were blessed of course with 'hero dirt' conditions but we were still stunned by the quality of this trail. There was minimal pedaling but plenty of opportunity to gain speed by pumping terrain and maintaining speed through corners and rollers. Berms were impeccably built and the trail was predictable yet exhilarating. There was quite a bit of opportunity to catch air as well as jump lines were incorporated well in the trail. One of the shocking attributes of these sections of the trail is the length. The video above is purposely unedited to show that it is about a nine-minute run at a good clip. And every second rewards the rider with pump track elements, corners, rollers and jumps. There are no dead spots in this run it demand's the rider's full attention. "If this is only half the trail, I don't think we are ready for the full serving." remarked one rider.

Segments 1,2,3 start at the bottom of the photo starting at Ridge Trail.

Segments 1,2,3 start at the bottom of the photo starting at Ridge Trail (click to enlarge).​

Mark Davidson of MBOSC explains, "The trail was designed with progression in mind as segment One meanders with the flatter terrain and gets the rider loosened up and ready for what's to come. There's no big jumps and the berms are not too high. Segment Two then starts ramping it up as terrain gets steeper and the berms pick up in size. And then segment Three gets rowdier with faster speeds and more creative lines." And then Mark's eyes really light up as he talks about what's to come in the next segments. "They'll get more aggressive and we'll have the opportunity to build a skills area.

But money and volunteer effort are needed to complete this project. Check here to learn how to donate funds and/or help build the trail. https://www.mbosc.org/current-projects/4-mile-flow-trail-at-demo/

Continue to page 3 for more on the flow trail and full photo gallery »

By: Don Palermini - June 2, 2014

Big smiles accompanied the whoops and hollers as riders in the San Francisco Bay Area took their first turns riding two sections of the new flow trail that official opened in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest near Santa Cruz, Calif. Sunday. Segments three and five of the new six section trail are now open for riding and can be accessed from Tractor Road, the fire road that will serve as the flow trail's backbone when it is complete sometime in 2015, according to estimates.

Demo Flow Trail Bridge

Although most of the trail is dirt, there are a couple bridges made from very local materials-like Santa Cruz Mountains redwood (click to enlarge). Photo by Bogdan Marian

The two open sections got rave reviews from riders who applauded the trail's roller coaster-like flow and progressive nature. Because the trail is designed to be entirely rollable, its appropriate for beginners, as well as more advanced riders who can catch air and rail bermed corners.

Demo Flow Trail Ribbon

CalFire's Angela Bernheisel (left) and trail builder Drew Perkins use the ceremonial loppers to cut the ribbon on the Demo Flow Trail (click to enlarge). Photo by Bogdan Marian

The trail opening was marked by a short ceremony and ribbon cutting at the bottom of section five. Head builder Drew Perkins gave a status update, thanked volunteers and praised the cooperative atmosphere that helped get the project underway.

Demo Flow Multi

A casual survey of attendee photographs would indicate approval for the new trail (click to enlarge). Photo by Bogdan Marian

Soquel Demo Forest Manager Angela Bernheisel lauded the volunteer efforts of the trail's primary advocate groups, the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz and the Stewards of Soquel Forest. She also explained the forest's role in terms of timber management, fire suppression and recreation-three interests that work in harmony at Demo.

Demo Flow Trail Signs

Handsome segment sponsor signs adorn the start of each of the newly opened trail spurs-FOX for segment three, and Epicenter Cycling for segment five (click to enlarge). Photo by Bogdan Marian

Trail building has been suspended for the year as lack of rain and low moisture levels have made the ground difficult to work with as well as elevated wildfire danger. The Santa Cruz Mountains historically average about 50 inches of rain annually but are coming off the driest winter on record that saw the forest get half that amount and only four inches since the beginning of March. The pause in building will, however, let trail officials monitor trail wear and traffic, and make adjustments on future designs.

Other segment sponsors include Ibis Bicycles, Bontranger, Specialized and Trail Head Cyclery. Jeff and Marieke Rothschild, Shimano, Easton and X-Fusion all made donations to the project, while Mtbr, Santa Cruz Bicycles, ****'s Automotive and the Stewards of Soquel Forest each sponsored work days.

Keep it tuned to Mtbr for an update on the project and when work days will resume.