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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this weekend I went and rode all the trails that I don't usually ride: the flow trails.
Locally, that's West Creek, East Rim 1 & 2 (ER2 is quite scenic) + Edson Run (those launch angles are up there! - and I am not good at that :oops: ? :D), and Hampton Hills (and probably Austin Badger, but I did not ride there)

I basically dropped the saddle, put it in a big gear, and let gravity take over.
It's ALL just sculpted turns and jumps. I know plenty of riders love the flow, but I could not see doing more than 2 laps at any of these places unless I had no other options. After awhile, all those high-G berms and tabletops just all looked the same.
Except for a few rock jumps, which I find very entertaining, and a few random half-buried rocks and rock piles, the advanced section at ER1 was the only thing that had my full attention.
Did I improve my cornering? Yes.
Did I improve my jumping? Yes.
But I think the next trail project should be a mixed bag: a little of everything - maybe a flow circuit within a larger natural terrain trail.

Not sure what to make of it.

-F

PS - Sunday direction at ER2 is the best!
 

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I’ll admit that I get a little bored with an all-flow trail too, unless the jumps are big enough that I’m pushing my limits. Rock sections and wood features within a flow trail make it more fun.

If you can easily clear every jump then you could work on throwing some tricks to spice things up.
 

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But I think the next trail project should be a mixed bag: a little of everything - maybe a flow circuit within a larger natural terrain trail.
A mixed bad is well said. I rode a newer flow(ish) trail this weekend. But we had to do 1000 feet of climbing and tech to get to it. Then the first part of the flow trail has some decent tech spots, where you have to slow, spot your line, then let go.
 

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They all seem very samey to me as well. About the only time I appreciate a flow trail is after descending a long gnarly descent that then transitions into fast flow for the ending. All of our newly-built trails are flow trails, and they are all extremely boring and take next to no skill to descend. No jumps either.

The other day I did a long XC loop that I was aware had a re-route about 20 miles in. I finally got to the new section, and was quite disappointed with what I found. After climbing 2500 feet, this downhill section meandered to a degree that the first 500 feet of elevation loss occurred over quite a long distance (-4.5% grade, to be exact) and thus what could have been a really fast, thrilling ride instead required nonstop pedaling. Corners were bermed primarily, tree roots were painstakingly removed, and the tread was polished to a high sheen. This is high alpine, remote backcountry terrain we’re talking about! What a waste.

Full disclaimer: I like steep trails. The steeper the better. I am willing to pedal for hours to get to the top of them, no problem— but I don’t want to have to pedal my ass off just to go fast on the way down.

It’s not as simple as just joining the dig crew either. Unless you’re the project leader, you have very little say on the route. Even the project leader’s hands are likely tied, for that matter.

It seems that the current “sustainable” trails movement has the misguided idea that trails can’t hold up if they’re even moderately steep. And somewhere along the way, they decided roots and rocks should be removed as well.

So now that bikes are more capable; more awesome than ever— the new trails are built primarily for beginners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They all seem very samey to me as well. ...
....
It's not as simple as just joining the dig crew either. Unless you're the project leader, you have very little say on the route. Even the project leader's hands are likely tied, for that matter.
....

So now that bikes are more capable; more awesome than ever- the new trails are built primarily for beginners.
Ugh...yes.

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A mixed bad is well said. I rode a newer flow(ish) trail this weekend. But we had to do 1000 feet of climbing and tech to get to it. Then the first part of the flow trail has some decent tech spots, where you have to slow, spot your line, then let go.
On a few occasions I have ridden trails that had fast, swoopy, ridge top riding, then would dive into a ravine or something for some tricky rocks and a tough climb out. I have never had more fun than on those trails. It was as if the fast sections were purposefully built to connect the tech sections, and in perfect proportions to each other.
(although to actually plan something like that would take a miracle)

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I look at flow trails as similar to a motocross track. At some point, you are going to learn all the features; the thing to do after that is to perfect your "rhythm " on the trail to increase speed. Kind of the whole point of "flow", to me.
I believe that is the point. I'd be a better rider for it, but it is so low on my priority list.

-F
 

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Meh. Sanitized. Has its purpose, as does stationary cycling, it just isn't that mental challenge that more "raw" trails provide. I also use my 24" BMX at the track to train, it's like flow trails, but with pedaling. Lots of pedaling
 
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