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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I am planing on riding Saturday and enjoy the over 60 degree weather. Has anyone tested the conditions on trails around the DC Metro area? Any good tips as to what trails are draining better?

I would prefer to go to Fountainhead but I am open to anything that is in good shape.

Any ideas?

Thanks so much

Jo Toha
 

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anyone? i need the same info - got a new bike and need to ride it!
I feel your pain, I got a new Uzzi and im waiting for this damn weather to finally allow me to unleash it. Anyway, I hit up seneca yesterday. It was a mixed bag really. Some parts were dry, most parts were soft and saturated but not muddy, and some parts were sludgy mud. Definitely doable though. I might try cabin john tomorrow to see if its any different.
 

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I was on the SRT the other day... Definitely not as bad as 2 days prior...As stated above, doable. A couple of nasty spots, but a pretty nice ride.
 

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Last Saturday, even the CCT was a sopping mud pit. Rode Tuesday evening, what an amazing difference - the Acco trails were largely dry. Imagine that Laurel Hill is good to go, Meadowood & Wakefield will be soon, and that we'll remain waiting on Fountainhead. (Since the rebuild, if a dog pees on Hampton Rd. the Fh trail gates close)
 

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Last Saturday, even the CCT was a sopping mud pit. Rode Tuesday evening, what an amazing difference - the Acco trails were largely dry. Imagine that Laurel Hill is good to go, Meadowood & Wakefield will be soon, and that we'll remain waiting on Fountainhead. (Since the rebuild, if a dog pees on Hampton Rd. the Fh trail gates close)
Yeah, I'm sure Laurel Hill and similar trails out in the open like that will be ridable by Saturday. Will be a crap shoot for others though. Personally I'm glad they've been keeping tight control over opening/closing FH. Lake Fairfax, in contrast, is going to need a lot of repair work this spring from people riding in soupy conditions.
 

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Laurel Hill should be okay, maybe even "good". Meadowood probably not but close. Maybe the back part of Fountainhead will be okay but I doubt the green or blue, especially the green. FH is closed today and it's sunny and windy maybe it will dry enough but I doubt. check their FB page or call Saturday morning.
 

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Hoping the wind and lower humidity of the past few days has made a dent in the totally saturated conditions we've had all winter.

Laurel Hill has been much abused this winter by riders who can't stay out of the mud (including me once or twice). It's somehow developed this "drains fast and always rideable" reputation around NoVa. The well designed reinforced rock dust equestrian loops in the meadows give this impression (though they have their bad spots too), but the bike loops in the woods like Powerstation, Slaughterhouse, Apple Orchard and Giles Run Meadow are as sloppy as anything around here in the wet. There has been a guy doing a lot of maintenance and improvement work on some sections this winter who is a true artist and much-appreciated.

Meadowood is similar: the gravely/sandy front section rides very well damp, but the back sections get muddy like anything else. (The new Yardsale pump/jump loop was built with red-clay that is slick-dangerous even when damp and basically never totally drys out unless there's a drought.)

Basically, nothing around here is that much different than Fountainhead, but nothing else has gates to close. Don't mean to get into a mud-sensitivity debate, but these trails are close to home and I'm protective of my babies! :) I will definitely try both this weekend though. Freeze-thaw cycle be gone!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just checked, Fountainhead is open today. I am heading there after lunch!
 

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...Laurel Hill.... is as sloppy as anything around here in the wet. There has been a guy doing a lot of work on some sections this winter who is a true artist.... Basically, nothing around here is that much different than Fountainhead...
His name is Mike, and since last Spring he alone has kept LH rideable. (I regularly clip, and do drainage work.)

^^ I disagree with ^ this. Thankfully, the only trail nearby that resembles Fh is Meadowood's new pump track loop, and that is exactly as you stated - sections of red clay that hold moisture.
Made the mistake of riding Fh last winter when the gates were open, and the new trails were an absolute mess. Ended up hiking out, and driving to LH where only a handful of wet spots remained. Giles Run is not armored, and unlike it's other natural trails has some red clay.

Seems that right now, most low lying areas are still sopping wet, and the trails with elevation are decent. Accotink was good yesterday, and I'm pretty sure Meadowood will be okay later today.
Meanwhile Fh will remain wet.
 

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i rode FH today it was good enough to ride. pretty slow in spots but far better than last saturday. You can ride it today without damaging and without covering your bike in crud.

I have ridden LH 3 times since new years and it was fine on each occasion, but I only rode Giles run once. I saw nothing wrong at all with power station or slaughterhouse and as said above, the meado trails were totally fine.
 

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Maybe too strong to compare Meadowood and Laurel Hill to Fountainhead, but my point was there are parts of these trails that don't dry much better than anything else. Much of them is usually good, partly because of their situation and partly because both were very well designed and built by pros who really knew what they were doing. But sometimes this attracts riders when nothing else is rideable who go through the bad spots as well. (me included) As well designed and built as new Fountainhead is, it's geography leaves most of it sloppy when most of LH and MW is good. Perhaps this is their fate and they seem to hold up OK for the most part - this is mountain biking after all.

I rode LH yesterday (Saturday) and it was dry except for some bad rutting in the usual spots from the winter. Many thanks to Mike, Flyin W, and the folks maintaining these trails.
 

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I'm new to the area and so trying to figure out what actually drains well, what doesn't, and what kind of interval is necessary between precipitation and non-muddiness for various trails. We're getting some light rain today with relatively strong winds late this afternoon into evening, and no rain again until about midday tomorrow. Is there anything that might be okay to ride at daybreak tomorrow (assuming the forecast ends up being accurate)?
 

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In the DC area? You could ride on the road.

With recent snow melt and precip today pretty sure everything close to town will be unrideable this weekend - or at least shouldn't be ridden.

Only possibilities are Frederick or GWNF both of which are an hour from town and typically rocky and technical with lots of elevation gain and loss.

This is a GREAT weekend for bike maintenance and/or indoor chores. I am trying to look at it like this will be the LAST weekend for me to get those types of tasks knocked out before spring and dry trails are upon us.
 

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8Shakes, that's actually what I was thinking I'd hear: that Frederick and GWNF are the rocky parks and so the only places that would be rideable. I was hoping to hear of another rocky park much closer to town, but I guess that doesn't exist.
 
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