2013 Bear Creek Super D preview
I planned a trip for this holiday weekend to accomplish two things, pre-ride the new Super D course at Bear Creek while getting some climbing in and to ride at Launch Bike Park. I was going to do this on a Saturday but the weather didn’t cooperate so Sunday was the day. What a perfect day for it too!I didn’t get out of the house as early as hoped but I still managed to get to the first destination before 11am after my 2hr drive.
Riding Bear Creek
The goal of the first leg of my trip was to pre-ride the Super D course. I have ridden a different Super D course at Bear Creek the last two years but since the USAC Nationals will be held at Bear Creek this and next year, they changed a couple of things and added a new finish.
My plan was to ride the course three times, that would have given me some good experience on the rocky sections. I wound up doing two runs since I wanted to get over to Launch to ride more rocks! The course isn’t marked so I was going off of a map that I grabbed at GPSbikemaps.com which can be seen here. I was happy with the runs I got in and was able to scope out lines through the rocks in the upper portion of the course. I didn’t give a full effort but tried to push it in some sections. There is a lot of pedaling required for this course so I’m sure the XC people will have a good time with the course as long as they are cool with technical rocky down hill sections.
I shot a POV of the course (below) at high noon during my second run down the mountain so the sun and shade hide the rocks in the video. For those that have never ridden at Bear Creek, it’s very rocky terrain in parts as you can tell by the jiggle of the camera. Also a very “peddaly” course. I sped up the video during the first climb on the access road. I “think” I missed a turn at the 3:25 mark that is another way to connect to a piece of single track that I wind up riding (minor difference from where I wound up going). This section takes you down to the top of the bone yard gravel road which is at the 4:10min mark.
Around the 10:43 mark I went the wrong way onto the pavement. According to the map it looks like the course will stay left at this point and stay along a hill side then drop right on to the gravel road in front of the resort.
On to Launch
The second part of my trip was to head down to Launch Bike Park to get some down hill runs in with my friend “Wally”, former BMX freestyle star turned mountain bike rider-trail builder-trail guide.The trail crew had recently done a lot of dirt moving to smooth out some of the trails so I was interested to see how they roll. I got to Launch around 1pm so I had 4 hours to get some riding in…plenty of time. As I suspected, the trail work was nice. “Wally’s Leg” had a lot of dirt added to fill in around the rocks which made it much faster and smoother.
While there I got to meet a teammate of mine, Patricio Mercado, that is on the Community Bikes and Boards racing team. Most of the guys on the team live in or close to Philly so I don’t get to see them that often so it was cool to meet him.I didn’t get to do any runs with Patricio but I got to see him take off and disappear down Wally’s Leg…pretty fast rider!
This little bike park shows a lot of promise and is a gem so close to Philly. It was cool to see 30 riders show up the day I was there. The rest of the trails are continually getting worked on and the “Swirlz” beginner trail is coming along nicely!
The underlying “test” for this trip was my new drive train setup I had installed the night before. I installed a new 30T “no drop” chain ring designed and built by Wolftooth Compontents. Using this ring requires that you have a type 2 rear derailleur which has a clutch to reduce chain slap. I was already running SRAM X0 1×10 with an 11-36 cassette so I only needed the chain ring and a new rear derailleur. The idea behind this “no drop” chain ring came from SRAM’s new XX1 components that claim that you no longer need a chain guide up front to keep the chain from coming off while pedaling through rough terrain. Wolftooth Components machined their own line of chain rings with this same design. There are a lot of riders like myself that don’t want to or can afford to drop the big money to get a whole XX1 drivetrain so finding a solution like this was great. Install was simple as I do all of the work on my bike anyway. The biggest difference that I noticed was how quiet things were. It had been a while since I didn’t have a chainguide on my bike.
The real test would be during the descents at Bear Creek and at Launch, both have very rocky terrain. I was mostly focused on how it worked at Bear Creek since I’d be riding the Super D course forward and backwards. I didn’t hesitate to get rolling through the rocky descents and had no issues at all with the chain. The products worked as designed! I don’t know how much weight I shed by removing the chainguide but I’m sure it is very minimal. The real difference to me is how quiet is it…in case I hadn’t mentioned that yet. So if you’re looking to jump into the no drop chain ring game, check out the Wolftooth website.
All in all a great weekend of riding. Wish my wife could have traveled with me but she is going through chemo treatment again for the cancer that has returned. I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re back on the trail together again.