I love riding bikes
in..."variable"...conditions. I especially love the sensory overload that comes with it. I love how simultaneously clean and dirty everything smells during a rain shower. I love the sound of the soil, the rocks, and the trees quenching their thirsts as newborn streams trickle over and around them. I love the visual saturation the comes with inclement weather in the woods. It's a natural phenomena that's particularly lovely to experience while on a bicycle. Splashing through shallow puddles, trying to see how far you're willing to push the edge of traction, testing the grip of rock features, and seeing just how much trust you have in how to
handle those greasy root gardens. They're not easy conditions for the general public, or camera gear, or cycling gear for that matter. Admittedly, I get a bit tired of people banging the
"stay off of the trails when they're wet!"
drum, but certainly some trails simply don't handle water as well as others, which can be the case even within a given trail network. However, when you do find yourself on a trail that does handle wet weather well, and you're the only one on it; well that's just a little piece of heaven on Earth.Enter Gene's Trail in Big Bear Lake Camplands, West Virginia. Loam is a term that is often used and abused throughout our parlance as mountain bikers, but I cannot overstate how lovely it is when you find yourself in its presence. The soil composition on Gene's Trail, and the Flow Killa option about 2/3 of the way down it, is a big reason why it works so well even when it's pouring. Additionally, the heavy dose of roots and rocks helps with water absorption, and quite frankly doesn't leave a whole lot of room for clay to set up shop as a trail surface.
This trail is nature's playground at its finest. There are slow and funky rock drops that make you work hard to keep your momentum, and are often begging to be sessioned. You'll occasionally get sendy off of a massive huck-to-flat, or huck-to-off-camber grease trap. There's not a lot of support in the turns, so be ready to put that foot out, or just use this trail to get better at flat corners. Speedy sections come and go throughout the ride, but the smile will likely never fade. These woods are lovely, dark, and deep; and at the end of the day, riding trails like this, whether dry or drenched, is just good, clean fun.
There's not a whole lot of purpose built anything in these here parts, and that's a big part of its allure.