Until this weekend, the Auburn area has mostly been a pit stop on our way to Northstar or Downieville. We’ve heard the area contains some good riding, but until now, it was like a secret whispered about but not shared. It is easy to get into habits with our riding spots, and ride many of the same trails over and over again. The drawback to getting stuck in these ruts is that it can be easy to miss out on good stuff that’s relatively close to home, not far from the beaten path.
It’s been my goal in the last few years to ride as many new trails as possible. It is definitely taking some time, but I’m a big fan of social networking using the power of Twitter and Facebook to connect with other riders, and I’m finally starting to get out more— definitely a good thing. Since we’ve relocated back to the Bay Area, I’ve been keeping an ear out for new spots to ride. I don’t want to get bored or jaded with the local park riding, so any chance I get to tag along to check out a new spot I jump on.
This weekend I hit paydirt. The riding in Auburn is definitely no secret, in fact, the trail head was quite packed with riders of all types, from DHers setting up to drop some shuttles, to rigid single speeders pedaling the flowy Connector Trail. We started off on the Connector Trail, a flowy green/ blue level trail that twists along the contour in a snake-like manner. The trail surface is pretty mellow, making it extremely appealing to shorter travel bikes, hardtails, singlespeeds, and newer riders. The ease of the tread, with its dips and frequent grade reversals, makes for a great time, and is a great example of an “easy” trail that appeals to more advanced riders as well. The Bay Area could definitely use more trails with this kind of layout.
While Connector is fairly easy, the faster you attack this trail, the better it gets. If this trail had rolling grade dips that you could double, and insloped (bermed) turns it would rule. As it is, the “easy” flat turns can get you if you’re hauling down the trail like we were. Justin here got off-line for a second, resulting in a sudden meeting with dirt. Fortunately for our group, that was the worst of it for the day. Jesse also had an encounter with the ground, and got away light as well. Unlike a rider we all watched stack hard right in front of us, slicing his forearm up pretty good. That guy’s afternoon was most likely spent in the ER getting quite a few stitches.
We followed that with a trail called Fuel Break, and another called Culvert. Culvert was pretty much all downhill, and was considerably more fun, with technical features, including some small jumps. I even put together a “quick” edit of some footage shot on my GoPro HD using the chesty mount. Obviously the Culvert trail is named after the large culvert, which was pretty cool to have in the middle of a ride.
To finish up our first all mountain shuttle, we rolled down Confluence. Another all downhill trail, Confluence features a rockier, more technical tread with some tighter sections and more features. This trail was super fun too. It gets pretty fun by the time you get to the river, although at that point the hiker population starts to show up frequently.
We then headed back up for more shuttle action. This time heading down a popular route with the local DH riders, Stonewall to Rocky. Stonewall was another fun section of trail, with a more interesting surface that was perfect for our all mountain steeds. Rocky on the other hand, was as boulder-filled as its namesake. Banging over the rock gardens here at speed, I found myself wishing for heavier tires. We followed it with a shuttle and did Murders to Rocky.