Soquel Demonstration State Forest, AKA Demo, is by far our favorite Bay Area riding destination. Located just north of Santa Cruz, Demo is a local draw that features challenging, flowy descents, and a few technical sections worthy of longer travel trail bikes. On any given Sunday you’ll come across riders ranging from the weekender looking to test their mettle, to local XC and enduro pro racers. Because any typical trail ride here includes a significant amount of climbing to get back out, it weeds out the weak, and it is best to avoid taking newbies or those lacking in fitness here.
Recently work has begun on a new flow trail. Inspired by the Endor Flow Trail at Tamarancho, (as well as other successful flow trail stories and experiences) the new flow trail promises to be a leg burner; a smooth downhill highway with over four miles of berms, rollers and jumps, it looks to bring Demo even more into the spotlight.
Like the rest of Demo, the trail will require a skill level of intermediate and above— mainly because of the pedal required to get to and out of the trail. Like a BMX track, the trail tread is a smooth surface, making it suitable for bikes ranging from hard tails to all mountain enduro rigs.
MTBR.com hosted a trail building dig event last weekend, and we stopped by to chat with MBoSC Trails Officer and design lead Drew Perkins and see how the project was coming along. As we arrived, crews were wrapping up for the day and headed out for food and post work beverages. We caught Drew as he was coming down the trail on his Ibis Mojo. One of the perks of working on build projects like this is being the first to ride and test the trail. Flow checks are a big part of ensuring the trail experience live up to expectations. Drew is first on the trail in the morning and last off the trail everyday, and has dedicated months of work to the project already.
Experienced volunteers needed
A surprising amount of work has already been completed by a small army of eager volunteers, but at four miles in length and packed with features, there is still a long ways to go. Although the bulk of the heavy earth moving is completed with machines, constructing the berms, rollers and other features is time consuming. In order ensure the trail holds up under the hordes of riders expected, every surface needs full compaction. Volunteers use hand tampers, vibraplates, Mcleods and a demolition hammer to pack the earth properly, a process that is tiring, loud, and time consuming. According to Drew, there hasn’t yet been a shortage of willing hands to pickup tools on the weekends, but experienced dirt shapers are still needed— especially if you have weekday availability, and prior experience at with flow trails, pump tracks, berms or building BMX style trails. And of course, if you head out, bring your bike— one of the perks of volunteering with construction is riding what you’ve built.
We only hiked up a small portion of the trail, but it already looks to be ridiculously fun, and improves on the ground-breaking Endor. (the first Bay Area flow trail success at Tamarancho) In fact, the Demo trail already out-does Endor in terms of air time, with purpose built jumps and frequent opportunities for wheels to part with the ground. (time to look into “B” class lines fellas?)
The project is a result of a partnership between local trails advocacy group MBosC (Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz) and Cal Fire, the agency managing the land. Learn more about about MBoSC and the Flow Trail project at MBoSC.org and to find the next opportunity to volunteer with the construction of the trail.
They’ve also been blogging the progress of the construction. You can view the latest here.