Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trail Review - McDowell Mountain Competitive Track


Located southeast of Phoenix, these trails are located near the suburb of Fountain Hills. McDowell Mountain is typical desert riding. These trails are dry, dusty, sandy and rocky. There are many mountain bike races held on the competitive track so these trails were designed for one thing, speed. With the trails running in one direction, you can let it rip and not worry about a head on collision.

Running a Stan's crow in back I didn't get too much braking traction and started to skid every time I needed to slow down quickly. Luckily I ran a Maxxis Crossmark on the front and that helped me maintain traction so I wouldn't crash into the cactuses along the trail.

The competitive track consists of 3 distinct sections of trails, the sport track, the long track, and the technical loop.

The sport track

The sport track is probably the easiest of the 3 loops but a good warm up for the terrain you will encounter on the other two loops. Although it may be the easiest, it still is fun. To make it more challenging, just ride it faster. I would guess this loop is about 3.5 miles long

The long track

This track is probably about 7 - 8 miles long I would guess. If you like to go fast, this is the trail for you. The trail starts with twisty singletrack with bermed corners. Then the next section is a rocky section, where no matter what line you take you can't avoid big rocks. Despite the rocks, you can still carry speed through this section. The final section is a series of small rolling hills where, if you can keep your momentum on the uphills, you are rewarded with a roller coaster-like ride back to the trailhead.

The tech loop

This trail is the shortest, but the 1st mile of this trail may be the best on the whole track. You start off with 2 consecutive drop offs that go straight down over the edge. The run out isn't too dangerous so the probability of going end over and busting your head are minimal. After that you face the longest climb on the course. It was a full body workout to pedal my singlespeed to the top of this climb. After that you are rewarded with a long, steep downhill and after that, more riding similar to the other two trails. The only downside of this loop is that it is only about 2 to 2.5 miles long.

The bottom line, if you want to ride lots of fast twisty single track in the Phoenix area, you should check this place out. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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