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A Hike up Indy


Ok, I'm gonna see if I can write a post before my 13 year old wakes up, she had a derby bout and then a sleepover up 'til midnight. So, I got up and took my dogs for a walk up Indiana Jones, one of the premiere trails in the Left Hand Canyon trail network.

As I drove up the canyon I spotted some old friends and stopped to say hi. I used to ride with them a ton but now they are both on ebikes and I still ride acoustic. I do miss riding with them. The dogs and I began our hike up. Of course I was listening for bikes coming down. I kicked loose rocks out of the way and trimmed branches that had grown into the trail.
People sometimes ask how they can help dig at the trails and that is a touchy subject. As we'll see later people have very strong thoughts about trail digging. So my advice is to just do low key trail maintenance. Start by kicking off loose rocks especially above and below a feature. And if you are riding down and a branch bounces off your helmet stop and snap that branch off. I trim branches not just because they are annoying, but that's also how ticks get you. They climb out to the end of a branch and hold out their pinchy little arms just waiting for something to go by

I reached the fun angled rock about half way down and thought about the day I cut down the brush on the far left edge. I like dropping off the rock, even if it slows me way down. I didn't plan to make the default go-around but when I did it I knew it matched the flow of the trail better than cutting to the inside. I enjoy watching the evolution of the trail. Some of the trails wander side to side losing and then reclaiming main lines. Sometimes on Start the Party I shift the line just by sweeping pine cones from one side to the other. Riders take the cleanest line presented to them. 
The rest of Indy looked pretty good, the dirt is positively hero quality.

At the entrance to Indy I met one of my failed repair projects, Over the winter I came out several times to this spot and tried to smooth the giant brake bumps. I cut down the highs and filled in the lows. I moved buckets and buckets of dirt back into the craters. Then as soon as the snow cleared my work didn't last a week. The same thing happened on Dead Ass. It's as if all the dirt I piled in the low spots transferred to the high spots and amplified them. I had a theory that if I could just disrupt the wave pattern of the brake bumps they wouldn't be so deadly. 
Sometimes I've noticed that I'm the only one complaining about brakebumps. Then I realize I'm also the only one riding a 140mm trail bike and everyone else is on an enduro. A guy once said it's not about the bike, but that guy turned out to be a liar.
Above Indy I found another one of my great struggles, The Double at the bottom of Brown Town. This has been intimidating since the trail was built. I know that dimensionally it's nothing bigger than a hit on the Large Slopestyle at Valmont. I stepped up to it when it was knew, but I kept it on a list of things I wouldn't do alone. Then the more I rode Brown Town, I couldn't keep riding past it so I started hitting it every run. This year I wanted to try doing tricks on it and I even had a couple sessions of hitting it over and over. It didn't have much pop and the best I could get was a one-crank ET but that's still a trick!

Now I feel like I missed my chance, the jump has been drastically changed.

I don't begrudge the Brown Town Diggers. That's the thing about Left Hand, the only reason we love it is because riders have given up a day of riding to dig. Each turn, berm and jump tries to match the vision in someone's head. The trail is modified to fit their preferences. In this case they wanted more of a left side hip with a lot of kick. After the change I hit it once with a soft case, then I hit it perfectly, then I hit it a third time, nose cased and was slammed over the bars. It was one of those falls where you really can't believe you're not hurt. Ironically I did it trying to keep up with riders too fast for me. 

Further I climbed and found another engineering failure. One of Brown Town's flaws is it's tendency to turn into a stream bed. I tried to counter this with a waterbar. But my dirt pile was no match for a thousand skidding tires. So I rebuilt it, we'll see how it goes.

It was at this point in my journey I reached up and noticed my sunglasses had fallen off of my head somewhere. I looked all around and retraced my steps to no avail. I only wear SMITH sunglasses and have since the 90's. Last week I went OTB on Ginger Booty and my shades took most of the force.
Maybe sunglasses are like helmets and you should replace them after a big impact. Or maybe they are another sacrifice the the dark lords of Left Hand.


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