Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ride Report: Lebanon Hills

"The Leb" or just plain ol' "Leb", as the locals call it. These are the trails I got to enjoy this weekend up in Apple Valley, Minnesota. (Or as most people 'round here say, "The Twin Cities", referring to the two major cities that make up the urban complex: Minneapolis and St. Paul)

I will back up here and start at the beginning. It's been since,....oh I don't know.........forever, that Brent of Twin Six and Jason of Salsa Cycles have been telling me that I hafta ride Leb! They have been wanting me to come up and finally it all worked out for this weekend to bring up my wife and make a run at it with Jason. Just a quick hitter and back home again, but what a great time! (Eternally thankful to Jason, his very gracious wife, and family!)

All righty then! These are some excellent trails. I have had the fortune of riding some very technical, beautiful, and widely diverse trails so far this year. How could it get any better? Well, Lebanon Hills did up the bar even more, to my amazement and enjoyment.

These trails are very well groomed, but that doesn't mean they are not tough. In fact, they have some really cool things going on there. Log piles are common anywhere you go, but at Leb they have taken it to a new level. About five foot high to be exact! And a couple close to that to boot. You like rocks? How about glaciated erratics that are showing there bald heads just above the dirt? They were anywhere from baby head sized to huge pick up box filling boulders that always appeared right around a blind corner or during a steep climb. Rounded from glacial activity, these rocks would send you off in unintended directions or make your tires pop into slots between rocks if you didn't pick a precise line.

Then there were piney sections full of needles, smooth single track, swoopy downhills, water barred climbs, and plenty of tight turns. It even has lumber skinnies, camel backs, and a teeter totter! We did two laps of it and I was really tired, but having a blast!

Now I did get off and walk a few obstacles, but I'd never been there and I am conservative when it comes to taking risks on new trails. The good news is that I had only one sketchy get off and no crashes. Very little walking too, (only around the obstacles I didn't feel comfortable with) so I feel good about my progress fitness-wise. I still have a long way to go though.

Enough about me! I took the Salsa Dos Niner and it performed very nicely there. As well it should, since Salsa is located near by. Maybe it gets better mojo from being closer to the power source or something! Whatever it is, the bike just plain worked well over the smaller log piles, drops, rocks, and bermed turns. My body was well taken care of by the Relish damper and Reba up front. (Good thing I listened to Brent! He told me to bring this bike. Thanks Buddy!)

Lebanon Hills is located on the northern border of Apple Valley and straddles over towards Eagan. It's not far from the Minnesota Zoo. Check it out if you have the chance, it won't disappoint.

No, I didn't take any pictures! I had two hands full of handlebar and a stupid grin on my face, so sue me! I may have a chance to ride it again in two weeks, so I may get some pics then.

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