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Gunny Loop

October 10, 2011
Lunchtime, and a chance to get in a quick loop somewhere close ….. where is it going to be today? It’s gotta be close, and not run too long, and get a little bit of everything in…… I think I’ll head to the Gunny Loop.
OK, blaze up Little Park Road and park at the pullout where the Tabeguache hits the pavement. This makes for a quick start and my favorite way to get going. Helmet, shoes, bag – check. Sometimes I forget those things – have been known to do an occasional lunchtime ride in my work shoes and socks … you too? Dress in a hurry and drop the trusty steed off of the bike rack. Brake check – clip in and blaze immediately onto the trail, dropping through the little rock jumble, and hit that little rock kicker with a little speed that lets me know the ride is up and running.
Confession - I like the Gunnector Trail. It does its job quite well – connecting to the old part of Gunny with trail that replaced road, and it does it in a rolly, climby, little-of-this and little-of-that fashion. And at lunchtime, I rarely see another soul on the trail. Isn’t that one cool thing about riding around here? More often than not you have a trail to yourself - I dig that. There are a couple of small ridges to climb up and over, contouring your way along, with a number of fast paced descents. That first mile or so just get’s the legs moving and the blood flowing. Climbing again up through the rock band that sort of tops the local area, you continue South and pass that trail that peels off down the gully. We just worked on the lower part of that trail, to complete it, and I don’t even know that it has a formal name yet – though it does have a sign now!
Pick up the pace a little.
Contouring again, tiny rock blips here and there, leading to and past the trail that joins in from just slightly higher up Little Park Rd. You ride past a spot where some souls are using a small rock ledge to form an impromptu drop onto the trail from above … note to self, we should formalize that line, it’s a good one. Round the corner, a quick lunge move up a small rock, and you’re now on top of that very same rock ledge, though you don’t really see it. A bit further on and you cross one of the old double track sections of road out there, then take advantage of that quick curve and smooth descent down into the next drainage. A couple fun rocky corners and groovy curves, and you climb up to the main old double track that used to be the main descent into Gunny.
OK, yes, you can still ride down the road for those of you that dig a fast and groovy and rocky double track descent. I happen to prefer the new section of trail that loops South and East. You start that bugger with some crunchy embedded rock – but keep your flow through there, don’t grab much front brake anywhere, and you are set for a good section of descending that has formed up pretty well as a fair fast techy descent. This wraps East and then North and ties back into the old double track again after another section of large embedded rock.
Some folks have made some grumpy noises about that new section of trail – don’t much care for the rocks they say. To me it represents one thing about trails – ride what you’ve got and enjoy it.

Now you drop back onto the older Gunny singletrack section and pick up a bit of speed. The fun rocky corner comes up quick – drop and duck and weave for a second and carry lots of speed through there – round the corner and head East – down the fast descent towards the river. This section is a hoot. You can slow down and enjoy the scenery… OK, never mind. It doesn’t last forever, but it is a nice slice of descending that lets you flow and also practice your braking and timing and spinning on a few sections. Somebody keeps putting a bunch of trees and brush in that one odd corner that flows better as a fast drop, and somebody else keeps clearing it out. It’s a good line, let’s leave it open.
Eventually you G-out in the small gulley at the bottom of the main descent and curve to the North. Still fast trail here if you want it to be. This area has some of those fast broad and smooth curves that a lot of people like. You can feel fast even of you’re not. Who doesn’t like that?
One more little rock drop and chicane surprises some folks – skid marks off the trail attesting to that. Guess you have to earn your scars somewhere. Eventually you curve around to the West just a bit and hit the new re-route descent section that contours along the north aspect of the hill in bentonite soil. Wet weather or melted snow is not your friend on this hillside – a little water makes is slick and gummy. This is the water-limited section of the trail. It drops you into the bottom of the steep old gulley that used to be so rutted in the climb-out. It’s all rideable now though.
A quick climb brings you to the contouring climb headed North. A couple steep sections here can remind you how to breathe hard if you stay geared too high. But it all flows and soon you top out briefly through a small pass along the ridgeline and descent at mach speed immediately down a rocky then smooth drainage. A 30 second grunt out of that depression brings you to a 5 step hike-a-bike through a rock band to top out yet again. Then smooth and fast, with a couple drop sections to enjoy that full suspension or rattle your teeth a little on your hardtail.
Then, you’re faced with Little Park Rd again, but this time a few hundred feel lower in elevation. Sure, we’re mountain biking, and riding up the road is not anyone’s goal for the day, but it serves as a good workout and finish to the ride. Who put that steep section in there anyway – that is a grunt.
So that is roughly an hour ride, and lets you get back to work not too late and just a little sweaty, but with some endorphins coursing through your body to make the afternoon work time a bit mellower. Works for me!
Posted by Scott Winans
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