Sunday, October 17, 2010

More BIG Adventure in the Big Holes

The incredible weather we have had during the month of October has inspired me to leave the cross bike in the garage and bang out as many mountain bike rides as possible (8 rides in the last 8 days) before the snow flies.

Troy Olson shares my passion for fall riding and isn't scared of a little hike-a-bike so we planned to explore Calamity Creek and complete a missing piece of my Big Holes riding puzzle. I had heard good things about the Calamity Creek trail but due to its remoteness I had never ridden it.

Troy Olson on the sweet Calamity Creek singletrack

The South Canyon Creek descent is long, technical in places, and gorgeous

The route in TopoFusion

Quick Stats:
30.3 miles
5,890' of climbing
5:10:00 moving time
Multiple steep Hike-a-Bikes

The Route:
Park - South Fork of Horseshoe Trailhead
Climb South Fork of Horseshoe Trail (219) to Elk Flats
Take South Canyon Creek (226) downhill, continue past North Canyon Creek junction
Take Carrlton Cuttoff Trail north (you WILL hike your bike a bit)
Turn right at Calamity Creek (224), prepare to smile a lot
Turn right at North Canyon Creek (227)
Merge onto Relay Ridge Trail (225)
Turn left on (219) and ride South Fork of Horseshoe downhill back to trailhead

Trail Notes:
-The South Fork of Horseshoe goes up quickly, a warmup spin is advised.
-South Canyon Creek should ALWAYS be ridden as a descent, not a climb. I think it is the best descent in the Big Holes and keeps you honest with root drops, tight turns, and rideable creek crossings.
-Take a rag and chain lube. South Canyon Creek has many deep creek crossing, springs, and muddy sections.
-Carrlton Cuttoff is a solid hike-a-bike.
-Most of Calamity Creek (heading east) is sweet singletrack climbing at a reasonable grade. You will enjoy it unless you burned too many matches to get here.
-Packing iodine tablets and a first-aid kit is not a bad idea.
-Finishing the ride with a return trip down the South Fork of Horseshoe is greatness. For some variety, you could descend Long Ridge instead.

This ride proves yet again that rides in the Big Holes should not be measured by mileage. As I sit here sipping coffee, I am feeling the effects of yesterday's ride.

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