Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marquette Mountain Bike...the UP/Yooper ride

Pictured Rocks National Park north of Munising, MI. Beautiful day. Lake Michigan.
I goggled the Park to embed a link....and what did I see!! Someone stole my picture! OK, their colors are more brilliant....damn photoshop!
Rode the 3 trails of the Marquette South Trails.
Started on the Mt. Marquette Loop/Blue Trail.
Nice roller coaster style trail with only one tough section up at the top. About 30-40 yards. Thought I might bottom out my chain ring on a few of the rock bench drops, but didn't. Had to get behind the seat, though, to prevent going OTB. Nice trail with nothing too steep for too long, up or down. Good armoring of the trail edge. Seems like a trail that will have good sustainability without a lot of maintenance.
Met a couple young guys out there. Gave one a hard time as he wasn't wearing a helmet. Said he walks the tough stuff....
video
Peeled off the Blue Trail and hit the Carp River Loop/Yellow Trail.
Some heavy climbing, especially up near the top of Marquette Mountain ski area. Poor signage, got lost some and ended up at the top, at the red dot on top right. Maybe I was supposed to end up there, not sure. I didn't take any of the DH trails, just figured I'd stick to the xc stuff.
Lake Superior.Marquette in the background.Made my way back down and figured things out using the map I had from the Visitors Center and my iPhone GPS. Nice singletrack on the backside coming back to the Blue Trail.

Went to town and had lunch at the Vierling Brew Pub. Real nice bar, decent view, good food priced right and it seems a good beer selection. I had a Pale Ale. Downside? No internet service. And he's pissed about it.
View from the bar.After a long lunch and hanging out some in town to let it settle and to get some work done, headed back out to do the Pioneer Loop/Red Trail.
Double track uphill for a long grind. After getting up on top came across a north-shore style skills park. Crazy stuff.
video
Dropped down what appeared to be an unsanctioned free ride trail, with plenty of bail-outs, just to see what they had going. It was pretty nuts. Got down to the bottom and had to work my way back up using a different route.
Got to the top again and came across a couple sanctioned/signed Free-Ride trails, Flow and Your Mom.
I started down on Your Mom (eeck!!) and after 100 yards or so turned back. Sorry, but Your Mom was waaay too ugly to continue holding hands with. All I can say is it's good you got your looks from your DAD!! :-)

Got on the Pioneer Loop and took off....it was sweet!
A little ways down the trail I ran into a couple guys coming from the other way. We talked for a bit and I asked them if they ever rode Your Mom. The one guy said to look over to the right to a drop of about 10 feet off a sheer rock wall. He said he crashed off of it, got busted up pretty good. Has never tried it again.
Probably the longest downhill single track I've been on in the Midwest. Not just shooting down some rocky fall line double track, but some nicely thought out trail that twisted and turned, rolled and rocked in tune with the speed of the rider. Definitely worth the earlier uphill grind.

Rode almost 3 hrs. and put on 20 miles. The maps show 14 miles between the 3 trails, so I threw in a few more doubling around.

Hindsight?
Could have taken one of the DH trails from the top of Carp River Loop, at Marquette Mtn. but wasn't sure where it would dump me and didn't want to pull the long double track back up.
Other than that, I was satisfied with the ride.


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