The Greensfelder Challenge Mountain Bike Race was the first race near St. Louis since March 14 that hadn't been rained out. I typed up a mcuh more detailed recap on the Mesa Racing site. You can read that here: http://www.mesacyclesracing.com/2010/05/greensfelder-challenge-recap/
This weekend was supposed to be a Boy Scout backpacking trip to Bell Mountain, but that trip was rescheduled because of the cold and snow. Instead, my dad and I met Dr. Braude and David at the Osage Campsite in Greensfelder last night. My dad and I hiked in 8 miles from the northern end of the Green Rock at Rockwoods Reservation. We started our hike around 11 yesterday and headed south on the Green Rock. Barely half a mile into our hike, we both took off our fleeces. I was wearing just a baselayer and a long sleeved Under Armour shirt. The bright sun really warmed up the snowy day. There was around an inch of snow covering the hillsides. It was really pretty. Around the 2 mile mark, we met an older couple hiking a four mile out and back from Rockwoods. About five minutes later, we met a trail runner who wanted to run 18 miles that day. Just before crossing Melrose Road, we saw another trail runner. We crossed Melrose Road around 12:30; we were hiking at a steady 2 miles per hour with full packs on the snowy trail. We ate some lunch at Melrose before dropping into the Carr Creek valley and entering Greensfelder. We arrived at the Overlook Trail around 1:30 and we planned on meeting the Braudes at 3:00. We decided to hike the old Eagle Valley Trail. I wasn't expecting too much, but that trail turned out to be my favorite part of Greensfelder. The trail ran on the side of a hill in this long, beautiful glade area. There were near constant views of the hills on the other side of the valley. The glade ended right before the Mustang Trail. After that, we followed the old Eagle Valley back to the new Eagle Valley, and then hiked back to the Overlook Trail. We hiked up the steep, rocky hill to the overlook. We met the Braudes at the Osage Campsite right around 3:15. Total, we hiked about 8 miles on Saturday. They had started a small fire before we got there. As the sun was setting, we sawed more wood and set up our tents. Just before the sun set, we started up our stoves to cook our dinner. Both the Braudes and my dad had freeze dried Pad Thai; while I had Lasagna. Dr. Braude also found a pack of Idahoan Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Baby Red Mashed Potatoes that looked really good. Right after I added water to my freeze dried, I put my pot back on the stove. About a minute later, I poured some more water in it, but I burned a hole in the pot. This week, I'm going to ask the people at REI why it did that. Around 8, the moon rose in the East. It was a full moon, and it looked huge. The moon gave off so much light that it was casting shadows! I had never seen a moon shadow before; it was awesome. We hiked up to the Beulah Shelter in the moolight. After we got back, we let the fire die down. Around 9:00, we went to bed. The temperature was cold all day, but the sun warmed us during the day. We prepared for a cold night with a low forecasted in the single digits. I'm not sure how cold it really got, but it was cold. We woke up and had a small fire before hiking back out to Rockwoods. We took a couple of bushwhacking shortcuts and got back in about an hour and a half. On the way back into St. Louis, we had to stop by Krispy Kreme an get some doughnuts.
My dad hiking in Rockwoods
Me in Rockwoods
The two pictures above this are of the glade area on the old Eagle Valley. Even though that is the old Eagle Valley, it still has the sign posts on it.
Our snowy campsite
Yesterday, my dad and I went to the GORC workday at Greensfelder County Park. We met at the Tower Lot at 9:00 AM. Once we arrived, I signed us in on the county park's sheet. After we ate some donuts, everyone divided up into crews. There were four crews. We were in a crew that went to the Declue Extension to do some rerouting and de-berming. Our crew was going to rerouting a big dip that went into a muddy drainage. We were rerouting the trail up the hill, and following the contours of the hillside. The hillside was the steepest that I've ever built a trail on. Some parts of our backslope were 1 to 2 ft. high. The low the night before had been 25 degrees. There was a frost layer about 2 inches thick on the top of the soil. Once this layer was pried off with a pulaski, the dirt was fine for trailbuilding. We spent about three hours benchcutting on this reroute. After we finished that, we did some de-berming on the extension. Removing the berms on the downside of the trail lets the water drain of the trail instead on running down the trail and causing erosion. After our work was done, we hiked out on the Declue Trail. Along the way, we watched Bryan Adams and some other guys moving huge rocks with the new Griphoist. The rocks are going to be used to make two switchbacks on the Declue Extension. After watching for a while, we did a little more de-berming before we hiked out with our tools. After we dropped off our tools at the trailer, we drove down to Muckerman to eat lunch. St. Louis County Parks had got Subway sandwhiches for our lunch. After lunch, we changed into biking clothes and decided to ride the Dogwood Trail. The Dogwood was a lot like Council Bluffs was at Burnin; which was wet and sloppy. All the little dips had icy mud in them, and in spots there was ice on the trails. The rocky trail held up pretty good to the freeze- thaw cycle and the rain. After Dogwood, I asked Bryan Adams about doing Declue and he thought it might be too wet. He suggested Eagle Valley, and we decided to do that instead. We rode down the horse trail that parallels Allenton Road to the Scenic Loop Road. We followed that down to the Beulah Shelter. Instead of riding down the road, I decided to ride down the Overlook Trail. The long downhill to Eagle Valley was pretty good, there were some loose babyheads and couple big piles of horse poop to dodge. After turning right at first when we were at the bottom of the hill, I realized we needed to turn left to climb the new part of Eagle Valley. The hill was long, but pretty gradual. The hardest part was the ice covered 2nd switchback, but other than that it was great. Besides being caught in a short downpour while we were biking by the campground, the ride back to Muckerman was uneventful. Back at Muckerman, I warmed up by the roaring fire because the rain was pretty cold. Then, I ate some really good, spicy chili. Soon, the burgers were done. After devouring a burger next to the fire, I got some cake and peach cobbler. We left around 4:30. Besides being a little rainy and not riding Declue, it was a great day at Greensfelder.
Recently, I got into mountain bike racing. It all started about a month ago. My mom and I went to Greensfelder Park for a Specialized Bikes Demo. We got to ride $8,000 full suspension, carbon fiber mountain bikes. After our ride, Adrienne Murphy, the owner of Mesa Cycles, came up to me and talked to me about joining the Mesa Junior Racing Team. I decided to try out mountain bike racing.
On September 12, I had my first race, a race at Castlewood State Park. The course was a 5.5 mile loop on the Stinging Nettle and Cedar Bluff Trails. The race was part of the Midwest Fat Tire Series. They race in a format where beginners have to race around the course as many times as they can in an hour. There is a mass start for the Beginners 19 and under. There were about seven people in my class. I was the youngest. The trail started out as a wide gravel path before quickly narrowing down to twisty, bottom land single track. About half a mile after the start, the trail made a steep, rooty plunge into the lower bottom lands. The course made a hard left onto the Cedar Bluff Trail and dipped in and out a a dry creek bed. The course went under the railroad track in a dark, wet, narrow tunnel from 1927. After emerging on the other side of the tracks, the trail climbed slightly before making a steep dip into a gully. The trail swooped downwards, but soon climbed into an old farm field. The trail made a steep switchback climbing to the left. The trail rolled gently on the side of a hill before climb up a very steep, rocky switchback up to the right. Just before the switchback, I passed Auggie, another Mesa Junior Racer. When I was riding up this switchback, I passed another racer who was in my class.
The next quarter mile was a long, but gradual ascent. The climb ended at a bench constructed as an Eagle Project. A short descent on a ridge led to another bench. Right after this bench, the biggest descent on the trail started. It was a steep, rocky downhill with some big roots to ride over. After the steep part ended, the trail wound through some ruts and re-entered the farm field. The trail made a beautiful, fast descent thorough the field before dipping into the creek again. The next quater mile was a slow ascent though some ruts with tight trees and large roots in some spots. The trail climbed up though two switchbacks and began its final descent. The last half mile of Cedar Bluff was a fast, rocky downhill on a wide trail. Right before the railroad tunnel, there was a mandatory dismount for some large rocks. We went through a another tunnel and followed the Stinging Nettle half a mile to the area with the big dips. The race course went across one of the dips and followed close to the Meramec River. The trail meandered away from the river for a mile before come back near the river. About two miles from the dips, the course turned away from the Stinging Nettle and followed the Rockaway Connector back to the starting area.
I went around on my first lap in about 36 minutes. I went out for a second lap and did that one in about 37 minutes. In the end, I finished fifth out of my age group. I was pleased with the race and I really liked mountain bike racing.
Today, was the fourth annual Greensfelder Challenge. This is a mountain bike race on the Dogwood Trail at Greensfelder. The course laps would be about 4 miles this time. Since it had rained the night before, the trail was muddy in spots and the roots and rocks were slippery. Because this race course was all single track, we started about a quarter mile from the registration area. The race started on the gravel road to the Roundhouse. After about 200 yds. on the road, the trail dove into the woods and passed the registration area. Right after the Muckerman Shelter, the trail went back into the woods and went down a narrow rocky connector to the Dogwood. The race course went counter clockwise on the Dogwood Trail. The Dogwood Trail is my favorite trail at Greensfelder. The first two miles of the Dogwood are rocky, and flowy. The trail is gradually descending. There are three gradual switchbacks on the Dogwood. The first is about a mile in between where we first got on to the Dogwood. The first mile is a rocky, flowy trail with one small tree to ride over. There are several fun little plunges into small drainage's. The first switchback is a long, smooth, dirt turn that was really fun. On this downhill, some of the faster marathoners passed me. The trail is still the same but has some challenging rocky sections before making another switchback. This switchback was challenging because of the mud on it. After the switchback the trail crosses a challenging drainage. This drainage has a large, white rock placed on the climb out. With all the mud today, the rock was pretty slippery. The trail dropped off a small ledge and made its final switchback down to the left. The trail made a lot of steep dips into drainages and climbed out steeply on the other side. During this section, I passed several riders who had passed me on the downhills earlier. After dropping off a small root and crossing a small creek, the trail made its one long climb out of the valley. The hill was steep at first, but leveled off soon. After climbing thorough a tight switchback, the course rejoined the gravel road and returned to the Muckerman Shelter. I did the four mile laps in about 25 minutes. Today, I got to do three laps. I finished the race about an 1 hour and ten minutes after I started.
I placed fifth again with about seven people in my age group again. Greensfelder was a much harder course than Castlewood. Castlewood had two miles of more technical riding, the rest was easy bottom land single track. Greensfelder was a rocky technical trail the whole way. The mud and slippery trail only made it a little more difficult. Though the races were different, I like mountain bike racing.
Here is a picture from the Rockaway Cut Trail at Castlewood.
Here I am racing on the Dogwood today.
My name is Ben. I love to read, hike, backpack, mountain bike, rock climb, and mountain bike race. Since there are so many great hikes in Missouri, I decided to make a website to describe them.
The Mountain Bike
I ride a 2010 Specialized Rockhopper Expert 29er. I've upgraded all the original parts, went 1x9 and dropped 5lbs from the stock bike.
My Road Bike
I have Willier Izoard for road riding and racing.
My CX Bike
I ride a 2010 Specialized Tricross
2010 Race Results
River Trails Mountain Bike Challenge (Kansas)
1st Junior 15-18
Tilles Park Crit
5th Juniors 10-18
5th Juniors 15-18
1st Juniors 15-18
2nd Juniors 15-18
2009 Mtb. Race Results
ICCC Castlewood Race
5th Beginner 19 and under
5th Beginner 19 and under
Burning at the Bluff
3rd in Burnin Virgins Category