First, lets start with the track. The Olmstead Loop is a foothills favorite trail, used for the Cool MTB race and innumerable weekend epics. The trail took a beating this year, what with the 40 days/nights of rain and some snow days, but has bounced back to passable shape. There is still some standing water on the course (maybe 5 places) but the streams are back in their banks and bridges above the waterline. There has been substantial erosion, especially in the north part of the course (the start if you are going clockwise), which leads to some tricky and technical descents. I GPS'd my ride today and here is what the Olmstead Loop looks like on Google Earth.
I've marked the CDF (fire house) and the school on the map. I believe they are using the school as the staging area / pit stop this year. By the numbers, the course is just about 10 miles with 1300' of climbing per lap. Here is the elevation plot:
A few recommendations:
- It can get cold, not just cool, out there. Be prepared for overnight temps in the low 40s. It was damn cold out there this morning (at 9 AM).
- You are going to get wet. Dress accordingly.
- There are some tricky descents, many ending in streams. Temper your downhill speeds at night.
- Some of the downhills are deeply rutted, some even have flowing water (not perpendicular but parallel on the path).
- I would recommend slightly more aggressive than usual tires and dual suspension rides. A Specialized Epic with the Andrenalin tires or a Santa Cruz Blur with WTB Weirwolfs would be ideal. I rode it with my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR and Andrenalin tires this morning and was glad I had the rear travel.
- Watch out for wildlife. I saw a bobcat on the trail this morning.