December 1st, 2007, Hitarock and myself (MuniSano) converged at Oak Mountain State Park just outside Birmingham, Alabama to two repeats of the Double Oak Moutain Trail (http://www.bump.org/trails/?trid=omsp) an epic 17 mile+ loop with about 600 feet of climb and like descent. Although not a very technically challenging loop, it is (in my mind) the textbook definition of cross-country muni: a good mix of reasonably challenging sections i.e. short but steep climbs, rock gardens and roots interspersed with fairly easy, “sanitized”, sections were one could catch their breath to prepare for the next round of challenges.
Hitarock and I started out in 37deg F under clear blue skies and a slight breeze. The lighting was incredible in the woods, the sunlight filtering through the trees gave the impression of something mystical; hard to explain. Anyhow we covered the bulk of the 600 feet of climb in the first 5 miles, climbing up an old double track fire-road to the high point on the loop. This old rocky road was a fairly easy climb, although it had a few shorter and steeper sections that forced you to concentrate to find the best line among the rocks and roots and the pile of dead leaves that littered the entire road. After not too much time we finally topped out on the long ridgeline and made are way to probably the best part of the entire loop; a long swooping DH style section that basically looses all the elevation we’d gained in about a mile and a half! Not huge by Colorado standards, but pretty good for Alabama! Anyhow this section had plenty of opportunities to catch some air as we rolled down the switch-backing, high burmed trail. In the middle of this awesome downhill was the most technical section of the entire loop; the infamous “Blood Rock.” Although not super challenging, it was still fun to handle this slick and rocky staircase to the amazed onlooking mountain bikers who were walking their bikes through this section! I didn’t clean the entire thing, but I did do each part seperately and probably got 90% of it before the slick rocks near the end kind of did me in; Hitarock did clean it all once I believe. Once through Blood Rock we continued on down the awesome switchbacking downhill on down, down, down. The next section climbed up into the woods once again but this time it was on some nice gradually inclined single track that proved no trouble for us to slowly ascend back on up; only to fairly quickly loose all the elevation we gained as we zig-zagged our way to the “far” trailhead. At the far trail head (this loop was kind of a long skinny pill shaped loop with a sort of lollipop extension at the far end) we quickly refueled and refilled our packs then set off on the remaining 5-6 miles of the loop. This last bit was still rolling in character but there was enough level ground inbetween to allow one to recover and catch their breath, also in this section were numerous semi-challenging rock gardens and log pile ups that kept one honest. At last we arrived back at the main trail-head in just over 3 hours of ride time (including probably about 30 minutes of goofing around doing some natural trials at some interesting spots along the main trail). We slowly refueled this time ( a bit sore and fatigued) but after about 15 minutes or so we were off again for lap number two! Nothing too eventful this time around except that I think, despite being more fatigued, I rode all the lines and intricate sections much better because of course knowledge and practice time (I hadn’t ridden in over a week). Anyhow we didn’t mess around with natural trials as much this time around but still covered the second loop in around the same time as the first, 3 hours. So a nice long ride, ~36 miles in just over 6 hours not bad!
I’ll bump this thread when I get some photos; Hitarock took a bunch of still shots and some video (for trail beta) so maybe hill read this thread and post his own write-up with some photos??
If anybody finds themselves in the South East U.S. with a unicycle I promise you that you won’t be disappointed with Oak Mountain State Park!
MuniSano: 2007 KH24 w/ 24x3 Gazz and 150mm cranks
Hitarock: 200? KH29 w/ 26x3 Gazz and 165mm cranks
More long Muni epics to come I promise…