Sunday, October 22, 2017
Mountain Biking Hardwood Ski & Bike, near Barrie, Ontario
Hardwood Ski and Bike is a private mountain biking facility near Barrie, Ontario.
This is my second time riding here, but the first was at an 8h event and we did a 10k loop over and over - so I haven't really experienced riding here properly.
We are very spoiled to have Durham Forest and the other free trails near our place... so driving 1.5h and paying $15 to ride was a tough sell.
... but is it ever worth it!
The singletrack is purely for mountain biking.
NO DOGS!!! (sorry for the obsession, but had some recent off-leash dog experiences I'd rather avoid!)
Just mountain biking.
Oh and all the trails are single direction only - so you can bomb down the trails without worrying about riders coming the other way.
The trails are categorized by difficulty - Easy, Medium, Advanced, Very Advanced.
Lots of obstacles - log-overs, man-made bridge things, rock piles/gardens. They all had bail-out options, so if you're feeling brave you hit it, if you're not you go around easily.
Only complaint - there were a lot of branches down - I guess from the recent wind storms? They claim to keep them clear, but they weren't... my only minor beef, and it's one that's probably not a problem most of the time.
We started with a "Medium to Advanced" trail called Serious. It was really cool, except my buddy bit it on a rock within the first 10 minutes! Just one of those things, we were new to the area and a bit tentative, and mountain biking doesn't reward the tentative.
After that we took on the "Advanced" trail Gnarly - which lived up to its name. It had everything - roots, rocks, man-made obstacles (bridges/etc), and really tough sharp climbs. Really beat me up! My legs were burning by the end, especially the climbing down in the south-west section near the end of the loop. I think the section was called "Hill and Dale"... it was brutal.
Stopped for lunch - another benefit of the place is there are actual (gasp!) facilities! You can buy food, replenish water, hit the washroom... all very civilized.
After lunch we took some faster easier trails - Crank'd and Fun. Both were fun, but I really loved Fun. Not technical but there are things you can choose to do (Parry's Planks?) and some fast flowy really fun stuff along the way.
All in all a great day, and well worth the $15. Definitely worth a few trips up next year!