Two Ways To Go From The Top Of The Ridge Trail --
Cedar Dust & Family Fun Center
|Big rocks and cool catwalks are what Cedar Dust is all about, while the Family Fun Center is much mellower, as the name suggests.
Mark Adriance rides one of the catwalks on Cedar Dust (ABOVE LEFT ). Jason Ploskuniak climbs the Little Rock on Cedar Dust (ABOVE LEFT). Paul Parker aces Fricker's Skinny on Cedar Dust (BELOW LEFT ). Little Hucker with his mom on Cedar Dust (BELOW RIGHT).
RIGHT AFTER the turn of the century, Bob Torset (pictured BELOW RIGHT, searching a slash pile for trail building materials) went on a bit of trail building binge.
With the legendary Upper and Lower Bob's Trail already completed, he turned to building two new trails -- El Pollo Elastico and Cedar Dust -- which would make it possible to connect single track almost all the way from Arsenio to Alvarado Dr. just off Lakeway.
In the original scheme of things, Cedar Dust was essentially an immensely useful connector trail that took traffic pressure off the Family Fun Center, which was getting pounded into a pulp, although it had the hallmarks of Torset's trail building artistry (especially his use of natural terrain to create technical trail riding stunts).
Then in 2005, Cedar Dust took a turn in a different direction. The WHIMPs and volunteer trail builder Jim Fricker (pictured BELOW LEFT on the Tower Rd. with his Kona Manomano) decided to use the trail as a test man-made stunts on Galbraith, which had been outlawed by Trillium Corp. right after it bought most of Galbraith in 2002, but were about to make an officially sanctioned comeback.
WITH FRICKER in the lead, volunteers hauled concrete foundation footings, heavy timber and everything else up to the site and then build a series of ROBUST bridges and catwalks and skinnies. The centerpiece of this new stunt building effort was Fricker's Skinny, an arching, two-tire wide low catwalk. Mountain Bike Action's RC Cunningham even had his picture taken on the Fricker's Skinny in the spring of 2005.
Lag bolts, 2x6s and concrete are very different from the materials Bob Torset uses to build trails, though. Moto Bob's palette is almost all natural materials -- big rocks, long logs, root drops -- in the traditional Galbraith style.
This fact did not escape Bob, or the fact that Fricker had already performed a berm job on the upper part of another of Moto Bob's signature trails, El Pollo Elastico. Nor did it please him. So shortly after it was completed, Torset tore out Fricker's Skinny, to the astonishment of the entire Galbraith riding community.
Normally the expression "tore out" is used figuratively, but not with Fricker's Skinny. Here the entire, lengthy and beefy wooden structure with its equally substantial concrete footings were literally torn out, and thrown aside like the dead carcass of a hunter. I was with several groups of people who examined the debris right after it happened, and I personally heard at least half dozen people say the same the thing -- "Wow!" A trail war was raging on Galbraith!
By summer it was all over. Fricker and the WHIMPs (who had just been appointed official Trail Police by Trillium, and were eager to assert their authority) started rebuilding the Skinny almost immediately. Then in July 2005 the WHIMPs commandeered an IMBA volunteer trail party and used it to build the backbone of the long chain of catwalks that now characterize Cedar Dust. Although the catwalks have continued to multiply promiscuously since, the nature of the trail hasn't really changed since 2005.
Today, Cedar Dust offers a tasty combination of natural stunts (like the Big Rock and the Little Rock) mingled with man-made stunts (like Fricker's Skinny). It is a useful and technically entertaining trail (if you want it that way), and the truth is that it is better than ever before, having risen from glorified connector status to a signature attraction of Galbraith.
Bob and Jim should both be proud.
FOR THE SAKE of this Trail Guide we're considering Cedar Dust and Family Fun Center together. In reality, each trail is different in character and destination, but they are joined at the hip by the fact that they are the two main routes into Galbraith from the top of the Ridge Trail and Bob's Trail.
Pick one. Or the other. What's your pleasure? Where Cedar Dust is sick; the Family Fun Center is sweet. It is also among the most heavily ridden on the mountain because of its strategic location connecting the Ridge Trail to the Arsenio area. But that's just part of it. The Fun Center has a high fun factor, with a smattering of chicane S's and a generally smooth, fast trail bed. Best of all, it can be enjoyed by a wide range of riders, from novice to expert. The only real problem with the trail is that -- like so many on Galbraith -- it is too short.
There are a few optional stunts along the side of the FFC, but you don't have to ride them. In fact, the only unavoidably technical moment occurs just before it comes down to the log bridge. Here you'll find a catwalk across a (generally) muddy moat protecting a log pile that you have to vault up onto and over. Big fun, Galbraith styl-eeee!
Be aware, though. The Family Fun Center is not a complete gimme. For instance, after you cross the bridge over the creek and go left (assuming you are riding from the top of the Ridge Trail toward Arsenio), you are immediately confonted with a truly impressive, multi-tiered maze of alder roots, often with mud puddles and a high slime factor on the barkless roots.
Some people call this place "The Land Of 1,000 Lines," but really there are really two main approaches. One is to go left and tip toe through a snakey, but less rooty place before you can open up the power into the climbing S that follows. The second is to straight into the middle of the bigger roots at higher speed, let your suspension suck it up and your momentum and power carry you through the big slimey chop.
The following are some of the scenes from the trails, more or less in the order. Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version...
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