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Sherwood Hills

Main loop: about 4.2 miles. Shakeout loop 0.8 miles.

Shakeout loop. Doubletrack (sort of); pass on the grass or on the opposite line. 0.4 miles out and 0.4 back, then uphill to start the main loop. Equal amounts of uphill and downhill. Get position early!.

On the main loop, most of the riding is twisting turns in the trees. The good news is the trail is fairly broad here. It's pretty easy for another rider to move a bit off-trail to pass in the trees.

Watch the shoulder on the downhill turns. There are several turns on the outgoing side of the loop that have a loose "berm" on the downhill side -- if you hit this loose stuff, you'll be lucky if you can recover and keep going. If you see tire-ruts on the side of a turn, slow down quickly and move to an INSIDE line.

There are sections of straight and fast, but it's hard to pass here because the trail is narrow, the trailside is bumpy, and your opponent will be covering a lot of ground quickly. This is the high-speed downhill after climbing up the steep spot at the start of the main loop.

In early June, trailside foliage can be ridden over. By July, it's a jungle and you WON'T pass in the meadows -- especially NOT when the trail is pointing downhill.

The first 0.8 mile is the shakeout loop, which you'll do only once. This is a grassy doubletrack. It would be good to work your way near the front of the pack in this section. As the shake out loop ends, the trail turns sharply and steeply uphill for about 100 yards. (You'll pass the finish-line turn and the lap-return on the way up. Keep left uphill.) After the top, the trail turns down and is very fast. Run like the wind, but be on the lookout for the two sharp (especially the second) left turns into the trees.

After winding through a long set of trees, you'll go across an open meadow that first falls, and then climbs up the other side. The trail through there is very narrow so if you pass (and or are getting passed) try and stay on the trail as much as possible. As soon as you get off the trail, your speed and momentum are eaten QUICKLY...

After you get to the top of the hill, you have to go through more trees with a winding trail. The advantage here is that the trail is mostly downhill and the turns aren't as sharp. Try pushing it through here. There will be uphills and downhills. When you suddenly turn back southward and downhill, you're near the end. Avoid being behind somebody slow here. As you exit that set of trees (about 3.75 miles in) you'll cross a huge meadow (mostly fast downhill) on narrow singletrack, then plunge into the trees for twisty technical stuff for another 1/2 mile.

When you come out onto a doubletrack in the meadow, run like the wind. But be aware at the bottom, it makes a sharp right. After the right turn, the trail climbs slowly back up to where it loops. On raceday, you can usually find a lane to pass on this long climb. If you've got leg left, it's a good place to crank out some speed. There's one place where the trail turns right up a paved service road for about 100 feet.

Resources:
Map for printing
GPS track files:
(note: mps and gpx files can be imported into Google Earth)
Garmin   Topo    GPX
Lodging, camping, shops:
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