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The Mt. Dora “Helter Skelter” trail.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Yesterday I did a really fun and challenging ride with Mike at the Mt. Dora MTB trails. We did, among other things, three laps on Helter Skelter (the new advanced trail), which is quickly becoming my favorite local trail.

helterHelter Skelter certainly has its technical challenges, but what makes this trail especially tough are a several grunt climbs. The climbs are short, but they are very steep, littered with rocks and roots and a couple of them twist and turn. These climbs are tough to “clean”, as knowing what gear to be in, how hard to pedal, when to build speed and when to back off are critical. In other words, trail familiarity is pretty important.

Five climbs in particular are very difficult to clean. Again, most of these climbs have turns in them (some sharp) and have lots of rocks and roots to get over at very slow speeds. I took a look at some of the climbs yesterday, and here’s what my Garmin recorded:

Climb 1: 30.4% average grade, max grade 69.2%
Climb 2: 16.9% average grade, max grade 27.6%
Climb 3: 10.9% average grade, max grade 16.7%
Climb 4: 14.3% average grade, max grade 25.0%
Climb 5: 12.1% average grade, max grade 27.3%

Those recorded grades change somewhat every time I ride this (the Garmin is good, but not perfect), but that’s pretty close. The last two climbs are back-to-back, and they are extremely challenging from a cardio standpoint.

Anyway, yesterday I finally “cleaned” Helter Skelter, which means I rode it without dabbing (briefly touching a foot to the ground). I’ve only ridden Helter maybe 12-15 times and, until the final lap yesterday, I’ve always had to dab at least once.

Helter is a tough trail, and I absolutely love it. Also, Mark Pettengill (the guy who originally created the trail), has been out there between official work days making the trail better and better. Thanks Mark, we really appreciate your efforts!

There’s a section of Helter Skelter that we call the “bobsled” section, and it’s so fast and flowy with perfectly placed berms that you can’t help but whoop while you’re railing the corners… then that ends and you’ve got back-to-back grunt climbs. That section is easily my favorite feature on the entire Mt. Dora trail system.

If you’ve not been out to Mt. Dora and ridden Helter, do it–it’s awesome!

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