Colonie Town Loops - a.k.a. The Shale Trail
September 9th, 2012
It was a toss up on Sunday. I really wanted to go back to Luther Forest – mainly to ride and photograph the half pipe north shore feature but I opted at the last minute for Colonie instead.
I always try to ride Colonie whenever I visit my parents. I love this spot and think it’s a little more challenging than Luther Forest. Lots of roots, unexpected twists and turns, short hill bursts and — most of all — GREAT TRAIL FLOW – keep Colonie a fun spot to ride.
The weather was fantastic! A powerful thunderstorm the night before had cleared away the humidity and temps were down 10 degrees or so. As a matter of fact, on the short rail trail ride, needed at the start to get to the mountain biking trails, I was cold! Of course after a few minutes of climbing in the warmer woods, I was warm and sweating.
I went in on the west side for a change (I usually ride to the far east entrance and follow the perimeter of the park, circling back to the western ridge for the finale).
After a short steep climb (of which a frustratingly had to hike 10 ft of), I hit the main shale trail on the ridge and was off and running.
This session, I decided to try as many offshoots as possible and looped all over the place. As the (incomplete) map indicates, even tho’ the park is small, there are lots of trail choices.
(1) A plethora of curves and switchbacks, (2) roots galore in spots, (3) unexpected bursts of short climbs, (4) occasional sections of loose shale on the tread and (5) the unexpected handlebar-width-only tree gaps to traverse; make Colonie a fun but challenging place to ride!
I rode the whole park, exploring the east side as well and finally made my way out back across the top ridge before a quick steep rocky descent out to the rail trail and parking lot.
Surprisingly considering how great he weather was; after close to two hours in the park, I never encountered another rider – just a group of older hikers examining a huge rotten tree stump.