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Is the Don Valley XC or All Mountain?

HOME FORUM RIDING GREATER TORONTO AREA THE DON VALLEY Is the Don Valley XC or All Mountain?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  repack 3 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #816688

    ilikedirtles
    Participant

    Overall, would you describe the Don Valley as XC or All Mountain?

    There are a few trails, such as The Flats, that are certainly XC, but others don’t seem to fall neatly within the XC category. For example, The Pottery Road climb to Three Rocks out to the Ridge and Cricket Tree ride has a lot of downhill sections, some of which go through enough gnarly stuff (well, gnarly if you’re not packing tons of squish) that would seem to at least stretch the definition of XC.

    Thoughts?

    #816691

    whisky_cactus
    Participant

    I would call it all XC. I’ve seen many people ride most things on rigid single speeds and CX drop bars and skinny tires.

    There is also the lack of a mountain…

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    #816692

    dexter01
    Participant

    I’d call it XC with consequences

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #816738

    jcitizen
    Participant

    I think there are a few sections of trail that go beyond more traditional “XC”, but overall it’s not all that technical. The hardest thing in there are some of the steep awkward climbs and creepy wood structures that look like they’re gonna break under your weight. Skinny off-camber clay trails that run on the edge of steeper drops mess with your mind a bit too, but aren’t hard, per se. The few all-mountain trails I’ve seen in real mountains get way sketchier than almost anything in the don, really quick, even when rated blue. Steep gnarly rocks take things to a whole new level.

    #816739

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    The Don used to be the go to spot for more technical trails. We had various drops, ladders, bridges, and even a few teeter totters over the years from 2000 till about 2008 (notwithstanding the stuff further in that’s slowly being neutered/spayed as well), with several actual jumps along the way. That’s changed for regressive ‘progress’ (aka bike sales for shops) but there’s still a good mix of trails in there to make things entertaining, but it absolutely has gone the way of XC in the last 10 years. Heck in 2012 I bought a Spooky supertouch CX bike to ride the don because it had become so mellow compared to years past, with actual riders taking out roots and rocks to make it easier for them to keep up (or to lay a strava lap nowadays, ahem I’m looking at certain people on here). The section you are describing is pretty mellow in the whole scheme of things, but the good thing about this sport is *you* can make the most of it. You can DH in the don (some top pro/elite DH racers used to session many spots in there a while back), you can dirt jump, you can ‘Trail’ ride or you can focus on your fitness and go all XC like most people do, it’s really just up to you.

    The trails are generally more physically demanding that most trail networks due to the up/down/up/down nature of it, some are a bit more advanced than others, but ultimately these trails are pretty mellow technically compared to surrounding trail networks and esp out east where trails are actually hard. Out west as well, those are ‘mountains’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

    Black diamond in the Don = Green circle out east or west. True story.

    If you want to try more advanced stuff, there’s a ton of great trails surrounding the GTA that have some technicality to them, or just go hit blue and get some laps in. IF you really really want to experience “all mountain” at a reasonable distance, go to Quebec or Hull (camp fortune). Lots of rocks, drops, jumps, technical downhilling at speed, and you can climb back up making it a true AM experience.

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    #816742

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    Absolutely XC, we don’t have the elevation for an AM experience within Toronto. There are some AM’ish features sprinkled here and there, but nothing sustained long enough to be anything more than XC going down hill.

    The historical perspective is hilarious to me. A ’12 CX bike basically is a ’04 XC bike with drop bars. Not saying things haven’t become more manicured, but a lot of the “technical” features were just a result of poor construction or erosion. I agree there has been some specific efforts made by certain individuals to “dumb down” certain aspects (looking at you Tremco climb) but looking at it without looking at how far the bikes we ride have come doesn’t exactly convey a good perspective.

    Physically the don is XC and not all that difficult at all. Psychologically however, the exposure can be terrifying and the perception of difficulty or danger is very real for those that don’t spend much of their time on the valley walls at speed.

    #816764

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    The historical perspective is hilarious to me. A โ€™12 CX bike basically is a โ€™04 XC bike with drop bars.

    No it’s not. Not even close. Glad you found it humorous but you’re incorrect, I can go on but anyone who knows bikes knows this isn’t correct. brakes, tires, geometry and positioning, bars. a 2012 CX bike is literally a smaller sized road bike with knobbies and a tad more clearance vs what in 04 would have been suspension, hydraulic brakes, etc. and still resembled a XC bike as we see today. I know, I was a shop mechanic, DH racer, and industry rep back then. Not sure what the point of that comment was other than to throw shade.

    Also, a lot of the stuff was actually built quite well back then, for the most part. There was some issues as with anywhere multiple groups throw their hands in, but things lasted more than a few seasons unlike the erosion on the ‘sustainable’ builds we see today. I’ve been in there as a rider and builder since 2000. dug, got ‘political’ before most people did (only a few of us were in contact with the city back in 2003/4), saw the results, so I’m more than familiar with it all and the full history with all players since then, most of whom have moved on.

    But yea, it’s pretty much XC in there with some fun bits thrown in.

    #816794

    iBeRash
    Participant

    Also, a lot of the stuff was actually built quite well back then, for the most part.

    I miss a bunch of those old features.

    RIP Chicken Run, Skinny Dick, the teeter by Redway, and a bunch more.

    #816840

    Shortcuttomoncton
    Participant

    Absolutely XC. In fact if you take a look at modern XC courses on the world circuit, you’d conclude that the Don has far less demanding/technical features. (If it’s one thing I really miss from out east, it’s the lack of rocks available in the Don – it was amazing to get up to 3 Stage last weekend and feel some terror again!) No question in my mind that a hardtail would be the correct way to throw down winning times here.

    Having said that, count me in as one of those people who are entirely happy to see skinnies and teeters go the way of the dodo. Personally I’ve never found they provide any benefit over naturally crafted trail features – I’d rather plow full speed into a mass of roots or rocks rather than hit a skinny any day of the week, and I mean that from both an enjoyment and a risk perspective. But admittedly I came to biking later in life and as a result lack those kind of technical skills, so to each their own. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #816845

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    Those pics are a blast from the past Rash, did I take that one on the teeter?

    Shortcut, I agree, fast and rough features are the best, but those are pretty much gone too, there used to be some rougher rock sections. Either way, you need to get out of the GTA to generally get more ‘technical’ fast trails.

    The XC course at St Anne was on the mountain and involved some actual DH sections, was a blast to ride.

    #816869

    iBeRash
    Participant

    Those pics are a blast from the past Rash, did I take that one on the teeter?

    I got more on my HDD at home. I think one of the older DM forum goers who doesn’t visit here anymore took that shot. I think I have a horribly blurry shot of you riding the skinny just after the short downhill under the Millwood bridge too, lol.

    #816871

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    Those pics are a blast from the past Rash, did I take that one on the teeter?

    I got more on my HDD at home. I think one of the older DM forum goers who doesnโ€™t visit here anymore took that shot. I think I have a horribly blurry shot of you riding the skinny just after the short downhill under the Millwood bridge too, lol.

    yea I remember that day! and there was 2 kids building some wacky drop to uphill beside it that I took out. haha. hope all is well, been a while!

    #816909

    Joe Seven
    Participant

    No mountains in sight so “AM” would be inaccurate.

    I would call it “poo scented XC with a touch of mayhem”

    #816914

    repack
    Participant

    It can’t be all things to all people, but in my view I cannot imagine that any other ‘greater area’ in the world, with at least 5 million people that is, would have a better trail network right in the middle of it.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    dws
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