i have really beaten castlewood to death. it's a great place to ride, but i couldn't even begin to count how many times i've been there. i did my first race there in january or february of 1989, i think.
even though i won't be able to do the race at greensfelder on may 8th, after hearing about all of the changes there i decided to give it a try. it's a little different than recent years, where we have been utilizing the deluxe dogwood trail. the dogwood was the scene of my very first mountain bike race in 1988, but it was never a very good trail. it was nothing more than a glorified drainage ditch. after being abandoned for years in favor of other trails on the six flags side of the road, it was resurrected and now it's one of my favorites.
as stated, the declue and greenrock are now the new thing. they have been improved and changed over the years, too. however, they have never been easy, and they still are not. some of the changes to the trail are much-welcomed and superb. with the exception of the severely bumpy sections where horses have had their way, it's a lot of fun. but, the actual race course seems quite contrived, using a bit of pure horse trail to connect the good stuff. and the last 1/3 of the course is pea gravel double track. my suggestion is to ride the new sections and enjoy that, and then hit the dogwood and the declue on the other side of the road.
my first lap was a just a primer to get acquainted with the trail. i was not ready for some of the re-routes and had to back up a couple of times to follow the yellow ribbons. all in all, it took me 50 minutes to do a lap. i wanted to better that, and i knew that i could, on a second lap. and i did. the second lap went well and i didn't really have any mishaps except for having to wait for some horses. i was satisfied, and put enough effort in for 44 minutes flat.
but i was done. i was not compelled to do another lap. after the beating that the course dished out, i had enough. bring on the dogwood.