This ride showcases one major theme that Blue Mounds is all about: rocks. You get a little bit of everything with this route, some fast and flowy sections, rock gardens, and dry stream crossings. There are many optional features to try if you are familiar with the trail, or save them for next time if you miss them.
For those not interested in the really technical stuff, there is a bailout before Holy Schist
that might be worth taking.
The route begins with Gneiss & Smooth
, a fairly moderate trail with a few difficult features. It's mostly downhill and it's easy to keep your speed up most of the way. There are several rock gardens and dry stream crossings which may be challenging for the beginner.
After the second gravel crossing, Chert Dip
begins. It starts with a technical rocky section and a white-knuckle downhill. It then turns into a series of technical climbs as it makes its way back up the mound. The two named climbs are Dr. Evil's rock garden, and Crux Climb, which is just below 5 Corners.
Taking a right at 5 Corners, Serpentine Climb
begins on the left. This is an often tight and twisty, but slow and sustained climb. A mile into this you reach a fork, taking a left bails you out to the ski trail, and taking a right takes you onto the most technical trail in Blue Mound, Holy Schist
... you may utter the name a few times while riding it. The first 2 miles are the most challenging. It veers away from the mound into a low spot, then climbs out in what is arguably the most difficult climb in the park, both aerobically and technically. After that it gets a little easier, but there are a few other features that may have you dabbing. Eventually you make your way to the ski trail again, and Home Stretch
begins on the left.
The beginning of Home Stretch
is a fairly steep climb with some technical difficulty. It flattens out after awhile, crosses a gravel path, and then to end the loop, plunges down the mound in a fast and fun finish. Cross the road and follow the signs back to the parking lot.