First half of new flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest now open

Four of six segments complete on new four mile trail

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Matt De Young rails a corner on the newly-opened segment three of the Demo Flow Trail. If he looks especially dialed, it could be because De Young was one of the trail’s main builders. Photo by Bogdan Marian

Matt De Young rails a corner on the newly-opened segment three of the Demo Flow Trail. If he looks especially dialed, it could be because De Young was one of the trail’s main builders. Photo by Bogdan Marian

Update: Feb 23, 2015

On June of 2014, the first two segments (of six) of the Demo Flow Trail opened to the public. The flow wasn’t quite there yet as the two segments, segment Three and Five were disconnected from each other and were in the middle of a big hill. There was no easy way to access these two segments and one ended up riding quite a bit of fire road up and down to try out these new trails. There was excitement but a hint of doubt as well as a lot of time, labor and money were spent developing these two parts. It was mid-summer too of a dry year so the soil conditions weren’t quite dialed to showcase the trail. Many riders checked it out a couple of times but it did not become a staple on most riders’ weekend routes.

Fast forward a few months and rumblings from trail workers this winter started circulating about the great progress and quality of the subsequent segment builds, sections One and Two. Bouts of heavy rain and long, dry periods allowed good progress to be made on the build. In addition, the trail builders were learning as they went along and the lessons of the first two segments allowed a more efficient and better build. Feb. 20 of 2015 rolled around and the the builders felt it was ready to ‘soft-launch’ the new sections. Mtbr went out there on Sunday Feb. 22 and we were absolutely floored by the quality of the trail.

YouTube Preview ImageCheck our first run on sections 1,2,3 of the Demo Flow Trail.

We were blessed of course with ‘hero dirt’ conditions but we were still stunned by the quality of this trail. There was minimal pedaling but plenty of opportunity to gain speed by pumping terrain and maintaining speed through corners and rollers. Berms were impeccably built and the trail was predictable yet exhilarating. There was quite a bit of opportunity to catch air as well as jump lines were incorporated well in the trail. One of the shocking attributes of these sections of the trail is the length. The video above is purposely unedited to show that it is about a nine-minute run at a good clip. And every second rewards the rider with pump track elements, corners, rollers and jumps. There are no dead spots in this run it demand’s the rider’s full attention. “If this is only half the trail, I don’t think we are ready for the full serving.” remarked one rider.

Segments 1,2,3 start at the bottom of the photo starting at Ridge Trail.

Segments 1,2,3 start at the bottom of the photo starting at Ridge Trail.

Mark Davidson of MBOSC explains, “The trail was designed with progression in mind as segment One meanders with the flatter terrain and gets the rider loosened up and ready for what’s to come. There’s no big jumps and the berms are not too high. Segment Two then starts ramping it up as terrain gets steeper and the berms pick up in size. And then segment Three gets rowdier with faster speeds and more creative lines.” And then Mark’s eyes really light up as he talks about what’s to come in the next segments. “They’ll get more aggressive and we’ll have the opportunity to build a skills area.

But money and volunteer effort are needed to complete this project. Check here to learn how to donate funds and/or help build the trail. http://www.mbosc.org/current-projects/4-mile-flow-trail-at-demo/

June 2, 2014
By: Don Palermini

Big smiles accompanied the whoops and hollers as riders in the San Francisco Bay Area took their first turns riding two sections of the new flow trail that official opened in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest near Santa Cruz, Calif. Sunday. Segments three and five of the new six section trail are now open for riding and can be accessed from Tractor Road, the fire road that will serve as the flow trail’s backbone when it is complete sometime in 2015, according to estimates.

Demo Flow Trail Bridge

Although most of the trail is dirt, there are a couple bridges made from very local materials—like Santa Cruz Mountains redwood. Photo: Bogdan Marian

The two open sections got rave reviews from riders who applauded the trail’s roller coaster-like flow and progressive nature. Because the trail is designed to be entirely rollable, its appropriate for beginners, as well as more advanced riders who can catch air and rail bermed corners.

Demo Flow Trail Ribbon

CalFire’s Angela Bernheisel (left) and trail builder Drew Perkins use the ceremonial loppers to cut the ribbon on the Demo Flow Trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian

The trail opening was marked by a short ceremony and ribbon cutting at the bottom of section five. Head builder Drew Perkins gave a status update, thanked volunteers and praised the cooperative atmosphere that helped get the project underway.

Demo Flow Multi

A casual survey of attendee photographs would indicate approval for the new trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian

Soquel Demo Forest Manager Angela Bernheisel lauded the volunteer efforts of the trail’s primary advocate groups, the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz and the Stewards of Soquel Forest. She also explained the forest’s role in terms of timber management, fire suppression and recreation—three interests that work in harmony at Demo.

Demo Flow Trail Signs

Handsome segment sponsor signs adorn the start of each of the newly opened trail spurs—FOX for segment three, and Epicenter Cycling for segment five. Photo: Bogdan Marian

Trail building has been suspended for the year as lack of rain and low moisture levels have made the ground difficult to work with as well as elevated wildfire danger. The Santa Cruz Mountains historically average about 50 inches of rain annually but are coming off the driest winter on record that saw the forest get half that amount and only four inches since the beginning of March. The pause in building will, however, let trail officials monitor trail wear and traffic, and make adjustments on future designs.

Other segment sponsors include Ibis Bicycles, Bontranger, Specialized and Trail Head Cyclery. Jeff and Marieke Rothschild, Shimano, Easton and X-Fusion all made donations to the project, while Mtbr, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Mick’s Automotive and the Stewards of Soquel Forest each sponsored work days.

Keep it tuned to Mtbr for an update on the project and when work days will resume.

First half of new flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest now open Gallery
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Demo Flow Trail

Roaring Mouse Cyclery’s Paule Bates pumps his way through segment three of the new flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Segments 1,2,3 start at the bottom of the photo starting at Ridge Trail.
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Demo Flow Trail Jeff KW Xup

Pro enduro racer Jeff Kendall-Weed threw down a couple hot laps as well his support for the new trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Rothschild

Jeff Rothschild is a major individual donor to the flow trail project, both financially and with the sweat equity that comes from trail work. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail BBQ

Salmon wrapped in bacon with jalapeno’s—it’s what’s for dinner. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Selfie

: Flow trail contributor Patty Ciesla snaps a selfie with Forest Manager Angela Bernheisel and her son Kyle, who, incidentally, races on the Kibry High School mountain bike team. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Signs

Handsome segment sponsor signs adorn the start of each of the newly opened trail spurs—FOX for segment three, and Epicenter Cycling for segment five. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Ribbon

CalFire’s Angela Bernheisel and trail builder Drew Perkins use the ceremonial loppers to cut the ribbon on the Demo Flow Trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Lauren

MTBR test rider and pro enduro racer Lauren Gregg is giddy with excitement at the opening of the Demo Flow Trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Jordan Fox

FOX Bike Marketing Manager Mark Jordan was all smiles after taking a rip on the segment of the flow trail his company sponsored. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Pierce

Pierce Moran airs it off one of the flow trail’s hip jumps—one that could easily be rolled by less experienced riders. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Winner

Yes, everybody is a winner when a new trail opens, but this guy is a double champ having won a FOX fork in the volunteer raffle. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Air Beard

Ahhh, yes, the crunch of tires underfoot and wind in your beard. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Bridge

Although most of the trail is dirt, there are a couple bridges made from very local ma-terials—like Santa Cruz Mountains redwood. Photo: Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Trail Matt

Matt DeYoung rails a corner on the newly-opened segment three of the Demo Flow Trail. If he looks especially dialed, it could be because DeYoung was one of the trail’s main builders. Photo by Bogdan Marian
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Demo Flow Multi

A casual survey of attendee photographs would indicate approval for the new trail. Photo: Bogdan Marian
About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Don says:

    Too bad the trail is in California! =P

  • Seneb says:

    First off, this is awesome and I hope to be able to hit those trails soon. Not to be an annoying stickler for detail, but Santa Cruz is actually on the Monterey Bay, which isn’t really the San Francisco Bay.

  • shredchic says:

    Thanks mtbr for the great coverage! I am so proud of mbosc for putting this together, and grateful for cal-fire for supporting this trail to begin with, and all of the sponsors for the funding. I have done 3 of the trailwork days this year, and a few last year as well. Riding the new trail segments is out of this world, but even working on them were a blast! There are definitely some amazing berms on there. They will dry out and get smaller over time, so they were built super-high for the moment. So much fun!

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