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• Brand new trail at Cypress
Bend Resort on Lake Toledo Bend.
• 5 possible loops ranging from 1-6 miles that can be ridden consecutively to create longer distances.
• Difficulty progresses with distance, traverses over the highest point in the region, descends lakeside and winds through various open and tight forest sections.
• Fast trail that requires strength and bike handling skills to conquer; features grueling climbs, steep downhills and several 100-180 degree turns on off-camber terrain while descending.
• Has three 12" wide raised wood sections over wet sections, plus nine pine log bridges.
• Entire trail is signed for direction and hazards.
Looking for a vacation,
or perhaps a little getaway that involves all the amenities and
mountain biking? Well, grab the bikes and your significant other and
head east to Louisiana's Cypress Bend Resort and enjoy all of the above.
Broken down into 5 loops ranging from 1.1 miles to 6.1 miles, all the loops that comprise Cypress Bend Resort's Nature Trail travel the same route and are one direction only, with bail outs along the way for each of the shorter loops. The bailouts are very clearly marked with yellow signs and although the trail is open to hikers the trail rules give the right of way to the rider. Loops 1-3 are probably the most beginner-friendly, but once you cross Cypress Bend Parkway things get a lot more challenging real fast. Be confident in the knowledge that Loops 4 and 5 will provide you with all the climbing you want (and some you might not) with the downhills to match.
Currently the trail is more of a hybrid or cross between wide path and singletrack. The nice thing about this is that it allows you to take a more individual line as opposed to being forced to stick with what the original designers might have thought to be the best line. The trail isn’t very smooth when you compare it to the likes of Double Lake and other East Texas trails, but keep in mind that the trail was only around a month old at the time of this review and will certainly become more worn in given a bit of rain and more riders. There are moguls frequently along the trail; though not enough to catch much air, they do enhance your appreciation of suspension. Although it can be ridden on a hard tail, fully rigid is highly discouraged. One rider who chose to ride it fully rigid questioned whether he would be able to have children upon returning to the trailhead. I should also note that there are a few holes here and there so watch out for these until the weather and other riders tone them down a bit.
Given the proximity of many East Texas trails you might mistakenly assume that Cypress Bend would be similar in elevation. Keep believing that. The reality is that the climbs can be brutal. If you are a strong climber, you will be challenged. If you aren’t, wear comfortable shoes. Currently, however, CBR staff are working on a more switchback-friendly option for a couple of the ascents, along with smoothing out some sections, all of which should be complete by the time you make it out there.
The trail was designed to take full advantage of the elevation changes in this particular piece of west Louisiana, and although the climbs are very tough it just means that the downhills should be fast…and they are. In a couple of cases, near the base of these downhills, the turns are a little sharper than you might be expecting, so just keep that in mind as you are all but riding your brakes and be ready to slide into it, if necessary. There are probably 3 significant climbs along Loop 5, the first of which is right before the Loop 4 cut-off; affectionately known as the Climb of Death, only one rider to date has made it up without dabbing . The last one begins moments after Toledo Bend Reservoir comes into view and kicks things off with a small rock garden combined with an off-camber turn going up. Although not as steep as the Climb of Death, it is long and steady as it winds its way back up to higher elevation. If you elected to take the Loop 4 cut-off, don’t worry, you will still get to take on the last real climb of Cypress Bend’s trail. Feel free to relax once you make it to the top as the rest is downhill from here…almost. You’ll come back out to Cypress Bend Parkway, cross it, and ride the true singletrack along the roadside back to the trailhead. If you wanted speed now’s your chance.
There's no doubt that this course is very challenging, as not one rider has stated otherwise (it is, after-all, built as a pro-level race course); but it’s challenges like Cypress Bend Resort’s Nature Trail that either make us a better rider, or strive to become a better rider. The question is, are you up to the challenge?
~ MountainBikeTx.com (May 2010)