SOFA, the Southern Oregon Freeride Association has put a lot of time into building trail just outside Medford, near the small town of Jacksonville. Their initial push was to finish a DH run and a mostly downhill trail for the Jacksonville Bike Festival, when a DH and Super Race were run. Since then, guys like my brother Izaak and Mike Bronze of SOFA have been exploring existing trails and scouting around for new ones. The city of Jacksonville looks to be embracing the idea of a legitimate MTB trail system, and the area has considerable potential- it won’t be the last time you hear about this spot. The biggest challenge the guys face is sharing use with the motorized crew, but as there is a lot of cross-over, (a big chunk of the mountain bikers also ride moto) hopefully it won’t be an issue. We run into motos at Post Canyon all the time, and for the most part, they respect the MTB specific trails, and avoid tearing up the shared corridors. If they really wanted to keep motos out, all they’d need to do is build some wood filters that motos can’t ride.
I finally made it down to check out some of the new stuff my brother has been telling me about. A lot of the trails are shuttle friendly, but the roads are pretty rough. One of the purposes of my trip south was to deliver my Intense Tracer to my brother, so I brought my 6″ bike and we decided to do the ride as a full AM pedal session.
The ride began with a pedal up the natural surface access road. I’ve ridden motos with my brother here once before, and was really wishing for a throttle for the pedal up. Or that I rode more this winter. Either way, after a solid pedal up in the granny, we made it to the top and dropped in.
Since they have a good amount of poison oak in the area, long sleeves are the way to go this time of year. The trails are steep and fast, with a lot of sand in the soil, it is easy to get a bit too loose and end up stacking into the ivy, so full coverage is a good idea. Izaak and Bill have been riding the trails a bit, and the local knowledge was apparent when they were hauling down the trail, getting all drifty in the appropriate spots.
The old retired moto trail we rode was a good time. As it currently stands, it wouldn’t hold up with heavy use, but sometimes getting loose and drifty without feeling bad is kind of nice. The best thing about riding ORV areas is that no matter how much you lock your back wheel or drift turns, a moto has been through the area before and torn the ground up way more than a bike could. A few rollers and doubles have been added to the trail by mountain bikers, and look to be helping quite a bit with minimizing erosion.
We finished the ride with a run down the trail used in the super d, and while it wasn’t long for a super d run, it was definitely a fun trail with some really nice sections. Stay tuned for the helmet cam POV footage.