A couple years ago I tried riding on this stone wall, using rear wheel hops to traverse across the top. Not only did I fail to complete the line successfully, I also had a hard fall and got a bit of a shinner, despite the fact that I was actually wearing shin pads. So I’d given up on this wall for a bit.

But the other day, after spending some time riding in my trials practice area, I decided to try riding this wall again, but in a slightly different way. Instead of trying to traverse the top of the wall on my rear wheel – which I’d still like to do at some point – I chose to ride up and over the wall.

Now when you see the photos below, this might not look like a bike deal. The wall looks rather flat and pretty straightforward. Easy peasy, not a problem. Uh-huh. Except that it’s not.

Racing sunlight… and losing steam

First of all, what you can’t see in the photo above is that the back side of the wall is taller than the front side (where the camera is), so it’s not quite as low as it looks. Not only that, but the runup is covered in soft and slippery leaves. There are also some trees that are not in optimal locations. Those are less of a big deal and more of an annoyance.

Second, and more of an issue, is that the top of the wall is a jumbled mess of loose stones and slippery oak leaves, which also hide the details – both the tippy rocks and the holes. Plus, you’re on a pile of stones, so you can’t necessarily just roll on through (unless maybe you get the absolutely perfect run that lines you right up). That means you can only place your wheel in certain spots or your wheel goes between rocks, tipping you over. Wheel placement is key, though the leafy cover makes that even more challenging since you can’t necessarily see where the best place is to put your front wheel. You can sort of see what that looks like in the photo below, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s brutal up there!

This stone wall is a disaster on top!

To top off this brilliant plan, my goal is not just to “get over the wall”, but also to roll up and over one of the bigger rocks – specifically the moss-covered one in the top photo – as the final obstacle in the line. Lining up for that last bit is really tough!

This might seem like a stupid, silly, pointless line, but it’s really not. The start of the line gives some practice on doing roll-ups, which are not (yet) one of my strengths. Traversing the top of the wall requires significant balance and bike control, not only for wheel placement and line choice, but also in recovering from the unpredicted bike movements when the rocks move unexpectedly. I suspect all of this could also help build skills that are useful for extremely technical mountain bike lines as well. But probably most importantly to me is that it’s just a really hard challenge to overcome. After all, isn’t that what trials is all about?

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