The Dark Side
There has been much speculation amongst riders at Logwood Bike Haven as to whether the Dark Side is in fact rideable by mere mortals, or is strictly the playground of winged gods, despite what Josh and Frank and Thor (with a broken arm from the skate park...hehehe) and Bryan and James and Sean insist upon. You can see the indecision in riders faces as they ascend to the roof for the first time...the shot below is a classic example.
It must be mentioned, that the Tree Top Run and the Roof Top Run are not mandatory. There are many lesser runs on which to hone your skills before attempting the GIANTS.
I would always advise entering the Dark Side from The Main Drag near the Zombie Birdhouse entrance if you are going in there for the first time. You will take a huge fast berm into the building and then exit the building via a wooden down ramp after several twisty bits inside.
This will give you access to your first Sty Crossing. This is an evil structure that will take you and your bike over a fence. Walk it first. This is one of the few areas of Logwood Bike Haven where exploration on foot whilst leaving you bike parked out of the way (like under the shady awning near the exit from the building you just rode through) is of great benefit and we have purposefully accommodated it. The climb is wide and friendly, the down slope is narrow and you must realize this before you climb as it will alter your approach lines.
The exit from the Evil Sty Crossing will run right next to the down slope from Tree Tops Run. You will get to play on the same awesome berm that the Tree Tops guys do, but at 1/10th of the speed unless you have legs like Andrew McLean. Please exercise caution when joining the Tree Tops route. The guys on the ramp can only stop by jumping off the side (which I have seen done) so YOU are the one to give way!!
From there you will have a bit of traditional "on terra firma" mountainbiking. It is only during this section of track that the guys and gals who have been making nasty stains on their cross country kit riding The Dark Side on scetchy XC bikes have a bit of an advantage over the guys with massive travel forks. If you are on a Jump Bike then you have probably got the best of both worlds and everyone will be universally jealous of you.
From there you will have a choice of turning left into North Shore by crossing what I consider to be the scariest bridge on the whole of Logwood. It looks so tame on the approach, but as you cross Zombie Birdhouse the drop down into North Shore scares the pants off me.
Of course what terrifies me, Frank rides down as if it wasnt there, and under controlled conditions attempted to ride up...although that did end badly and has proably ruined Frank's chances of ever having a family of his own.
Passing the North Shore entrance will take you to another junction where yo can actually bail out by turning left into Zombie Birdhouse if you have had enough adrenalin for one day.
If you continue on you will have yet more choices.
Keeping to the left will take you back to the Roof Top Run and the Tree Top Run and the Roller Coaster
If you have taken this route and are approaching the climb onto the Roof Top Run for the first time, then all I can tell you is that speed and total commitment are your friend. This climb is pretty simple unless you are are mincing up it like a ramp model in her granny gear.
Once up the ramp you have several more choices. Don't you hate that! If you have never attempted this before then it is reccomended that you turn left onto the Roller Coaster, which is the baby sister of the Roof Top Run and the Tree Top Run combined.
Several attempts at this will hone the skills and weight shifts required to safely manage the GIANTS.
Exiting from the Roller Coaster will launch you into Switchback at the speed of sound...this is lucky because it means you won't hear yourself scream.
However, it is not reccomended even going this way untill you have completely mastered (hmmm...don't actually know if that can be done) the Lower Dark Side which is accessed by keeping to the right and heading into the trees.
This will bring you down next to the building and into a kraal. The trail splits again.
The left hand split is the lesser of the Lower Dark Side and should be mastered first. This involves two more Evil Sty Crossings that will take you to your first Evil Sty Crossing again. It's a little learning loop. Enjoy...hehehe.
The right hand split will take you to the greater of the Lower Dark Side. This involves along straight bridge that is quite wide but twice as high as the one in Maelstrom that you would have mastered long before attempting the Dark Side at all. This will also put you back onto the berm at the bottom of Tree Tops Run.
Yet another little learning loop. Enjoy some more...I love my work!
Then of course there are the GIANTS.
After the Greater and Lesser Lower Dark Side, after the Roller Coaster (revived for Club 100 although none of them except Kayn can ride this one) then comes The Roof Top Run and the Tree Top Run immediately following. There is nothing to say really. If you can ride it then you can, and if yo can't (or suspect you can't) then you shouldn't be up there. Total comitment and keep your eyes where you want to go!