After more than two years of work, Chris Elsmore put the finishing touches this spring on a massive wall-ride that is by far the largest manmade feature in the Post Canyon trails area. Elsmore, a contractor by trade and an avid biker and trail builder by leisure, adopted Drop Out (a trail between Riordan Hill and Post Canyon roads) several years ago.
"It was something I always wanted to build," Elsmore said. "I had a vision of a wall-ride for a long time. Once I got started, people said it wouldn't work or that it was too big."
For riders who frequent the area, like Parkdale native Gary Paasch, it works great, and it's not too big.
"It's really not a hard-core feature," said Paasch. "Just pick what line you want to take and go for it; it's pretty smooth."
Take that with a grain of salt, though; Paasch is one of the hardest-charging riders in town.
For most people, approaching the feature, which Elsmore simply calls The Berm, is an intimidating sight. It's about 10 feet high and near-vertical at the top. To hit it properly takes speed, centrifugal force and the commitment to lean almost straight sideways over the dirt while whipping around the corner.
"It's basically just a big berm," Elsmore said. "People don't have to ride all the way to the top; it's actually good for people of all levels. If you want to go big off of it, you can ride high up on the wall and hit the jump at the end. If you want to stay down low, it's like riding a big banked corner."
Elsmore said his original design for the feature was several feet higher, but he took down the top level at the request of Hood River County Forestry.
"It got controversial, so I stepped back from the project for a while," he said. "I knew it would work, but we have a really nice arrangement with County Forestry, so when they asked me to tone it down, it was a good idea to comply."
Through an organized trail standards and adoption program, HRCF, the Forest Recreation Trails Committee, and local user groups have been working for the last several years to manage and maintain trails in northwest area that encompasses Post Canyon. For the devoted community of riders who call those woods their second home, the program has allowed for an organized and unified effort, which has made Post Canyon the biking mecca it is today.
"A lot of people -- from best friends to the mayor of Hood River -- helped with this project," Estes said. "There's a lot of heart going into Post Canyon. People aren't just building things up here for themselves. It's for everyone to enjoy."