Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Trail Review: Chonburi, Sriracha PongDingDum TestTrack

Location: Sriracha, Chonburi
Trail Length: 10kms
The Trail: Double track with a short singletrack near the end of the loop. Lots of loose rocks on downhill sections, rain ruts on some corners.

Jumpoff is at the parking lot of the abandoned sand quarry in the PongDingDum reservoir about 1km past the Golf Course. Vehicles can be parked here or in front of KhaoKeaw Zoo for a nice, refreshing 3km warmup.

The trail is mostly fireroad, jeep and motorbike trails used by pineapple farmers, with a very easy downhill singletrack from Apex2. CAUTION: the trail marked in yellow in the map above is also used by 4x4 truck drivers, there are no trail markers, and there will be the occasional mountain bikers going in the opposite direction so pay attention when approaching blind turns.

Easy grind uphill from the takeoff point is quickly rewarded by a fast, straight downhill A. Watch out for loose fist-sized rocks. Take a left at the fork at the base and follow the fireroad.

There is a 3m-wide, 1m-deep gap as you approach Apex1. The workaround is at the left side of the gap and you may have to dismount and carry your bike. If you think you can jump your way across, don't forget to take a pic or a vid and post it here because we'd like to see you nail this one.

Not far from Apex 1 is the Pineapple Field. Enjoy the sunlight and DO NOT mess with the crops.

As you exit the field, follow the track which goes downhill towards the hairpin to a moderate climb to Apex3. Not very steep so go ahead, flex your muscles and mash.

Easy flowing track follows with VERY tall and VERY sharp blades of grass on both sides esp. during the rainy months (July - October). TIP: Wear eye protection; insects will be literally on-your-face thanks to your buddies riding up front. Pictures here were taken last summer so the grass are mostly dead, burnt, and dry.

There is a VERY steep, 50m climb before Apex2. Lots of loose rocks on the center and towards the left of the track so keep right. Ground is a bit loose even during the wet season so pay attention decide to get off the saddle and hammer.

At the top of Apex2, turn right to the wide grassy field to a short downhill singletrack. At the end of this trail is a T-section - right leads you back to the loop, left leads you out around the reservoir and back to the parking lot.

Fitness level: Beginners. You can pretty much zoom through this in no time following the clockwise route or you can challenge yourself and go the opposite.

Trip value: Near one of the better places to find great tasting charcoal-broiled chicken with matching sweet spicy sauce that can only be found in this area.

How to get there: The trail is about 130kms from Bangkok. Follow the Motorway (route 7) going to Pattaya. Once you reach Chonburi, pay attention to signs leading to Khao Keow Open Zoo. They will lead you to a left turn from the motorway towards the zoo.


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