It feels abrupt because it is. The trail is a series of short, steep, climbs followed by short, steep, descents. As such, there is no flow to the trail. As soon as you start to find a rhythm, the trail interrupts with another steep wall. Your tires will scratch and spin, struggling to find purchase on the hardpack. You will strain to keep your momentum, head down and chewing the handlebars.
It feels like secret because of its startling sense of isolation and quietude. An incredibly rare feeling for a city. It feels like a secret to everybody. All around, there are signs of previous travelers. Foot prints in the dust and tire marks in the corners. But you will almost never see who made those marks. There a strange sense that permeates sections of the trail, like a heavy fog that collects in the dips of the terrain, creating small moments of solitude.
The abruptness of the trail helps to give it these moments. Turning a corner, you will suddenly find yourself among trees. Large trees. It feels like a forest, but only for a second. For that precious moment though, it’s easy to forget that you’re riding in the scrubby woodlands of a prairie city.
Turning another corner, all of a sudden, the remnants of a fire. Another small moment. An ethereal hush to go along with the burnt ground.
And then without warning, with the characteristic abruptness that punctuates the trail, the railroad tracks. The end. On your way back, you will find fresh evidence of other people, unseen and spectral. Someone moved that log across the stream. Someone rearranged those rocks.
But you will never see them. After all, this trail is a secret to everybody.