EKG: The Orange Loop

Of the two trails that best represent the soul of mountain biking in Canmore, EKG is undoubtedly the most popular. This doesn’t mean that it’s the best trail in the area, although it is pretty decent, but rather that it’s very accessible. And I mean that in every sense of the word. EKG is both easy to get to, and easy to ride. All of this is good, as the trail can be very fun.

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The trail itself isn’t very hard. It’s a solid intermediate ride. Not too hard, with just a few technical sections. A soupçon of technical riding, if you will. Perfect for when you’re tired, either from riding or late nights. Hangovers are no obstacle to this trail.

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After a short climb out of the stadium, EKG levels out into fast, flow-y, singletrack. Years ago it was rare to see another rider on the same trail. The Nordic Centre is a big place. Now, riding EKG, you can run into veritable traffic jams, with riders of all skill levels winding their way down the orange loop. The thick carpet of pine needles and leaves on the optional Shorty’s Chute, one of the very few advanced descents along the trail, speaks to the kind of rider you’re likely to run into. Most opt to avoid the harder parts of the trail.

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I’m of the opinion that EKG should be ridden in a clockwise loop from the stadium. This gets most of the climbing out of the way first, leaving a sun-dappled, mostly downhill, ride around the Nordic Centre. A relatively short climb that gives way to flow-y connections and some fun downhills almost always sounds good to me. I’m always amazed when I run into people riding EKG the other way. Do they just not know the better way? Do they look at the steep descent that I just rode down and say ” I can climb climb that?” I don’t know. What I do know is that riding the trail counter-clockwise is not fun. Just don’t do it.

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Perhaps the biggest obstacle to riding EKG is the popularity of the Nordic Centre itself. On weekends there can be a lot going on there. On this particular occasion, during my second loop around EKG, I accidentally rode into a race in progress. Of course, I crushed it. My arms held high in victory while crossing the finish line long before the next competitor. Those kids never had a chance.

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Of course, I’m kidding.

Mostly.

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