I decided that it was high time to get out and ride the Full Monty at Kettle. The Full Monty is a colloquialism for riding the Blue Loop at the John Muir Trail system to the Connector Trail to the Green Loop at the Emma Carlin Trail system. Then back to the connector and home stretch, up the climb on the Gnome Loop (fo’realz) back to the Muir trailhead. It’s 26.6 miles of sweet twisty singletrack! It’s also the benchmark for one of the longest mountain bike rides in the area. My last attempt ended up in a crash that put me on injured reserve for a few days, so I approached this season’s first Full Monty with a bit of trepidation.
My weapon of choice for this Full Monty is a Framed Montana full-suspension fat-bike. The kettle trails are a great place to ride fatter tires. There are quite a few sandy sections where the extra flotation comes in handy and lots of roots and rocks where some suspension can take off the edge.
The John Muir trails are one of the most popular trail systems in the state. They’ve been manicured to a level that makes them pretty fast and easy. They used to have more rocks and technical sections, but most of that has been removed in recent years. They’ve become really popular with hikers that must like the thrill of dodging mountain bikers. It’s a crazy world.
The Squirrel Loop offers the best of what Muir has to offer and the Gnome Loop still has a few rocks that keep things interesting.
My favorite system at Kettle is the Connector Trail. I volunteered at a lot of the workdays during the construction of the Connector. I can’t ride without thinking of the good times and good friends that helped create this MTB Playground!
The Emma Carlin Trail never hesitates to open up a huge can of whoop-ass! Everybody always talks about the big gravel climb, but it’s the singletrack climbs that usually kick my ass. By the time I made it around the Green Loop at Emma, I was pretty shelled. I ate a bar and decided to change my mantra of “Nice’n Easy Smooth is Fast” to “I’m pacing myself Drill Sargeant”
Somewhere out on the Connector, I drank the last of my water, but when I crossed Bluff Road, I saw mi Amigo Bruce from work and he gave me half a bottle that got me back to the truck all safe and sound!
I may make the Full Monty a regular Monday thing for the rest of the Month. It’s such a good test of everything that a mountain bike rider can experience here in the big Whiskey. You should check it out for yourself! You can get more information about the Mountain Bike Trails at Kettle Moraine State Forest here – https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/kms/recreation
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