Ae Line Trail Stats
Grade: Red - Difficult
Estimated Time To Ride The Route: 1.5 - 3 hrs
The cross-country Ae Line owes something to the downhill side of the sport.
Much work has been done over the recent years to add new section of trail and significantly improve some of the older sections. This work is ongoing, however, two new sections were added in 2012/13 at post 20 and 23.
The trail takes you high up the side of a valley before dropping back down again. The series of jumps, drop-offs and tabletops that come towards the end are guaranteed to put a smile on any mountain biker’s face.
The trail is also suitable for less experienced riders if ridden with more caution and less speed – all the jumps and drop-offs can be rolled except for one, which can be ridden around. Be aware though that some of the big berms are intimidating to the inexperienced and the trail surface is very rough in places. For the more advanced mountain biker, meanwhile, there are big air possibilities, especially towards the end.
Rab's Slippy One and Green Hill
Starting from the forest car park, head to the opening section of singletrack, known as Rab’s Slippy One. This is a climb that winds gently up through the forest, meandering tightly through the trees via a series of hairpins. As climbs go, it’s a pleasure to ride.
Undulating singletrack leads you on round the flanks of Green Hill and as you break out of the trees, the ride becomes more challenging, with the first of the steep turning climbs and full-on descents that typify the route. The trail continues upwards on forest roads before joining more singletrack at Granny Green Love.
Granny Green Love
Starting tight and twisty on a very rough stony surface, the trail soon opens up, the gradient increases and you hit the first of the table tops that just get bigger and bigger. Cross the forest road and descend through some huge berms - easier than they look - and down a final, loose rocky chute to the narrow bridge over the river, heading towards The Face.
The tempo changes dramatically as you start the testing climb on the other side of the river crossing. There’s no chance of carrying speed here, as it starts steep and rocky with some very tight turns. Things ease slightly in the middle section, before a final steep snap leads you gasping out onto the open hill. There’s some respite downhill before a better chance to recover (and regroup) for a short spell on contouring forest road.
Bran Burn Bash
A rough, rather awkward climb leads away from the forest road, but don't despair, as the trail soon turns downhill at Bran Burn Bash in an exciting sequence of crests and turns before eventually spitting you back out on to the road with a smile on your face. After a steep forest road climb the trail seperates into black and red grade sections. The black grade, which will include the exciting North Shore section, will open once the windfarm construction is completed. This is an option line, when open, joins back into the red at post 32. Follow the new section on the red route, which includes features such as tabletops, berms, various pumps and bumps. You will eventually rejoin at 'The Edge'. Take care!
As you enter, a new section now forms the start of the Edge. The first section leads you across to the top of a small traverse, leading you to the main descent, from here it's all smiles and giggles with berms, tabletops etc. but take care on a windy day from sidewinds on jumps. This section eventually brings you out across the river on a short climb, taking you to Nil Desperandum.
An epic climb for over a mile with 22 switchbacks. Although this is a long climb, the gradients are nice and easy, then a short climb along a forest road leads you to the Omega Man.
The challenges of this final section demand that you keep your attention focused on the trail ahead as you claw your way around the hillside to gain the jumps and berms leading to the final thrilling decent: a white knuckle ride of step-downs, singles, doubles and tabletops that's as fast (or slow) as you want to make it, with a black-graded option to the left half way down. Either way, you have the choice of the skinny log ride (black grade) or curving but not-too-narrow timber trail (suitable for most riders) that lands you right back at the start.
Warning! Although there is a push path running parallel to the final descent on the Omega Man, please beware of riders pushing back up the trail on this final section, as some of the jumps have blind spots. If it's your first visit take it easy on the step-downs and jumps and be prepared to roll or ride round anything you don't feel up to.