Heart of Louisiana: Biking the Beast

Ty Gose bikes "The Beast" in St. Francisville
Ty Gose bikes "The Beast" in St. Francisville
Updated: Feb. 26, 2019 at 8:55 PM CST
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ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (WVUE) - While it seems a bit out of place Louisiana, some biking enthusiasts say one of the best trails for mountain biking is right here in the Bayou State - “The Beast.”

John Odenwald and Ty Gose are two brave mountain bikers who say the trails are no joke.

“And you show up here, you here hurt, you get thrown, and you get cut up, and you say 'yeah, that’s the beast," Odenwald said.

“It’s definitely something you do at your own risk,” Gose agreed.

The area’s unique topography and elevation changes create a natural course fit for even the most extreme thrill-seeker.

“It makes for a great downhill or a fun, difficult uphill,” Odenwald said. “Any of these roots can just jack you right off the bike.”

“It has a little fast track,” Gose said. “It has a lot of climbing, some downhill technical stuff. It’s got a little bit of everything for everybody.”

"It’s an unlikely challenge - a mountain bike trail in south Louisiana that’s not for beginners or the faint of heart.

“You go down one we call ‘the Escalator,’ which is really the high point, and you come down this deal, sliding down this escalator type-deal,” Odenwald said.

And at the bottom, riders are greeted with a narrow ravine.

“You’ve got no room for error, and you’re going over in the ditch," Odenwald said.

To Gose, what’s unique about the Beast is its variety.

“I’ve biked in Montana and I’ve biked in the Smokey Mountains, I’ve done some in Texas. Those are great, very different, great trails, very different. But the beast has a little bit of everything,” Gose said.

Tucked away behind the West Feliciana Sports Complex on the north side of St. Francisville, the eight-mile wooded trail is easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for.

“That is a kick in the pants,” Odenwald said. “This is one of the best kept secrets in Louisiana, if not the country. You gotta bring your A-game, because the Beast will hurt you. And that’s what makes it fun.”

And in a state that’s known for it’s flat terrain, the Beast is far from what you’d expect to find at a normal Louisiana bike trail.

“Even though Louisiana is not known for having any mountains, you’ve doing a lot of climbing," Gose said. “The ravines and bluffs are pretty serious, and this trail takes advantage of that.”

It’s tough, it’s dangerous, and it will push you to your limit.

“Very few trails will attack the hill, and that’s why this is the Beast,” Odenwald said. “Because you show up, and, I like to say, 'the Beast does not disappoint.”

Maps and more information on biking in St. Francisville can be found here.

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