Monday, November 29, 2010

Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis: Arkansas State Cyclocross Championships

The folks at Competitive Cyclist are once again sponsoring Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis, and this year, the event comes complete with state championship medals!! Add the promise of frites, bratwurst, beer, cowbells, trombones and, oh, yeah, some good 'cross racing, to a December Sunday morning and you've just brightened up my day! The details are below and the original flyer can be found here. Thanks to Ryan Johnson and Jason Neeley at Competitive Cyclist for organizing things.

The scene of the '09 Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis race. Very festive.

By local standards, this race, now in its second year, belongs on the cyclocross historical calendar so it deserves your support. Come out to Burns Park Sunday morning to join in the racing and/or the festivities. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Competitive cyclist crew has done with the course, as to location could lend itself to all sorts of cruelty and to good views by spectators. Bring your mountain bike or road bike and get your ride in as part of a very active bike Sunday in the neighborhood!! If nothing else, throw the kids in the car and come out to see what this is all about!

Entry fees and awards: B race = $10 State Championship medals for 1st-3rd in each category
A race = $20 100% cash payout 1st - 5th place overall

State Championship medals for 1st-3rd in each category

B Race - 40 minutes 10:00am-10:40am
(Cat 4, 5 men, Women Open, Master 35+) Merchandise primes

A Race - 60 minutes 11:00am-12:00pm

(Cat 1, 2, 3, Open) Cash and merchandise primes

--Bring your cowbells and trombones, plus we'll be serving free Frites and Beer!

--USAC permit pending - All USAC rules apply - mountain bikes are ok

--Valid USAC license to be presented at registration - $10 one day licenses available

--Helmets must be worn at all times - Events will be held rain or shine

--All athletes will sign standard liability release waiver

--Promoter reserves the right to adjust race course, start times, race length, and combine or cancel events

For more info: Jason Neeley (501)916-8579, or Ryan Johnson (501)916-8520

Parking and registration will be in Burn's Park near the BMX Track.

Cyclocross: ACF Turkey Burn

On Sunday, November 28, Arkansas Cycling and Fitness sponsored the Turkey Burn Cyclocross Race at Little Rock's Kanis Park. The race was a success, attracting about 30 entrants, along with a large contingent of family members and observers. Cyclocross bikes can be loosely described as fat-tire road bikes, as riders have to deal with mud, sand, and man-made obstacles that are designed to require racers to dismount and shoulder their bike on the run to climb, jump or step over barriers.
The barriers are usually approached on the run. Dismounts and mounts are practiced and can make or break a rider's chances for success.

Eventual winner Noah Sing didn't need no stinkin' dismounts, cleanly bunny hopping this barrier on each lap. Noah has a big motor and bike handling skills to boot.

Cyclocross is about dealing with obstacles. A large sand pit under I-630 was the perfect foil for the guys who could hop barriers. I saw many riders try to ride the sand,  but all that I observed eventually gave it up and dismounted.
Kris French is a monster on the road, but seemed a little confused by this whole cyclocross thing. Stylish, as always, in his camos and jeans, Mr. French was good for three laps. I thought his sporting attitude and the groovy bars on this borrowed race rig would have given him an insurmountable advantage, but that was not the case.

Kanis Park is pretty flat, but the AC&F boys did a good job of taking advantage of the terrain, creating some off-camber stuff around a skate park bowl.

Nobody paid much attention to this tagger's message.

Cyclocross is growing across the US, giving riders some low-pressure late season competitive events and giving the rest of us a chance to get out and have some winter fun with our friends on the bike or on the sidelines.
Race results can be found here.

Up next: Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Big Dam Bridge Full Moon Walk

Last Sunday night's BDB Full Moon walk was a success by any standard. The cloud cover broke in time for a spectacular moon to rise into view and members of the community came out in force to enjoy the mild, breezy evening. The number of walkers was estimated at about 800.
The clouds gave way as the moon rose over the woods near the Big Dam Bridge

Crowds had gathered on both ends of the bridge. After fitness instructors led a little warm-up and cheerleaders pumped up the walkers, the sauntering began in earnest.

Old Glory was waving proudly and the BDB lights were in full disco mode as walkers spread out over the full length of the BDB

Some thin cloud cover remained, but it only enhanced the beauty of night on the river.

Moonlight over water creates some remarkable scenes. We're blessed to live in a city that is wrapped in such natural beauty.

Though there were many familiar faces of regular bridge users in the crowd, I think the mission of getting infrequent visitors out to appreciate the BDB and River Trail was accomplished. On the North Little Rock side, Ken Gould served as MC and he was joined by BDB supporter Peggy Munsey in handing out glow sticks and goody bags to walkers. There to welcome the participants, the City of North Little Rock was represented by Aldermen Charlie Hight, an avid cyclist and trail supporter, Beth White and Debi Ross. I make it a point to never complain about crowds on the trail and the bridge, as the larger and more diverse the user group becomes, the more support we can attract from local governments. At Tuesday night's Pulaski County Quorum Court meeting, Tea Partiers showed up to protest long overdue raises for county employees and county expenditures on Two Rivers Park and the trail system. In the face of current political winds, it is important the we give positive feedback to officials on their support of quality-of-life projects like the Big Dam Bridge, Two Rivers Bridge, and the entire River Trail system. I'm all for limiting spending, but the only way that landmarks like these can be built is through the investment of tax dollars. I believe that Central Arkansas is better for these improvements, and that in the future they will remain as benchmarks of our time. Give a large measure of credit to Judge Buddy Villines and to NLR's Mayor Pat Hays.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The latest communique from Camp Robinson

This is the December Public Use Schedule for Camp Robinson. Thanks to the folks at Camp and at C.A.R.P. for providing this information in  such a timely manner.
All mountain bike areas are closed November 25-28 due to a scheduled deer hunt.

Muslims, New World Order, Bicycle Advocates, Socialists, Secret Subversive Plans

I was reading the Arkansas Times blog yesterday when I came across the linked article. A woman in Jonesboro, Debbie Pelley, wrote an extensive rant about Jonesboro's efforts to enhance bike infrastructure. She attended a meeting on the subject. Pelley obviously sees this as a sinister plot and was repeatedly surprised that the proponents of cycling were so upfront and honest about their evil plan to .....wait, wait, it's coming....their evil plan to offer transportation alternatives to driving. The result would be reduced childhood obesity, better health, less air pollution, and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Can you believe it? It's un-American, I tell you! Better health for children, cleaner environment, and reduced dependence on oil? What kind of evil is this?  And one of the speakers was actually a Muslim! Enough said! Well, he had a Muslim sounding name, anyway, and she could hardly understand what he said because he's not from around here. She keeps drawing what I thought were positive conclusions and then backhanding them with statements like this:

“So do you envision a future where our children and grandchildren will be  riding bicycles rather than driving cars?”  His answer: It won't be just our kids and grandchildren, it will be you and me – us, indicating it would be coming very soon. 

My God! You don't mean.....I might have an opportunity to ride a bicycle?! Even a geezer like me? Aw, go ahead, throw me in the briar patch! You've got to read some of this! I guess her Tea Party is stuck on the image of the ideal American being fat and car/oil dependent. She seems absolutely amazed and very fearful at the prospect of us citizens getting off of our collective asses. I don't get her point, but she seems to assume that her readers will be as terrified as she is.
Here's another quote to lead you on:
I asked “Who is going to ride these bicycles? He said they were bombarded with requests for bike trails (I doubt that is true but if it is, it is for recreation and not transportation – If people think it won't cost them anything and have these of course people want something for nothing, but they have no idea the bicycles are intended to be used for transportation instead of their cars.

Does Sarah Palin need a running mate?
Take a read:

Remember, they're mostly riding for recreation now, but soon they could be riding for transportation. It's a slippery slope. When your kids beg for a bicycle this Christmas, do not give in to evil! Buy them an X-Box (Wei makes them move around too much!), a McDonald's gift card or a box of diabetes test strips.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Camp Robinson C.A.R.P. Trail Update

As far as I know, the information is this post is still current as far as closures are concerned. I did go out last Sunday for a little spin, parking at the Winter Parking area and heading up Airport Loop to Buddha. I always find the initial rocky downhill stretch of Buddha to be sketchy and, with a thick blanket of leaves hiding many obstacles, I had only gone about 100 yards before I busted my ass (that's a technical mountain biking term that means, "involuntary and abrupt dismount resulting in significant impact with a solid mass, normally consisting of rocks, trees and/or dirt". I seem to have an affinity for landing on rocks, but most of the damage was limited to my confidence. I did the Buddha Trail loop and was heading back down Airport when I heard a wild pack of dogs, which could only mean the arrival of Basil Hicks, son Basil, Jr., and their trail running pups. We hooked up and rode over to Merlin, then Can o' Corn and part of Dogwood before working our way back to Airport.
You can lead these dogs to water and they'll take it from there!

Previously, you had to ride up the road a few yards from the lot to the trailhead. Basil and Basil had plans to cut a new piece of trail to lead directly from the Winter Parking area to Airport Loop, so we got that done at the end of our ride.   

With the exceptions of the hunting dates (follow"this post" link above), those trails unaffected by logging are open, and I really wish that some people would go ride them! They need some "riding in" since the big leaf drop, but are otherwise in very good shape.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Danny MacAskill: If you haven't seen this...

This has appeared all over the cycling sliver of the internet, but I'm sharing it, anyway. This guy is amazing and more of his stuff can be found on YouTube.

Along The Trail: Full Moon Walk and Two Rivers Bridge, Bill's Coneys

The BDB Full Moon Walk will take place on Sunday, November 21. I believe that the official start time is 6:00PM, but I saw friend Peggy Munsey on Channel 11 this evening encouraging folks to show up at 5:30. There will be shttles from Cook's Landing and the NorthShore business park on the north side of the river and from Murry Park on the south. No dogs, no bikes, please. This will be a great way to get people to go out on a  and enjoy a beautiful Fall evening at one of the more spectacular urban venues around. Hopefully, it will help create an appreciation for the BDB and River Trail among some of the many local people who would not otherwise visit.

Sunday night BDB Moon Walk participants should enjoy perfect weather conditions and a view much like this.

And, as we move upstream a few yards to the Two Rivers Bridge...

The near-full moon over the Two Rivers Bridge and I-430 on Friday evening. Work continues to progress rapidly on the Two Rivers Bridge.

It looks like a bridge! There is now structure from bank to bank.

This project will open up Two Rivers Park to more users and create a major link in what will be a remarkable bike route to Pinnacle Mountain State Park and beyond. I don't claim to have facts to back this up, but I will go out on a limb and say that very few trail and park networks exist in the US that will surpass what we will have. Cyclists can easily travel in relative safety over routes that reach to hills and mountains to the west, the Grand Prairie to the east, with a number of connected parks and many, many miles of bike trails and road routes in between. Mountain bikers can enjoy a spin on the pavement en route to a number of quality single-track opportunities in the heart of town. By next summer, riding options from the River Trail will have grown immensely, especially for those wise souls who prefer not to ride on the open road.

Bill's Coneys

Bill Harris, the Coney man, has been setting up shop on the North side of the BDB for lunch and into the evening. I can think of worse options for a cool Fall day than a Coney or a bowl of chili and a lunch hour walk on the BDB.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cyclocross is Coming To Town: AC&F Turkey Burn

Even though my serious party days are behind me, I can't help but love a cycling discipline in which the phrase "beer hand-up" is right up there with "feed zone" or "wheel change". In my limited experience with 'cross events, cyclocross blends serious (mostly) racing with daytime beer, fried food that can't be good for you, cowbells and a generally rowdy good time. Oh, yeah, it often involves cold mud, too. Google (OK, "Bing" just isn't in my vernacular , yet) "cyclocross beer mud" and you come up with a long list of promising events and publications promoting the combo:

Check out the video. Apparently even strippers are not out of the question at some events. You can follow the "stripper" link for the associated article.

Local and Family Friendly:

On the family-friendly local scene, Arkansas Cycling and Fitness and Vino's are hosting the Turkey Burn Cyclocross Race to help you feel better about yourself after a gluttonous holiday weekend. AC&F and Vino's pretty much cover bikes and beer. Now, they just need a rowdy crowd and a bunch of riders and that's where you fit in! Here's the information from AC&F's site:



When – Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where – Kanis Park; Little Rock, AR

B Race & Women’s Race 10:00am, 40 Minutes

A Race 11:00am, 50 Minutes

Kids’ Race 12:00pm

Course – Pavement start and finish, mostly grass, wooden barrier dismounts and sand pit
Registration - $10.00; From 7:00am – 9:45am

What to Bring – Cyclocross Bike or Mountain Bike; Helmet and Shoes; The Whole Family; Cowbells or Noise Makers for the Kids!!!

Questions – Contact Trevor Edwards at 501-837-8485 or

Ever have the desire to burn off all that turkey we all love so much from Thanksgiving Day? Then join Arkansas Cycling and Fitness for our very first cyclocross race the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Riders of all levels, come have a chance to enjoy riding your cyclocross bike or mountain bike in your local park. Kanis Park is located at the corner of Mississippi and Rodney Parham. The course is mostly flat with a few inclines; all grass except for starting, finishing and sand pit. There will be multiple barrier dismounts and one wicked sand pit. This is a family event, so bring them all—from Grandma to the kids. Noise makers are encouraged for the kids to keep racers motivated. Hope to see everyone there!

Sponsored by Arkansas Cycling &Fitness and Vino's Brew Pub

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pinnacle Mountain Jackfork Trail

I'm glad that I decided to ride my mountain bike Saturday, because I awoke to wet streets, blustery wind and a serious chill. It was still 80 degrees when I got on the bike Friday evening, but only 51 when I hit the trail at the very reasonable hour of 10:00AM on Saturday. I was meeting friends Chris Shaw and Chris Irons to check out the new Jackfork Trail from the Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor's Center. The trail is about what you would expect if you were a reasonable person envisioning a new trail etched out of a Ouachita foothill. It was rocky. The route is a lollypop with the first mile of trail leading into a 5 mile loop. I'd describe it as technical, but there were few really hard moves. It was mostly a case of just riding a lot of rocky trail with what seemed like more climbing than descending and it seemed difficult to get into any kind of rhythm. It required some heart-thumping effort and your full attention, but there were no big obstacles to be dealt with.

Fun with signs....

Decisions, decisions....    Chris Shaw may be a hard man, but Chris Irons is apparently harder. This sign is where the stick meets the sucker on this lollypop shaped route. We road the "HARD" way. It's the same route and we decided the main difference to the approaches is that the "HARDER" direction starts with a stiff climb whereas the "HARD" way just puts little climbs in front of you for much of the 5-mile loop.
So much for that "HARD" and "HARDER" stuff. I'm just here to get my trail groove on.

...and fun with rocks.

This was a tight little uphill turn that defeated all of us. Even with the tree boost, Chris ended up dismounting. I felt like I could have cleaned it if my approach speed had exceeded 3MPH, but that's about all I could muster after the climb leading to this little challenge.

For the most part, the trail snakes past the bigger rocks. It's all of the smaller ones that make up much of the trail bed which required attention. There is little chance of this trail getting too muddy to ride. It's got a rock-solid bottom and not many places flat enough for standing water.

This new trail has received mixed reviews, ranging from "very cool" to "really sucks". I think it's just a matter of perspective. I give it pretty high marks for being challenging without being daunting and for being a good place to improve trail skills without really harsh penalties for failure. On the other hand, if you just want to turn up the IPod and blast down some flowing hard-pack, this may not be your favorite place. For sake of comparison, it is more like Burns Park than Camp Robinson.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Red Bull MiniDrome

OK, this is some crazy shit. Put the world's smallest velo track in a bar, add caffiene, alcohol and fixies and it is as described in the opening statement!

Red Bull Minidrome from Eyeball Moving Image on Vimeo.

They're cranking one up in the UK. Maybe it will show up at a VeloHonkyTonk near you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

National Guard Cyclists First Annual Veterans Day Ride

Well, it was Veterans Day, I had an invitation from Bryan Shipman to join a bunch National Guard folks on a ride to mark the occasion, and it was a beautiful day, so I took a brunch hour today and joined them. The National Guard Cyclists, an unofficial recreational organization of guardsmen, has taken root in several areas across the country and this was the inaugural event for the Arkansas chapter.

I think that Bryan accounted for 24 riders, most of whom are in this photo in front of the USS Razorback.

When I was coming of age in the Vietnam Era, the Guard was thought of as a safe place to avoid combat duty. It was difficult to get into many companies without connections. Some did see combat, many of the units that were called up saw duty as
ready reserve on bases in the U.S.. That's not the case today, and many of these soldiers have been deployed to Iraq and elsewhere.

Andreas deKunffy and Bryan Shipman followed by Dan Lysk of Arkansas Cycling and Fitness and Marcus Pierce.

The National Guard Cyclists are drawn together by their love of the bike and the common bond of service. Their numbers are already growing and as a group they will be a presence at events like the BDB100, likely making for a very positive impression of the National Guard while promoting fitness among their peers. I appreciated the opportunity to ride with them on Veterans Day, though the Siren song of work forced me to cut my ride short.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Changing Up The Mix, Exploring, and Enjoying The Night

With the change of season, we're all forced to change our riding routines, whatever they may be. In my case, that means hopping on my road bike 5-7 days per week. I have already starting to break out a little by adding some more mountain bike and a few days completely off the bike to the mix. Just this week, I laced up my running shoes for a couple of short runs. Understand that me and running are not the best of friends. I was always convinced that I just couldn't run, but after riding a few thousand miles, I decided to give it a shot a couple of years ago. My simple goal: run one mile.
I had never run a mile in a single stretch for any reason. I bought some shoes, worked up to the mile and in short order maxed out at 5 miles, then pretty much gave it up. I don't like running, but it's a great way to get a compact workout in virtually any kind of weather, so I'm seeking some kind of peace with the concept. It's unlikely to be love, but I'll settle a simple lack of malice between me and running.

On Sunday, I took the MTB down to Burns Park and poked around the various single-track opportunities off of the River Trail, starting with Pfiefer Loop and then the Yellow Trail over the covered bridge, then across to the Boy Scout trails. I had run into friends Heather and Mike and they said that some local adventure boys were working on some ramps out in the woods behind the gravel quarry. What they described was not the same structure I posted about a few days ago, but sho' 'nuff jump ramps. Of course, I had to go find them. I hit the trail across from the BMX track and rode up the hill until I saw freshly raked trail off to the left and then followed it downhill until I came to the ramps.

The guys working on the downhill ramps and raking the trail were gone before I came across the site.

There is way more air under these ramps than I want, but I'll watch you do it. I'll even take your picture.

The structures obviously been there for awhile, but I've only heard mention of them and never knew where they were, nor have I heard much about who rides them. The trail leading into them is very cool, with a bunch of little jumps and bumps. Maybe we'll get a comment from somebody who knows the story on who built them and when.

Lights, action...

This is how many of us will be rolling on our weekday rides.

I've been riding with headlights this week, and the warm weather has made the transition to after-dark winter riding quite pleasant. A lot of folks seem to feel the same way, as there has been a lot of activity on the trail and the BDB.

The scenary along the river is just as stunning at night as during the day.

There was a steady stream of traffic on the BDB Monday night.

If I've got one complaint about night-time trail users, it's that many walkers and some runners wear no reflective clothing. I'm almost as afraid of running into one of them as I am of running into a skunk.

National Guard Veterans Day Ride

Our friend, Captain Bryan Shipman, will join a group of National Guardsmen for the first National Guard Cycling Arkansas ride. They will "meet up at the Submarine on the NLR side of the river trail at 0830. Leave around 9am – ride the trail around to Cajun’s Wharf and back – so around 30 miles, but it’s all flat!"

If you have to day off or can carve out part of the morning, go out and join these guys for the ride.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Fall Saturday Along The River Trail

Well, my plan for a long day in the woods yesterday didn't pan out, so I settled for a couple of leisurely hours along the River Trail. While cruising through Argenta, I noticed a lot of noise and a pretty big crowd at Dickey-Stephens park, so I rolled up to the fence to see what all of the ruckus was about. I spotted a young couple with their kids within shouting range and asked them what was going on. It turned out to be one of my cousins and her family and the event was a whiffle ball tournament. The early afternoon beer was flowing and everybody seemed to be having a large time.
Cousin Shea and her husband Ricky enjoying a sunny afternoon with the kids at Dickey-Stephens

The action was fast and the mood light at the whiffle ball tournament.

Things did not go so well for one rider that I encountered. He had taken the curve at the S-Turn bridge a little too fast and crashed his tri bike. The result was an apparently broken collar bone.

I rode up to Cook's landing to escort the ambulance in to the injured rider. With an ambulance on your wheel, even the most stubborn trail users move to the right.

As I descended the Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge, I noticed that Bill's Coneys had set up shop near the base of the bridge. I wrote a second-hand report on Bill last week and was determined to sample a Coney so that I could give you  first-hand information.
These ladies had just been served dogs as I approached Bill's stand. Some time later, the young lady came back to tell Bill that he had undercharged her. Unprompted honesty is refreshing.

This chilidog had the look of good eating and possible indigestion.

This is how I rolled! Not wanting to push the limits of my digestive constitution on the climb home, I passed on the chili and opted for the beefy Coney sauce, cheese, mustard and a pile of jalapenos. I rarely eat hot dogs, but this bad boy hit the spot!

I wasn't the only cyclist to fuel up at Bill's.

Bill's Menu

When Bill is not adding a little character to the River Trail,  he sets his stand up on weekdays across Markham Street from UAMS.
Considering that it was a beautiful day, the crowds were thin on Saturday, but I still ran into a number of friends out enjoying the many activities available along the river. Road riders, mountain bikers, runners, walkers and sunny-day bench-sitters were all smiling. And, why not?!

Camp Robinson: Additional Trail Closures for Hunting Events

While the Camp Robinson C.A.R.P. trails are generally open with the exception of the timber harvest areas, there remain some dates for which the entire area will be closed due to fall deer hunts.

The trails will be closed on the following dates, according to the Camp Robinson Range Office:
November 20, 21
November 25-28

Remember to park and access the trails from the Winter Parking area. You may also park across the road from the Winter Parking area trailhead at Range 17. Scroll down to my November 4 post for more details.

The folks at Camp are making an effort to keep us informed and I'll try to consolidate the information to keep you updated here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Camp Robinson Trails Closed Nov 6 & 7

I just got word that the Camp Robinson C.A.R.P. trails will be closed this weekend for a hunt.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Rituals

It's forecast to be around freezing in the morning. I'm undecided as to whether I'll catch the early road ride or go for a little sleep-in followed by a good breakfast, then a couple of hours in the woods on the mountain bike. Diane is interested in some fat-tire stuff and the dogs will be good for a few miles, so the woods are the most likely prospect. In any event, the realities of riding in the cold and dark are setting in. I tarried a bit last night was almost caught on the trail with no light and the cold has become evident over the last couple of days.
Among my seasonal rituals, the "Taping Of The Shoes" is a sure sign that we've turned the corner into Fall. We all appreciate the airy feel of our snazzy road shoes, but that same ventilation that cools and dries our dogs in August is not quite so welcome in winter. It's hard to keep feet warm, so the vents in the soles of my road shoes get covered with electrical tape.
 Riding in cold weather can be comfortable and fun with the right preparation, though I'll admit that I'm already looking forward to the Spring ritual of "The Peeling Off Of The Tape".    And, ooohhh...look, I have brand new cleats!

Toe covers or shoe covers along with some good socks will take care of the feet on all but the coldest days. I highly recommend DeFeets Blaze socks. They are appreciably warmer than anything else I've got.  

Since the vast majority of us will be spending much less time on the bike and much more time sitting around, it is also important to get your sitting around kit in good order. In my case, that means putting away some of my shorts and summer shirts and getting out jeans, base layers, winter socks and my flannel lined Carhartts.

I have moved into the flannel lined Carhartts for the winter. I'll come out for laundry days and those silly dress up holiday parties.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Camp Robinson C.A.R.P. Trails: The Word

Ok, this is the somewhat official word on Camp Robinson C.A.R.P. trail access. Many of the popular upper trails are closed until the timber harvest is complete, but the rest of the area remains open to cyclists. Here's a communication from Camp staff:

Due to the risk involved in bicyclist and logging operations we are going to
close the trials marked in RED on this map. Additionally,
the winter parking area or that area next to range 17 will be utilized for all bike trail
parking and access to the trails until further notice.
Please provide widest
dissemination to ensure safety of all personnel. In summation, There should
be absolutely no foot or bike traffic around those trails marked in red on
the attached map or the current trail-head. The loggers are using it as the
main route for skidding and logging
CARP Bike Trail Closings
These trails will be closed when logging is occurring:
Five Mile Loop

FreeWay (Past Pipeline)

Dogwood (South of Merlin’s Trail)

Ten Bridges


Christmas Tree and Extension

Center Road/Helter Skelter (South of Porta Potty) (Also may be used as a logging road for 2.0 acre clearcut, 6.7 acre thinning, and 7.9 acre thinning) Outer Loop (South of Porta Potty)

Individual trails will be reopened when logging is finished in any particular area!

CARP Bike Trails that will not closed at all
Entrance Trail

Pipeline (May be used as a logging road) Zig Zag Trail Double Dip Merlin's Trail Can of Corn Dead Elvis Flatlands Loop Elevator Trail Advanced Trig Ball of Nails Love Trail Buddha Porta Potty Airport

No excess puntuation in there, but the message is clear. We are being asked to park at the old Winter Parking area, which provides easy access to Airport Loop near its junction with Buddha. You've likely noticed the Winter Parking sign from the trail. The simplest directions that I can give are to enter Camp as usual, but as you approach the Aviation Support Facility (large sign on the corner, fence starts), turn right. Follow this road (note the 10MPH flashing speed limit sign as a landmark) to Cato Road (Large sign on left), turn left. Go 1.2 miles. The winter parking area is just past a stretch of fence marking the end of the runway and across from Range 17. The trailhead is down the road another 75 yards or so and is marked with tape.

The "Winter Parking" trailhead as seen from Cato Road. It intersects Airport Loop about 50 yards in.
The trail is clearly marked at the point where it meets Airport Loop.

That's it. Please stay out of the harvest area. The current arrangements will remain in place until the timber harvest is complete or until the policy changes. The folks at Camp could easily have just closed the trails, so I appreciate the fact that they're working with the bike community, though communications could have come earlier.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hot Dog! Now, This Is Exciting!

Things continue to develop along the River Trail, and last Saturday brought news of yet another addition to the culture of the Trail. "Bill's Coneys" set up shop at the foot of the Big Dam Bridge on the Little Rock side, offering Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs.

My friend Robin provided this photo along with her report on Bill's Coneys, which she described as a "really good dog, and I'm not a hot dog fan".

Robin and hubby had broken one of my edicts by riding with no cash, but Bill was gracious enough to front them a sample. Bill stated that he planned to set up at this location on Saturdays. I'm not a big hot dog fan, either, but I plan to drop by and try one just because it's there! The BDB may evolve into the closest thing that we have to Venice Beach or Key West's Sunset Pier. All that we need are a few more skaters, jugglers, mimes, and contortionists to round out the attractions.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mixed Signals at Camp Robinson; Burns Park

I headed back to Camp Robinson Thursday evening, taking advantage of the dwindling daylight hours. I checked in as usual at the Visitor's Center, but...
Mixed Signals:
 It may have been my last chance for a while (or not!), as I have heard from another rider that she was turned away on Saturday and told that the C.A.R.P. trails in Training Area 2 were closed "indefinitely".  As a follow-up, I called the Camp Robinson Visitor's Center on Monday and was told that "we're just handing out passes" and that no directive concerning closure had been issued.

Riding Blind
On Thursday, I returned to Merlin's Trail via Shipwreck, the same route I'd taken a week before, but the addition of a fresh blanket of fallen leaves made the ride much more challenging as the trails have pretty much disappeared under the leaves and there has not been enough traffic to keep the trails ridden down.

It was very difficult to see the trail, much less pick out obstacles and ride the good lines. This is on Merlin's Trail and, yes, the trail is in the photo. For much of my ride, the tape tied to trees along the route was the only indication that I wasn't off-trail. I had a light, but was very concerned about getting out before dark. In most places the trail was only a faint trace.

I was able to ride Merlin's to Dogwood, and then return on Five Mile, but that option will likely soon disappear. There was tape on the west side of the trail indicating the harvest boundary and orange blazes on trees to the east.

This tape was along the western edge of Five Mile Trail

These blazes are to the east of the western-most loop of Five Mile 

It looks like things are going to be sketchy at Camp for a while, so I plan to use the opportunity to explore other options, like Burns Park. I've ridden at Burns Park some, but will be getting much more familiar with it. At this time, I'm still getting my bearings and I'm often surprised at where I pop out on to the road!

This view at sundown from above the gravel quarry near the golf course at Burns Park is hard to beat.
I had a vague notion that this was in the woods above the pump track at the quarry, but this was my first look. The see-saw looks cool, but I'll leave it to those riders with better balance and less aversion to impact than I've got.

Heat-Seeking Reptiles

This black snake was soaking up some late evening warmth on the River Trail last week. He's harmless, but it is not uncommon to see a copperhead or cottonmouth on the trail this time of year, particularly in the evening when temperatures drop and the trail is still warm. If you're not familiar with snakes, just give them all a wide berth. I'm much more concerned about a skunk encounter than snakes.