Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working It Out: Ready To Ride At Camp Robinson

Bryan Shipman and I did some trail work at Camp yesterday and discussed the fact that the trails need more riders. There are a few reasons behind the usage drop off, but folks, this is a great trail system and we need to use it. Among the impediments are the transition to the Sportsman Pass system for entry, the logging operations, and the heavy leaf cover on the trails. Here's my assessment of those factors:

Sportsman Pass: Camp has transitioned away from the system that requires a C.A.R.P card, photo ID, auto registration and proof of insurance. They now require Sportsman Passes, which cost $10.00 and are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-6:00. You will need to present your ID and auto information, but getting the card takes only a few minutes and the system makes check in much easier. You no longer need a C.A.R.P. card (but should support the club, anyway), and you still may need to display your photo ID at the gate. Go get your pass. This Thursday would be a good time. Don't wait until the first pretty Saturday or you will be S.O.L.

Logging Operations: The timber harvest is completed, but some areas are a bit of a mess. Continue to park at the winter parking area, which provides access at the Airport Loop.

Leaf Cover/ Trail Conditions: Dave London has done a lot of trail raking and I've been out there along with Bryan Shipman clearing several miles of trail. We tried to concentrate on the trails that had the heaviest cover. Several miles of Airport, Buddha, Ball of Nails, Advanced Trig, and Helter Skelter have been cleared of leaf cover and are in great shape! Check out the video of our operation below. I hesitate to share our rapid trail raking system, but here you go!

I just heard this morning that word was being spread at a local bike shop that mountain bikers are less welcome at Camp Robinson. That is not correct. We are still welcome. The change to the Sportsman Pass system was not to discourage mountain bikers, but to make the system for entry easier for the folks at the gate and consitent with the one that has been in place for other users.
Camp Robinson remains the best trail system in Central Arkansas so don't overlook it when making your plans to lay in the dirt.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

C.A.R.P. Christmas Eve Camp Robinson Jingle Bell Ride

As I looked at the dismal weather forecast for Christmas Eve, this forwarded e-mail popped into my box:
Yes the Jingle Bell Ride is still on! At 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Christmas
Eve- meet at winter parking- Range 17. Your choice of hot chocolate, tea, or cider with Crickett's oatmeal raisin cookies will be available.

The loggers have bulldozed the Christmas tree, will find another for the Photo. See you there rain or shine, sleet or snow; we haven't missed one for 15 years and we're not going to stop this year!!



I had already made plans to take my leaf blower out to Camp Robinson, intent on contributing to an effort to clear the trails that were compromised by heavy leaf cover (by "compromised", I mean, covered to the point of invisibility), but the forecast called for temperatures in the 30's and rain. I arrived at about 11:00 to a cold, light rain and found that the trails where I had intended to start had been raked the day before (Thank you, Mr. London!), so I scouted around and started in on the northern loop of Buddha. The leaf blower is the ticket for this task, as I cleared a couple of miles of trail just about as quickly as I could walk them. After making a quick scout on the bike of some of the recently logged areas, I returned the winter parking area to meet the C.A.R.P. crew. True to promise, Gary Lamp, Basil and Crickett Hicks, Bryan Shipman, Josh Joyce and Matt (sorry, didn't get the last name!) had the rain fly up, a table spread with goodies, bikes dressed out with bells and helmets complemented with Santa hats.

Neither rain nor cold nor rowdy dogs could keep the C.A.R.P. hard core from making their annual ride. All it took to assure my presence was the promise of Crickett Hicks's oatmeal raisin cookies.

The timber cutting has left this stretch of Outside Loop in shambles, but both the woods and the riders are resilient.  
There is really only one way to negotiate the terrain left by this kind of logging operation. The forester may work with C.A.R.P. to help re-establish or reroute some of the affected trails.
Bryan and the elves evaluating the situation.

The original Christmas Tree was reduced to stump status, but its spirit lives on.

We gathered after the ride to enjoy hot beverages and tasty snacks while discussing the opportunities and challenges of the new landscape.

I think the logging operations are complete, but there will be some major clean-up to be done. Decisions will be made regarding the routing of the damaged trails and there will be plenty of work ahead before things return to near-normal. In spite of the damage, many miles of trail remain ridable and there is an effort underway to clear those trails of leaves and debris. The trails in the logged area obviously will require heavier work and riders should avoid them if for no other reason than that they are generally unridable and hazardous. I can also reliably predict that the first heavy rain will produce seas of knee deep, bike-miring shoe-sucking mud where the heavy equipment has plowed things up.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

....And The Ships at Sea

One of the things that I like about using Blogger is that it now provides pretty interesting data about my readers. In addition to number of views, I can see what links or search engines are being used, type of browser ( I'm surprised by the number of Firefox and Safari users) and the location by country of readers. All very interesting, non user-specific information. I get a surprising number of international readers and I notice that quite few of them are in scenic locales such as Korea and Croatia. I'm assuming that you guys are out there serving our country and it's you that this post is about.
I just want to say , "Thank you."
My Uncle Rex, who earned the rank of captain in the Naval Reserve after his active duty stint, is quite a prayer. At family Christmas gatherings, after giving thanks for food, health, family, new babies, and the peace of those who had passed, Rex asked that blessings be given the President of the United States ( he was a little more emphatic for Republicans. I think he felt Dems needed more in the way of forgiveness), the Congress and the rest of our leadership, finally winding up with "our troops stationed around the world and the sailors on the ships at sea."  I'll admit that a few of us always chuckled at the length and extent of his blessings, but he knew what it was like to be away from home at Christmas serving to insure the safety of those of us who were enjoying the security and comfort of everyday life.
Rex had it right. To those of you who are far from home and to your families, bless you and thank you. Have a merry Christmas and come home safe.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Turning The Corner

OK, folks, we've hit bottom for the year as far as daylight hours go. Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 making Tuesday the shortest day of the year. While I don't suggest that you need to rub on the Coppertone, yet, but the days will be getting longer for the next six months! Wednesday will be longer than Tuesday by less than 1 second, but the pace picks up from there.

Length of day Solar noon

Date Sunrise Sunset This day Difference Time Altitude Distance

(106 km)

Dec 21, 2010 7:13 AM 5:02 PM 9h 49m 29s − 02s 12:07 PM 31.9° 147.159

Dec 22, 2010 7:13 AM 5:03 PM 9h 49m 30s < 1s 12:08 PM 31.9° 147.150

Dec 23, 2010 7:14 AM 5:03 PM 9h 49m 34s + 04s 12:08 PM 31.9° 147.142

Dec 24, 2010 7:14 AM 5:04 PM 9h 49m 41s + 07s 12:09 PM 31.9° 147.134

Dec 25, 2010 7:14 AM 5:04 PM 9h 49m 51s + 10s 12:09 PM 31.9° 147.127

Dec 26, 2010 7:15 AM 5:05 PM 9h 50m 05s + 13s 12:10 PM 31.9° 147.122

Dec 27, 2010 7:15 AM 5:06 PM 9h 50m 22s + 16s 12:10 PM 32.0° 147.117

Source for the above:

As most of you know, there will be a rare winter solstice lunar eclipse tonight. The clouds will likely block our view, but when nature calls at 2:00AM, it would be worth a peek to see if we're lucky enough to catch a break in the overcast.

Christmas Flash: Holiday Spirit Along the River Trail

Meet Flash. At this moment, all he wants for Christmas is the armadillo that he'd had under intense observation along the trail.

While enjoying a late morning town ride on Saturday, I ran across Flash and his owner as they strolled the River Trail near the BDB. Flash is a handsome hound, all the more so when decked out for the holidays. Flash apparently loves to wear hats and when the Christmas decorations came out at his house, he immediately rooted around in the box and retrieved his Santa hat. 'Tis the season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spokes Is Coming

 Settle down, all of you middle school English teachers; I'm not going to get busted that easily. In this case, "Spokes" is singular. Spokes is the name of the new bike shop that is taking shape behind the papered windows of the former Orbea store in Little Rock. I recently had the opportunity to meet with the owners and see the newly expanded space, which is still a very busy work-in-progress.

New flooring is going down in what will be a very attractive retail space at Spokes. The plan is for an open feel to allow customers an uncluttered view of the displayed merchandise.

Mat and Regina Seelinger had no idea a few months ago that they'd be opening a bike shop, their background being the restaurant business. Mat was approached by his friend Tony Karklins of Orbea about helping with the coffee bar that was to have been part of the planned, now canned, Orbea lifestyle store in the River Market District. One thing led to another as Mat and Tony exchanged ideas. Mat wasn't really interested in the coffee bar on its own, but he became intrigued with the idea of the bike shop, embracing many of the concepts that were in line for the Orbea store while adding ideas that he felt would help complete the package. They started the conversation in mid-October and by November 5, the deal was done. Mat would lease the entire building that had housed the Orbea store and The Station grocery at Stifft Station (Markham and Kavanaugh) and Orbea would have a full-line dealer in town that would also provide them a resource by which they could show the line in a retail setting to dealers and prospective customers visiting Orbea USA's North Little Rock headquarters.
The Orbea bike brand with have a prominent place at Spokes, but is one of four to be offered. The FeltNiner, and Electra brands will fill out the store's bike lines.

Things have come together quickly, and Mat and Regina have made a great deal of progress in terms of selecting product lines and putting together their team. The store manager will be Scott Burke, who also managed the Orbea store, so, in addition to already knowing his way to work, he is very familiar with the Orbea product and the retail environment. Scott will be joined by James Bonner, who brings experience in sports physiology and training from his position at the North Little Rock Athletic Club. Many local riders will be glad to know that Kevin Baltz, lately of Chainwheel, will be turning wrenches at the new store. He will be doing so under the watchful eyes of patrons at the adjacent coffee bar. The Seelingers said that they heard over and over that "the coffee had better be good."  Tony had already done his research on the subject and directed them to Doma Coffee, which looks like a great fit both for their coffee and their association with a cycling lifestyle. Not wanting to disappoint their clientele, Mat and Regina traveled to the Doma mother ship in Idaho for barista school, an indication of their commitment to delivering a quality product. A good sign.

The service area will enjoy plenty of natural light. The coffee bar at the right will have stools so service customers can watch the mechanics in action. There will also be couches and chairs for more relaxed seating.

Very nicely done logo! The website is not up, yet.

 Spokes will employ the ReTul bike fit system and will feature the Louis Garneau clothing line. In a bit of a departure from the strategy of many shops, Mat said that the current plan is to limit the number of clothing brands, but to offer a lot of selection and depth within the brand. LG seems to have the concept covered with a very broad line of clothing and accessories.

Mat Seelinger (r) and his first customer!

The store actually made its first sale as I was visiting with Mat and Regina. A gentleman came in to pick up an Electra child's bike in a lovely pink. When they completed their dealer information for Electra, Regina had listed Mat's cell phone number because phones had yet to be installed at the store. A shopper had found the perfect bike for her granddaughter on Electra's website and contacted the number for Spokes from the website dealer list. When Mat's phone rang and the lady said, "Is this Spokes?", they thought it was a smart-aleck friend playing a joke, but they caught on soon enough to help their first customer. They just happened to have received the sought-after model in the correct color, so the deal was on!

While the Little Rock market has more than its fair share of very good local bike shops, the market is growing and hopefully there is room for a new player with a slightly different feel in terms of in-store amenities. The location, in a neighborhood teeming with cyclists, should be an asset.
I'll be checking back with the Seelingers, but at this time the Grand Opening is scheduled for January 8. When that schedule is firm, I'll bring you an update with details of the planned activities.

Here's a link to the Spokes Facebook page:


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fear Strikes Jonesboro: Grinch Whack Jobs Battle Evil Bike Plan...again

In an earlier article, I discussed the efforts of tea bagger Debbie Pelley to defeat plans for a bike path in Jonesboro. Well, the zany Pelley is at it again, with her gang spreading fear that the government will step in to assure that we “live in a community where we are FORCED to have a community where we can all live, work, and play.”  Huh?

Check it out here:

Yes, this link is to a site maintained by Democrats, but no reasonable person can take the facts on this issue and conclude that the overreaching gub'ment wants school children to be forced out of their compound to ride to school in the snow through a gauntlet of unregistered pedophiles, as Pelley and her little gang seem to believe. Fortunately, the good people of Jonesboro showed their reasonable side by laughing heartily at many of the fear-mongers' speculations. We have enough to fear these days without input from paranoid people who seem to hear voices in their heads (OK, those voices sound a lot like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, but they're not real. Remember that!).

These folks must make middle-of-the-road conservatives want to run for cover. It would be hilarious were it not for the fact that some of these types have actually been elected to public office.

Syllamo's Revenge 2011

This just in from Steve Parker:

Hey Everyone!

The date has been set. The 2011 Syllamo's Revenge will be held on Saturday, May 14th. Registration will open on on 1/12/2011 @ 12:01am CST. This year there will be only 300 spots available for the 50 mile Mountain Bike Challenge, and it will be done just as in years past.

This year's event will also preview a longer version, the Syllamo's Revenge 100, which will be part of the National Ultra Endurance Race Series. Check out the details of the series at The Syllamo's Revenge 100 will be limited to the first 100 entrants for the inaugural event, with future plans to expand the field, and for it move to the fall in 2012. Details of the 100 are still being worked out, including course route, and exact mileage, but this year's event will be all single track, ( after the initial climb ), and challenge even the best riders. There will be strict cut off times for the 100, and with a limited number of spots, please make sure that you're 100% sure that this type of ultra endurance race is for you.

Website updates are being done, and I hope to have all details about both events posted before Christmas. I wanted to go ahead and get this out so everyone would know the date of the event, and when registration opened. I'll be sending out an another update as soon as the website is updated.

Check out the Syllamo's Revenge on Facebook and/or Twitter, to get latest information. The newsletter list has so many subscribers that I have to send email in waves of 500 over 3 days, and I want to make sure that everyone has access to all information as soon as possible.
More to come soon!-

Have a great day!

Steve Parker

Syllamo's Revenge

Syllamo's Revenge fill the avaikable rider spots quickly, so mark the January 12 registration date on your calendar. The Syllamo's Revenge 100 sounds like a painful opportunity being made available to those of you who can never seem to get enough.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Camp Robinson

Logging continues at Camp Robinson. I went out Sunday afternoon to hide from the wind in the woods and found that the December schedule that I posted was not 100% accurate. The "inner" trail of Airport Loop was closed by logging at a point between the Airport Loop crossover (where the inner and outer legs of Airport are connected by a creek crossing) and Center Road.
I rode Airport to Buddha, then went hike-a-biked up Helter Skelter and probed Christmas tree for a short distance before hitting the timber harvest boundary.
The meaning of this pine across Christmas Tree was apparent. I expected to hit a dead-end here, but found the same on part of Airport.

This clearing is near the end of Christmas Tree and directly across the Center Road from the Port-o-Potty trailhead. As I recall, there are to be a couple of helicopter landing zones in TA2 for training and I believe this is the smaller of the two.

Camp Robinson is my favorite place to ride mountain bikes, but recently it's been a struggle to maintain the fun factor. The logging has eliminated access to some of my favorite trails and made others just a little less accessible. I'm also finding the riding just a bit harder due to the thick blanket of leaves and the fact that very few riders are out there keeping the trails ridden in. Rocks are well hidden as are the trails themselves, causing me to exercise more caution than usual and I still find myself off in the woods from time to time. A few times, I didn't even know that I'd left the trail until I ran back on to it. Those factors make it a little difficult to get a groove going at my mediocre level of  skill on fat tires.
When the logging is done, I think that there will be an opportunity to create some new trail experiences at Camp, but I may seek my dirt elsewhere for awhile. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stray photos (With commentary, of course)

On weekday evening rides, if you can get on the bike before dark, beautiful winter sunsets make up for some of the cold, though I'll admit that I'm happier when I'm finishing my ride at sunset rather than starting.

The price of indecision.....

The correct decision would have been for me to ride around this pair of bumps. I went over the bars and my back wheel made a grab for the tree, parking the bike nicely.

I did succeed in knocking the corner off of next bump, sending rocks rolling down the hill. Nothing was broken on me or the bike and the rocks can be replaced, so no harm done.

Call me a pack rat.

 I'm a proponent of carrying a few bucks on the bike and I will tend to spend $2.00 and replace it with a $5.00 bill. This can get out of hand over a long summer if not held in check, as evidenced by this stash from my seat bag. After a rainy MS150, I emptied the bag for the first time in a while to dry things out and just kept pulling out tight rolls of bills.
Total: $78.00.
More than enough for a fountain Coke or a Gatorade.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Orbea Retail Store Update

I drove by the Stifft Station Orbea Store this week and was somewhat surprised to see that it was closed and that the windows were covered with paper, leaving the place looking more than a little forlorn. Well, as Charlie Rich crooned, "no one knows what goes on behind closed doors", or papered windows in this case. I made a few inquiries and found that, after a few false starts, much speculation, and semi-public announcements of locations and opening dates, that the store is set to re-open soon in its present location. It is being remodeled and expanded to include a service department and a coffee bar, and I've been assured that the service staff will be first rate and that the baristas will be properly trained to do things up right. It doesn't take much of a barista to satisfy me, since my coffee requirements are typically met by "hot, black, and strong". To be honest, I really don't know how to order anything more sophisticated and it took me years to come around to using terms like "tall" and "grande". My tastes are simple, but I do demand a good cup of coffee and look forward to sampling the offerings at the new store.
I'll bring you more details as they are released, but it looks like we are, indeed, going to have a new bike shop in town.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis: The Race Of The Year!!

I've come to believe that cyclocross offers more for spectators than most cycling disciplines and I was not disappointed last Saturday at the Klein Rots Cyclo Kruis Arkansas State Cyclocross Championship. I was only slightly disappointed that official permission for beer in the park was not forthcoming and that the announcement by Celia Storey in the Dem-Gaz that Diamond Bear "root beer" would be served was not a euphemism. My days of Sunday 10:00AM beers are long behind me, but it is as much a part of my vision of the 'cross scene as mud and cold, but the lack of free beer did nothing to dampen the spirits of the rowdy crowd, especially after the "A" race got underway.

There were a lot of folks around the course, but the food tent near the start/finish line had a consistent crowd.

The early heat was fun to watch, but a battle royale shaped up as soon as the "A" group left the line.

Home town favorite Noah Singer and Jonesboro's Nathan Rice were off the front and the race was on! Noah bunny-hopped most of the barriers, while Nathan ran them, giving Noah a very slight edge there.

I think the general consensus among the crowd was that this was some of the best head-to-head racing we've seen in Central Arkansas. In my limited experience, it was simply the best. There were many very good riders in the race, but once the leaders broke away, it became a two horse race.The race course included many different challenges and was, for the most part, easily observed by the excited, yelling, cowbell ringing crowd.

The lead went back and forth during the course of the race, with neither of these guys able to get a significant gap. Both had their stronger and weaker points along the course

The bell lap. It was still this close with one lap remaining.

During the last lap Nathan got the biggest gap of the race, probably close to 100 meters, and it looked like Noah was going to run out of time to close it down. With the crowd going absolutely crazy, Noah caught up in a technical stretch and blasted by Nathan to take the win. Both riders deserve praise for their performances, and the crowd was rewarded with a spectacle.

Noah coasted in after the win to grab a few deep breaths and chat with the young bros.

Competitive Cyclist hosted the event and there were plenty of french fries, bratwurst, spaghetti, and root beer for the fans. Though the course was not a mud fest like many 'cross races we see, in my inexperienced view, it was challenging, had varied features that made good use of the terrain, and lent itself well to viewing by the crowd.

I'm not sure who was supposed to be supervising this bunch, but if they couldn't bunny hop, they were likely guilty of running in the playground.

Jason Neeley of Competitive Cyclist was the master of his domain. He was doing a brisk business in frites, brats, and spaghetti on the cold morning.
The "A" Race results

The post-race interview. Singer stated that his next 'cross race would be in the 35+ age group, giving himself  a decade or so to prepare.

I really appreciate the effort that goes into organizing an event like this and it is obvious from the turnout that many other folks appreciate it, too. Noah won $40.00, a "DRIVER" belt buckle that appears to have been purchased at a truck stop, a State Champion jersey and bragging rights. I apologize to everyone who raced just as hard as Noah and Nathan for focusing on the two-man front, but it was a damned good story!

Here's video of the finish from Leslie Singer on YouTube:

Some Current Local Standing Ride Info

Even though many of the local standing rides came to an end with the coming of Fall, some regular rides soldier on and others arise with consideration to darkness and cold. Here are a few that I am aware of:

CARVE Winter Rides: Unlike the warm weather "Take No Prisoners" rides around Lake Maumelle, the winter CARVE rides are 18-20 MPH cruises in the flatlands out toward Keo. The pace is moderate and the mood is sociable. Count on about 45  miles with one pee stop at the turnaround. The group will typically stop for flats or mechanicals, but this is not a "no drop" ride. There are occasional frisky moments, but, for the most part, this is a pretty easy ride if you can sit on a wheel at 20MPH. Depart from the sub in NLR at 7:30 Saturdays. If you're not on wheels at 7:30, consider yourself riding solo. This train pulls out on time.

There was a large turnout for last Saturday's CARVE ride. The morning was warm and sunny, but the forecast was for a frigid blast by evening. The size of this ride is very much weather-dependent.

ABC Ride Sunday 1:00PM: The ABC ride is a year'round deal and is suitable for almost any rider. They meet under the I-430 bridge on the west end of the LR River Trail and ride the trail, often detouring to Community Bakery for coffee and pastries. This is a no-drop ride, though faster riders can also find some folks with whom to pick up the pace.

Tuesday Night Mountain Bike Ride: 6:30PM Urban assault from Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, upper parking lot. Some folks choose their road bike for this adventure, because it has a reputaion for being fast!! Dinner at Canon Grill usually follows.

Tuesday Little Rock Night Riding Trail Ride: Meet at the Burns Park BMX track for some fast mtb action. A second, slower group is likely to form, so don't be scared. Hell, it's dark, anyway, and what's the worse thing that can happen. Dark. Cold. Dropped. It's not the end of the world. It's Burns Park. For info, check the Facebook link above or e-mail .

Thursday night hills ride: This doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, but my good friend Patrick Newton is at the helm, so no surprise. Here's what he has to say:
Patrick Emery and I are organizing a standing ride for Thursday nights starting this week.  Theme is hills, hills and more hills.  Specific format will/could include hill repeats at Fort Roots, Overlook and/or River Mountain and/or climbing in West Little Rock via Chenal Mountain, Cooper-Orbit, Hillsborough, Patriot, Unpleasant Forest, Rahling etc., etc..  Meet at Cook’s Landing at 5:30 for more fun than any one should be entitled to riding a bicycle.   Bring lights.

Patrick Emery seems like a reasonable fellow who has obviously fallen in with questionable company. This ride promises some painfully good work.

I'm sure that there are other rides going on around town, but this should be enough to keep you out of the honkytonks if that is your desire. Dress warm. Be safe.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worst Chain Suck Ever

It just doesn't get much worse than this.
"I've got no idea how I did this."

That was a small but amusing part of the scene at the State Cyclocross Championships Sunday at Burns Park. I'll got some more photos and info up soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Along The Trail: NLR's New Little Jewel at Fort Roots

I reported a while back on the new trail that North Little Rock has built at Fort Roots. At the top of the climb from Paul Duke Drive, there is a small parking area and the trailhead for about a half mile of trail outside of the Fort Roots fence. The trail affords some great views to the east, south and west and, since my last report, NLR has added some striping and pylons to better define the trail's edge and also some very nice benches.

One of the large, very nice wooden benches is positioned on a small promontory past the end of the trail, making for a great place to enjoy a moment of solitude and the sterling view.

The small turnaround has now become a mini-park.

The pylons and striping better define the edge of the trail, especially for night riders.

This project, while relatively small, is well-executed and has further enhanced the value of the trail system. North Little Rock continues to execute its bike/ pedestrian plan and, at some point in the future, this section will tie in to the paved trails at Emerald Park to the west.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two Rivers Bridge: The Aerial View

The Two Rivers Bridge project is coming along nicely and it now really looks like a bridge. My favorite photo of the BDB is a dramatic aerial shot taken by Kerrie Diaz of Garver, LLC as the bridge was near completion. Garver designed both of the structures, as has been mentioned here. Kerrie was once again out on aerial recon this week, photographing a Garver project at the airport and, as long as they were up and about, the Two Rivers Bridge.

The "official" project name is the Little Maumelle River Pedestrian Bridge. It has an elegant look from this perspective.

It won't be long, now folks! I think current projections still call for a March completion date.

Thanks to Kerrie Diaz for the fine photographs. The bridge will be another landmark project for Garver and one that the folks there will be able to enjoy, themselves. Many of the Garver team are riders and the office is located near the BDB in the NorthShore Business park.

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.