Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting Over: My Mountain Bike Season Begins

I have related this analogy before, but it is relevant as I begin my annual mountain bike "start over". A boating friend once told me something along the lines of, "The difference between you and me is that you have 5 years of experience and I have 1 year of experience 5 times."
That seems to be the perpetual state of my mountain biking skills development; my groundhog day starts each fall as I am driven into the woods to rediscover the joys of single-track. I am admittedly a road rider. I enjoy some technical descents and other bike-handling challenges, but I can happily ride for hours out on the road. The trail is gratifying to me, but the requisite level of concentration for Arkansas single-track can make me tired!

Here I go again! My annual mountain bike beginner phase.

I started last week with a few circuits of Pfeifer Loop and then rode some of the loops on higher ground in Burns Park this week. I didn't fall off of my bike, but I blew a few climbing turns and had a some foot dabs. It will take me a few rides to get my single-track groove on, but it is a cold weather goal for me. Again.

Camp Robinson Access Update

I have not ridden Camp yet this fall, but I did run out to the visitor's center to get a current Sportsman's Pass.  The annual passes are now $25.00 and are good for one year from the date of purchase (they were $10.00 and expired each June). You'll need to show a driver's license, auto registration, and proof-of-insurance along with the twenty-five bucks. The extra fee revenue is being used to pay for a full time employee to issue and administer the passes. The passes may be obtained from 10AM -6:00PM Tuesday- Friday. The clerk takes lunch from 2-2:30pm. You can call (501)212-4090 before you go if you want to be certain that she will be in. The is no back-up in the event the primary pass maven has to step out. The Sportsman Pass system makes checking in and out a painless experience.
You can also call to check the status of TA-2, as there are scheduled closures October 20-28 and December 15-18, and there may be others for hunting and training events. Camp Robinson offers a many miles of trail and a wide range of single-track challenges, from beginner-friendly to damned difficult. Over the last couple of years, the riding scene at Camp has faded due to extended closures and compromised trails due to a timber cutting project in addition to confusing signals over entry policies. I'd would love to see a resurgence of use at Camp Robinson. The more the trails are ridden, the better they are, and, at this time, they're not getting ridden enough to stay prime. I hope to do my small part over the winter to break them back in, and I hope to see some of you out there!

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