Sunday, December 23, 2012

Single track and tarmac

Seasonal Joy
I've been out on the mountain bike in Burns Park a couple of times this week, and have really been enjoying getting off of the road bike for the change of scenery and ride style. One of the things that I miss during the winter months is the social aspect of the River Trail. There are fewer folks out and we all have to grab rides as daylight and schedules allow, whereas, in the long days of summer there are group rides available almost every evening and casual pick-up rides with friends form easily. On the dirt track, the only place I ride with music, I put my earbuds in and get my groove on to Pandora radio while enjoying the views afforded by the bare trees of the season.

I noticed this water-filled sink off of the Burns Park Red Trail. I was compelled to dismount and walk down to simply enjoy the spot!
In the summer, the spot shown above would likely have been invisible from the trail and the respite in the woods would have been an invitation to chiggers, ticks, and poison ivy exposure.
The high winds that roared through Arkansas last week left many trails littered with leaves, limbs, and some downed trees. 
New Ride for Roadies: Emerald Park-Highland Trail
Jeff Caplinger of NLR Parks has been keeping us updated on the progress of the trail improvements and repairs, but I guess that I missed something, as I thought that the paving above Big Rock Quarry had been completed last week. After a ride out to Hwy 300 with a CARVE-LeBorne bunch on Saturday, I detoured on my way home to ride the length of the new trail. I was mildly surprised to see the Redstone paving crew at work on Saturday as they finished up the eastern end of the trail near the overlook behind Fort Roots.
Finishing touches.
As I watched the equipment operator smoothing the freshly laid asphalt, he noticed me and stopped to ask if I wanted to pass through. Hell, yeah!
He said it might be best if I walked the bit that he was working on, as it might have still been soft enough for the skinny tires to leave a groove, and even offered to walk my bike if I didn't want to walk on the new pavement in my cleats. Very gracious, I thought! I asked him how long it would take for it to harden sufficiently. When he told me 10 minutes, I decided to ride to to the Emerald Park end as the asphalt cooled and then be the first rider to get the whole experience.
The single-track did not have an exclusive on fallen trees. This pine in Emerald Park required a dismount.
Road riders are going to enjoy the new Highland Trail, with its wide path, sweeping turns and views. The existing Emerald Park trails are pretty rough by comparison.
Improvements to the Arkansas River Trail System continue on both sides of the river and our local single-track trails are in great shape, so don't let winter keep you off of your bike! You might be missing something special.


James Scott said...

I rode the trail today for the first time. It was great. The views are spectacular! I also rode though Fort Roots and visited the parade grounds for the first time after having lived in NLR for 25 years. Very interesting.

The downed pine tree had been cleared from the trail as of 4:00 PM today.

Steve S said...

For those of you who like to ride after dark with lights, it's worth the climb up to Ft. Roots. At the south end of the parade ground you'll be treated to a spectacular view of the Christmas lights on the State Capitol and in downtown Little Rock.