Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back On Single-Track;Bridge Lighting Event; Your Christmas List

 Remarkably Good Trail Conditions At Camp Robinson

A couple of weeks ago I reported on the good trail conditions and the wide range of choices at North Little Rock's Camp Robinson. After spending a few hours out there last Sunday on a variety of trails and loops, I'll say what riders often tell me when they rediscover Camp Robinson after not riding it for a while. I forget how good it is.

Camp Robinson has more single-track miles than you will ride in a day. If you say you did it all, I'll say that you missed something!
The upper trails like Yucca, Airport, Ten Bridges, etc, are hard-packed and look like they have been groomed. After riding Ten Bridges, Airport and Buddha with trail dog Willie, I let him take a break at the truck as I joined a couple of buddies to ride some more. Willie is good for about 9 miles it seems. I usually don't last much longer on the mountain bike, but on Sunday I was just wishing for more daylight.
After situating Willie with a bowl of water and a couple of recovery treats, we headed out 5-Mile Trail, which I have only ridden a time or two since major logging took place a couple of years ago and damaged many of the most popular trails. I was very impressed by the amount of work that has taken place to restore the trail system. It took a lot of effort just to tie the trails back together after the bulldozers and burns of the logging operation, but what has taken place since last spring is way beyond that. There has been a lot of rock work done on 5-Mile to harden creek crossings and it appears that weedeaters and leaf blowers have been at work. Big thanks to the trail fairies, as the condition of trail was eye-popping good. From 5-Mile, we cut down Dogwood Trail to Merlin. Merlin remains what I'll call "rustic" with a lot of leaf cover and loose rock, but it offers up a fun and challenging range of features. I always feel good about myself when I can ride it without dabbing a foot in the switchbacks and I am sorely behind on that score for the week.

When I checked in shortly after noon, 4-5 riders had preceded me. When I checked out at dark, I saw that 16 folks had checked in. Mat Seelinger at Spokes reports that large numbers have been showing up for the traditional 2:00PM Sunday rides, with as many as 30-35 riders on recent Sundays. If you've been wondering where your ride buddies have been on Sunday, I may have just told you. Get a sportsman pass and get to Camp.
Downtown Bridges Lighting Event: Thursday, December 19

The new lighting systems on the Main Street, Clinton Park, and Junction Bridges will be dedicated, and it should be spectacular. I am a big fan of the lighting on the BDB and Two Rivers Bridge so I am actually excited about the prospect of the downtown projects. I'm normally a Scrooge when it comes to outdoor lighting, but the bridges just make me smile.
 A mild Monday night in December was a good opportunity to get in a ride and check out the lights at the BDB.
Here's a link to a KTHV site containing press release with the details of the event.
It's a short shopping season but local bike shops can help!
If you are reading this, you are likely a rider. You also likely have somebody on your Christmas list who is a cyclist, and most riders need something.
Here are a few things that you might put on your wish list or score for someone on your list:
-Winter gloves
-Socks (deFeets Blaze are my "go to" winter socks.)
-A Garmin bike computer for the very good boy or girl
-GoPro- see line above for qualifications.
-Arm warmers, knee warmers, ear band.
-Gift card for a tune-up at your favorite shop. Add new bar tape, cables and housings for a fresh bike feel.
-Rider fuel: Coffee, gel, bars, etc.
-Tools, work stand
-Subscription to Velo, Bicycling, or other bike magazines. Yes, some folks still like to read on paper, and it supports the websites!
-Winter tights, base layers
- BACA membership: Support local bike advocacy.
- Road ID
-Ergon mountain bike grips. These things are like an E-Z chair for your hands.
You have my permission to print this out, make check marks and additions or scratch out lines, and then leave copies in strategic locations where they might be "found" by those poor souls struggling to decide on a gift for you. 
 The weather for the coming weekend is taking a turn toward cold and wet, so it will be a good time to get your shopping done. Malls are scary places, but local shops are warm, friendly, and a likely place to run into some of your riding buddies.

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