Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: More On The Trails Part III

Last week I detailed out a story regarding The Bridge Trail. But that wasn't the only trail out there in Geo Wyth State Park........

Sometime during the winter of '93/'94, I heard about another "secret trail" that existed out in the State Park. The details were sketchy. Nobody really wanted to tell me about it, but with me hanging around the bike shop on a daily basis, I was able to ferret out enough bits and pieces in regards to this trail that I pieced it together and found the trail.

It was a bit snowy out there when I found it, and supposedly this trail had just been cut in, thus the secrecy. Nobody wanted the Park Ranger to know about it until it had gotten "burned in" sometime during the coming spring. Once a trail got "burned in" by a fair amount of riders, it really was hard to get rid of it, or prove it hadn't been there for a while. If the Ranger thought a trail had been around a while, it was usually let go, but "new" trails were frowned upon.

This particular trail was cut in by an ex-Advantage Cyclery employee we all knew as "Tater". He was a quiet fellow with huge thighs and usually let his bike riding do the talking. I never got to know him all that well, but he seemed to be a good guy. He would be seen around the shop at times, or out in the woods riding around on his mountain bike, because he was not only an Advantage Cyclery "alum", but he also had raced for the team based out of the shop at one time too.

Anyway, this trail wasn't all that long, located on the south side of the paved path and north of the river, but it had the greatest "flow" and was a blast to ride on really fast. It came off the fitness trail that ran alongside the river and cut towards the paved path in a serpentine fashion. Going in and out of little ravines and across small ridges in a beautiful way that no other bit of trail ever quite matched out there, with the possible exception of the Bridge Trail. Amazingly fun, and not ever used all that much. Even all the way up to this present time. And I must admit, after last year's wind storms which flattened a lot of trees out there, Tater's Trail is no more. Too bad too.

Another trail sprang up in the east end of the Park late in '94 and into '95. This one was never really a secret, but it was well known that the mountain bike riders of that time were eyeing the land to the east of the paved path and there were a lot of empty woods in that direction. So it was that a collaboration of riders met on a regular basis to carve out a long, serpentine bit of single track.

The main instigators were Brian, his friend Dave (Another possible Dead Bikeman), and a mechanic from the other shop, Vance, who was in the Advantage Cycles mechanics class with me back in the day. The trail they and others made back in there came to be known as the "BVD" trail, taking the first letters of the three main designers into its name. The BVD was a long, fun, challenging trail that flowed right off the east end of the fitness trail that came just before the point where the paved path truncated. Then it wound its way mostly north along the western edge of a service road. Then back and forth until it dumped you out around a tussock of weeds that hid the exit just before you got dumped back onto the paved path near the picnic area. Fun stuff and it made for a long,(for Geo Wyth) challenging ride.

Well, that fun lasted about three years before the State and a landowner to the East got embroiled in a legal battle over the State wanting to annex this property that- (yep! You guessed it!)- a lot of the BVD was built on. We came out there one day to find stakes driven in a straight line that cut right across the serpentine trail in several places. It wasn't long afterward that we found No Trespassing signs were staked in right in the middle of the trail. Efforts were made to re-route the BVD, but that basically killed it. By the early 2000's, even though the land eventually went back to the State, the trail was mostly lost.

Most of the George Wyth trails that were really cool back then are gone today with the exception of the Bridge Trail which is still pretty fun, and amazingly, it is in decent shape. However that is, the State Park was the central stomping grounds for most metro mountain bikers in the time I was at Advantage Cyclery. It was where we went to blow off steam, and have fun. Great times that probably will never be re-created again.

Next Week: Getting back to work........

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