Thursday, August 06, 2009

Fast Camp

I was at the Camp last Sunday and helped out a bit with the XC race there. Folks seemed to have a good time, and things seemed to run fairly smoothly. Just a bunch of guys riding fast as they could, oh!.....and a few gals too!

Well, the race instigated a bunch of activity on the South side that made things very different out there! First of all, and most obviously, they had to mow and rake the whole thing out. This really cleared up the trail, but in addition, all the downed logs that interrupted the flow out there were removed. That really changed up things!

Finally, in order to get some more mileage into the loop, a bit of trail was introduced in the "bottoms" that wasn't really there before. It added about a mile to the entire loop for a total of about 4.5 miles now. The new stuff is nicely burned in now too. Very twisty and swoopy.

So what we have here now is a totally different animal. What was a bit of a stop-start-stop again course is now a "go like heck", flowy, turning, up and down fun time. It encourages speed, but speed will get you in trouble out there if you are not careful and do not know the course. I kind of have a handle on it now that I have ridden the basic stuff out there for over a year. I know what is coming up. If you don't, it might tempt you into going too fast and getting crossed up. Pretty cool stuff.

So thanks to all the trail workers that helped carve out and clean up the South Side and make it into a great chunk of single track. It's short, yes, but do two laps at the speeds it encourages and you'll be sweatin'!

Now if the North side could be cleared up again............. Someday!

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the work done in Geo Wyth State Park. Some good single track has been refurbished and cleared out there. I would name names of trails, but I realize that not many locals would even remember those names anymore. So let's just say stay on the opposite side of the bike path, away from the river, and you should be golden. Anything on the river side of the bike path is still choked with weeds and dead falls. This includes one of the best little chunks of single track out there. Maybe "the" best one, but again, I doubt anyone remembers "Tater's Trail". They would have to be there to realize what I mean. Oh well!

So, we have the classic Iowa woodland single track in great shape in a couple of places. If you ride a mountain bike at any time, now is the time to go. These trails have never been better or in better shape. Likely it'll get worse before they get cleaned up again someday. One bad windstorm, one flood, or a few months of neglect. Anyone of those or any combination of those will degrade the perfection that exists now. I highly recommend checking these out now. Don't wait!

I don't mean to sound so fatalistic, or negative about the trails, but I also have been around long enough to know how hard it is to get the trails into shape, and how dang near impossible it is to keep them that way for very long. It's a tough job, and it takes tons of man hours to maintain these places. All with volunteer help.

So ride them now while the fruits of the labors can be enjoyed to the fullest, and consider being an active member of our local off road community. If you are from outside this locale, you can do the same in your neck of the woods and be a contributor and a user, instead of just one of those. Think about it. I bet your trails could use a little help too!

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