Saturday, November 28, 2009

some kc dirt (and rock)

Visited family in kc and took friday to visit three trails by the Earth Riders Trail Association. These guys have over 100 miles of singletrack. Stocksdale/Walnut Woods and Swope Park were new to me, I've been to Blue River Parkway before. I went to enjoy the ride but also to note their trail design.

Stocksdale/Walnut Woods has a green trail on a prairie and a blue trail in the woods with more climbing and some rocks. Because of the lack of rock, the design used some longer climbs without grade reversals than I've seen at their other parks. Had Ginger on a lead and was able to do most of the blue without getting off the bike. Saw a family out there: dad and dog running, kids on bmx bikes, and mom walking. Very cool. I rate this trail comparable to Tranquility in technical difficulty.

Went to Swope Park next. This is the newest ERTA trail with about 3 miles available. Very enjoyable. I actually had some questions as to why they chose to put in a bench on the right when a plateau was available on the left?

This following pic is looking back down with the plateau on the right. More grade reversals and shorter climbs resulted.

A good part of the initial layout runs along the top and side of this outcropping. Nice for seeing others below. The trail was difficult and I pushed a handful or more of times, especially for the 1' step ups. Talked with a guy who broke his hand on a step up. There's a bowling pin out there called the 8 pin marking where a broken hand needed 8 pins.

What I like about this trail is the climbing sections were rideable without blowing up. With rock available for ttfs, trail difficulty doesn't have to rely on or overuse climbing to provide a challenge. I like the continuum from picking lines to miss rock, to roll over rock, to lifting wheel(s), to progressively difficult trial moves.

My legs were a little sore after a lap each way but I still stopped at Blue Ridge Parkway. BuRP is downstream from Swope Park on the Blue River. ERTA has started a trail to connect them via the river bottoms. Both parks built up along with the connector will total over 50 miles!

BuRP has green, blue, and black routes. I walked a lot of the black route last time (a lot of trial moves) so I just stayed to the green and blue today, though I couldn't find the connection for the lowest section (route 5 and following). Good because my legs were really feeling it by now. These trails were a little steeper and the tread was more difficult because of the amount of horse traffic it gets. Because of the underbrush, trimming maintenance is needed, unlike what I saw at Swope Park. Still BuRP is very much worth the effort with some abandoned roads and RR bed, scenic bluff overlooks, and a house (only basement and sidewalks left) being overtaken with nature on the bluff.

That 2" root just in front of my tire has my number. Two times I've been to BuRP, I've endo'd on that root! Going too slow, tired, weight forward and high to look down the bluff, it put my pelvic bone to the stem and helmet to the ground. Hello!

100 miles on the car, maybe 17 miles of singletrack across different terrain, 7 hours out and back. Big Smiles! 8-)

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