Another trail down on the list, I finally made it back to Mitchell Memorial after around 4 years of not being there. When I first rode it, it was only a 3.9 mile loop that was interesting, but definitely not worth the 40 minute drive. My how 4 years can change a trail…
My friend Eric and I started out on the “A” loop, which is the part of the trail that I remembered. Very flowy, tight, well groomed single track is what awaits you with the “A” trail, but at 3.9 miles it leaves you wanting more. That is where the “B” trail comes in. At just a little over 4 miles, this section of the trail was quite impressive, and still relatively new. The trail splits into an upper and lower section, that still connects, so we started on the higher road.
The upper section was a little bit of climbing, but overall nothing too impressive. Once we started to head down the hill however, things got a little interesting. Rocks were everywhere on the lower trail. And by rocks, I am not talking gravel, but huge sections of pizza box sized boulders that make this trail absolutely amazing. Lots of off-camber rocky sections that you would normally not find in Ohio, that keep you on your toes. It was an absolute pleasure to ride a trail like this again. Well done CORA for putting this one together!
The sun dropped a little quicker than we had anticipated this evening, so we pushed the pace a bit to make it back to the car before it was completely dark. Well worth the ride, and even worth the drive from the eastside of the Cincinnati region. I highly recommend this trail!
Just keep spinning…
Spent a little time this morning on the Cannondale T500 riding along the Little Miami Scenic Path. It seems that fall has arrived here in Ohio, as the temperature was in the low to mid 50s, and the leaves have littered the pathway. Definitely a nice change, as this is my favorite time of the year!
One interesting sight from the ride today was the old trailer park that is right off of the path between Milford and Loveland. I have been watching this area deconstruct for some time, and now the process seems to be almost complete. Such an odd sight for the area…
Hopefully though, fall is here to stay.
Just keep spinning…
After about a four year hiatus, I finally made it back to England Idlewild trails in Burlington Ky. Quite a bit has changed in that amount of time, mainly the entrance and exit to the system. In the past, you had a straight shot descent into the system, which was not much to write home about. Now however, you have a great, smooth, flowy and fun trail called the Roundabout, which makes entering the system seem like you are riding on a pump track. Banked turns, and smooth hard packed trails, you cant beat that. Definitely worth checking out if you feel like traveling to the Can Tuck lands.
Check out their site here.
Just keep spinning…
Next week I am planning my first off road bike packing trip, so this morning I was up at sunrise with the Troll fully loaded and out the door. My plan was to ride on different surfaces, and try to follow the Buckeye Trail as much as possible. If you are not savvy to the Buckeye Trail, it is a hiking trail that goes around the entire state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the trail is mostly on back roads, and very little of it is on actual single track. Furthermore, what single track there is, is usually off limits to bikes. But horses are allowed? Makes no sense to me, but I will save that rant for another day.
Luckily, the Buckeye Trail goes right through my little town of Milford, so I followed it east, towards East Fork state park. All on pavement until I came to the dead end of Ross Road, which is in the photo above. This was my first loaded off road section with the Troll, and it handled beautifully. This part of the trail appears to have been a completely usable road, that the county must have decided to let die. The trail was made up of broken pavement, dirt, and lots and lots of rocks. Very interesting downhill to say the least. This section made me realize that my brakes are very underpowered. After this off road piece, I was dropped into the town of Batavia and almost to my destination.
From Batavia I rambled along St. Rt. 222 to Elk Lick Road, which then connected to Green Briar road. The Buckeye Trail follows Elk Lick to another dead end, but I continued up the hill on Green Briar to see if I could find a campsite in East Fork state park. Green Briar dumped me onto Old Rt. 32, which connected me to Zagar Rd. which I found a single track trail that should have put me at a backpacking campsite. Unfortunately, I could not find the campsite, so I turned around and found this gem of a road:
This old dirt road off of Zagar Rd. was a broken down gem. Broken pavement, gravel, and ended as a single track, and put me back onto Green Briar Rd. Very interesting to see roads fall off of repair, and get turned into trails. Also, pretty interesting to see how quickly the marks of man gets erased off of the planet in such short time. Makes me think of the book, “The World Without Us.” Definitely worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, once back onto Green Briar, I followed that back into Batavia, retraced some of my tracks, ended up on US Hwy. 50, then back to the comforts of home. Total saddle time of almost 4 hours.
Things learned from this ride:
1. My brakes need upgraded. I am running Avid BB5s, which I am thinking of switching to Avid BB7s. I am most familiar with BB7s, but I also am thinking of switching to hydros, but they cost way too much, with too much maintenance for my taste. Anyone have recommendations for a good, economical set of hydraulic brakes? I’m all ears.
2. I need to rethink my packing. I am only planning an overnight, but I found myself running out of room for gear. I might still have to use a backpack, which I was trying to avoid. Now that they seem to have come back into stock, I will be picking up a Salsa Minimalist rack to run on the rear to add a bit more cargo space on the bike.
3. I love my Brooks saddle.
Not a bad way to start the day, next week should be an adventure!
Just keep spinning…
Ended the week here in Lower/Northern Michigan the best way possible: With a mountain bike ride at the VASA single track, located just outside of Traverse City, Michigan.
The VASA system is a pretty awesome 15 or so mile loop, through the very interesting Michigan landscape. By interesting, I mean very sandy at times, and unfortunately sandy in the various tight and twisty corners. It took a couple times eating sand to adjust my riding style over the entire trail, but by the end I had earned my sand wings. The trail is tight and twisty, with very fast sections where you can crank out the big ring and really get some speed. Not the most technical of trails, but very enjoyable regardless.
This was a great way to end a very amazing week. Lots of time on the quiet Little Traverse Lake either swimming or kayaking, some urban exploration, lots of euchre, and lots and lots of Michigan beer. For some reason unknown to me, Michigan has some great brews going on. Breweries on our agenda were North Peak, Bell’s, Founders, and Arbor Brewing.
What a fantastic week of relaxation, now unfortunately back to the grind of reality.
Lately, I have called the Troll into tail duty, which has been an absolute blast. This bike rolls so smoothly in the woods that I am having a hard time with the thought of returning it to the road. Anyway, the busy schedules of two people has finally come together, so I can now introduce my friend Eric to the wonderful sport of mountain biking. Good times indeed.
Big thanks to CORA for the new trail addition, which makes a great trail even better. Go ride it!
Just keep spinning…
Finally made the return trip up to Caesar Creek state park yesterday, this time with my brother in law. I have been to this park a few times, each time getting a little lost. This time however, we set out with the plan to figure out this trail system. So, after meeting up at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, we were off to get lost.The trail overall is nice and smooth for the most part. There are lost of roots to make this trail a bit bumpy, especially on a fully rigid steel bike. Not unbearable, just rattling. The most surprising feature of this trail is the amount of climbing. Driving to the trail head through farmlands, and a relatively flat surrounding area, you would not picture much climbing action when on the trail. However, this trail was designed to put you in and out of every single little ravine in the vicinity. None of the climbs are of epic leg breaking length, but all are steep. And when I say steep, I mean you are hiking for some. It is quite the surprise.
Our route started at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, which put us on the more techinical “Red” trail. After that section, we ended up on the “Blue” section, and from what I gather from looking at the map we rode the “Black” and some of the “Yellow.” We ended up not really sure where we were, but after consulting Google Maps on my phone, we realized that we were on our way to the campground. Not in our cards unfortunately. We doubled back at that point and figured our way back to our trucks.This is a great trail system, that from the looks of it gets lots of traffic. My only complaint is that there is no real signage. Many times we were just taking a trail at a junction to see where it ended up. But, that was the point of this ride, to figure out the system. Smooth single track and adventure just outside of Cincinnati? I will take that. Just keep spinning…
1st ride with the tire combo of the Maxxis Ardent 2.6″ paired with a Maxxis Crossmark 2.1″ in the rear.
Map of the area thanks to CORA.