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  1. #1
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    1st Time Allaire Rider

    So the wifey had some things to do this afternoon, and I didn't. I figured I would check out Allaire and get some riding in. I've been reading about Allaire for quite a while and I've read a ton of excellent reviews about this place. I never made the trip, simply because it's about 65 miles from my house and fighting the traffic to get there probably isn't worth it. But it was a nice, sunny, warm afternoon, so I took the drive.

    I parked at the lot on Hospital Road, which seems to be the suggested spot. From the lot, I entered the orange trail (trailhead near the signs) and began my ride. I followed the orange trail for quite some time, going through various trail intersections, until I came upon the golf course. I veered off to the right and eventually found myself on a loose gravel path, which lead to a short climb. I could see a bench at the top of the climb, and when I got up there, I realized it was part of the golf course (Hole #4, I believe). I worked my way back into the woods and landed on the orange trail again. This stretch of the orange trail was nothing but sand....very loose and probably 2 inches deep. I was able to navigate through 90% of it, but it took a toll on me and I was getting frustrated. After all of the great reviews I read, I was 20 minutes into my ride and ready to quit. This stretch of trail was probably 150 yards or so, but it felt like an eternity. Once I got out of the sand, I realized that I was completely disorientated. I lost my sense of direction and I do not think the trails in this area were marked very well. I went through several trail intersections and didn't see a single trail marker. (The obvious route was not always so obvious.) Another 20 minutes, and I found myself back in the parking lot. I don't know what route I ended up taking, but I don't belive I double-backed at all.

    In several of the reviews I read, I noted a lot of mention about a loop on the other side of Hospital Road, directly across from the parking lot, so I gave it a shot. I entered the woods and hung a right. After a few short climbs and a few bridge crossings, I found myself on a nice trail...which I believe was marked with purple markers. I followed this around for quite some time and I eventually ended up at some sort of pit where it appears the local kids made a bunch of dirt jumps. I continued on and ended up riding next to a small river for a short distance, until I finally found myself back at Hospital Road, probably a 1/2 mile from the parking lot.

    Overall, I probably spent no more than 1 hour riding. I'm sure I didn't venture far enough into the woods to find the "good stuff" that I keep reading about, but I sure as heck didn't find it. I hate to say this, because I know there is a ton of regular riders and a ton of trail work that takes place, but in all honesty, I'm not certain that I was impressed with Allaire. I would certainly be willing to give it another shot, but considering it is a 65 mile drive (one-way) for me, I would either need a good map or a willing and able guide.

    My intent is not to bash Allaire. I know this park has a very good reputation and I'm sure there is a ton of excellent riding out there. On a bright note....I did find the trails very well maintained. The work and man hours are certainly evident, so for that, I am thankful and I congratulate those who did this. There were several stretches of singletrack that were beautiful....riding along the river, riding through the ferns, etc. Additionally, I ran into four other riders, and all four were very polite and very friendly. In fact, all four yielded the right of way to me, as I did the same for them.

    I'm sure I just had a bad experience today and I don't mean to vent, but what does everyone else think of Allaire?

  2. #2
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    Sorry your experience was less than fun. Next time you are in the neighborhood PM me and I'll give ya the nickel tour. Sadly the trail crew can't mark the trails or you would have had no problems today. Allaire, unfortunately, is one of those places you need a guide for until you know it well.
    Frank Harms
    JORBA President
    frank at jorba.org

  3. #3
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    Argh!

    Quote Originally Posted by gt2brew
    Sorry your experience was less than fun. Next time you are in the neighborhood PM me and I'll give ya the nickel tour. Sadly the trail crew can't mark the trails or you would have had no problems today. Allaire, unfortunately, is one of those places you need a guide for until you know it well.

    Of all people, I was afraid you were going to see my message. I read mtbnj.com as well, and I recognize you as the "leader" of Allaire. I know you lead several of the weekly rides, and I know you are very active in this park and in the mountain bike community in general. You're name is Frank, right? Again, my intent was not to bash Allaire and certainly not bash any of the hard work that you and the others have done back there. Not being familiar with Allaire, I didn't know where to go, and of the dozens upon dozens of trails, I just happened to chose a few wrong ones. No big deal. Like I said in my original post, I'm willing to give it a second chance.

    I drove there from Cherry Hill, and I'm not sure when I will have an opportunity to get back again. We have a few local places to ride down in this area, but they are fairly small and the repetitiveness of only a few parks gets to me.

    When I return, I'll be sure to hit up mtbnj.com to look for a guide.

  4. #4
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    It's a great place to ride. If you ended up on the Golf course, I'm guessing you veered off onto the concrete cart path near the entrance to Tiger Wood (one of the better Allaire trails). As mentioned, Allaire is better to ride with a local rider for your first couple trips til you get a little familiarized. After that half the fun of Allaire is exploring, getting lost, and find new trails you didn't know existed. Frank and rest of The Allaire Trail maintance group rock!!!
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  5. #5
    JORBA
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    Quote Originally Posted by rutkiller
    Of all people, I was afraid you were going to see my message. I read mtbnj.com as well, and I recognize you as the "leader" of Allaire. I know you lead several of the weekly rides, and I know you are very active in this park and in the mountain bike community in general. You're name is Frank, right? Again, my intent was not to bash Allaire and certainly not bash any of the hard work that you and the others have done back there. Not being familiar with Allaire, I didn't know where to go, and of the dozens upon dozens of trails, I just happened to chose a few wrong ones. No big deal. Like I said in my original post, I'm willing to give it a second chance.

    I drove there from Cherry Hill, and I'm not sure when I will have an opportunity to get back again. We have a few local places to ride down in this area, but they are fairly small and the repetitiveness of only a few parks gets to me.

    When I return, I'll be sure to hit up mtbnj.com to look for a guide.
    Trust me when I tell you that I took absolutely no offense to your post. When I read your post I heard frustration and no bashing, so none of the trail crew will take offense either. We have worked Allaire for many years and have improved it greatly, but it still has a tendency to sand up.
    My reply was merely an invitation to have a better experience the next time you visit. Thank you for clarifying your stance, it is much appreciated
    Frank Harms
    JORBA President
    frank at jorba.org

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel29er
    Frank and rest of The Allaire Trail maintance group rock!!!
    you are too kind
    Frank Harms
    JORBA President
    frank at jorba.org

  7. #7
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    Hello

    Used to live in New Jersey, but moved to North Carolina several years ago. Allaire was always fun, once you understood the layout. Heard it has changed a lot though, all for the better.

  8. #8
    pedalhead
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    Sand sucks.
    But this park is super fun if you know where to go.

  9. #9
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    I rode at Allaire saturday, 8/09, for the first time and the sand sure does drain you, but once I settled in and realized that I wouldn't be as fast as I wanted, it just became another challenge. I rode the orange trail to the last intersection with the blue where I wrongly made a left which took me up to the powerline. I came back down and took the blue, more sand on the blue I think. After completing the blue I was back at the same intersection and I took the last remaining trail. That was the orange again and it was good from there on. Sure there was some sand and one deep gravelly ravine and one climb with big logs going across that I surprised myself by making it up, but when I got back to the parking lot I was feeling pretty good. Good enough to do the whole thing over again after getting some water to see if I could do it faster. No way; I did my second lap the same average speed as the first. That sand really slows you down

    Back in the parking lot one guy told me that I have to ride the trails over by the river. His explanation didn't make much sense. Can anyone tell me how to get over to that section?

  10. #10
    danger! danger!
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    Take the trails on the opposite side of the lot.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, next time I'm over there I'll give it a try.

    Today I went out on my road bike and my legs were trashed. That sand really sucked the life out of me.

  12. #12
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    Allaire

    I've been to Allaire many times but never to ride. I'm interested in checking it out though. Can anyone go and ride anytime? Do you have to be a member of a club?

    Thanks

  13. #13
    danger! danger!
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    No.
    It's a state park.
    It's open from dawn to dusk.
    aka - VelocityBoy

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