I got a note from SORBA saying the Taylor Randahl Memorial Trail was open. I went Saturday at about noon. It was about 80 degrees and approximately 14000% humidity. My weatherman said I had maybe a couple hours to ride before the rain came. But he's a jerk.
There is one loop right now. Its is called Avalanche and is 1.3 miles. There is a beautiful memorial to Taylor constructed at the entrance. The trailbuilders did a great job. The surface is fast and clean. It hasn't been hard packed yet like everything at Blankets, but that will come. There is not really any portion with a brutal sustained climb. It is constantly up and down. There are a few great steep swoops down into a ravine and back up the other side. There are a few berms to try whipping around. There are none of the log stacks across the trail like Dwelling has. They say this is supposed to be a race loop. About the only thing I had to slow down for were curves in the trail where I would have slipped off the edge and down the hillside.
There are two wooden bridges with railings at the southernmost point of the trail. See the map I linked to. They are beautifully built. One of them has a funny approach angle and my tires slid sideways across the ramp. The area between the two bridges is picturesque with the creek there. You will notice an area blocked off by bright tape. This is going to be the next section of trail. Take a few minutes to study the Army Corp of Engineers master plan map at the trailhead. It shows how Avalance is only the first of a few loops on both sides of the river. In a couple more years this place is going to be big, beautiful, and god willing, linked to Blankets. Go check it out!
Also, it didn't rain until late at night. Jerk.
Edit: I had never been to Rope Mill before. I rode around checking it out and its a great park. There were lots of people fishing in the river. I rode all the way down the paved path and entered the woods where a machine had cleared a giant entrance. I climbed a hill and definitely found some of the old trails that Taylor and friends used to ride. Plants are starting to reclaim them. They intersect with the next phase of the official trail, which has just been cut by the trailcutter machine. You should stick to the formal finished trail, but there is a lot more to come over the next year or two.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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