What trails to ride Jan 4-6?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What trails to ride Jan 4-6?

    Trying to plan a trip for next weekend that doesn't involve riding anywhere in my home state of Florida. I've ridden a bunch in NC, never been to Alabama or Tennessee, but would love to ride at any of these places. However, I don't want to cause trail damage or end up riding in shitty conditions in general. I can deal with the colder weather, but my question is, what trail systems will drain well enough to ride after the rain that's coming through next week? It looks like most of these places are getting about a half inch of rain both Wednesday and Thursday, and will be clear Fri/Sat/Sun. Planning to drive wherever on Thursday, and ride Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before heading home.

    Right now my first choices are Coldwater and Oak Mountain, or maybe heading to Dupont in NC if the trails re-open. Thanks in advance, any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I suspect your options for open, ridable trails are going to be limited. From Middle Tennessee, the closest ridable trail in the area you've listed at this moment is Cold Water. That's probably about to change in the next 24 hours. Right now the ground is super saturated here. I'm not optimistic about any riding for a while, unless it gets cold enough to freeze solid. I think I saw that Nashville has had the 11th wettest year on record.

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    Its a sloppy mess in East TN as well, like it seems to be all around the Southeast. Unfortunately, with any of the trail systems in the vicinity you mentioned, the forecast between now and the dates you mentioned predicts more rain. Even the better draining systems will likely have problems with this type of precipitation. I recall Oak Mountain drains decently, but I'm not familiar with Cold Water (it's on the list for sure). The NC side of the watershed has been hammered pretty good and I see that Dupont is closed until at least 1/2. With more rain coming, it would be one to monitor for sure. I would think all of those systems have pretty good groups/sites reporting on status. Hope we all dry out some and you squeeze in some riding.

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    Coldwater drains EXTREMELY well. I've ridden there multiple times the day after a rain event, and the trails were prime. CW is steep and rocky so the water doesn't sit for long, if any. Call over to Wigs Wheels in Anniston AL, they can give you the straight dope on up to the minute current conditions. With the current rain patterns that are developing, I would say CW will be your one and only sure bet.
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    Trail system in Knoxville is Baker Creek and should be ready to go around the 5th. It drains out well. Dupont will probably not be dried out by then. I'm getting pretty sick of all the rain myself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinboyer View Post
    Coldwater drains EXTREMELY well. I've ridden there multiple times the day after a rain event, and the trails were prime. CW is steep and rocky so the water doesn't sit for long, if any. Call over to Wigs Wheels in Anniston AL, they can give you the straight dope on up to the minute current conditions. With the current rain patterns that are developing, I would say CW will be your one and only sure bet.
    Good to know! My family made the 2.5 hr trip there today to get some riding in thanks to this post.

  7. #7
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    Baker Creek is a great piece of the Urban Wilderness system, no doubt, but it's a rather small section (~7 miles) and I wouldn't consider it worth a trip from Florida. I also can't see it, or anything in the immediate Knoxville area, being dry enough to ride on the dates referenced by the OP, considering all of the rain we've had and additional rain in the forecast (90% tonight/40% Thurs/90% Friday). Other than maybe Big South Fork, another 1.5hr north, I personally will be sticking to gravel for the foreseeable future. Just my input for someone considering a trip up. Certainly hope we get into a drier pattern soon. Maybe I need to start looking at a trip down to Cold Water in the interim.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtb7000 View Post
    I also can't see it, or anything in the immediate Knoxville area, being dry enough to ride on the dates referenced by the OP, considering all of the rain we've had and additional rain in the forecast (90% tonight/40% Thurs/90% Friday).
    Loyston Point (kind of a singletrack/gravel hybrid) will probably be fine, maybe Norris, and Windrock (DH park that doesn't close for weather).

  9. #9
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    FYI I ended up in Alabama. Rode San Felasco in Gainesville FL on the way up on Thursday the 3rd, skipped Friday due to all the rain (hiked instead), rode Oak Mountain State Park Saturday the 5th, which in my opinion is not a destination worth driving to, and hit Coldwater on the way home on Sunday the 6th.

    Conditions at Oak Mountain were mixed - the trail itself was very hard packed with little to no mud, but the amount of wet leaves on the trail kinda sucked. Everything at Coldwater was prime, and that ended up being the most fun ride I've ever done. Highly recommend that place.

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    Thx for the update!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.s67 View Post
    Conditions at Oak Mountain were mixed - the trail itself was very hard packed with little to no mud, but the amount of wet leaves on the trail kinda sucked.
    Which trails did you ride at OM, how many miles? We held a NICA practice there on the 5th and the multiple trails we scouted before practice were not in any condition to ride without damage, we stuck to the road for that reason. Leaves are common here this time of year and with the amount of rain we have had so are wet leaves. OM has something for everyone/every level and with hotels between it and Coldwater it makes for a perfect trip for many but YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AF2NR View Post
    Which trails did you ride at OM, how many miles? We held a NICA practice there on the 5th and the multiple trails we scouted before practice were not in any condition to ride without damage, we stuck to the road for that reason. Leaves are common here this time of year and with the amount of rain we have had so are wet leaves. OM has something for everyone/every level and with hotels between it and Coldwater it makes for a perfect trip for many but YMMV.
    Did Rattlesnake Ridge and the connecting green trails leading to Jekyll/Hyde, Jekyll and Hyde, and Lightning per the recommendation of one of the locals at the trailhead.

    Don't get me wrong, the trails there are much better than the crap we have available here in Florida. But, I don't think they were worth the 10 hour drive (given my local flat terrain, I prefer longer descending when making a trip). I felt the trails at Coldwater made much better use of the terrain available, and were faster flowing and fun overall with the right amount of tech mixed in. The top section of Jekyll and Hyde was nearly unrideable for me, and more so for my girlfriend...the bottom section didn't seem to flow much at all because the descents were so short before going back into a climb. Lightning was pretty cool, but once again the descending is short lived. The wet leaves were kind of a buzzkill like you said, but Coldwater seemed to have drained much better, because the trails were in perfect shape.

    The 3 separate descents at Coldwater we did on our 23 mile route were each 3+ miles long. Absolutely nuts.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.s67 View Post
    Did Rattlesnake Ridge and the connecting green trails leading to Jekyll/Hyde, Jekyll and Hyde, and Lightning per the recommendation of one of the locals at the trailhead.
    How did you get to/from Lightning? If you went across the ridge after Jekyll/Hyde, which is more flowing riding down than up, you would have done Thunder and Lightning which makes for a longer decent. Also Johnsons Mt is fun and flowing, after the initial climb in either direction to get up the ridge. The trails around the bottom are much more XC leaning, except the new North Connector Trail which is also fun and flowing, I've started using it as a start/end point just for that reason.

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