Great trailwork, but what's with the stupid trail names at Carvin's Cove?!?!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Great trailwork, but what's with the stupid trail names at Carvin's Cove?!?!

    I have been riding the trails at Carvins Cove since the mid-late 90's when I lived in Roanoke. A few years ago I moved from the area, and recently moved back to Blacksburg. Recently, I have been going over to Carvins Cove and there are some changes.

    First of all, I have got to hand it to whomever is doing the new trail work. It is truly top notch! The Connector trail (or is it 4 Gorges?) is a blast, especially on the way back. Some of the new re-routes on the lower sections are also a joy. Great work!

    It is also nice to see signs on the trails, the lack of which had always delegated Carvins Cove to "locals only" status in the past. Being a local myself this was not a problem, but I could never recommend Carvin's Cove to someone from out of town without some sort of knowlegeble guide.

    However, the signs are also the subject of my one complaint: WHY DID THEY RE-NAME ALL THE TRAILS?????

    EVERYBODY knows Kit & Cabootle, Funhouse, Mad Cow and Girl Scout (OK, some also know it as Sweety). Now they have been labeled with names like "Song Bird", "Little Bell", "Schoolhouse", and something else equally unrememberable. Are you kidding me???? ALL of the serious (and not-so-serious) riders in Roanoke knew these names, they are in trail reviews in the local newspapers and numerous internet chat boards. There are even on trail maps I have seen over the years in the local bike shops.

    I really do appreciate the work going into the trailsystem, and people can call the new stuff whatever they want. For that matter, there are some trails that have several different names (like the one I've heard called "Pikes Peak", "The Drop", and "Upper Comet" by different people) and it would be great to have some consistency. However, I put in a bit of time myself when I lived here (several times a year I would walk the trails and clean up debris, etc.) and this makes me feel like this is not my stomping grounds anymore. I feel a bit alienated, and many riders I talk to are also rather annoyed by this. I don't get it. Why are they doing this? It does not help, in fact it makes things more confusing now that almost ALL the trails have 2 names, now (the old ones and the new ones).

    Also, some of the old names have some history behind them, like "Kit and Cabootle", named after a Roanoke waterworks chieftain who opposed the presence of mountain bikes in the watershed. Why on Earth would somebody change that to "Schoolhouse" or "Little Bell", or "Cotton Candy", or whatever?

    I had not seen much of the work in progress because I usually ride the "upper trails" (Thousand Foot Climb, Gauntlet, Trough, Buck's Rut, Hidy-Hoe). I really hope they don't mess with those names. I could never bring myself to call "Buck's Rut" something like "Gentle Fawn"

    Can anyone tell me who is doing this and how to talk to them? I'd love to help out with the trailwork, and find out what the reason behind these silly names is. I've always treated trail work as a solitary thing, just helping to maintain what is already there. I see now I need to be involved with the other people doing it as well so we are all on the same page.

    Again, I am grateful for the work that has happened in my absence. I just want to know WHY they felt the need to re-name everything.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

  2. #2
    CrgCrkRyder
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    The Work of a Committee

    I know what you mean on the new trail names. Clownhead to Hemlock Tunnel? According to a friend of mind who was involved in the deal, Roanoke City formed a committee that is more inclusive - horse back riders, hikers, birders, bikers, etc. to re-evaluate the trail names. Apparently they all wanted their own names for the trails. My friend says it was a battle to keep the Gauntlet, Hi Dee Hoe, and others that did not change.

    Cool thing is that they have been working on the trails (and embracing MTB versus fighting it) . Signage is definitely good for visitors. A couple of trips out there and you get a good feel for the lay-out. But if someone turned right instead of left off of the old “Clownhead” /“Stickman” trail late in the day you could end up a long ways out on the lake and a long walk back in the dark. I saw a trail building machine out near Mad Cow last fall, but I don’t know if it is owned or borrowed. Hopefully it is owned – plenty of room for more trails out there.

    My favorite ride there is a figure 8 (when my lungs and legs will cooperate). Hoe (or Hotel) to Buckrut (or Buck) –left along road at top and down the Gauntlet, up the creek to the Trough and then right along road again and down Hi De Hoe to the parking lot. Two downhills for the price of- well 2 uphills. Still quite a blast. Maybe one day I’ll be good enough to ride the switchbacks on Hi-Dee-Hoe.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider
    My friend says it was a battle to keep the Gauntlet, Hi Dee Hoe, and others that did not change.
    I would be livid if they changed Gauntlet and the others. I helped build Gauntlet and worked on a major portion of Trough12 years ago and know many of the original trail builders as well. Gauntlet was the best DH run in the area at the time and a favorite among many of us for post school rides during the week. I still enjoy coming through from time to time to ride the old trails. Too bad we have to pay for trails that we helped build and pay for ourselves, but atleast they are still maintained and we have access.

  4. #4
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Thanks for the cool trails

    Mud n Sweat. Thanks for cool trails at Carvins Cove. If you and the other "Founding Fathers" had not built those trails, I'm not sure if we would have any access there now. The city did not exactly embrace the idea from the start. You guys built the trails and fought the political battles to gain access for the rest of us. Now the city and other localities see the value of having a good trail system there and throughout the area. Present day volunteers and municipality workers have been doing trail work on the Connector trail and other trails near the lake. Likewise, a group called the 'Midweek Trail Crew" (or something like that) has been building and improving a trail network on Mill Mountain. With the River Greenway also growing every day, one day we may have a trail network that stretches from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Carvin's Cove.

    The Gaunlet is still a great trail - a little washed out around the roots at top. Definitely a FS ride. A tight scream down the hill battling mountain laurel and roots. When I reach the bottom its all grins and sore wrists. I've only been riding three years, but trails like the Gauntlet, Hi Dee Hoe, Spec. Mines, etc. are what really get my motor running and keep me on 2 wheels.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider
    I know what you mean on the new trail names. Clownhead to Hemlock Tunnel? According to a friend of mind who was involved in the deal, Roanoke City formed a committee that is more inclusive - horse back riders, hikers, birders, bikers, etc. to re-evaluate the trail names. Apparently they all wanted their own names for the trails. My friend says it was a battle to keep the Gauntlet, Hi Dee Hoe, and others that did not change.

    Cool thing is that they have been working on the trails (and embracing MTB versus fighting it) . Signage is definitely good for visitors. A couple of trips out there and you get a good feel for the lay-out. But if someone turned right instead of left off of the old “Clownhead” /“Stickman” trail late in the day you could end up a long ways out on the lake and a long walk back in the dark. I saw a trail building machine out near Mad Cow last fall, but I don’t know if it is owned or borrowed. Hopefully it is owned – plenty of room for more trails out there.

    My favorite ride there is a figure 8 (when my lungs and legs will cooperate). Hoe (or Hotel) to Buckrut (or Buck) –left along road at top and down the Gauntlet, up the creek to the Trough and then right along road again and down Hi De Hoe to the parking lot. Two downhills for the price of- well 2 uphills. Still quite a blast. Maybe one day I’ll be good enough to ride the switchbacks on Hi-Dee-Hoe.
    We always called a similar ride "Double Up and Over" Doing 1000 Foot (or Hi Dee Ho) >>> Gauntlet >>> Trough >>>> Buck's Rut. The new Connector trail now adds a bit more to the 1000 Foot route.

    I guess I can understand that a lot of these trails pre-date mountain bikes by a long shot, and some people have had different names for them. Guess I was being a little bike-centric. However, trails like Mad Cow, Stickman, and Clownhead were recent additions to the network, and as far as I know they were built by mountain bikers.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mud'n'sweat
    I would be livid if they changed Gauntlet and the others. I helped build Gauntlet and worked on a major portion of Trough12 years ago and know many of the original trail builders as well. Gauntlet was the best DH run in the area at the time and a favorite among many of us for post school rides during the week. I still enjoy coming through from time to time to ride the old trails. Too bad we have to pay for trails that we helped build and pay for ourselves, but atleast they are still maintained and we have access.
    Well, I did the upper trails yesterday, and they did keep "Gauntlet", "Hi Dee Ho" and "Trough", but Buck Rut is now just "Buck" I'm thinking one could just add the "Rut" part later.

    However, I did see some name changes that were just plain stupid, seemingly designed to create confusion with the trails at Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg. 1000 Foot Climb is now "Brushy Mountain Trail" which I think was a bad idea because "Brush Mountain" is what many people call the trail system at Pandapas Pond. The Drop at Carvins Cove is now "Jacob's Drop", but there is a "Jacobs Ladder" at Pandapas. One of the trails is now called Tuck-A-Way, the name of a camp right across the street from.......yep, Pandapas Pond.

    Well, at least they left my favorite loop (1000' >> Gauntlet >> Trough >> Buck Rut) mostly unviolated. It's a bummer about Clownhead. I remember it being built, and this seems like a big slap in the face to those good folks who busted their butts building it.

    But when it comes down to it, no matter what they call everything, no matter how hard the city of Roanole tries to make it a big hassle to ride there, nothing gives me the warm fuzzies like riding at Carvin's Cove. It's like seeing an old dear friend.

    Someday Carvin's Cove will not be controlled by greedy backward rednecks, and CC's true potential will be unlocked.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Someday Carvin's Cove will not be controlled by greedy backward rednecks, and CC's true potential will be unlocked.
    Yeah, right. You seem to forget that greedy backward rednecks compose about 95% of the population in Roanoke...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmCosmo
    Yeah, right. You seem to forget that greedy backward rednecks compose about 95% of the population in Roanoke...
    Yeah, but I have great hope for the other 5%

    Seriously, though, I think Roanoke does have a lot of potential to be a very hip and fun town. For me it already is, it just took time to find the right community. The number of artists and musicians per capita is really high, the outdoor opportunities are great (and would be off the charts if the powers that be got their heads out of their a$$es), and it is just plain beautiful around there. And there is a young, vibrant, progressive community already there.

    Unfortunately, like you say, there are a lot of dumb rednecks as well as dumb yuppies with money. For cryin' out loud, they could not pass the necessary measures to start a Rails To Trails project. Even NJ can pull that one off! It took something like 10 years to get some bike lanes painted on roads that were built to be wide enough to accommodate them. On the other hand, the bike lanes are coming to be, and I hear there are some cool Greenway projects under way. There is hope.

  9. #9
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Hopeful for Roanoke too...

    Yea I like to be optimistic too. Roanoke is kind of like Ashville’s bipolar redneck cousin. NASCAR and mason jars (got to get your fruit somewhere). Or golf and polo shirts. I like it here anyway, but it’s like an outdoor town waiting for the outdoor people to show up. We have a nice downtown bar and restaurant district. I really think the biggest problem is demographic. Not enough young people and not enough career opportunities to keep young people here. I’m hoping the growth in the medical school / industry will help that. At this point I think we have more trails than MTB riders; there just really is not that many of us here. Seems to be more roadies (judging by the Tuesday Night Beer ride). Some days at Carvins Cove (or even Douthat) there will only be a couple of MTB cars in the parking lot. For potential riding, we have miles of trails in the National Forest close by but few are maintained.

    On the plus side, as the Greenway slowly grows so does interest in biking. A couple of young friends of mine have recently dug their bikes out of the basement and cleaned them up. A couple of others I know have just bought new bikes. I recenly bought some property beside the most established section of the Greenway. When I work over there, there is non-stop progression of walkers, joggers, and bikers. How many of these bikers will ever get off of the Greenway onto the cool stuff, who knows. But it is a start.

  10. #10
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    wussification of trailnames

    Another former Roanoke area resident here....

    There is absolutely no reason to complain about the new trail names: Just think how cool we are all going to sound in 10 years still using the 'old school' names. This will separate the cool old guys from the whippersnappers, the interlopers from the locals, the lake-parking low trail riders from the hi-de-hoe clean climbers. Call them by their old names, confuse the crap out of new folk while muttering something about when they were on training wheels.

    I love going to Brush Mtn. and having conversations like this:
    ---"hey what did you guys ride today?"
    -------"well, we went up the horse trail and down slim jim and up sidewinder and down the beast back to the truck, how 'bout y'all?"
    ---"uummmm, sounds like you guys got lost or something.......anyway, we rode purple fruity-flower to lady slipper, etc., etc.," ....bah...I forget the new names.

    (Yes I know that Slim Jim is closed and Sidewinder is not that old, but you get the point, don't you? You dont??......whipersnapper! )

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey441
    Another former Roanoke area resident here....

    There is absolutely no reason to complain about the new trail names: Just think how cool we are all going to sound in 10 years still using the 'old school' names. This will separate the cool old guys from the whippersnappers, the interlopers from the locals, the lake-parking low trail riders from the hi-de-hoe clean climbers. Call them by their old names, confuse the crap out of new folk while muttering something about when they were on training wheels.

    I love going to Brush Mtn. and having conversations like this:
    ---"hey what did you guys ride today?"
    -------"well, we went up the horse trail and down slim jim and up sidewinder and down the beast back to the truck, how 'bout y'all?"
    ---"uummmm, sounds like you guys got lost or something.......anyway, we rode purple fruity-flower to lady slipper, etc., etc.," ....bah...I forget the new names.

    (Yes I know that Slim Jim is closed and Sidewinder is not that old, but you get the point, don't you? You dont??......whipersnapper! )
    You know, I was talking just yesterday about this. I just started riding Pandapas regularly this year, and I know all the trails by the "new" names. I've got a friend who has been riding for years around here, and he is pretty stubborn about using the old names to the point that when I say I did such-and-such a trail he just makes like he does not know what I'm talking about. I find it really annoying. I then realized that I will someday be "that guy" who won't shut the f#ck up about the Good Old Days if I persist in using the old names to people who don't know what I'm talking about. Or if I start saying "the trail that used to be Funhouse" I'll sound like rednecks who give directions to passers through using landmarks that used to be there ("You go down 'bout a mile to where the T-Boner used to be......")

    I must say that I rode Songbird a few times this week and it was incredible! It does not follow Mad Cow except for a few very short sections, so I guess they can re-name it if they want, and at least they did not name it after a trail at Pandapas Pond.

  12. #12
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    Songbird?

    Is there another new trail at the Cove other than the 1000' climb connector (four gorges?). I have not been there in 2+ years and have been meaning to come check out the connector.
    Awesome that new stuff is being built, whatever they call it, thank you trail builders.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey441
    Is there another new trail at the Cove other than the 1000' climb connector (four gorges?). I have not been there in 2+ years and have been meaning to come check out the connector.
    Awesome that new stuff is being built, whatever they call it, thank you trail builders.
    Songbird essentially replaces Mad Cow. As far as I can tell it only follows Mad Cow in a few sections for a hundred feet or so. It is not nearly as challenging as Mad Cow. I do wish it was not in the same place as Mad cow because now Mad Cow is un-ridden and is already vanishing. They did leave access to Mad Cow open, but nobody seems to ride it. Oh well, I guess that is natural selection. People vote with their tires. As much as I liked the challange of Mad Cow (always riding it going towards the parking lot at the very end of the day on my single speed) it is hard to resist Songbird. It's a great piece of trail, and riders of all levels can enjoy it.

    Also, there are many reroutes on Kit-and-Kabootle. Fun stuff, though a few beginner/intermediate sections are now novice level, but in most cases the old trail is still very ridable.

    I think the great thing about the new work is that it has made the "lower" trails accessible to inexperienced riders, and that is what the sport desperately needs in this area. My GF has some interest in riding, but until now even the lower trails (many of them) at Carvins were frustrating for her.

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