As I mentioned in the last post, I had scheduled a trip down to White Oak Lake State Park in southwest Arkansas to attend a new trail dedication. This would be a week before surgery but I was feeling okay, I’d just gotten back from South Carolina and hadn’t had any problems. So on a beautiful, cool Saturday morning we headed down Bluff City, Arkansas.
The dedication would be a small affair with some local news media and a bit of speechifying by the park superintendent and my boss the parks director. I had promoted an inaugural ride shortly after the dedication on some mountain biking boards and was happy to see a Daron, a friend from Little Rock and his family there. They had camped the night before after purchasing a tent at the local WalMart and were going to stay the whole weekend. I met another couple from the Dallas, TX area. So there would be 5 of us riding that morning (Daron’s wife does not ride and stayed behind with their little one).
I want to take a second and thank the Park Superintendent Marc Lowe. An ex-Navy man like myself who is nearing retirement from the parks system. He decided that as a legacy, he wanted to build this trail before he left. Now he is not a mountain biker but he does want new visitors to his park and saw this as a good fit. I agree whole heartily. Marc has spent the last couple of years building a beautiful 9-10 mile mountain bike trail with rolling hills and wonderful views of the lake. On of the unique things about this mountain bike trail is the wayside exhibits along the route that tell you about the unique flora and fauna of the area. The trail was named the Fern Hollow Trail for all the ferns along the way.
As the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony ended I could tell that the riders were anxious to get going. Of course I had to get all my electronics going. I wanted to GPS map the trail to help me sell it as a race location to various bike and adventure race organizers in the state. I also had a helmet cam with me that I don’t use enough to be fully comfortable with and nobody likes stopping while I try to get the angle or light just right so I usually end up with some junk. I’ll get it figured out one day. So everyone takes off immediately and I’m still trying to store the gear but I catch up soon enough.
The ride was great! The other two guys were in the lead with Lisa right behind them and then me. We had kind of dropped the Texas dudes wife but he said she doesn’t mind and would see us at the end. Okay. Rolling hills with a well marked trail. Bridges that were well placed and not life threatening. And then we come around to the views of the lake. This is a great trail. We kept thinking how great it will be once it gets broken in good and the dirt packs down some and the track narrows. These are normal issues with new trail. It will be a fast trail although we did nothing to prove that and will be excellent for races. So about 3/4ths of the way through we stop for a break and the guys decide that it’s Lisa’s turn to lead. After that I have nice video of empty trail in front of me. She took off deciding that she was going to show the boys what she is made of. (Them not me, I have seen the she-beast unleashed). So I caught up with them again at the trailhead. Nice ride. Lisa really wanted to do another lap. I was feeling the pinch in the abs again though so we decided to call it a day.
Anyway, here is a little video from the ride: