This is the time of year that we get excited all over again for riding our bikes. It’s strange; March and April are nervous times, wondering if we’ve ridden enough in the off-season to reach our goals for the year. We find out soon enough every time, and sometimes we go well, other times not so well. That is the way, right? But as the season progresses,there is always the yearly slump during the stifling heat of our Arkansas summer that damps our enthusiasm a bit, making family time or even yardwork a good bit more alluring than hours spent training, especially in the still air of the woods on our mountain bikes.
But as Labor Day passes and we see the first sweet gum leaves begin to yellow, we know that Fall is nearly upon us. Our Arkansas Mountain bike season revs back into full gear with the Devil’s Den State Park event, a longstanding tradition in the Northwest corner of our state. It’s always a good time and the weekend promises something for everyone — Cross-Country, Trials, and Super-D events. Its significance cannot be understated; it’s literally the switch back into action!
And with our newfound zest for our fat-tired bikes, we also know that Fall is the best season for paying a little back to our favorite trail systems. The growing season is nearly done, and we’ll be able to see exactly what needs to be trimmed back, dug up, and raked out to ensure that we’ll have great trails for the rest of the year and into next season.
With that in mind, Competitive Cyclist is proud to announce an Arkansas Paydirt Workday on the Syllamo Trails, near Mountain View, Arkansas on Saturday, October 9th.
This is an AMBCS Paydirt event – those interested in Arkansas PayDirt points, please be prepared to sign out at end of day and provide your AMBCS hard plate number. We’ll have schwag, and provide lunch and beverages at the trailhead.
Bad Branch Trailhead (intersection of Red/Yellow loops) on Green Mountain Road, Sylamore, AR. (directions below)
Saturday, October 9 from 9 a.m. until about 3 p.m., with a tasty lunch served at the trailhead. We’ll definitely ride when we’re finished, so bring all your gear. A great many of us are planning on riding on Sunday as well. And with 50 miles of freshly maintained singletrack on tap, how could you pass it up?
A few years ago, Competitive Cyclist adopted the Bad Branch (Red) Loop section of the Syllamo Trail System, part of the Ozark-St.Francis National Forest in Sylamore, Arkansas. We tend to the trails a few times each year to ensure they’re clear of debris, and in generally good rideable condition. We do it because the trails are great, Epic in fact. And like all good things, they only stay that way if we do something about it and take care of them.
We’ll get started at 9:00 am, concentrate our efforts on both the Bad Branch (red) and Jack’s Branch (yellow) Loops, and hammer down ‘til they’re clear. Those of you that have loppers and foldable trail saws, we encourage you to bring them in your pack. For those that arrive empty handed, we’ll have shovels, rakes and more.
The Forest Service currently has contracted trail crews in the area, doing a majority of the difficult clearing of the underbrush that has enjoyed a banner year of growth following the opening of the tree canopy by the recent ice storms. What we’ll plan on doing is taking these two trails from the 95% to 110% level while we’re there, ensuring that everyone riding these fantastic trails afterwards will enjoy the best possible experience.
We expect that the majority of our effort will be directed towards removing litter and loose rocks from the tread, pruning arm/face slappers, and general finish clearing. For anyone interested in a better workout, there are a few sections that could use some tread work, and we’ll be directing some of our efforts to smoothing these spots that remain a bit coarse where uprooted trees mangled the tread.
Directions from Little Rock:
Take 40 West to 65 North. In Clinton, take 16E/9N through Shirley. Stay on 9N when the highways split. Follow 9N into the center of Mountain View, and take a right at the stop sign on 14E. Follow 14E to the first light at the Days Inn. Take a left at the light on 5/9/14, heading north. Take 5/9/14 for approximately 5.5 miles until you see Angler’s Restaurant & Inn at the bottom of the big hill by the White River & Sylamore Creek. Continue North past Anglers ~ 1 mile, and take a left on Green Mountain Road at the large wooden sign for the Syllamo Trail System on the right side of the highway. Follow Green Mountain Road to the Bad Branch Trailhead, which will be the third trailhead on your left. Travel time from Little Rock should take about 2:15-2:30.
Come on – it’ll be fun! Let’s ride!
If you have any questions about our Syllamo Trail Paydirt Workday, feel free to give us a call at 800-276-7130.