Trails continue to see unprecedented traffic, and that's a great thing. We still get an occasional complaint about someone who doesn't get that, so here's a reminder. You are likely to encounter riders who are slower than you, who are children, or who may not be fully versed in trail etiquette, along with hikers, runners, and dog walkers. All of these people are welcome on all of our trails; slow down, be friendly, yield appropriately, be a decent person, and try to improve everyone's trail experience. If some advice will help another be safer or more courteous, offer it with a smile. We're all out there to have a good time, let's help each other succeed.
On the crowded trails theme, NICA season is starting up. For a variety of reasons all of the local teams have record turn outs. They have all modified their practice regimens so that they will usually be in small groups, but there will be times when the trails are even more crowded. Here's the current practice schedule:
Blackhawk Composite/Mount Horeb:
Blue Mound - Tuesdays, 6:00pm-7:30pm
Blackhawk - Wednesdays, 6:00pm-7:30pm
Cam Rock Climbers:
CamRock - Wednesdays, 6:00pm-7:30pm
CamRock - Saturdays, 9:00am -11:00am
Sheehan Park - Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00pm- 7:30pm
Quarry Ridge and Seminole - Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 5:00pm-6:00pm
If you want to see a bunch of amazing kids stoked on a sport they can enjoy for the rest of their lives (and their possibly even-more-amazing volunteer coaches), head out during these times. If you prefer a more solitary experience, maybe try another place or time.
Directly adjacent to the Cannonball Pathway, just south of the Beltline, lies Aldo Leopold Park and Elementary School. The MadBAT project that the City of Madison Parks Division is working on with IMBA Trail Solutions and CORP, has identified Aldo Leopold Park as a high priority bike park project location.
While the complete MadBAT study and findings are still being developed, discussions have been initiated regarding construction in 2021 of skills development trails, a bicycle playground, pumptracks, technical climbing trail, beginner flow trails off of the sledding hill, and a trail network in underutilized locations in the park. May even see a "Shred to School" trail like the original in Bentonville, AR.
To generate interest and feedback on potential bike park development, and as a way to provide a social distancing activity for kids and families this summer, Parks Staff and MadBAT planning team has initiated a Trail Pilot Project to get eyes and tires on the Aldo Leopold Park property. Over the past two weeks IMBA Trail Solutions flagged a 1/4 mile trail alignment, Park Operations staff mowed the trail the next day, temporary signage has been posted by Park staff, and CORP volunteers "burned in" a trail tread this past weekend with string trimmers and a few hot laps. CORP is working with Parks Staff on options for us to build temporary skills development features to be placed along this trail, more to come on that.
Local Riders! take a few laps on this short trail when riding by on your way to Seminole and Quarry Ridge. Show Support! by putting tires on the trail and submit Bike Park development comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteer! let CORP know if you'd like to lend a hand with maintaining the trail, building skills features, or be involved with the bike park design and development.
One of the core ideas of the MadBATS plan (more news to come on that soon) is to create a system of off-road cycling facilities connected by Madison's existing cycling infrastructure. A few of us started thinking a little bigger, and decided to link up some of our existing systems, and the CORP 100 was born. Two routes, one at 100 miles, one 100 km, linking 9 or 8 of our trails systems, each with about equal amounts of road, multi-use path, and single-track. It being the first year and a pandemic, we're doing it virtually, though we will have a semi-official ride day.
It being virtual and un-supported, if you've got other ideas about what will make an epic CORP day, go for it, and share your adventure on Facebook or the forum. If three or four trails makes it epic for you, let us know. If you can make it out to CamRock to make it an even 10, we definitely want to hear about it.
Of course there's a t-shirt! Register to make it official and you'll get one of them, and a patch, and all proceeds go toward improving the local trails.
There's a lot of bad stuff going on out there right now, and it's hard to know what to do about it. The problems are big, and you're just one person. But we can help! If you want to do something that makes a difference you can see and will be appreciated by the whole local mountain bike community, get out and get after some weeds! It doesn't take much skill (though here are some tips for better results ), it doesn't take much time, and the results are immediate. If you've got a string trimmer, a weed whip, or a scythe, head out to your favorite trail. Or reach out to your Trail Steward and arrange to use our tools. There are also threads started for Blackhawk, Pleasant View, and the Farm for the latest progress and to share what you've gotten done. And check the Forum for others.
We're not exactly sure how things are going to play out this summer, but that doesn't change the fact that we have plans for 2020. As many of you know, there used to be a pumptrack at the Pleasant View trailhead. When the new golf course parking lot went in, we lost it. But the plan has always been to rebuild; there will be a new dedicated bike and ski trailhead built with a separate access off Hwy 14, and plans are moving ahead to get that put in this year (though, there are, due to the current pandemic, no sure things). When it does, we will be re-building the pumptrack. We have funding, largely from the City of Middleton, in place to have a natural surface track professionally built. Our fundraising goal for 2020 is to upgrade to an all-weather surface.
More details on the plan here, but the short pitch is that pumptracks are fun, they're accessible to riders of all abilities, they improve your skills, and build community, and that an all-weather surface allows it to be ridden in wet weather and keeps it in top form with drastically reduced maintenance.
How are we going to raise $80,000? We've had to postpone our Spring Fundraiser, but we've still got the beer and a mess of door prizes, so we'll get it rescheduled as soon as we are able. We've got a couple other events in the works. We're getting a sweet raffle lined up, details of which will be coming out soon. And we can use your help! Donations to CORP go almost entirely to trail building and maintenance, and we are 501(3)(c), so they are tax deductible. If your employer has a matching program or a charitable arm, check with them. Businesses can become sponsors. If you've got fundraising experience or connections and are willing to help out, drop us a line.
Further discussion here. We'll keep the updates coming.