There is much going on out in Middleton, it should be an exciting year or so.
The new trailhead is open: Access is off HWY 14, turn south on Schwartz Rd. For this winter, we're being asked to park on Schwartz Rd and ride up to the trailhead. This is temporary, and will change once ski season is over (details here). It's the result of running out of funds and time to enlarge the parking lot, but that should happen this summer. There is also the issue of the gate, which, for a variety of reasons, is closed from 8pm to 8am, which oftentimes includes the best riding conditions. That should also be addressed by next year. In the spring, we'll be adding some amenities to the trailhead, though some will be temporary and there will be changes as construction continues. If you are traveling to the trail by bike, the golf course road will continue to be your best bet.
The pumptrack is on its way: All signs indicate that the new pumptrack will go in this summer. It will be a paved facility, similar to the Aldo Leopold installation, but likely somewhat bigger. Funding is in place, we are putting together plans to put out a Request for Proposals very shortly, and have good reason to expect that we'll be able to get on a builder's schedule. Nothing is ever for sure until it is happening, but we're reasonably confident and very excited.
Singletrack expansion: We're working on plans to expand the singletrack onto the Central Cross Country Ski property, which, if it works out, eliminate all of the two-way trail, add some mileage, and create a more beginner-friendly loop. It's a complicated endeavor, with several parties involved, and more than a few dollars, but we're cautiously optimistic that we can make it work. Not likely for 2022, but working on 2023.
Keep in mind that there is currently no biking allowed on the CXC property, other than the road and the access to the trails from the parking lot. It will go a long way toward helping future expansion if we can avoid conflict with skiers and land owners and managers, so please respect this request.
The pump track at Aldo Leopold Park essentially complete; there is just some painting to do in the spring. Please stay off the new sod and freshly seeded areas so that they don't have to be re-done.
In the spring, the permanent skills loop will be installed, and there will be an official grand opening; we'll let you know.
When it's crowded, it can be intimidating to jump in; here's a couple tips to help things go smoothly:
More skilled riders yield to less skilled riders. This is the fundamental rule, and solves most issues. Less skilled riders tend to get 'tunnel-vision' as they concentrate on their riding and not much else. Those of us who are more comfortable are able to look around and accommodate others.
Once there are more than a half-dozen or so riders, it's a good idea for everyone to ride in the same direction and stay on the main circuit, avoiding transitions and shortcuts.
When it is crowded, enjoy the good vibes, cheer on other riders, and kindly encourage others to do the same.
If you want to hit it hard, go at off-peak hours or when the weather is crumby. It rides just as well when it's cold and wet.
Crisp fall weather has made for some great riding the last few weeks, but as it cools off more and we head toward winter, things get less certain.
Throughout the winter, and especially in the early spring and late fall, youâ€™ll often see Freeze/Thaw in the trail conditions. When the temperature is dropping at night, but near or above freezing during the day, the trails can be fabulous, or terrible, so please keep the following in mind. Try to get out early in the day (as in, first thing) or stick to north facing slopes, and youâ€™ll be rewarded with trails that are fast, grippy, and fun. As soon as they start to thaw, which can happen well below freezing on a south-facing slope, they turn into a particularly soupy form of mud. When our local clay soil freezes, the water expands; when it thaws again, and the water contracts, the soil has been aerated, holds more water, and is less cohesive. When it gets ridden through, the tires push this soft mud to the sides of the trail, where it freezes again, thaws the next day, and gets pushed further to the side with deeper ruts. After a few cycles of this, the trail is permanently cupped, holds water all the time, and erodes more with every storm, until it is unrideable, or someone spends valuable time repairing it.
So please, ride when the trails are either frozen or dry, and avoid anywhere you are leaving a rut. Your trail volunteers and fellow riders will thank you!