Monday, August 29, 2016

Tracing the Threads

The bruises from my most recent mountain bike race took a few days to rise to the surface.  I’m not saying this to garner any sympathy, but simply to explain that a few days have passed since I participated in the 12 Hours of Capitol View and the effects are lingering.

Late last week I attended the Governor’s Local Issues Conference in Louisville.  It’s an annual affair and while I’ve looked forward to it in the past this year I really just wanted to stay home/go to work like normal.  The difference this year is that I’m just about conferenced out, and I’ve been really busy and getting further and further behind.  I blame the temp gig.  It’ll look good on a résumé but I’m not looking to change jobs so what does it matter, right? 

My consolation prize for going to the conference was that I finally got to ride the Parklands at Floyd’s Fork.  I’ve heard about it but knew little of what Parklands (aka, Turkey Run Park) had to offer.  So one afternoon when my sessions had staled I drove from downtown out to Parklands and dropped the Slutty Single Speed to the asphalt and pedaled out toward the Paw Paw and Chinkapin Trails from the Seaton Valley Trailhead.

Seaton Valley Trail from the Louisville Loop

First I hit the easy Seaton Valley Trail.  It’s a true beginner mountain bike trail.  It would be great for small kids, timid adults, or anyone basically.  It’s wide and has gentle curves.  The trail snakes along between Floyd’s Fork and an open field.  There is also the option of taking the Louisville Loop paved multiuse trail from the Seaton Valley Trailhead to the mountain bike trails, or parking closer to begin with.  I wanted to get in the miles and also check out as many of the trails as possible so I parked a little further away.

On the Louisville Loop

There’s a little climb up from the valley trail on the paved loop, then you turn off on a narrower paved trail before splitting off on the Paw Paw Trail.  The singletrack is new and still has that “needs to be ridden in” new trail smell.  But right out of the gate I could tell the new trails had been well-thought out.  Paw Paw is the first of a stacked loop system.  It’s easier and shorter than the outer loop of the Chinkapin Trail.  Chinkapin is tighter and rougher.  It also needs more riding to smooth itself out, but I have confidence it won’t take long.  I enjoyed both trails immensely, and was pleasantly surprised to find a third trail that isn’t currently in MTB Project: the Hickory Trail.  I went ahead and rode it just for kicks and it seems even newer than the first two.


I returned to Seaton Valley with right at ten miles on my GPS and was ready to stretch, grab some food, and take it easy in the room.  I couldn’t help but think that Louisville is a great travel destination for mountain bikers.  It might be a little pricey, but you can stay downtown (or on the fringe), ride at diverse local areas (Waverly, Cherokee, Parklands, and the Mega Cavern) through the day and then enjoy the city in the evening.  There are also multiuse paths, some cycling history (The Wheelmen’s Bench) and within a short drive you can hit other Central Kentucky destinations.

I may have to con my wife into a mountain biking vacation soon.  But I think I can make a strong case because of the proximity to so many other things to do in the L’ville area.

I didn’t go to Cherokee this trip, but I couldn’t help but think about the Olmstead park there and the new and well planned Parklands facilities.  There is a thread that runs from the development of Olmstead’s urban park to the modern Parklands vision.  I could dedicate a whole post to that thread, but I doubt most of my readers (hey to both of you!) are such planning nerds.

Anyway, I’m glad the conference is over.  It ended up being a political campaign stop for the sitting governor.  Still not sure if he was stumping for Trump or for himself for three years from now.  I wasn’t terribly impressed.

I’ll be happy when this summer is over, when cooler weather prevails, and as soon as this election season comes to a close one way or the other.

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