There’s been a lot of trail work done in these parts over the last five years now that Western North Carolina has become a mountain bike mecca. Thank goodness somebody is out there to take physical responsibility. Trails have drastically changed due to an influx of riders. I don’t want to despise the newcomers because my trails are no longer tight and technical singletrack. Along with that comes a myriad of understanding concerning the treatment of the trails. The responsibility of riders runs the gamut from total disregard to hyper-zealous. I hope that every rider is able to find that balance. That can be done with education and acceptance in the knowledge that riders want to do their very best to protect what they love.

It was such a bummer all summer to blaze down from Five Points hoping to catch the Lower Sidehill trail only to find it roped off…but now it’s open again! Thanks SORBA! It was built pretty well with high and tight berms to re-route the rain, resulting in sharp hops to bust your butt on. I was always very careful when I wiped out though. I fell only on the trail, and I re-fluffed every root that I may have unnecessarily exposed. I also keep my pockets full of fern seed to replenish anything that my sweat, spraying at 28 mph, may have deteriorated. And if the puddle is longer than ten feet, rather than jumping it, I heave my bike ahead and then roll through it so as not to leave any footprints.

Anyway, it was a vulnerable trail that volunteers cleaned up, and they also added a beautiful wooden ride/walkway.

This coming weekend will be a trail workday at DuPont State Forest. That place is great to ride on the wetter days. It’s very rocky, and its rolling terrain allows for a more gradual erosion as compared to the aggressive runoff on steeper mountains. The multitude of trails makes for loops and loops of fun, requiring the legs to work at all times. Although the climbs aren’t long, the descents don’t offer much of a rest. It’s a perfect combination of Florida meets Western North Carolina, without the sand or mosquitoes. Please don’t kill the mosquitoes, by the way. The birds will have nothing to eat. Additionally, wearing DEET only adds to the toxic fumes already prevalent in our forests thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

If you feel like giving back to the beloved forest you could help SORBA build the new trail out there. Show up Sunday morning, 9 a.m. at the High-Triple Falls parking area off Staton Road. The tread work will be part of a trail-building workshop through the Sustainable Trails Conference coming up in a couple weeks. Plus, it’s downright fun hanging out with fellow cyclists when there are no pretty, shiny bikes around to distract us. We find that we actually really like each other and have a lot of common loves.