ride report – 11.03.2013 — EBSCO property

After a couple of early morning pavement/gravel/dirt rides to dial in the geometry on my new Stumpjumper, along with a counter-clockwise ride of the old loop at Oak Mtn State Park, I had a couple hours to spend on Sunday afternoon getting to properly test out my new bike on the hills above Mt Laurel.

After leaving my house, it was down Hwy 41 to the steep uphill road of Double Oak Way….i.e. my usual way of getting to the top of the mountain when I don’t want to deal with the hike-a-bike from the lake at Mt Laurel.  After cresting the hill on Double Oak Way where it takes a 90-degree turn to the left and becomes fairly flat, I continued on for a short distance to simply keep warming up.  Then I opted to hop on the singletrack that is alongside the paved road (the trail was put in by motobikers), but that was very quickly short lived since my drivetrain immediately got clogged up with fallen leaves and a small twig.

Back on the pavement, I headed southwest on Double Oak Way (towards the way I came) and then continued straight onto the jeep road after Double Oak Way turned hard right to go downhill to Hwy 41.  It had been a few years since I took this road all the way down to Hwy 43, so my plan was to stay on it until Hwy 43 and then turn around for a good uphill.  With all of the recent leaf-shedding by all of the hardwoods, the leaves really made things slippery going downhill and I almost lost control on more than one occasion.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t too muddy and generally was a fun ride down.

Hitting Hwy 43 (which is at EBSCO gate #1), I rode northeast on the pavement until reaching EBSCO gate #2 on the opposite side of 43.  Having explored back here a few times on my mountain bike in the past, I knew it has miles upon miles of jeep road options to ride on.  I opted to simply head uphill for a bit and then backtrack until reaching Hwy 43 again, albeit about a half mile to the northeast (at gate #3).  Then it was back on some pavement until I got back to gate #1.

Once at gate #1, my plan was to simply go back the way I came, which would have been a decent climb of around 1.5 miles and over 600 feet of elevation change (topo change, not cumulative gain).  I got to a fork in the road and inadvertently took a right when I should have stayed left.  So, I instead ended up with a climb of around 3 miles and close to 800 feet of elevation change.  Plus, I had absolutely no clue where I was.  For quite a while I actually thought I was much further to the southwest because I had skipped another right turn and stayed left, not recalling staying right at the very first turn.  When it eventually dumped me out at the bottom of the Double Oak Rollercoaster I was very surprised.

At that point, I had only ridden a little over 10 miles and wanted to put in some more time on my bike while I had the rare window of opportunity without other obligations standing in the way.  So, I once again headed back to the southwest on Double Oak Way, and once again stayed straight onto the dirt once the pavement turned downhill towards Hwy 41.  But instead of continuing all the way to Hwy 43 again, I took the jeep road spur that leads to Forest Parks.  [One of the great things about this dirt road system is that you can access Forest Parks/280, Jones Valley Urban Farm/41, Hwy 43, and even Hwy 25].  This fun section of fire road eventually ended at the top soccer field at the Forest Parks soccer complex.  [Another side note, Forest Parks has a fun, albeit fairly short, trail that I have taken a few times on my way through there….not this time though].  Next I would simply cut through the neighborhood to pick up Hwy 280 at Essex Road.

Hwy 280 was unusually busy for a Sunday afternoon, so I road on the narrow sliver of gravel on the shoulder until I reached Soccer Blast.  Once at Soccer Blast, I hopped on the Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail.  This trail is great for trail running, and so-so for trail riding.  Most of it is actually very fun to ride, but a few portions near the middle are permeated with rock gardens that require you to dismount a few times (at least this time of year with the slippery leaf cover).  It was at one such rock garden that I came upon a group of hikers and one of them had twisted her ankle pretty badly.  The trail was very narrow and it was going to be slow going getting around their group, so I ended up just chilling by the creek for five minutes or so to give them some time to get out in front of me.  I eventually caught them again, but by that time I was almost to the trailhead parking lot and could ride around their group.  By the time I reached the trailhead my phone was buzzing with a text message asking when I would be home (my wife had plans with some friends) so I made a beeline along Hwy 41 back to the hood.

Final ride stats were around 20 miles with 2500 feet of climbing.  Strava link can be found here.  Random photos below.

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on Double Oak Way

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trail next to Double Oak Way

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fire roads on opposite side of Hwy 43

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fire roads on opposite side of Hwy 43

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EBSCO gate #2

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EBSCO gate #1 – heads uphill to Double Oak Way

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very steep section of doubletrack

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at top of Double Oak Rollercoaster – looking towards descent to bottom

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Forest Parks soccer field complex

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Forest Parks soccer field complex

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creek along Dunnvant Valley Greenway Trail

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Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail

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Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail

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