Chief Ladiga Trail ride report
On Sunday May 25th, David and I rode a portion of the Chief Ladiga Trail. Since David was training for the Leadville 100, and because we weren’t sure if the pavement was going to be a little rough for skinny road tires, we opted to take our 29er mountain bikes. This allowed us a more comfortable ride, along with a little extra time pedaling since our pace would drop a little bit from a typical road bike pace.
We parked in Jacksonville AL around maybe 9:30 or 10:00 and it was already apparent it was going to be a hot day. The first stretch, to Piedmont AL, went by relatively quickly as we chatted and rode at a casual pace. After a quick stop in Piedmont to use the restroom, we hit the pavement again. This next section would be far be the longest stretch of the trail for us, as it took as past the state line by 12 or so miles until we hit Cedartown GA.
Once in Cedartown, our plan was to grab a bit to eat somewhere like Subway. However, the town was smaller than we bargained for and ended up eating peanuts, bars, and beef jerky at a gas station. By that time I was pretty well starving and just needed to get some food in my system, along with anything ice cold to drink. After downing a Diet Coke with some ice in it, I poured the ice into my water bottle and topped it off with a fresh bottle of Gatorade….big time hit the spot.
Knowing that we have a long way back during the return stretch, we mentally tried to break it up into smaller chunks of mileage…..to the state line, then to Piedmont, then back to Jacksonville. While not too tired physically, and certainly not on the verge of cramping or anything, I’ve got to admit that by the end of the return leg I was quite ready to be off of my bike and on the way home. I’m pretty sure David was feeling the same way. Hitting a Quizno’s Subs on the way out of Jacksonville was like hitting paradise for a few minutes….good sandwich and some ice cold Coke.
All told, it was a good day on the bike. Next time I ride this trail, I’d like to park in Piedmont and ride to the next town in Georgia, Rockmart, which I have heard has more provisions and is also a really cool little town. Perhaps even ride closer to Atlanta and stay overnight somewhere before riding the return leg back the following day. The problem with the Chief Ladiga Trail is that it is an out-and-back and many miles are rather monotonous. It’s bearable just going one direction, but when you do it on the same day it just gets a little boring. Also, we noticed that the Pinhoti Trail crosses Ladiga between Piedmont and the state line. We didn’t venture off onto the Pinhoti, but another good ride option might be to bank some easy miles on Ladiga, hop on the Pinhoti for some tougher trail mileage, and then recover back on the Ladiga while heading for the car. Lastly, David and I were joking that it felt like it was uphill for a long portion of the “out” leg, and sure enough it was based on the Strava profile. We basically went continuously uphill from mile 13 to mile 25, ending up with 1300 feet of total climbing for the day. My guess post-ride would have been around 400 feet, because there just weren’t any real hills so it tricks you into thinking it is flatter than it apparently really is.
No pics for this ride, but strava data can be found here.