06/11/2024 TNR-MTB Ride Report – Skarland 12-Mile Skootch

Report by Eric

Dancing with a Storm

The dark clouds looked ominous. We were supposed to head in that direction. The forecast had called for scattered showers and thunderstorms, but most of that activity was supposed to be farther east. Ah well, nothing to do but forge ahead and hope.

We got luck for quite a while. The first thunder and lightning was far away. Garrett counted it out.

Fearless leader Eric got the group split up early on, but was able to find the lost souls. (Or was Eric lost?) Then once we got out to Ballaine Road he got Equinox Marathon on the brain and started to follow that route. He probably would have kept going, except that Ben knew things weren’t right and started asking questions. Oh yeah, we’re doing the Skarland 12-Mile! Fortunately, all we had to do was get on the other side of Ballaine.

There we found the commuter trail in the woods. Eric stopped at the power line trail and longingly looked down into the swamp, but Ben and Nikki had already ridden ahead to Herreid Road. Eric mentioned the swamp to the rest of the group, hoping for some eager faces, but he saw none and decided it was better to keep the group together anyway.

Somehow we picked up a black lab companion that wasn’t too bike savvy. It had no collar. Nikki took a pic and posted it in a Facebook lost pets page.

Above Pearl Creek Elementary School we could see the thunderstorm had showered the area just before we got there. That made the power line climb a nasty mud climb. Traction was an issue. Even walking. Fortunately, we all made it up to the rooty trail. Ah, yes, wet roots. Love it!

The thunderstorm was now booming and flashing lightning a lot closer, but it still wasn’t right above us. Then we came across piles of hail in the trail. Just missed that one, too! We did get some light showers now and again, but nothing bad.

We made it to the top of Ballaine with doofus dog still accompanying us. Fortunately, on the other side he must have recognized something, because quit following us and headed back.

We made it to the Large Animal Research Station (Musk Ox Farm) and noticed that the wood bison were gone. Off to be reintroduced into the wild!

By then we had gotten more showers, but still not horrible. We crossed Yankovich and made the rooty climb. Gotta love those wet roots! At the top, we bombed down and took the really rooty trail over to the T-Field. (Eric decided not to take the group down into the swamp and across Smith Lake. What a nice guy!)By then we were in a steady rain. So…more wet roots! Yay!

From the T-Field we headed straight back to the cars. Everyone was soaked. Chips and drinks were had, but conversation was short. Tony noticed the skies over his house looked sunny. Shoulda done the Rosie Creek ride this week!

Pics by Jonathan, Matt, Ben and Eric

Getting off Ballaine Road
Jonathon and the rest on Herreid Road
Nikki and the dog
Finally, done with the mud!
Hail on the trail!
Hail on the trail – closeup!
The group at the Musk Ox Farm (minus Dean’s head)

06/04/2024 TNR-MTB Ride Report – Skyline Ridge Skedaddle

Report by Eric

With 13 riders we were bound for some bad luck, fortunately it was all minor. And the good luck outweighed the bad by far!

After some drenching downpours in late afternoon, the rain stopped a little before our ride start. The trails were damp and the roots slick, but we the rain also cooled the air a bit, which was nice since this ride starts with a lot of climbing.

Some were new to the route, so we got to introduce them to some fun stuff, like the climb up Death Gully hill (aka Skarland Downhill Ski Slope) early on. And some chose the to take root-filled Deep Secret to Ski Boot Hill while others chose the Skyline Ridge Connector.

We took Skyline Ridge Trail to the top, bombed down Secret Trail, back up Skyline, then down After Hours, up Overtime, down Heart of Darkness, then back to Pearl Creek Elementary School via the Moose Trail to La Rue Lane trail and Skarland Trails.
(All these trails can be found on Trail Forks.)

The skeeters weren’t too bad unless you stopped. But if you kept moving, they were fine. The wet roots, however (and there are many especially on Secret, After Hours, and HOD), proved challenging. We had a lot of tree-huggers on the ride last night! Fortunately, we got back to the start with only a little blood.

Several people biked to the start and then biked home! That’s impressive!

Trail Forks
https://www.trailforks.com/region/skyline-ridge-park-33981/

Photos by Matt and Ben

05/28/2024 TNR-MTB Ride Report – Roșie Creek Ramble

Report by Eric

Tony started leading this ride since ride leader Eric was late (helping a friend with an emergency). But Tony knows these trails well, so the group was in good hands.

Eric caught up when the group was at an intersection. Take the high and dry road or go through the swamp? Eric encouraged the group toward the swamp, but they would have none of it. The high road it is!

We did what is becoming the standard for this ride: Flodin Road – Viereck’s Loop – back to Flodin – Harrington’s Long Shot – Alden’s Pine Road – Lookout – Otter Slide – and Alden’s Pine Road back to the beginning. (They are all on Trail Forks: https://tinyurl.com/59p76uyd.) Only this time, Tony showed us a little trail that runs just below Long Shot all the way to the Beaver Slide and Lake Trail. Rideable, if a bit brushy in places. Eric was excited because it had some swamp! We learned it is called Live Trap.

In the past we had made this trip wetter and longer by dropping down onto the Rosie Creek Winter Trail, a good swampy slog fest! Eric asked several times for takers, but no one wanted to go swamping. Nikki did some swamping, but that’s because she started from home in the Rosie Creek subdivision and peeled off when we got to the lowest intersection to head back home. She sent a pic of her bike in swamp, which made Eric sad that he wasn’t there.

The big long climb up Alden’s is a tough one. Some were huffing and puffing and talking about needing to get into shape (naming no names here). We are happy to help kick some butts into shape on these rides!

All in all, a great ride. Cool temps, few bugs, and no rain.

Photos by Nikki and Eric

Evan on the new-to-us trail
Nikki finishing up the new-to-us trail, which apparently is called Live Trap
Getting ready to head down Lookout
Slogging up Alden’s Pine Road – ufda!
The last climb to the parking lot
Nikki’s bike in delicious swamp!

05/21/2024 TNR-MTB Ride Report – Bonanza Bluffquest

Had a great first Tuesday Night MTB Ride last night! We had 10 total riders. Some regulars from past years and some new faces, too!

Bonanza forestry road is in good shape. We headed down, down, down to the Tanana River. Fortunately, as we approached the river, we ran into some big puddles. Some even looked a bit like swamps, so Eric was happy. We got to ride some old-style corduroy road, too!

We took a look at the river and lingered only until the skeeters found us. Took them a while. It’s still just the big, slow ones. So they didn’t bother use when we were moving, even on the long climb back to the parking area.

But first we took a quick side trip to the bluff and its amazing views.

We discussed possibilities for making this route a bit more interesting. It will take a trail clearing/making party or two. We’ll see if we can get them organized.

If you like to mountain bike, check out our schedule HERE.

Next week: Rosie Creek Ramble