Friday, July 23, 2010

"Paved paradise and put up a parking lot"

10 Miles

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?  They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!"

Ooh!  Believe me, you don't know how painful it was to quote such a lame song but it's kind of the way I feel.  I finally made it back to Riverfront Park this afternoon.  I haven't been back since the Yellowstone River flooded and turned the park into a mosquito infested swamp.  I wanted to go back today to check it out.  Unfortunately part of my favorite trail was still under water but I was able to see a trail through the trees which took me around the mud hole.  I had to hop off the bike and lift it over some fallen logs while pushing the bike through the brush.  I made it through but not before the swarm of mosquitoes found me.  I quickly hopped on the bike and took off while brushing away the mosquitoes.

The park has really changed since I last bike through there.  With all the recent rain and flooding, the trails have become overgrown and sometimes barely recognizable.  Even the on the wider trails the weeds and grass encroach to the point that they appeared to be single tracks.  Worst of all, the park is redoing the trails, putting in gravel trails in place of some of my favorite mountain bike trails, hence the "paved paradise" quote above.  It wouldn't be so bad except the gravel is loose and really slows down your bike, plus the loose stuff pulls on your tires pushing you in all directions.  On top of that, the trail never was very technical but there were some dips, holes and roots to hop or avoid that made it a little more challenging.  They flattened the trail out now.  Its great for pedestrians but they have ruined it as a biking trail.  I'm sure they'll trim back the trees as well ruining the awesome canopy tunnels that give the trail its character.  Today I noticed that they have begun grading another trail for pedestrians. 

I guess I shouldn't gripe too much because its still an awesome park with plenty of mountain bike trails and single track left.  If I'd never ridden these trails prior to them grading and filling with gravel, I'd probably still think they were cool trails.  I just hope they know when to stop and which trails to leave alone.

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