I didn't have much planned for this morning so I decided to make a run to Big Spring and check out the new MTB trail progress from West Texas Trail Alliance. Jason at Peyton's Bikes in Midland told me it was rideable and to check it out, so I took him up on his suggestion.
It turned out to be a great day for riding some trails. Cool weather and sun brought out all the trail enthusiasts. In the couple hours I was there, I saw about a dozen trail runners and hikers using the new trail system, no other cyclists though. I took off counter clockwise from the parking lot to experience the new trail. Almost 3/4 of the way around the mountain I saw the mini backhoe being used by the trail crew - still working on some route that went off to the right again. Up near the water tank the trail split and I performed a mental roll of the dice and turned right. That trail quickly got rough - not in a bad way necessarily, more in a 'new trail' way. After a few more minutes I had done a figure 8 and was coming up behind that same backhoe. I chatted briefly with the operator and carried on.
After a rest and some water at the truck, I wanted to see what the trail was like going clockwise. So off I went again. This time when I approached the water tank I stayed to the right to avoid the section of the trail that was in progress at the moment. There was another member of the trail crew working on that side but he was manning the rake doing some detail work. We briefly joked about how hard it must be to get anything done with the traffic. He mentioned he was glad to see people enjoying it. I thanked hime for his work and pedaled on. This second ride is a more accurate depiction of the primary loop.
First I have to say, I'm not a pro mountain biker. I'm a recreational mountain biker who has not done much singletrack lately. On the 2nd route map, around mile 1/5 to 2, in the switchbacks there are some deliberately placed larger rocks in strategic locations to add some interest for more technical riders. Again around mile 3 are a few more. The rest of the route is a nice blend of smooth fast sections, switchbacks, hairpin turns and some nice variation in the ups and downs.
I will be making this a weekly ride as much as possible considering it's near my workplace.
It was great to see people out at the park and it was great to just go have fun ride. I have visited the park before this trail was here and it's rare to see more than 4 or 5 cars in the small parking lot. Today, it was packed. People were parking around the side road near the entrance and walking in. Hopefully as this trail gets even more complete this trend will continue.