Monday, June 15, 2020

Southside Park

John had invited me to ride Southside Park with him, Mark, and Marc on the same day that I was up at Unicoi with Billy. I couldn't ride with him, but as neither of us had ridden it before, I asked him about it afterward, and he gave it a positive report.


Fast forward a bit... Or, actually way back, and then forward again...

I once had a Chris King/Open Pro wheelset for my road bike, broke the rim, swapped them for an old set of Ksyriums from my brother's old road bike, and eventually swapped them again for a full XTR group/wheelset that came off of his new road bike when he upgraded his stuff. So, basically I had an old King rear hub lying around with a perfectly good freehub body in it. This past Saturday, I got Glen to replace the worn-out one on my mountain bike with the good one from the old road hub. As fate would have it, he could crank the cassette nut down to his heart's content.


The Rolling Junk Show lives again.

I was eager to hit Southside Park, but I couldn't get away yesterday. Fortunately, there are two days to every weekend, and today was that second day.

Billy met me at my place around 10:00am, and we were off.

Off to the Waffle House, that is. I was starving, and there was only one cure - a chicken sandwich. Odd think to get at Waffle House, I know, but that's the way it was. Strange things were afoot at the Waffle House though. That one by my house is usually all-around-great, but today they were having trouble. There were various people waiting for to-go orders, and one couple waiting on a table. There was one table available, but it hadn't been bused. Apparently, not just anyone can bus a table at Waffle House. The greeter guy can't. The cooks can't. The servers can't. The manager can't. Just the busboy. And he wasn't around. Everybody but my got their order and left. That couple was still waiting. The busboy comes in from whatever he was doing and gets told to take care of the table. He spins around like he's headed to the dining room. Never see him again. Five minutes later I get my food and the couple is still waiting. If it'd been me, I don't think I'd have waited that long. It wasn't clear who to fault either. Everybody was working really hard. I couldn't tell what the busboy was up to. Maybe some other important thing. Defnitely atypical for them.

I had my sandwich though, and consumed it greedily on the ride down.

Southside Park is ITP. There's all kinds of good stuff ITP, if you know where to find it, and I'm learning where to find it, little-by-little.

The park itself is kind-of nondescript. Baseball fields and the like. There is this amazing sculpture though.

That's a bunch of old-aluminum bats.

The trails are pretty interesting too. There's a beginner loop - 1.5 miles, with minimal elevation and nothing technical, but man does it flow. I wanted it to be like 3 times as long, and just rip it. There's also a connector over to an intermediate trail, which abruptly crosses this weird spillway.

I'm not sure what's spilling over it. There are like 5 unnamed creeks that all come together upstream. The land is really flat there, so maybe they come together into a bit of a swamp, which generally flows north, and coalesces into a more well defined stream somewhere up there. Whatever the deal is, it's a unique feature that I've never seen before.

The intermediate trail is more of that same flow, with a little more elevation, and a bunch of rock. Like Blanket's Creek South Loop levels of rock. Not everywhere though, just here and there.

The expert trail is stacked on top of that one. A guy at the trailhead told us that it's not officially open, and there are fences up blocking it, but just ride around them because the local chapter wants people to pack it down. That sounded incredibly unlikely, but he sounded all authoritative about it, and so I felt compelled to follow his directions. Sorry Brett.

That trail is the rockiest thing I've ever ridden. And, that includes Dug Gap. Although there are more miles at Dug Gap, they are not even as densely rocky as this. I had to walk a bunch of it the first time through, but cleaned the whole trail the second time.


My rear tire kept getting low. I had to pump it up after the first lap, and needed to again as we were finishing the second. It was also starting to rain as we were approaching the lot. Rather than get hit with the full force of it, we decided to spin another lap around the beginner trail, chancing it with my low tire, while it was still semi-dry in the woods. This turned out to be the right move, as the rain was just starting to make it through the canopy as we finished the lap, then abruptly stopped as we pulled into the lot.


We didn't get in too many miles. Maybe 15 total, but I really dug the trail. There are plans to build trail at 2 more nearby parks, with greenways connecting them. If they end up anything like the trail at Southside, then it sounds like a great idea. I can't wait to string them together!

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