Friday, June 16, 2006


JRPS -Finally

This post was started over 2 weeks ago, the ride happened the day after the Captech Classic. Just before all the photo posting stopped.

Some sweet (very) technical MTB trails IN the middle of a major city? Sounds impossible, at least unlikely. Till you see the James River Park System in Richmond. Been wanting to ride it for a good while. Today had the chance at last. Even had a great guide. Funny thing is I wanted an easy ride. (credit jesse for the map)

"An easy ride around JRPS"

That's what you call an oxymoron. With me being the moron for thinking there could be an easy way around the place. Especially the Forest Hills section. "Seemingly" endless switchback climbs, sweeping fast descents, dense foliage. Somewhere in Forest Hills Phil looks back and says "This is where the pain starts". Ummm Phil..........I've hurting for a while already..........................

The thing that really makes the place special is the trail building and clean up done by the local MTB community. Some really really nice bench cutting, fortification and bridge building. All paid for with the time effort and money from MTBers. The pictures are few and far between and don't do the place justice.

Across the pedestrian walkway under the Robert E. Lee bridge from the Tredeger lot at the end of 5th St.

To Belle Island then over the steel bridge to the south bank of the James River. The river was running low.

I have other photos, but of course, can't post 'em. BIG thanks to Phil for showing me around.

One of the most incredible sections of the loop is a new ramp built by mountain bikers with donated time AND money. This ramp allows you to bypass the neighborhood around Maymount park, dropping back down to the river just after crossing the Nickel Bridge. The ramp was just finished in time for the XTerra Triathlon and Urban Assault MTB race this weekend. It isn't just an amazing ramp, its an architectural masterpiece! The steep sections have inlaid sandstone brick for traction. It even made the Richmond paper. This ramp took hundreds (maybe thousands) of man hours, not too mention thousands upon thousands of dollars. A real tribute to those selfless folks with the dreams, vision, time, and heart to pull the thing off. More photos of the construction here.

Back to the present day........................... I went out for a group ride Thursday evening. Thursday is normally a day off, but 4-5 inches of rain kept me inside on Wednesday. This ride is a local classic (someone said the ride is in it's 22nd year) that I'd heard about before but never tried. Basically just a bunch of the fastest guys around in a group that goes like hell. Around these parts it's known as "The Pungo Death Ride". Last night I got first hand experience why...................I died...................... maybe a few times. But my legs fealt good, and I'm sure to be back for more abuse.



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