It’s been a hot, hot summer and I’ve had little desire to do anything outside. I got most of my trail maintenance done at UWF and it was rewarding to ride some well maintained trails throughout the loop but it wasn’t enjoyable being out there sweating buckets and suffering through the heat and humidity. Riding has been a chore also. I’ve done numerous laps at UWF but I can’t say I’ve looked forward tothem. I broke out the road bike several weeks ago in preparation for the inaugural Pensacola Cycling Classic, a three stage, two day event in September. I don’t plan on doing well even in the cat 5 and slower class but I would at best like to enjoy myself and hopefully not embarrass myself. I’ve done a couple of loops around the airport and one sweltering trip out to the beach and back but I haven’t racked up many miles yet. If it’s considerably cooler next weekend I might try a Blackwater ride out of Milton. A good 50 miler is in order. The Fenner/Wantz ride is in October and I’m looking forward to that ride also. I volunteered to do the maps for the ride so I hope no one gets lost.
I usually try to wait for the temps to drop before I start doing any trail work up at Blackwater but I’ll probably begin doing something easy in early September. I’ve got three things I want to accomplish this season: build the new trail from the parking area to the trail head, build a shortcut on Serpentinas and make the shortcutted section more technical, and clear some emergency/maintenance routes out to the farthest reaches of the trail. Also if time permits I would like to scope some of the southern parcel for possible trails.
The new trail shouldn’t take much to build but I need to spend a day or so looking for tortoise holes. That will be the first thing to do and can be done when it’s still hot outside. I would like to get a handful of people to help out with this so we can comb the whole area and get accurate locations so I can lay out the trail with out any surprises. I plan on building from the trail head downhill to the parking area so when we go through the thick stuff it might be a little cooler and less snaky and buggy.
The shortcut and technical additions to Serpentinas will probably go hand in hand with the emergency/maintenance routes and it will, I imagine, take quite a while. I think the shortcut will knock off about 2 miles although I haven’t in any way measured this distance. It’s hard to describe where the shortcut begins and ends but it’s a fairly straight shot. The technical stuff will be the trail that goes way out and in reality it won’t be that technical. I would like to build some good sized water bars and throw in a couple of log drops and probably berm up some turns. Pretty mild but it should add a little fun. The emergency/maintenance routes are already there, they just need to be cleared a little and marked somehow so EMTs and trail workers can get in and out efficiently and people that are lost can shortcut their way out.