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spinchick: b'ham ride review for your turkey day trip (mtb)(4 posts)

spinchick: b'ham ride review for your turkey day trip (mtb)Js Haiku Shop
Nov 5, 2001 8:39 AM
bunch of wooden bridges, some two feet long, some ten yards long. the trail doesn't get too tight, but there are some technical sections between north trailhead and south trailhead (traveling counter-clockwise), some that i walked. i might have ridden half of them if i wasn't riding alone. i didn't want to be found unconscious on the side of the trail. halfway through the north-south trailhead portion of the ride, there are some (small) fun downhill switchbacks.

trail dumps out on park roads before the south trailhead. pass the parking lot and go (immediately) right, winding left and follow trail markings. it starts to climb several hundred feet off the bat, and doesn't really stop 'til you crest. i can't really say, but it could have been a couple miles (felt like it). this is all the mtb climbing i was hoping for...there were a few points i wanted to stop and take in the vista, and when i did, it was a b1tch getting clipped back in and going (rocky, steep). other parts i had problems keeping eyes on the trail, as it was cut into the side of a pretty sizeable hill (was this a mountain? maybe a small one), and being attentive seemed important. i could look ahead, straight up, and see the trail where i was going, and look four feet left, off the hill, straight down, and see where i'd been. pretty cool.

crest the long climb around the shelter and you can look off into the distance over a valley with a medium-sized town (looks like a sim city screen from there). ride along that ridge for a few minutes, then the last ~3 miles is mostly an attempt to bleed off the speed before major rock beds and large, stone culverts send you flying into the air at 25mph sans-a-bike. last ~1.5 miles downhill, pucker factor (1-10) seven. only saw five other folks on the whole ride, all going up that long downhill, three pretty fit and together, the other absolutely suffering at the base of the last one. i'll definately ride this one again! worth stuffing my mtb in the back of the explorer and packing around it.

B.U.M.P.'s trail information, the best resource i found

if you're following these directions:

* Take I-65 approximately 15 miles south of Birmingham to Exit 246 (Cahaba Valley Rd / Rt. 119).
* Follow the signs for Oak Mountain State Park, depending on which way you are coming. aware that the sign is very small, and you must turn down the road towards the park to see the sign (ugh!). when you get off i-65 going south, the road (small 2-lane) to the park runs south, parallel to the interstate. park is less than 3 miles from the exit, south.

* print the trail map from the BUMP page and take it with you on the bike. there were a couple places i used it.

* for a taxing 3-mile climb, strewn with large rocks and other obstacles in the trail, ride clockwise from the north trailhead. to make that climb a 3-mile descent with your tail on fire right to the parking lot at the end of the ride, ride counter-clockwise from the north trailhead. i had to hike-a-bike some places that looked like they were only rideable by trials guys. next time i'll ride clockwise, just for the lung/legburner.

* park opens at 7:00 AM. i got there at 5:50, just before sunrise, and the gate was open and they let me in (don't tell anybody!). $2 at the door.

* from the main gate to the north trailhead is a 5 mile drive inside the park. speed limit starts at 35 mph and goes down to 25. watch your speed carefully.

* 6am: 42 degrees. 9am: 56 degrees.

* most of the "climbs" are off-camber :o)

* i experienced zero fl*ts, but there are some sharp rocks, lots of 'em, and i'd hate to be stuck miles from the car up some really big-arse hill

* when i called the local shops in advance, i was told it could be ridden by a fit cycilst in about 90 minutes. i rode a century in late september at 18 mph, no problems. even considering i suck with the mtb, and had never laid eyes on this dirt before, i still feel my TWO AND A HALF HOURS on the trail wasn't too horrible. computer read 16.4 miles. pitiful, ain't it?
So, you had fun at 6:00am?Spinchick
Nov 5, 2001 8:57 AM
I don't remember them charging the $2 when I lived in B'ham. Could be I just forgot about it. You did the REAL ride, cool. I used to take my dogs and ride along the service roads all over Oak Mt. We all had fun - 'specially after a nice, wet rain.
the earlier, the better...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 5, 2001 10:45 AM
but, for some reason, i missed the fact that you lived there/had been to the park. duh! my objective was to fill you in on the logistics of getting there and the actual ride...d'oh!

yep, t'was fun. quite impressed with the condition of the trail and upkeep. it must see mucho traffic. also <6 miles from where i was staying, where i can stay anytime, with short notice. only problem is the drive from elvisville.
Nov 5, 2001 11:02 AM
It's okay, I enjoyed reading your ride report. It's a very popular trail. Lot's of traffic on weekends in the spring and summer. Nothing like it within two hours from where I live in Jersey. :-( Hopefully the weather will cooperate for or the day after.