This 51-mile multi-use trail provides visitors a calm and scenic escape from the busy city life. Each season creates a unique landscape so you can enjoy a different adventure depending on the time of year.
History of the railway
A group of businessmen from Lawrence pushed for the construction of a railroad to the Gulf of Mexico in 1858, forming the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad Company (LL&G RR Co.) in the same year. It was not until 1867, however, that the project was actually started.
The section that goes to Ottawa was completed on New Year’s Day the following year. After a short break, construction resumed about a year later, finishing the section that goes to Coffeyville in 1871. A total of 143.83 miles of track has been laid out by this time.
By 1875, however, the LL&G RR Co. ended up in receivership and was eventually sold under foreclosure about three years later in 1878. The company was renamed to Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad Company the same year, only to be renamed again to Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern just a year later.
In 1880, the rapidly expanding Santa Fe Railroad took control of the company but let it operate under the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Railroad Company. By December of the same year, the company was consolidated under the Southern Kansas Railroad Company name together with the Ottawa & Burlington Railroad and the Kansas City & Olanthe Railroad.
Around two years later, the new company was renamed to Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company—a name it would keep until the mid 1970s.
The trail today
Bikers and hikers alike are treated to a relaxing journey through nature. Towering oak, cottonwood, redbud, sycamore, hickory, cedar and hazelnut trees line several sections of the trail. The steep banks are decorated with dewberries and blackberries. The remaining sections feature thick masses of colorful wildflowers such as May apple, Queen Anne’s lace, Dutchman’s breeches, ox-eye daisies, butterfly milkweed and wild Kansas sunflowers.
Of course, there are a lot of animals as well. Cottontail rabbits can be found darting playfully all around the trail. There are also wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, fox squirrels, quail and great horned owls. On top of the trees, various kinds of songbirds provide a soothing soundtrack to make your journey much more tranquil. Finally, you can see ducks playfully splashing around the various lakes and ponds around the area.
The famed six-mile trail was built to take residents, tourists, hikers and bikers on a journey through the city’s river vistas and historic sites.
The official trailhead can be found at Fort Decker on West Main Street. From there, the trail goes right, taking you to Ferry Street. Once on Ferry Street, it turns left at River Road and takes you all the way to Water Street. From there, it turns left at Pike Street. It turns left once again and right at King Street. Once on King Street, it makes a loop around Riverside Park, passing the ball field and dike along the way.
From the park, the trail will take you back to Pike Street via King Street and then lead you right to the underpass. It then loops back around and turns left at Front Street, taking you all the way to East Main Street. Once you reach East Main Street, the trail will turn right at South Street, leading you to the west entrance of Delaware Drive and the Laurel Grove Cemetery.
From Delaware Drive, the trail then heads on over to Tri-States Rock, the junction where New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York meet. From here, it exits Laurel Grove Cemetery via Neversink Road, taking you back to East Main Street. From East Main Street, it turns left at Sussex Street and right at Broome Street, where it passes through Orange Square and crosses Pike Street. It then goes to Canal Street, turns right at the first block and left at West Main Street. From here, you can make your way back to the official trailhead at Fort Decker.
Fort Decker Museum of History
Originally built in 1760, the stone house found on the trail’s official trailhead was burnt down during the Revolutionary War in 1779. It was rebuilt in 1793 and served as a hotel, tavern and private residence since then before it was developed into a museum in 1970.
Railroad Bridge Pier
This stone pier in the middle of the river is the only thing that remains of a late 19th century railroad bridge that was built to connect Matamoras and Milford in Pennsylvania to the Erie Main Line and Port Jervis. The bridge was eventually destroyed by strong river currents.
Stay tuned for part two where we will talk about all the other great places to see along the trail.
The Park City area is an awesome skiing spot during winter and home to over 150 miles of great hiking and biking trails during summer. Let’s take a look.
This 4.5-mile trail is perfect for beginners. The roads are pretty level throughout except for a very short ascend near the trailhead—which should not be a problem as well for any healthy person. This allows bikers to focus on admiring the lush and fragrant forests that the trail passes through. There are also campsites and picnic areas for people who want to take a break along the way.
Now, if you are looking for a slightly bigger adventure, then you can easily move to the more advanced Taylor Fork-Cedar Hollow ATV Trail system, which the Beaver Creek Trail is a part of.
Deer Valley Resort
Named as one of the top 10 mountain bike destinations by Mountain Bike Action magazine, Deer Valley Resort is famous for its chairlift facilities, which allow bikers to climb the mountain with ease and choose from a wide range of exciting trail options once on top.
The resort also offers bike rentals and lessons throughout the area so it is perfect for beginners who are just getting into the sport and have yet to purchase their own gear.
This 8.4-mile trail provides a relatively easy ride through three ecosystems: bitterbrush and sagebrush, bottomland and sedges, and oak and maple. More experienced bikers can easily finish the entire loop in about an hour. If you are looking for a slightly shorter ride, however, you can just take the cutoff trail that splits the loop in two.
High Meadow Loop
This single track trail passes through pine, fir and aspen forests. It is rated as having moderate difficulty so beginners should still be able to handle it.
The trail ends at the Red Pine Lodge.
Now, the term “downhill” may lead you into thinking that this 4-mile trail is a piece of cake. Unfortunately, it is rated as having extreme difficulty so if you are a beginner, then it is best to stay away until you gain more experience on easier trails.
For more experienced bikers, on the other hand, this trail is a great alternate route to take if you want to go down from the mid mountain trail.
Let’s take a break for now. Stay tuned for more awesome Park City area trails in part 2! Which Park City mountain bike trails are your favorite?
Check out our Guide to Great Glen’s Trail.
Cramps: What We Know About Prevention
The two primary culprits for cramps appear to be fitness and hydration status.
Fatigue Induced Cramps
Fatigue cramps are the most prevelant types of cramps. They are essentially the consequence of a muscle hitting a point of exhaustion and going into a hyper-excitability state due to aberrant brain-muscle communication.
Have you ever noticed that your muscles seem to cramp only at the worst times, such as during a race? This is most likely to be fatigue cramps, and an indicator that you are missing out on an important aspect of training. That aspect is typically race intensity training.
For those that follow my blog, you know I am a fan of base building using your heart rate for monitoring. This type of training helps prevent injury and results in improvements in “aerobic speed” (see post on heart rate monitoring), which is important to becoming faster over longer distances. I put myself through an experiment prior to last season where I didn’t do anything but heart rate training for several months leading up to the race season. The results? I was a much faster triathlete all season despite not ever doing speed work, but I did have cramping issues during races.
As race season approaches, it is important that you mix in race-effort intensity into your training. If you don’t, you are asking for a bonk, muscle fatigue, and fatigue cramps. A race is generally not the time to introduce your muscles to a new level of intensity. That doesn’t mean you should go out and cook yourself each workout. But, it does mean your body should at least be adapted to the intensity level. Typically, 1-2 days per week of intervaled race intensity work is enough. Anymore, and you risk over-training (see my blog on cumulative stress and over-training syndrome).
Try mixing in these workouts into your routine (for a 70.3 or Half-Ironman distance triathlon):
Key Interval Run Off Bike:
Spin easy on trainer or flat outdoor route for 60 minutes, then do a 1:15 – 1:30 run off the bike with the following sets (4 x 10 minutes at 10 seconds below goal race pace with 5 minute recovery run between sets. Follow this with 5 x 3 minutes at 20 seconds below goal race pace with 2 minute recovery run between).
Key Interval Bike With Short Run Off Bike
On your long ride day, mix in 5-8 sets of 10 minutes at your race pace with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. End the bike with a 20 minute time trial. Do a short, easy effort 20 minute run off the bike.
Drink a protein shake or recovery shake immediately after these workouts. Here is my favorite recovery shake:
1 TBSP Honey
2 Level Scoops Hammer Nutrition Recoverite (chocolate!)
2 Cups Vanilla Almond Milk (Coconut Milk or Regular Milk can be subsituted)
4 Ice Cubes
Make sure you follow this workout with a low intensity day the following day, such as a long easy/moderate swim. Putting your muscles and joints through that intensity requires recovery.
Hydration and Cramps
Both dehydration and over-hydration can cause cramps. Both result in a loss of electrolytes. There are several different opinions on proper hydration leading up to a race. Because of variable sweat and water loss rates among individuals, it is very difficult to give specific recommendations on how much fluid to take in leading up to a race.
I generally simply recommend monitoring your urine color. Prior to the start of the race, your urine should be relatively clear and colorless. During the race, I subscribe to the 1 bottle per hour during the bike with electrolytes every other bottle as a starting point. During the run, grab something every aid station for an Ironman and at least every other aid station during a 70.3 as a starting point. If conditions are hot and humid, or you are at higher altitudes, or you have a higher than normal sweat rate, you may want to increase your fluid intake during the race. But, don’t overdo it. If water is sloshing around your gut, slow the fluid intake down.
Proper hydration can be made more complex than the above if you so desire. I generally choose to keep it simple, as there isn’t a lot of research showing the more complex methods result in better outcomes. This is where experimenting during training can make all the difference. Train in all types of conditions and experiment with different intakes.
If you are planning a nice bike getaway with your family, then this is the place for you. Great Glen’s carriage roads are perfect for this purpose. The well-marked and paved routes will give you and your family the opportunity to explore the forest, ride through breathtaking meadows, pass beautiful rivers and stop to admire the great Mt. Washington.
If you are looking for a more challenging adventure, on the other hand, then simply make your way through the woods and head on over to Great Glen’s system of single track trails. There are many long loops and challenging sections to choose from. And with trails called Outback, Plunge and Whiplash, you just know that you are in for an exciting ride.
Pump what? A pump track is simply a series of rollers and berms arranged in a continuous loop. This type of track design allows you to keep moving without pedaling. It can be a bit challenging at first, but it is a lot of fun once you master it. You can even get your friends to join in and see who can last the longest without stopping.
Great Glen’s pump track is located just below the Glen Meadows Slice. It is right before intersection number five.
If you are looking to take your riding skills to the next level, Great Glen has got you covered in that regard as well. Just sign up for personalized mountain bike lessons and learn all sorts of new techniques and refine you current skill sets. Are you, for example, having trouble climbing or going down single track trails? The instructors at Great Glen can help you with it. Do you want to refine your transition technique? They can do that too. And, as a bonus, they can also help you learn about various training techniques and offer fitness tips that would help you conquer rides of all lengths and levels of difficulty.
But wait, there’s more! If you have been thinking of joining the 24 Hours of Great Glen, then these lessons can easily be customized to help you better prepare for it. Your instructor can take you out on the actual track for a practice run so you know what to expect come race day.
For those who are not familiar, the 24 Hours of Great Glen is, as the name implies, a 24-hour annual bike race that is held during the weekend-long Pinkham Notch, NH mountain bike festival.
The breathtaking views are probably one of the reasons why Zion National Park was named as the top vacation spot by Trip Advisor in 2009. But all the fun activities you can do here do not hurt either. You can hike, climb, take awesome photos and of course, bike.
The 30-mile long and 15-mile wide park is located just half an hour from Interstate 15 if you are coming from Salt Lake City, California or Nevada. It features elevations ranging between 4,000 and 8,700 feet.
Now, on to the trails!
Pa ‘Rus Trail
Let us start with something easy. Pa ‘Rus is the most beginner-friendly trail in the entire park. It is a 3.5 mile route that runs through the park’s lower areas. The ride starts at the South Campground and follows the Virgin River all the way up Zion Canyon’s wide valley.
Make sure you don’t miss the colorful towers Bridge Mountain, East Temple, The Watchman and The Sentinel along the way. Expect to encounter various forms of wildlife such as mule deer and jack rabbits as well.
From fall through spring, the trail is perfect for hiking or biking all day long. During the summer, on the other hand, it is best to go early in the morning or as soon as the sun sets because it can get really hot during the middle of the day.
Gooseberry Mesa Trail
Located three miles west of the Park’s entrance, this 10-mile out-and-back trail is flat throughout so beginners should not have any trouble completing it as well. However, a new and more challenging trail system that connects to the original trail has recently been developed so the area now has something to offer more experienced bikers.
The new trail system features challenging slickrock sections and single track trails that weave through Manzanita, ponderosa, juniper and pinyon.
Right Fork Bunker Creek Trail
The official trailhead for this 14-mile trail can be found at the Brian Head Peak at an elevation of 11,307 feet. This downhill adventure takes you all the way to Panguitch Lake, treating you to breathtaking views and one awesome adrenaline rush.
Make sure to check your bike for any problems before taking on this trail though. You don’t want anything to go wrong while you are speeding downhill. Also, while the ride is generally easy, there are some sections that require some technical skill so beginners should take extra care when taking on this trail.
It’s hot outside. If you could use a little virtual cool down, check out this video of the Glacier Bike Downhill, a downhill mountain bike race done completely on groomed ski trails. If they are really going 144 km/h that’s about 89 mph on a mountain bike.
On May 26 I got the opportunity to race the Rainbow International Cup for the 3rd time on the small island of Tobago. I love everything about this race. The volunteers and race director do a great job of putting it on despite it being a smaller race.
I felt pretty confident leading into the race. Ive worked really hard on my run over the Winter and Spring, so I wanted to see if I could throw down a fast and powerful 10K. I got to Tobago Wednesday night so I had a few days to relax and get everything situated before race. Two days before the race I ended up getting really sick with a fever and sore throat. Why did this have to happen on my biggest race of the year? I guess it was a test to see how far I could push myself:) On Friday I stayed in bed for most of the day trying to sleep the sickness off then yanked myself out of bed for the evening race meeting.
Race Day:Swim: I woke up feeling even worse than the day before. I knew that the upper 90 degree temps and the 90% humidity would probably not make it any better but I decided to atleast start the race. The swim was pretty relaxed and very cool to be swimming in the ocean. I only had to fight for position in the beginning but settled into the lead about half way through the 1st lap of 2. I exited the water in 1st and knew i had to push the bike so i could have some time spared on the run.
The Bike course was 44k and 8 laps of mostly flat terrain. They couldnt close the course to cars or cows so it made for a scary ride. And when I say cows, I mean there were a few trying to cross the road as the race was going on which resulted in a few athletes running into them.. Good thing for my Fezzari T-5 and handeling skills or I could have brought a bad kind of souviner home to the states. I could tell right away that my legs didnt have much power so I just tried to ride tempo and hope that I dont blow up. Unfortunately, I started to really fade on lap 6 of the bike and was passed by a German and then a girl from the UK on the last lap. I really wanted to just throw in the towel but I didn’t travel all this way to quit, sick or not.
I started the run feeling pretty good considering how crappy the bike went… I managed to pass both girls on the first lap which was such a motivator for me. I dont know how but I came across the line in first and almost cried! I made sure to take in the last 800 meters as wins dont come by all the time. Im very fortunate getting the opportunity race in Tobago. Hopefully I will be back next year to defend my title:)
Next race is the Dinoland Triathlon in Vernal, Utah on June 23.