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Ridenfool

Rocky HIll Ranch Trail Conditions

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Posted (edited)

Went out early on Saturday for a "ride and trim" loop with the Fiskers 15" loppers hanging on the belt. Got started at 0730 while the temps were in the high 70s and finished up around 1130 at 92 F.

The trails are in great shape and with four hours of effort many of the face slappers and other foliage got a haircut. I opened up a few sections to offer better sight lines through turns and cleaned up a few trouble spots. There is always more to do. That stuff grows faster than we can address it.

Anyone starting a ride between 0630 and 0800 should be able to easily finish a lap without melting. There are three places to stop on the loop, each with a picnic table and water available, and they are now getting names. Finally, something more creative than Water 1, 2, 3.

The legacy Water 1 that has been there forever now hosts a 6-way intersection. Grey's Highway (also the end of Fat Chuck's Demise), Karaway, Hard Boil, Black Trac, and Litterbox all converge here, so it will be dubbed "Crossroads" for obvious reasons.

The second one is where Lemonade hits the West Fenceline and will be called "Lemonade Stand" after the Lemonade trail that ends there. This will be a BYOL venue (bring yer own lemonade).

The last one is located where Black Trac now ends and Sofa King Fun Trail begins. This is my favorite stop as it offers a nearly constant breeze under the shade of pines with a nice view to the Southwest.  "Ventoso Vista" rolls off the tongue nicely and seems an appropriate moniker. (Breezy View)

Signs for these will be coming soon as that is something I can work on in air conditioned comfort while the Texas Summer broils outside.

 

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

Paul is putting in a "Bypass" line for the banked wood technical trail feature early into Black Trac. We figure the option would be welcomed by those who find the TTF a bit daunting.

I'll get a sign made up soon to define the optional Technical and Bypass lines.

 

Edit:

Decided on a name for that TTF.

The sign will read:

<-- SHART-CUT

      BYPASS -->

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

Hot Off the Presses!

Here's a new version of the RHR map I cobbled together in air conditioned comfort.

PDF and GPX files attached.

TrailMap_6_22.thumb.png.a21a77e7695943a27b2fedcbe33db44e.png

EDIT: Replaced Trail MAP PDF with one that includes Trail Map and Trail Descriptions

Trails_and_Descriptions.pdf

 

RHR_AllTrailsRoads_6_13_22.gpx

 

Edited by Ridenfool
Replaced Map PDF with one that includes Descriptions
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Trailforks now has all individual trails and roads listed, along with descriptions for each.

 

Riding conditions at RHR are dry, dry, dry. I think I saw one of the RHR Racing Lizards choking on the dust after we rode by.

What is hard pack under moister conditions is becoming silt in several turns. Still a hoot to ride, with the added bonus that I get to sharpen a skill set only Summer provides the opportunity for.

If I start a ride before 0900 I'm usually done with a lap before it hits 90 degrees.

Get up early, and come get some.

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Posted (edited)

 Put up new signs marking the TTFs. Here's the one on Black Trac for "Shart Cut" and its Bypass line

Shart_Cut.thumb.jpg.25e8cd46776847a6ce0e7df5c046e848.jpg

While out there, I also installed laminated RHR Maps at the three Rest Stops. Here's the one at Lemonade Stand.

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Took a little time to do some dirt work, stump cutting (it gave me a purple toe on the last ride, it had to go), and a little bit of trail building before taking a quick spin around the place. Then it got intolerable and I dashed off to the air conditioned comforts of home.

It was Safari Day at Rocky Hill. While on the ride I saw rabbits, squirrels, a black cat (stalking a rabbit), two turkey youts out for a stroll, and a deer. The Doe was slowly walking off the trail. The fact that it was not running was a head-scratcher, until I spotted the tiny fawn laying flat, right beside the trail. Missed it by inches at the last moment.

The Rocky Hill Racing Lizards were also out training on the trails. Those guys and gals are fast!

Edited by Ridenfool
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Did more work on Litterbox today. Took the trail over four more "clumps" left by the cats (bulldozers) which the trail had been going around. The TMBRA prez and Paul got first wheels on it and gave the new sections a thumbs up.

Looked like eight or ten cars in the parking lot today as I was leaving at about 1100. The popular plan seems to be to get there early and finish the loop before it hits 90.

Keeping fingers crossed for the promised rain tomorrow, and looking forward for a break in high temps over the next few days.

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Decided to take advantage of this cold snap today. Did some fine tuning on the new climb on Black Trac that should smooth it out a bit.

20220628_094123.thumb.jpg.f7b753a067e2ae08fd47a8d5a114a14c.jpg

I then mosied over to a section of Karaway across from Freeride 512 and added a new section to the trail that takes it over a few more of the dirt piles there.

After all that I got to feeling about done for the day, so I downed ~48 oz. of water, followed closely by a Shiner Ruby Red. With the tank topped off it was time to get back in the AC for the rest of the day.

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The trail conditions at Rocky Hill are pretty sweet. Just a few days past Hero Dirt from the recent rain.

With a three-day weekend upon us, RHR temperatures will be prime if you can get on the trail in the morning. Though I've seen riders coming out in the hot part of the day recently too. With the trees shading so much of the trail it sure takes the edge off riding in direct sun.

More good news! There is a new brewery in town. Smithville Brewing Company They are currently offering taps of other Texas craft brewers while ramping their production. There is a food trailer (Bay Bay'z Seafood 👍) there through this weekend. SBC are located on the right as you drive from RHR into Smithville, a little ways past the Airport entrance. Happy Hour is 4-6 with $2 off pints (bought an Oatmeal Stout and an Eastciders for less than $6). They have open-air seating inside and a Biergarten outside with picnic tables and shade cloth overhead. I'm thinking this is going to be a great hang-out for post-ride and post-trail-work recovery therapy.

 

Come get some!

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Posted (edited)

Cleared a fallen tree on Loblolly yesterday. As I was wrapping that up I met two riders from Dripping Springs who had come to Rocky Hill to ride under the shade of the Pines and get off the open Limestone trails that usually cook them on that side of Austin. They gave me an idea for the next route I'll share with MTBProject and Trailforks. I'll test ride it and record it soon, if it works out.

It was clearly the Ford of July in the parking lot. Four pickups and my van all bearing the marque.

Getting ready to head out at dawn to get some work done before the oven gets up to temperature.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Did an early ride today, starting at 8:30. Trail surface is dry and there will be some dust kicked up, so, spacing between riders is a good idea if you don't want dust in your diet.

All the shade from the trees make this ride not too bad, even when starting at 87F and finishing up in the mid 90s.

I recorded a new "Recommended Route" and will be uploading it to MTBProject and Trailforks. It will be called Plan B - A Figure 8 and is achieved by riding the upper trails in a clockwise direction. Do this by getting on Litterbox, going right, behind the picnic table at Crossroads Rest Stop (formerly Water 1). This way is Litterbox, Y-Knot, Loblolly, Lemonade, Tristy, and comes back to Crossroads Rest Stop on Karaway. Reverse to how most folks ride it. Be cautious of oncoming traffic when riding this as a clockwise section.

Then, finish the ride by picking up Black Trac behind the picnic table and follow the normal loop back to the parking lot.

It was a hoot riding this way. Like finding more new trail!

Y'all come get some shade while it is hot out!

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Posted (edited)

Paul put in another couple of berms on Karaway in the wee hours of dawn, well before the oven finished pre-heating.

KWberm1.thumb.jpg.3384788f219dcf54132a9e56e421a049.jpg

KWberm2.thumb.jpg.7f53b54887a6ac53521ebd041562ea06.jpg

This was his last act of attrition prior to abandoning us to the whims of the the air fryer that is Central Texas 🥵 while he luxuriates in the mountainous clime 🥶 of Angel Fire for the next couple of months.

Best wishes on the retreat to the Land of Enchantment, amigo.

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11 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

This was his last act of attrition prior to abandoning us to the whims of the the air fryer that is Central Texas 🥵 while he luxuriates in the mountainous clime 🥶 of Angel Fire for the next couple of months.

Best wishes on the retreat to the Land of Enchantment, amigo.

Speaking of air fryers -- I'll be up there with him for some of that time 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Got a ride in yesterday morning. Starting at 0900 and riding 13 miles so as to be comfortably sipping suds by 1100 under a shade tree in the parking lot. Taking advantage of the cold snap that dropped temps marginally for a couple of days. Forecast shows we're back to busting 100 again and still I'm headed back out for a repeat on Sunday with plans to finish a lap just as it gets to about 90F.

The conditions are dry and some of the turns are getting a little silty without moisture to tighten things up. The shade from the trees while riding and the breeze at Ventoso Vista rest stop are the saving graces for riding in the Summer at Rocky Hill.

Paul's new berms on Karaway are well placed and will be perfect once they get some rain on them. I've also been plugging away on other improvements and maintenance a little at a time.

Edited by Ridenfool
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7 hours ago, Ridenfool said:

Got a ride in yesterday morning. Starting at 0900 and riding 13 miles so as to be comfortably sipping suds by 1100 under a shade tree in the parking lot. Taking advantage of the cold snap that dropped temps marginally for a couple of days. Forecast shows we're back to busting 100 again and still I'm headed back out for a repeat on Sunday with plans to finish a lap just as it gets to about 90F.

The conditions are dry and some of the turns are getting a little silty without moisture to tighten things up. The shade from the trees while riding and the breeze at Ventoso Vista rest stop are the saving graces for riding in the Summer at Rocky Hill.

Paul's new berms on Karaway are well placed and will be perfect once they get some rain on them. I've also been plugging away on other improvements and maintenance a little at a time.

Saw your Van out there.  I got started very late and ended up bailing by jumping the fence right after Ventoso point rest.  I didn’t get to ride the trails from that point but loved all the other new stuff especially holder’s way and part 2 in the beginning.

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Posted (edited)

Holden's Way is a great addition by Paul. Initially it was two parts, but on the map I just made that entire section Holden's Way from the T in the campground to Corkscrew, and shortened Grey's Way to only be the rooty climb that connects to Fat Chuck's Demise. (probably should take down the "Part 2" sign now)

At Ventoso Vista, rather than hop the fence (private road), just take the Wellhead Road from the rest stop to Grey's Highway road and then go right. That'll get you back to the parking lot on double track. Putting in more HOME signs with arrows is on the list of things to do.

Were you in the Tesla? I'm a huge fan of everything Elon.

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10 hours ago, Ridenfool said:

At Ventoso Vista, rather than hop the fence (private road), just take the Wellhead Road from the rest stop to Grey's Highway road and then go right. That'll get you back to the parking lot on double track. Putting in more HOME signs with arrows is on the list of things to do.

Yes, I took the wellhead road but went the other way.  The map shows it hitting a road and that seemed the shortest way home so I went that way.  Once I dead-ended into the gate/road, my choice was to go back uphill or jump the gate.  I then jumped the next gate I could back onto RHR.  There was some caution tape just laying on the ground.  I didn't even look at the other side of the map to see where wellhead road ended on that side.  I just knew I wasn't going to do well on more trail at that point.  It was 100°F when I finished.  Too late a start, and too slow a ride on the SS (mostly did very well until I got hot and tired) left me out there past the time I wanted to be out.

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Yeah, I think if I had been in that situation I would have done the same. I've walked up that hill a few times recently carrying tools in order to reach my van parked at Ventoso Vista at the end of a work day. It is brutal in the heat. From the gate you crossed back up to the picnic table is about 70-80 feet in elevation.

The caution tape was news to me yesterday as well. Since seeing it, I've learned the landowner has plans to build a house or cabin there. I'm reconsidering putting more time on some fabulous trails I've started just below there until I get a better idea of their plans so I can route things to better accommodate their use of the proposed structure. Currently, the area within the tape blocks access and parking for key points for doing the trail work.

Years ago I rerouted a trail at the request of the owner over their plans for a cabin that never materialized. It worked out well in the end as that was what became Corkscrew many years later. I'm going to try to learn more about this and then design accordingly.

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Posted (edited)

Took a spin around the loop on Saturday. Conditions are still dry, of course. The ride was a hoot, as it always is. I stopped to do some cleanup in a few spots, clearing dead-fall and a few face-slappers along the way. Temps ranged from the high 70s to the high 80s while I was there, and the humidity wasn't too bad as long as I was rolling. The perma-breeze at Ventoso Vista was getting started and I took a minute there to enjoy it and the view before rolling on down to the parking lot.

There were three other vehicles there taking advantage of the cooler temps when I arrived at 0800. These riders were on the trail and clearing the spider webs before my ride, thankfully. Three more vehicles had arrived by the time I finished at 1000 or so.

Come get some of that early morning goodness while supplies last! Operators are standing by! 😁

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

This level of cruelty is excessive. 😛 I'm sure the shame you feel for perpetrating such taunts upon denizens of the air fryer 🥵 will affect your sleep in some way. 😁

Y'all have fun chillin' in the ⛰️🚴‍♂️🍺.

Meanwhile, the oven has been pre-heated for your return. 😉

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Posted (edited)


Did a little more work on the next new section. Got in about 4 hours before giving in to the heat. Now sipping a Double Dale's Imperial IPA as a recovery drink. Seems to be working...

Gonna call this latest one Rabbit Hole. It has the potential to be an awesome run with a downhill bias as it should drop about 70 feet in under a quarter mile. Just follow the White Rabbit, or Alice. (or Neo for that matter)

Also added some spice to Litterbox by making an alternate line over the crest of the tall hump on final approach to Crossroads rest stop, where Black Trac begins.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

It seems that Ventoso Vista is so nice that one of the land-owner's offspring has decided to build their retirement home there.

Impact on the trail system should be minimal, but we will lose that rest stop. I'll miss stopping there to enjoy the breeze after the climbs on Black Trac. We'll be scouting for other shady spots to relocate the picnic table.

I'll likely reroute the existing trail tomorrow, it will be an easy fix.

The new trail, Rabbit Hole, will benefit from the change with an addition of ~15 feet of elevation for the new starting point.

I call this a win-win situation. 😁

 

Edit: While out there cutting out the short loop up to the Ventoso Vista rest area I spotted a great shady spot nearby to relocate it.

Edited by Ridenfool
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