Rain is expected all week in East Tennessee. Yes, it is percentages but with the chance of rain everyday, this week most biking will be on a stationary.
“Even with a day or two of sunshine the top layer of dirt is still super saturated,” said Robert Medley.
Medley is speaking about Panther Creek State Park located in Morristown, Tennessee. He is training for an endurance race this spring held at the park. He is a long time mountain biker and bike packer. His longest trip to date is a 122 mile per day camping trip. Medley completed the trip on a 1990s Titanium-frame Merlin.
With the temperatures being around 60 degrees on days without rain the freeze/thaw cycle is vicious. The temperature is not getting high enough for the trails to dry in between days without rain.
Winter in East Tennessee is unique and this year has been rather mild. More rain than snow has fallen. There have been more days with spring like temperatures, rather than freezing temps.
Trail Boss Greg Carr, the Southern Offroad Bicycling Association Tri-Cities chapter lead trail builder, reported that damage was committed to a new berm at Winged Deer Mountain Bike Park. This was a result of people not abiding by the freeze/thaw cycle rules of riding.
Wait for the trail to dry or ride in the freeze! With the amount of rain projected for this week one may need to give the trails 72 hours to dry. The other option is base layer up and prepare for the freeze.
Greenways, greenbelts and Forest Service roads will be OK to ride. Make sure to prepare for the weather. It is easier to die from exposure than anything else. Make sure to drink plenty of water. One can still suffer from dehydration in the cold. Prepare for sweat as well. If one sweats too much they can suffer hypothermia during rest periods.
Some trails at Winged Deer Mountain Bike Park are closed until further notice. This is due to damage. If one is looking for a volunteer opportunity, SORBA Tri-Cities is having another trail work party Feb. 18. More details can be found on the club’s Facebook page.