The 'Nut | Octane Press

The 'Nut

50 Fridays 3: Finding Flow at Walnut Creek

By the time I left the day’s fires on Friday, January 15, I was fried. I wanted to ride a trail low on technical challenge and high on fun: Walnut Creek Park was just the ticket.
On the north side of Austin, Walnut Creek Park offers fast, flowy trails that are atypical here in the land of rocks and ledges.

The park had been renovated since I had ridden it last. I had avoided it due to the chatter about the work being done, and I was reminded of this the minute I hit the trail. The worn tree root-lined path at the start of the ride was gone, replaced by a paved path and a bridge.
This didn’t bode well.

I rode the concrete (zzzz) for a bit and, after a wrong turn, got on the old mountain bike path. That trail was unchanged, happily. The trails are a tangled mess, and navigation is a challenge when you first ride it. I most often ride these trails with the Austin Ridge Riders, who put on a well-attended Sunday ride.

I ride only occasionally with the group, but always enjoy it. They get a good turnout, and have rides for pretty much all skill levels. You also get to follow someone around the tangle of trails, and learn the best routes.
So I rode the old club route on Friday. I knew the turns, and had to navigate a couple of the new bridges and concrete paths to complete it. The park did a nice job of maintaining the fun mountain bike trails and paving the boring transport sections.

I was struck by just how much fun it is to ride at Walnut. It’s all singletrack, with plenty of tight, twisting trails. The dirt on Friday was also perfect—with slightly damp loam offering primo traction. A good number of the turns are bermed, and elevation changes are plentiful, with lots of little spots where you can really flow with the trail.
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