The idea was to do this, but as we got to the lake, this raging torrent made us quickly devise a plan B.
Plan B shaped up with the help of the ranger at Lake Winona, who informed us that ever since 9/11, the bridge across the spillway was closed for security reasons, and that we could probably wade across the spillway if we wanted to. I don’t know which one of those comments sounded more asinine, but regardless, he was friendly and rattled off a list of other forest roads that would get us where we wanted to go. New route planned out, we rolled away feeling much safer that the Taliban plot to blow up a podunk “dam” in Podunk, AR had been foiled by quick thinking politicians.
The route along the north side of the lake ended up being a lot of fun. It was much more of a rolling route than the ball busting climbs that we normally associated with the Lake Sylvia area. During this part of the route, we were passed by one car and 3 motorcycles in about a 12 mile stretch. The weather had warmed up to the mid-50’s, and there was nothing but blue sky and plenty of gravel. We took a hard right turn back north, and were immediately greeted with flat number 2. We rode another mile and had flat number 3. This time, on inspection of the tire, there was a small, goat-head thorn protruding through the casing. How we found it without an electron microscope is beyond me, but alas the flat was fixed and we continued on…for about 5 miles until flat 4. Did I fail to mention that the same person kept having the flat? Yeah, he wasn’t pleased, but this time the flat had actually happened up on a ridge and at least we could enjoy the view for a bit before pedaling up the monster hill that we could see the road snaking up in the distance.
Hill climbed and view enjoyed from the top, we descended a bit and caught our breath. It was then me that flatted, and yes, I’m running tubeless tires, but it appeared that I’d hit a rock perfectly enough to put a small cut in the side and somehow burp the bead right next to the cut. Luckily Orange Seal did it’s magic and sealed the hole. I put about 900 psi into it to reseal the bead, dropped the pressure back to normal and on we traveled, hoping for no more effing flats.
The rest of the route we’d ridden before, so we took our time and chatted a bit before the glorious 2 mile downhill back to the parking lot where we’d started. We’d been the only cars in the lot earlier, but now found it clogged right full, as others had the same idea to get the hell outta town and enjoy some “wilderness.” Plans are already laid to go back out and do the “bigger” loop, or at least do the original route that we’d planned once the water levels return to normal at the lake. Note to self: bring a shit ton of tubes.
I did the loop on my CX bike with 33cm Vittoria Tirreno Mixed tires at 28 psi. I had no real trouble, other than choosing to take it easy on the downhills due to many hidden rim crushing rocks. The tires measure out at 35cm at that pressure, and wouldn’t hesitate to ride them again on the same course.
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