Fort Harrison State Park (Indianapolis, IN) MTB 14 July 2012

I got to ride these trails for the first time recently, though they’ve been open for a few years now, I think. I grew up just a couple miles from here and wish these trails were open when I started to mtb. Alas, they were closed to bikes long before I started riding. Yay for them being open now. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association has done a great job with these trails.

I recorded my ride with my Oregon for posting on Strava.

It was a great ride. The trails were an absolute blast. It’s really well-built contour trail. Judging by the side slopes, I was sure I’d pack on more elevation change here, but I suppose if the trails are intended to be a bit easier, they wouldn’t use all that’s available. Maybe if they have plans for a more advanced loop in the future, they’ll use a bit more of the available terrain. Regardless, these are fun trails. They certainly won’t become an erosion problem in the future. All the stream crossings are armored, and there are some technical features scattered around. Some rock gardens, boulders to wheelie drop, stuff built from the odd fallen tree. Nothing too tough, but some of it was plenty tricky for me, too.

I had a couple issues out here. The first was a mechanical when I made a wrong turn. Bent the cage on my rear derailleur. It’s more than 9 years old, so I’m surprised it’s gone this long. But this is the second time in the past few months this has happened. Both times it tossed my chain into my spokes. And with the SRAM cassette I run with the machined out backside, the chain has a tendency to jam between the hub “flanges” (my wheelset is a Mavic CrossTrail with straight-pull spokes and it doesn’t have a flange in the true sense of the word, but it’s where the spoke ends are helt) and the back side of the cassette body. The pins on the back of the cassette that hold the cogs in place make things problematic getting the chain out of there. The first time it happened, I mangled my chain. This time, I avoided that outcome. But with this being the second time it’s happened (and the second time I’ve bent it back into submission), I need to fix the derailleur. I’m trying to replace the cage first. If that can’t happen, I’m going to go with a NOS 9spd rear derailleur. That happened on the Franklin Creek Loop.

Fort Harrison State Park 14 July 2012My second problem was a minor wreck on Schoen Creek. Lost traction in the dust, and a tree ejected me from my bike, causing me to slide across the concrete-solid trail surface. Skinned up my elbow real nice in the process. That was my first “ejected from the bike” crash in a long time. Most of my wrecks in the past few years have been the low speed “fall over sideways” affairs that rarely leave a mark.

All in all, great ride. Thankfully, the trails are so flowy that my wonky derailleur wasn’t much of an issue before I managed to bend it back (noticed by a fellow rider at the Camp Glenn trailhead who came over to see if I was getting my mechanical sorted out). Bending it back got it into working order so I could pedal more and finish the rest of the trail.

There’s a longish downhill towards the end of the Franklin Creek loop that is just a giant pump track. I loved it.Fort Harrison State Park 14 July 2012

In spite of the severe drought for much of the midwest right now, I found it remarkable how lush the native prairie meadows were even on the tops of the hills and far from water. Wildflowers blooming and healthy. Grasses were green. Stressed, for sure…but making better use of the scant water than most of the turfgrasses and flower beds in the area.

My bike was quite happy with the ride. It’s a different sort of thing than I’ve ridden the past 4 years in Texas, that’s for sure.

4 comments to Fort Harrison State Park (Indianapolis, IN) MTB 14 July 2012

  • Nate,
    Just came across your blog for the first time. Too cool! Kudos on the trail riding. I’ve never had a trail bike but have wanted to get one for a while. I’ve got a road bike but often psyche myself out of riding. I don’t trust any of the drivers around me.

  • The GPS Geek

    With mountain biking, you only have to worry about the trees…and they don’t actually move, even though sometimes it seems like it.

  • Cris (Sevenlast @ Strava)

    @Erica, this is a very intresting blog. I enjoy every post and i need to comment more. @ GPS thatnks for the trail review and tough luck on the elbow. The Double Jump on Scooby in Nac (SFA) got me yesterday. Lost footing in the air on the second jump going in to the left turn down to the apartment jump… you can imagine but the outcome was not nearly as severe as yours. My fiance and I both have GoPro cameras so we are trying to compile some good footage to make a feature video for the local trails. Try and get some good youtube/facebook action to help Nac understand what they are missing by not checking out these trails. Anywho, thanks again.

    Cris C.

  • The GPS Geek

    I have a bit of footage of the SFA Rec Trails already. If you haven’t already seen the vids, you can find some here.

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