Monday, April 22, 2013

Nice Place to Run: Cedar Hill State Park

GWB, not at Cedar Hill.
After last week's failed attempt to run at Cedar Hill State Park, I decided to return to check out these trails.  I have heard first-hand accounts of other runners meeting George W. Bush out here.  Apparently this is a favorite mountain biking trail for him.

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The trails are well maintained by DORBA, and perfectly suited for mountain biking.  That is mostly a plus for trail runners.  The surfaces are generally smooth, with a few rocks and roots to keep you alert, but not too many.  There are a few climbs and drops that keep things interesting on a bike.  For runners, there is nothing that gets very technical.  Unlike other popular mountain biking trails I've run on, like Lake Grapvine's north shore or Cameron Park in Waco, and on the neighboring this trail never had me pulling up with my hands or jumping down stair-like rocks.

At some points in the trail, the mountain bike nature of the trail got to me.  At some of the winding portions, the trail banks, which is great going downhill on a bike, but not as much fun running.  I felt like someone driving the family minivan on the curves at Texas Motor Speeday; when the race cars take the curve at 180, they stay right up there, but when a minivan tries, topped out at 65, it runs the danger of flipping or slipping to its doom.  Also, some portions of the trail are in a deep vee, which, again, is probably perfect for 2 inch bike tires, but puts the runner in a position between carefully lining up his feet in single-file, or running along the edges.

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Sorry, that sounds like I'm whining.  I don't mean to.  All in all, I really like this trail.  Almost all single track, all runnable, views of the lake, thick woods, meadows, easy to get to.  It's a great place.  This should definitely top your list if you're looking for a spot for a long training run to get in some good miles without too much technical trail.  There are 3 loops, posted as 3, 8, and 12 miles (my Garmin said 11.17, but I suspect there was some tree interference).  And when you visit, tell the nice dude at the ranger station I said hi!

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