By Billy Rainford
Man, it feels good to be on the road and sitting in a Starbucks working on Monday Morning Coffee from parts unknown! Actually, I know where I am. I’m in Florence, South Carolina, on my way to see Julien Perrier and his PRMX Partzilla Kawasaki Supercross team in action over at South of the Border. I could have made it there last night, but I’m afraid of the zombies I imagine roam freely at that place when the sun goes down. Have you been there!? I picture Woody Harrelson running around at night.
After I see the gang there I’ll head over to Club MX to check in on what they’ve got going on. There’s always something new these days. This place has turned into the premiere training facility! They also sponsor our annual DMX Total Devotion Award at the TransCan at Walton Raceway.
Anyway, I’ve been on the road for over a week now and it’s felt good to watch the white dashes fly past and under the #DMXVan again. It’s been too long.
Last night was interesting as there was an accident blocking both lanes of traffic heading north, like I was. Just as I noticed the brake lights there was an exit that I managed to wheel over to and take. There’s a smaller highway that runs almost parallel to the I-95, so it was a pretty big score. You know the feeling. It’s the one you usually imagine the smarter people are feeling when you look over at them buzzing by you as you sit on the highway, stopped. For once, I was one of those smarter people!
I just got off the phone with Craig Stevenson from Actionetix who now calls Colorado home. His son, super fast and super tall Connor Stevenson, is looking into options that would see the Canadian race north of the border next season. I’ve seen Connor ride and I know him as a person and any team would be wise to grab this 17-year-old talent and develop him in their program. Hint, Hint.
I had some fun yesterday doing something a little different. I rode a mountain bike trail system in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and did a little review of it. Here it is, in case you care:
MTB Trail Review | Hanna Park – Jacksonville Beach, Florida
So, I thought I’d do something a little different today. I’m going to review a mountain bike trail. I sort took a “me” day today. I went to bed last night and didn’t set my alarm for 5:30am after getting to bed at 1:00am like I did all last week. It was amazing to sleep until I just didn’t feel like sleeping any more!
I was halfway between Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, along the I-10 on my way home, so I asked Jim Edgar to head to breakfast, but he was already in Jaguars Football mode and wasn’t able to join me. He gave me a suggestion for a place to go (First Watch), but I decided to head to the beach right away, instead. Of course, then I get a message saying he was at the restaurant but didn’t see my van so he went home. Dammit!
I spoke to another friend down here, Brendan Goldstein from K-Deam, and he said that if I were going to Jax Beach I should check out the Brunch Haus on 3rd Ave., so I went for it.
The place was packed but it took no time at all to get a seat along the bar. Parties of one are sad but easy.
The food was good, but I should have asked for my eggs “over medium” not easy because the whites were still runny. I don’t know who wants their eggs like that. You should really have to order them that way specifically, don’t you think? Anyway, whenever that happens, I simply flop the eggs on the toast and go for it.
The coffee was bottomless and one of the employees sat down at a piano and sang Christmas songs. The ambience was happening and I enjoyed my time in there.
Full of caffeine, I pulled a u-turn on the road and headed for Hanna Park. It was a 15-minute drive down the beach and into this pretty cool little area.
You have to pay at the entrance to get into the park. I think it was $5. In I went. Both Brendan and Jim had mentioned this as a good place to go in the area, so that’s what I did.
I found the trailhead and parked the van off the tarmac and onto some dirt to pull the bike out of the #DMXVan and change in the back.
As I sat on the edge of the sliding door, something bit me…then another…and another. Of course, I had parked right beside an enormous fire ant hill and had set both my shoes right on top, unwittingly. They were pissed!
After shaking my shoes and socks out, I decided to move over to the busier area on the pavement by the bike tools and wash area. It was a pretty nice little set up.
Changed and ready to go, I realized I didn’t have any water. No big deal, I’d looked at the map and saw that it probably wasn’t going to take very long to cover a couple of the bigger trails and it was overcast and only about 18 degrees Celsius. I wasn’t worried. I was ready to just camel it.
But as I sat on my bike, a nice older couple parked beside me started chatting. I asked them if there was a place I could get some water. The nice lady immediately went into their vehicle and pulled out a fresh bottle of water for me. Thank you.
I asked if they shouldn’t be tailgating somewhere for the Jags game like everyone else. He said he was a Miami Dolphins and Georgia Bulldogs fan. I asked him if that wasn’t a little dangerous in these parts and he said that he wasn’t too concerned.
I asked them which trails I should do and they said that they’d just done E-Line. That was one that I was going to try, so that was encouraging.
I then asked them about the other trail marked “Black Diamond” on the map, Z-Trail. They both shuddered and said they would never do that one. Perfect, I thought.https://www.instagram.com/tv/CW1QkYkD0Pv/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=14&wp=1316&rd=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.directmotocross.com&rp=%2Fmtb-trail-review-hanna-park-jacksonville-beach-florida%2F#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1162.2000000029802%7D
So, off I went to do a warm up loop of E-Line before attempting Z-Trail next. Actually, E-Line is listed as “More Difficult” on their park map. It’s a 3.8 mile loop.
I really enjoy trails that circumnavigate lakes. I like single-track and up and downs. This little trail is tight and has some fun turns. It was great for a little warm up. There was really no elevation gain or loss. On other MTB trails I’ve tried in Florida, there is some up and down, giving you a reason to push hard on the pedals, but there was none of that to be found here on this trail.
Oddly, the last time I rode a simple Florida trail, I suffered a broken derailleur hanger. The trails are simple but there are little stumps and things just off the edges that will jump out and bite you, if you’re not careful. I was careful.
I finished the trail and sort of looked around to see if there was anyone around who looked like they might know what they were doing so I could follow them out on the dreaded Z-Trail.
The only person that I saw was riding an electric-assist in all black with motocross goggles on. I didn’t even want to start a conversation…
I sat on the side of the little rode and had a drink of water. Another rider was loading his bike into his truck so I asked him where, exactly, this Z-Trail was. He pointed down this little access rode and off I went.
Well, let me say this, on a scale of 1-10 on the “difficulty” scale, this trail is a 1 or a 2. It is not difficult in any way. Sure, there are a few roots to navigate, but if you’re an avid mountain biker at all, you won’t have a single issue here.
However, like I said, I love single track, so I had a blast on it.
I found an arrow that said “Alt Z” so I turned left and went for it. In here I found about 3 things that offered the slightest challenge, and they were fun. There’s a long, narrow bridge that I actually didn’t clean. There’s a fun log jump, and there an interesting little wood uphill section that could catch you off guard.
Halfway along the route, I popped out at a main road and saw a sign to “Historic Manhattan Beach” so I headed that way.
I rode down this small walkway to the beach and onto the wet sand that was easily rideable. I saw a guy in the water trying to catch some tiny waves so I went that way to watch for a minute. It was small and he only popped up once, so back to the trail I went.
Z-Trail is listed as 3.9 miles. It’s not difficult at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It winds around and you can push yourself as hard as you want. Two things made it tricky. One was that the soil seems to change every 3 feet so you have to be aware of that.
Just when you think you’re going to rail a corner in some nice, dark loam, it turns lighter and becomes dry sand which can put you to the ground in a hurry if you’re not careful.
The second thing that really added to the difficulty was that fact that the dude at the restaurant was singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” when I left. I rode the entire time with the Mariah Carey version on repeat in my head. I’m sorry that you’re now singing it while doing whatever it is you’re doing.
There are some small lakes or ponds in the middle of the park that actually have alligators in them! I spoke to a guy riding with his young son and he said that they’d seen a young gator in a direction I wasn’t headed. I thought it was cool, but not worth the time to wander in the opposite direct of the van.
When I popped back out at the park entrance where the van was, I put my Scott Addict up on the little rack and used the hose and water provided to give it a little clean before putting it back in the van. It was a dry day and there really wasn’t any dirt on the bike, but I went through the motions anyway.
As I was loading up, the couple I spoke to earlier had just come in from another loop on a trail. We spoke for a few minutes and he ended it by saying, “RIP, Neil Peart.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I respect Neil as a drummer, but I am not a Rush fan. In fact, whenever I talk to someone who is I ask the classic, insulting question, “If Rush is so good, why is their music so bad?!“
I definitely recommend hitting Hanna Park if you’re in the Jacksonville area. If you’re from the mountains, you won’t get any of that here. This place is just a bunch of fun, single-track loops that will at least get you out on your bike while traveling.
Great, now I’m on my way north singing Tom bloody Sawyer!
Thanks for reading, and happy trails!
The trails were actually super fun. I hope that point wasn’t lost in my blatherings. My only concern was that somewhat lesser experienced riders would avoid it because of its “Black Diamond” rating. It’s not black diamond, is my only point on that.
I just left the 50th Annual Mini O’s at Gatorback Cycle Park on Saturday. We had a solid contingent of Canadian talent in attendance at the biggest motocross race in the world. True story, on both points.
I have a ton of photos and video to go through and edit, and I’ll get to that ASAP, but, in the meantime, let’s have a look at the results:
OGs Optics, D&D Moto Products, HMX Moto Co
Oh no, they don’t have the results updated yet! Welp, skip that. I guess I have time to edit photos and video before they get results all sorted out…
Dylan Wright at the Paris Supercross
Our globetrotting MX champion Dylan Wright was back in Europe over the weekend to race the Paris Supercross. I haven’t spoken with him yet, but here’s a look at the results:
I’ll try to get an interview with Dylan as soon as he’s available.
Our old friend Cade Clason was in Brazil over the weekend racing Arenacross. I know Cole Thompson had his nome on the list of riders willing to go to South and Central America, so if anyone up here is interested, you should talk to someone! I know we’ve got AX talent in our midst that could easily challenge for wins on these tighter tracks.
Before I hit the road, here are the latest sales figures from MMIC:
OK, I’ve got to go meet up with Julien up the highway (and I’m finished my coffee), so I’m going to call this one finished. Have a great week, everyone. I’ll be sure to get lots of content of Team PRMX getting ready to attack the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series with Canadian rider Julien Benek ripping along with them.
I wonder when the last time was that a SX team had two Juliens on it?
That seems like a good place to end…