November 11, 2009

Shonny V Back on the Sola V

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 10:12 pm
Shonny was back in the area and she came back to train a couple of times on the Solavaca the week of Nov 10.  She rides and runs as part of her continous quest to stay atop the Xterra series where she recently clinched another National title for the second year running.  Congratulations Shonny!  You can ride with me on the Solavaca, or anywhere else, anytime.

She brought her Mom and Dad by to visit too.  What a great day.  Wonderful folks.

Shonny 'n Mack

October 28, 2009

TMBRA State Champ Series finds Solavaca

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 6:53 am

Now we have gone and done it.  For some time we have made overtures to TMBRA about making the Solavaca one of the stops in the spring series that determines the Texas State champions of mountain biking XC racing.  They were looking for a new venue for 2010 and we got the call.  We are teaming with the fantastic Fort Worth Mountain Biking Association (FWMBA) to put on the race April 24-25, 2010.  The City of Glen Rose has made no bones about it.  They want this race to be the best in the series just like we all do.  They have pledged considerable resources to that end.  Local MTB’r / businessmen have already stepped up to help in the organization and promotion of the weekend event.

This is a very exciting time for all involved.  Expect a great weekend of racing and celebration next April on the Solavaca and in the city of Glen Rose.

September 16, 2009

Specialized Trail Crew? Why not?

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 4:46 pm

As fate would have it, the offhand comment I made in 2006 about maybe getting a mountain bike, and then my wife Anne surprising me on Christmas with a $120 Schwinn, and then… well, it’s a long story.  We bought 130 acres out near Glen Rose Texas in 2000 and I proceeded to load it up with goats. Goat outa Control We named it the Solavaca Ranch.  But the darn goats will go through a fence like a bank robber through a red light.  I mentioned in passing that maybe I should get a mountain bike and use it to ride the fences looking for goat-sized holes to patch.  She acted on that at Christmas with the aforementioned Schwinn and I thought, uh oh, I hadn’t straddled a bike since Eisenhower.

In January, 2007, when the weather warmed, I mounted that bike and took it for a test run around the grove of trees and back – about quarter mile.  My legs were burning, and my rear end had already started to go numb.  I got the heck off that thing. But I am a smart guy and I knew I had seen other people do this, so I decided I would stick with it for a month and see if it got better.  And it finally did.  Then I realized that my place was so choked with trees and brush that I would have to cut some trails before I could get around.  In about 4 months I had a little single track and a lot of ranch road. By now I am not worried about the goats.  I am getting into this mountain bike thing.  So I invited some MTB firends out to try it.  In 20 minutes, they were done.  That hurt my pride.  So I began theGoing Green routine of building more and tougher single track, while riding my bike more and more all the time.  I began to climb the un-climbable, and roll down the unthinkable.  I had to have another bike.  I found this Specialized FSRxc Pro at the LBS. It’s the pretty little green thing on your left there.

That was November of 2007.  I continued to test my trail against good riders and I kept finding out that it was not long enough, and not quite tough enough, but getting closer on both counts.  Here I am ripping and hacking out climbs from the limestone hills and stubborn old cedars and the riders keep coming and making everything look easy.  It hurts my pride when they do that.  Using my weapons – a chain saw, axe, pick, shovel, string trimmer, and fierce determination – I made trail where nature could get at the soft underbellies of these fancy mountain bike people.  I topped it off with a climb I call the Culo de Gato.  Maybe you’ve heard of it.  If you climb it, you can sign the wall of the barn.  It’s not crowded on that wall.

I’ll save you the details. But by the Spring of ’08 I had over 6 miles, mostly single track, and some challengingThe River At Dino Vally State Park features.  Some local club members decided to have their Spring campout on the Solavaca.  Did I mention, just down the road 5 miles is another one of the best trails around – Dinosaur Valley State Park? These guys were thinking that they could get their fill at DV and then knock out the little trail at the Solavaca on Sunday.

We did have a great ride at DV.  17 miles and it can get tough.  Nobody but me held back.  I knew what was coming.  The next day we were going after the Culo de Gato.

Group Madness at Dina Valley


That next day was the last time anybody called the Solavaca a “beginner’s trail”.  But one name went on the wall that day – Larry Colvin, President of the Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association. He kicked the Gato on his second try.

I kept building and riding, taking every opportunity to introduce new friends and riders to the trail.  The word was getting out that there was a new and challenging trail in North Texas.Family falls prey to Mountain Biking

In November of 2008, we hosted the North Texas XC Series for two days.  We partied and pracitced on Saturday and 274 raced on Sunday.  It was a spectacular success.  The trail was a hit.   Since then I have ridden harder and built more trail – 8.1 miles now.  And we are again hosting the last race in the North Texas XC Series on November 14-15th.  My family comes from near and far to help.  That’s some of them on the right.  Out for a day on the Solavaca Trails.

My regular riding regimen is 3-5 days a week.  I do everything I can to encourage the sport of mountain biking in North Texas.  I do clinics,  lead group rides, promote and represent the sport within Glen Rose, and ride with my regulars every week.  For most of 2008, I struggled to make one lap of 7.5 miles.  I raced the TMBRA XC event over Labor Day ’08 at Camp Eagle Texas. Now I am regularly riding 16+ miles on some technical trails.  I’m branching out at every opportunity to ride more trails in the area, and soon, beyond. 

I am hoping you have a spot for me on the Specialized Trail Crew   I am a prolific ambassador for the sport, my trail, and I might as well be riding the coolest bike around while representing a great bike company.

Mack Hargrave   

Dropping In    Ain't Life a Hoot? 

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September 15, 2009

Fall CampRide – 2nd Annual

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 10:45 pm

Our good friend Chris Mann has organized the fall campout again.  This time for Oct 23-25.  A fantastic time of the year to camp and ride the Solavaca as well as the superb MTB adventure that is Dinosaur Valley on Sunday morning.  Only 90 miles to drive from Dallas, and you enter the MTB environs of limestone, cedar breaks, and hills.  The Solavaca is a smorgasbord of things you like in a trail – while Dino Valley is a climbing rockfest of an adventure with a potential 17 miles of trail if you have the legs and lungs to do it all. Everybody is welcome. All levels of riders will find plenty of company and trails to ride.  And there is a pumpkin carving contest Saturday night in case you have the Halloween mojo going on.

Get the details on the weekend here.

Here’s a link to some cool video at DV with a little Solavaca thrown in at the end

Pictures from Chris’ first Camp/Ride.  The river was up at DV

June 5, 2009

Fall Racing is Back

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 9:46 am

Put this on your schedule.  DORBA Fall XC Race Series is coming back on November 15!  The Solavaca has been chosen for the finale of the series.   We plan to have even better attendance than last year.  We will be having the party for Saturday the 14th along with the Fajita Dinner, and some kind of entertainment.  It will be fun for all.  Put it on your calender now.

May 21, 2009


Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 8:19 am

Twitter looks like a good way to let riders follow trail conditions as they are updated.  With all the Spring rains, some might find it useful or even essentioal, to find someplace that is open.  We usually get less rain, and when we do get it, dry out faster, than almost all the DFW trails.  To follow the updates,  search the user name “Solavaca”.

April 10, 2009

Wishes get Granted

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 2:17 pm

Meet the WishBoneMeet the Wishbone.  one of the new features for the Spring of 2009.  Over the winter, things have been busy on the Solavaca.

The WishBone is a very short little diversion that is located in the Ruidoso area and gives you one last moment of “Yipes” before you head for the bridge and close out the loop.  When you climb out of the feature called Root Hog ‘r Die, you can see the entry to it on the right just near the top of that short climb.  Down and across the short bridge, quick left curve, and you see the trail point you right through the WishBone.  I hoped that I could safely navigate the scary dropoff on the way over the “bone” but despite my calculated plans, I crashed and my new bar ends ripped my shirt beyond repair.  It also left some scrapes and bruises but nothing at all serious.  After that, I added an 8″ log on the step-down side.  Joel, the wrench from Bikes inc in Fort Worth did that and it looked like he just barely avoided a somersault even with that there.

So I added a 14″ log, the 8″ log, and a 4″ log in succession.  I think the visual as you approach will still make you wonder if you came to the right place, but with a reasonable amount of technique and proper weight distribution, you should live to ride again.

This little parlor game is the 5th project to be added over the Winter and the early Spring out here.

In the first one I enlisted the help of the Weatherly family  – Jeff, Diana, and Kyle.  They had proved their mettle by helping me remove lots of tree limbs just before the race last November.                                                                                                                    

I was glad they volunteered to help clear the way for the nice, straight, fast, downhill at the bail-off end of the Culo de Gato hill.  You can go the old slip, slide, twist, and pray way – now called Hair Ball or you can veer left for the Cat Nip way down.  It flows very steep and fast to a short terrace, then off that to the flat and a gosh-I-love-disc-brakes decelleration into a right turn.   Back up the the terrace level and you rejoin the old trail bed.

Then Diana Weatherly, needing to get her PayDirt and her SuperDude hours, came out for 3 weeks straight to help me with the next new section.  If you recall the L’il Pucker, you remember that you climb out of the hollar and turn left?  Not now.  You go straight , continue the climb, and level out for some nice woods trailing, eventually coming out going downhill and headed for the first creek crossing.

That adds some nice variety and about 1/10th of a mile. 

Next at marker 14, after you do that little ascent, the trail now goes left, back down to the rim of the creek for some tricky dipsy-doodle, a winding forest path and then on to Starr Bux.  BTW, this location is NOT closing even though several riders have been caught on tape leaving without paying.  Starr doesn’t like that.  Not good.  I digress, but that new part adds about 1/10th also. 

Then back to the Weatherly trail support team for a section that I have wanted to do for a long time.  A very pretty part of the ranch is on the upper creek along the high banks of the east side.  Jeff, Diana, and Kyle helped me hack, rip, and dig that beautiful trail along the creek on the south end.  As you are about to leave the CatClaw zone, you hit a new opening in the trees labeled Upper Creek.  It takes you south a ways, then into a u-turn and then along that high bank all the way back to the sign that announces  Blue Stem.  It is not technical but it is a very nice ride over some land that was really thick and inaccessable before.  Adds 4/10ths.

When the creek flows, this will be hard to ride without stopping and looking at the scenery,  You can drop your bike for a few minutes and hang your feet in the cold water.  But you might not want to finish the ride.

All this except the WishBone is already well traveled and many of the Solavaca Sentries have ridden it by now.  If you haven’t, then you are lucky because you will get to see it all at once.  

Aren’t we lucky to be mountain bikers.  Aren’t we lucky to be mountain bikers in North Texas?

September 24, 2008

Solavaca gets DORBA N. Texas Series Race 11/2

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 6:18 am

Ben Thornton, DORBA’s Race Director, surprised me last week with the news that the 4th race in the series, scheduled for Erwin Park in McKinney, was being moved to the Solavaca.  This is a big deal for us of course. So to all my riding friends who have come to feel like thay are a part of the Solavaca project.  Thanks!  This will be some kinda fun.

This is about the race series

I have some volunteers to help with some prep next week.  I may need some more if you have an hour or two to give it between now and race day.  But the trail doesn’t require too much more work.  I am just thinking about 1000  or more laps being ridden on it and how to prepare for that.

June 14, 2008

Welcome to the Solavaca Blog

Filed under: Trail News - Solavaca Ranch — mack @ 12:06 am

Talk up mountain bike topics, road cycling topics, and get your friends to join in.  Somervell County has an amazing environment for both off-road and on-road bicycling.  Plus we are getting a new bicycling shop in Glen Rose within the next 60 days!  Keep checking here for details.

7/21/08 – Update.  The bicycle shop has moved out the opening until the Fall.  Maybe October.  It is under construction in the building where the flooring store was, just east of the square.  That used to be a Texaco back before Elvis.

Mack, Solavaca Ranch Trails

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