LMBC Storms The Castle 

By Samantha Jones

The weekend promised good weather, lots of adventure, and a great roster of attendees. LMBC’s 2023 NWA Trip did not disappoint. Most of the group arrived Friday evening to either the base camp at Bella Vista campground or to their AirBnB/VRBOs.  Those that arrived in time celebrated the start of the event with a ride on the Blowing Springs Trails and Mexican food at a local establishment.

Saturday morning brought the group together again at base camp for breakfast burritos,

Breakfast Burritos

cinnamon rolls, and planning the day. It was decided that the first adventure would take place at Coler. The group split up into a few small groups to cover more ground and conquer different objectives, but most of the group headed up to the hub for laps on Fireline, a crowd favorite. After a few hours at Coler, the group moved the fun to Slaughter Pen, grabbing tacos or sandwiches to refuel on the way.

At Slaughter Pen, most of the activity was based around The Castle with the group dividing up on different runs, but all testing their mettle and their nerves on steep drops, fast downhills, and hard climbs. After some time of ignoring the looming clouds, the riders finally all split for their cars amid rolling thunder and fat raindrops. Some made it to their cars before the hail hit, others took refuge from the pelting hail in a public restroom.

After the storm passed, the temperatures had dropped significantly. Nonetheless, the group met up for feast of grilled burgers and hot dogs with a potluck of sides that evening.  The campfire fended off the worst of the cold, though some chose to eat snuggled in their blankets out of the wind. With the cold snap, it was an early night for most.

Sunday morning was chilly, but once one got moving on the bike, the temps were near perfect for outdoor fun. Folks split up between Little Sugar, the Back 40, and Blowing Springs while others opted for warm breakfast and an early start home. The trip was hugely successful for those attendees who were veterans to the trails as well as those new to NWA. It was a trip to remember, but also to entice us all to go back. Thanks, LMBC and NWA, for another great trip!

LMBC receives IMBA grant press release

Lawrence Mountain Bike Club (LMBC), Friends of the Kaw (FOK), and Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT) Announce the Receipt of a Trails Accelerator Grant from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). 

The Lawrence Mountain Bike Club (LMBC) is pleased to announce the receipt of a Trails Accelerator Grant (TA Grant) from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The purpose of the grant is to study the potential for new mountain bike trails in an area historically called “Cameron’s Bluff.” Located on private land, Cameron’s Bluff lies just east of Evergy’s Lawrence Energy Center and north of I-70. Grant partners have been working with property owners Evergy, Inc. and the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) to secure public access to the area for recreation. Both Evergy and KTA support establishing public access to the area and have been active partners in the grant process. 

Recognized as an international leader in trail development, IMBA will assess the potential for trails development, provide cost estimates for possible access points, and provide a conceptual design plan as a starting point for community engagement to further the project. Evergy, Inc. has committed the support of its Green Team to build the single-track trails, which would be optimized for mountain biking but open for all self-propelled recreation including running, hiking, birding, and fishing. 

Cameron’s Bluff is ideally located, as it is close to Downtown Lawrence, the Pinkney neighborhood, LMH Health and the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, as well as the Lawrence Loop. A goal of the project is to include a connection to The Lawrence Loop, which would provide safe, car-free access from all parts of the community. The trails would be complementary to the existing Lawrence River Trail. As noted by LMBC Club President Richard Wagner, “The existing trail systems are a much-loved and well-used gem for the community, and this proposed trail would prove a unique addition for all types of trail users in an area which is not yet served by a trail system.” The additional trails would significantly improve access for local trail users and increase the draw for mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the region. 

In conjunction with the trails assessment, partners will commission an environmental analysis of the area to ensure that trails are constructed and managed in a sustainable and environmentally appropriate manner. 

The Trails Accelerator Grant is a matching grant. LMBC, FOK, and FLAT are grateful to the community entities which have committed matching funds, which include Bracker’s Good Earth Clays, Evergy, Inc., Friends of Lawrence Area Trails, the Lawrence Bicycle Club, the Lawrence Paper Company, Johnny’s Tavern, McGrew Real Estate, Sunflower Outdoor & Bike, The Bowersock Mills & Power Company, and Trek Bicycles of Lawrence.