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21 Miles on the Greensboro Atlantic & Yadkin Trail: Lawndale Target to Strawberry Road out-and-back

eebee's picture

Greensboro's Country Park was hosting the Triad Classic Chevy Club's 17th Annual Car Show yesterday, so for our still-delinquent training miles last evening we needed to come up with an alternative. 

Roadskater drove us to the Target parking lot on Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, and we parked close to the gigantic brick, former-Sears Distribution Center building and donned skates. I felt excited at the prospect of exploring, and skating somewhere new. 

The initial half-mile of our trek provided smooth-as-ice asphalt under wheel, to the trailhead behind the Target. Even though the beginning of the trail is rather narrow and bumpy with two-foot-tall fire hydrants smattered here and there, sometimes in the middle of the path, the trail still gets you from A to B away from shoppers and cars. Almost 2 miles down the trail we joined up with the gnarly, roots-ridden path near the Lewis Recreation Center on Forest Lawn Drive and headed off North.

I noticed on the way out that the trail debris was still damp, which isn't a problem on a downhill, but on the uphill climb back later might be. Thanks to parts of the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama, my 'bad trail roots' bar has been raised significantly, and the bumpiness here didn't bother me as much. Although I quickly remembered it's not smart to launch yourself off of one of them because you might land hard with your skate mid-frame on top of another one.

At this point our journey became an adventure skate, rather than a training skate, where we needed various braking techniques to save knees, ankles, shins and brake pads: saving knees from too much T-stopping, ankles from too much snow-ploughing, and shins & brake pads from too much heel-braking. And saving chins, teeth and hipbones from slaloming mishaps.

The rest of the trail to the Owl's Roost subdivision was its usual twisty self but the slick leaves on the ground suggested extra challenges and  more braking. We took a spin out through Owl's Roost to add three and a half miles to our overal trip mileage.

Slipping through leaves, we safely avoided the new memorial brick wall at the dog-leg near Bur-Mil Park which leads to the strip across Lake Brandt, and eventually across Strawberry Road to the slight uphill mile and end thus far of the trail. The end of the trail has been extended slightly, from when I was last there. 

On the way back we were propelled by a nice, blustery outflow from a storm approaching from the North, but we needed water badly. We tried the Off'n Running water fountain at the bottom of the hill by the Bur-Mil Park Nature Center, but there was barely enough room for the lower part of our faces to benefit from the water stream, so our water bottles were out of luck. We decided to haul it up the hill towards the swimming pool, rather than chance the slick trail back up to Owl's Roost. The swimming pool employees were closing up shop for the night but they let us in to use their lovely ice-cold, amply-pressurized water fountains. 

Despite the slick and rough trail, we made it back to the Recreation Center/Country Park section with groin-muscles in tact, having avoided any nasty sideways slides on leaves. We cracked the usual 'Training for the Defi de l'Ile de Montreal' jokes. Wanderlust restored my mood somewhere during the last two still-new-to-me miles, and we took a mini detour into some sort of Dollar store near the Target for some cherry coke. Lurking outside on the sidewalk in my flab-squeezing shorts, still-too-small WTF purple jersey and greased-back french braid, I got some pitying looks from the safely-dressed and coiffed Soccer Moms headed for the nearby Beauty Supply Store. S'alright.

It was only 21 miles but my leg muscles felt like I had skated at least 30! This might be from gingerly ascending the trail's slick climbs with a no-slip gait rather than the usual pushing-through-the pavement strokes. Otherwise, I may have just overdone my training last week. 


roadskater's picture

Atlantic & Yadkin Will Get Some Repairs

We saw evidence of marking for some repairs to the trail as we skated. I hope they'll resurface the entire width, as it needs it, since there are so many overhanging and undergrowing trees. It looks like part of the trail will be closed for three weeks in the run up to Tanglewood and Athens to Atlanta, but hopefully this will be a big improvement for years to come. Kudos for that, Greensboro Parks and Recreation. 


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