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Big Bend Ranch State Park trail designated an “Epic” Ride
PRESIDIO – The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has designated the Fresno – Sauceda Loop Trail at Big Bend Ranch State Park an “Epic” ride.
IMBA has designated fewer than 50 Epic rides in the U.S. and Canada in the history of the organization. The Big Bend Ranch SP ride is the only mountain-bike ride designated as Epic in the state of Texas, and only one of two in the southwestern U.S.
Epics are selected by IMBA staff, including regional directors, who decide which trails in their territories are having the largest influence on riders, land managers, and decision makers. Epic rides showcase the possibilities for trail recreation on public lands, according to the IMBA website at http://www.imba.com/epics.
IMBA board member and Mountain Bike Hall of fame inductee Hill Abell describes the Fresno Saucedo trail as “a huge day in the saddle and super challenging.”
The Fresno – Sauceda Loop Trail offers a blend of single-track and double-track 4x4 roads, and it winds through recently opened Fresno Canyon with frequent climbs and often steep descents. Significant geological, natural, archeological, and historical sites and resources are scattered along the route, including abandoned cinnabar mines, desert springs, wildlife, turn-of-the-century ranch house ruins, deserted homesteads, and Native American pictographs.
Jeff Renfrow of the Big Bend Trails Alliance submitted the nomination for the Epic designation. He works with Terlingua-based commercial outfitter Desert Sports. Desert Sports’ Mike Long and his staff frequently lead rides in BBRSP and the surrounding areas. The Big Bend Trails Alliance has assisted the park with trail-building and maintenance.
“The Fresno – Sauceda ‘Dream Ride’ is the quintessential Epic ride,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife staff writer Karen Hoffman Blizzard, who wrote of her experience in the November 2009 issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. “It takes you out of the ordinary and into the Zone.”
The West Texas park includes over 200 miles of single-track, double-track, and old 4x4 ranch roads, including the ride to “The Other Side of Nowhere,” with steep graded climbs and some wild downhill runs. While Big Bend Ranch State Park has something for everyone interested in the outdoors, it has been described by many as “a pure paradise for mountain-bikers who like remote areas and physical challenges.”
Driving directions: Travel west on Highway 170 from Terlingua, Texas. The trailhead is on the right just before you arrive at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center (State Park Headquarters) and the village of Lajitas. All visitors are required to obtain a park entry permit and the latest trail information at the Visitor Center. After getting a permit ride from the Visitor Center or go across the road and park at the Contrabando Trailead.
Length of route: There are a number of variations for the designated EPIC ride, ranging from 52 to 70 miles, with multiple options for shorter or longer rides.
The IMBA ride description: http://www.imba.com/epics/fresno-sauceda-loop
The TPW magazine article that describes the EPIC ride: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2009/nov/ed_1/
The Big Bend Ranch Biking Guide (the EPIC ride is a variation of #23): http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/big_bend_ranch/media/publications/pwd_bk_p4501_0152k_RoadsToNowhere.pdf
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