SASKATCHEWAN

BLACKSTRAP – A GEM IN THE PRAIRIES

Pedal Magazine - - Test Gear - BY SU­SAN CLARKE OF BRUCE’S CY­CLE WORKS

Known to Saska­toon, Sask. moun­tain-bike en­thu­si­asts, Blackstrap Pro­vin­cial Park of­fers a va­ri­ety of trails for rid­ers of all ages. For 10 years, the Park has been work­ing with the North­ern Bush Rasta Moun­tain Bike and Bruce Cy­cle Works cy­cling clubs to main­tain ex­ist­ing trails us­ing In­ter­na­tional Moun­tain Bi­cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion stan­dards. The re­sult is a net­work of trails that are well groomed and easy to nav­i­gate.

The foun­da­tion of this moun­tain-bike trail sys­tem is the cross-coun­try ski trails that were cre­ated for the Jeux Canada Games in 1970. The route starts at the Trail­head Sta­dium and feeds you into “Fox Den.”

Rid­ers look­ing for a less tech­ni­cal op­tion can re­main on the grassy trails, while those look­ing for more ac­tion can pop in and out of the sin­gle­track trails such as “Twis­ter,” “Turk­ish De­light” and “Deer Leg Down.” “Where’s Granny” re­minds even the fittest of rid­ers that ath­letic abil­ity has its lim­its.

“Sun­day Morn­ing” has some chal­leng­ing switch­backs mixed with open sec­tions for re­cov­ery, and don’t for­get to save some en­ergy for the “Toll Booth” trail, where rid­ers are re­warded with some great down­hill rid­ing af­ter they ex­pend their ini­tial en­ergy on the open­ing climbs.

These are just a few ex­am­ples of the many trails avail­able to rid­ers, and cy­clists can choose one, two or all of the sin­gle­track trails as they make their way through the net­work.

The Park re­cently added a path­way con­nect­ing the Kevin Mis­feldt Camp­ground to the ma­rina, of­fer­ing fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to ride to the main beach, by­pass­ing the very steep Park-road­way hills.

This path is both scenic and friendly to a va­ri­ety of skill lev­els. When you add this to the trail sys­tem that con­nects the Hazel­nut Camp­ground to the main beach and the old Park road that leads you to the south gate of the Park, you have a solid trail net­work for those want­ing less sin­gle­track and el­e­va­tion.

If you haven’t yet ex­plored Blackstrap Pro­vin­cial Park, put it on your list. Once you visit, you’ll find many rea­sons to keep com­ing back.

Blackstrap Pro­vin­cial Park of­fers a solid net­work of trails for rid­ers of all ages that are well groomed and easy to nav­i­gate.

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