We have had some great fall weather here in the Heartland over the past few years; this year is shaping up to give us more of the same. Fall is one of my favorite times to ride; the days get shorter but the heat and humidity are usually left behind with the transition from August into September. There is a crispness in the air that is refreshing, but not yet cold. While we usually don’t have the massive displays of color that the New England area is known for, we have a great assortment of greens, yellows, reds, browns, and oranges that start to peak out from the branches of the trees by the time October rolls around, and linger into November.
It is the time of year that many of us begin to trade miles on the road for time on the trails. The Kansas City area has an amazing trail system. The Little Blue Trace Trail, a meandering, crushed-limestone trail running through eastern Jackson County, currently provides out-and-back mileage of just over 30 miles, with more miles of trail ready to open soon. The trail is mostly flat and flows along with the Little Blue River through woods, farmland, suburban locations, and grassland. It is a great trail for both those just getting into riding and experienced riders. You will find runners, cyclists, joggers, and walkers out on the trail day and night, 7 days a week!
Those looking for an off-road mountain bike experience have over 100 miles of trail options in the KC area. From the city center to the suburbs, there are trails for every riding style and ability. Landahl, Blue Springs Lake, Swope, and many other trails offer something for everyone.
You can find details about all the area trails over at Urban Trail Co. who describe the area trails very succinctly:
“The clay-based KC soils lie over a thick bed of limestone in the Missouri and Kansas river valleys. KC-area trails — more than 100 miles of nature to hike or ride — lavishly display these limestone bluffs, rocky outcroppings, valley views, and rolling woodlands. Blooming in the spring, rich with color in fall, and alive with birds, deer, and other wildlife, these natural-surface trails are a beating heart of the KC urban experience. With a mix of longer (8+ miles), medium (4-8 miles), and shorter (less than 4 miles) systems, every KC metro resident can be on a woodland trail in less than a 30-minute drive, exploring the best of our area’s beauty and recreation.”
The smell of fall in the air, that unique blend of fallen leaves and damp earth, meets us as we hit the trails in the area. If you pay attention, you will also notice an increase activity from many of the animals in the woods or along the trails. Squirrels are out in full force, foraging to plump up for the winter and increase their food stores; while plenty of hawks stand as sentries, overlooking the fields, ready to snatch up an unlucky rodent or snake as they prepare for leaner times over the winter.
With cooler temperatures slowly taking over as we move deeper into the season, we are also pulling out cooler weather riding gear. This time of year can be tricky as 10-20 degree temperature swings are not uncommon when starting a ride early in the morning or ending your rides later into the evening. Luckily, we have partnered with Swiftwick, maker of my absolute favorite socks. Their range of socks include both Merino wool and synthetic varieties of varying height options from zero rise up to knee-height. This allows me to tailor my sock choice to assist in warding off the cooler weather. The socks do a great job of wicking away moisture to keep feet warm and dry, while a variety of materials and thickness gives plenty of choices based on the day’s temps. The fit, comfort, and performance are unmatched by any other socks I have used up to this point.