Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flurries awards: striding tracks of the year

Now we get in to the meaty awards: the awards for specific trails. Since this site is often devoted to my rambling trail reports, these are obviously the most important in my mind. Day in and day out, who has the best ...?

Today we'll look at striding tracks. There are several contenders for this award, but based on what I observed, a rather obvious winner. First, to the honourable mentions:

* City of Lakes. The COLL course this year had very good striding tracks when there was snow, especially on the back 9 portion of the course. There, a great 8k loop was available with some good striding hills and, with the trail on a golf course, it was generally more than wide enough to keep the skaters out.
* Terrace Oaks. Terrace Oaks always has good grooming and often sets tracks before anyone else. However, once a few people skate around, owing to the width of the trail, the tracks are often obliterated. A few extra feet would do wonders.
* Battle Creek. Battle Creek is sort of a hybrid between City of Lakes and Terrace Oaks. On the prairie, the tracks are very good and wide, but sometimes windblown. In the woods, they're less reliable, but when they're good, they're great. I'd probably give the hills at BC the nod for striding interval hills of the year.

But the winner? Well, not surprisingly, it's a trail system that specialises in striding tracks: Lebanon Hills. Lebanon had some great tracks early on in the season, but I think it won the award when, the day after Birkie, it took four inches of snow and set tracks nearly all the way around. The trails are fun and quite stride-able, and although a bit more terrain would be great, the quality of the tracks is unparalleled.

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