Northshore Trail in Grapevine Lake, TX

Techinical section of Loop 5 on the The cliffs on the west side of loop 4 on the Northshore Trails - Grapevine, TX

I had the opportunity to ride the Northshore Trail while traveling for work the last couple of weeks. Immediately evident is the brave community of cyclists who ride the trails daily in 100ยบ+ heat. When I began westbound on Loop 4 out of Rocky Peak Park, I expected to be the only unintelligent person on the trail in the heat. Nope. I passed and was passed by about 30 folks. The good people in Texas don’t get to tell their weather to be cool or rain or be only a little less hot. They get out on the trail regardless. Good for them.

The Northshore Trail is a series of 2-4 mile loops. There are seven of them; 23 miles in all. Any number of loop combinations can be put together and each is a counter-clockwise flow. The network is maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers and is a mix of hard pack and sand with multiple root and rock gardens that force you to pick the right line. Or fall. I did both on every ride. The trail caters to the big gear pedal mashers who make it a point to sprint and beat their friends, strange new group additions (me), or their own shadow. The North Shore network is not built for climbers. In 19 miles, I only covered 950 ft. elevation gain.

I like technical trails. I prefer them. I’m also riding a 29er steel hardtail with 100mm travel. It’s a 2015 Salsa El Mariachi; an XC bike I built in trail bike clothes. Why is this important? It’s not. But the trail has a number of root and rock technical sections just as you approach or exit switchback climbs and descents. Groups stop frequently and make a spectator sport of others trying to clean difficult sections. I was ogled at and whispered about in a number of them. Good thing for me and my ego, I cleaned each when it mattered to a chorus of ‘atta boys and hollers. My 100mm XC hardtail naturally became the conversation centerpiece as a few quietly questioned their recent multi-thousand dollar full-suspension dream bike purchase.

It’s not all momentary trail fame and glory though. In the quieter moments, on a few occasions and without spectators, the the trail beat me up, dumped me off the edge, and laughed. It gave me bloody right shin and elbow twice, along with a growing poison oak problem. All a healthy mix to keep the ego in check and coming back fore more.

The Northshore Trail isn’t a destination playground, but it gets the job done in the area. The best part is the friendly faces and enthusiasm of riders on the trail. Everyone is helpful and looks out for pulled over cyclists to offer water or maintenance help. The Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association, DORBA, hosts an evening ride every Wednesday at 6:30pm from the Murrell Park MADD Shelter. . .at least this is what a few folks on the trail mentioned who seemed to be in the know. Check out their website for more details. Don’t hesitate to brave the heat and get out there if in town.