Sometimes, you have to drop what you are doing and just go ride your bike. This past weekend, a group from our gravity team had the opportunity to head south to Kentucky to ride in the first bike park to be built underground.
Some members of the group were faced with the decision of missing out or getting shifts covered at work, the choice was obvious.
We left just as the sun was setting, dreading the 5.5 hour drive ahead. Fortunately, between jamming out to random songs on the radio and discussing our riding goals for the coming season, there wasn’t much time to be bored.
We woke up Saturday morning still somewhat groggy from the long drive, but ready to play in the dirt. On our way to the Mega Caverns, we stopped to take in some of the sights Louisville has to offer, and decided to fuel up for the day ahead at North End Café.
The Mega Caverns location was not at all what we expected, there were no billboards or signs pointing the way, and we were pretty sure our GPS had failed us. Then, we turned left and saw an employee who explained where we should go, and assured us, “No helmet, no ride.” We parked and began our short trek to the massive entrance from the parking lot.
We were directed through a picnic area and down a hallway to a tent where we signed our waivers and went to pay. Upon entering the souvenir shop, we got a glimpse of the rope skills course, some zip-line areas, and the Mega Tram filled with the less adventurous patrons.
With great anticipation, we finally made our way into the depths of the world’s first underground bike park. There was a dampness in the air that made the 60 degree temp feel more like the upper 40s, but after a few minutes of riding around exploring the massive cavern, we were glad for the coolness.
When you first enter, you immediately have the option of jumping on the XC trail that flows around the perimeter of the park and takes you into the different areas. The first cavern zone you come upon is Area #3, this room has 3 jump lines for different skill levels. The far right line is a roller pump line with small tables suitable for up and comers, but I found myself having a blast with the speed this line allowed. The other 2 are medium, flowy jump lines with transfer lines more suitable for intermediate riders. As you continue on the XC course, it splits into many different options: pump lines, berms, rock and wood features, along with small table tops. There are one way signs and level of difficulty markers aplenty, ensuring that you go where your skill will allow. Situated in the middle of the park is the big jump line, this line merges with four other jump lines that all converge on top of a large, metal shipping container that acted as a step up to step down.
This trip was an awesome way to kick off the new riding season. If you get a chance to check the park out, don’t pass it up! The Mega Caverns offer fun for all skill levels, so much so that you’ll forget you’re surrounded by towering, beautiful rock walls; what a wonderfully strange place, indeed.