Photo by TheDigitel Myrtle Beach
Mountain bikers and trail runners have some interesting new terrain to explore in a new central location right near the intersection of International Drive and Highway 31.
Since we first reported on the local mountain biking club over a year ago, local interest in the sport has continued to grow. As a result, there are a couple of local trail projects in the works and the newest one is the Horry County Bike & Run Park.
The Horry County Bike & Run Park is accessible from River Oaks Drive by turning down Frontage Road B-2 (just under the Highway 31 overpass). The collaborative effort includes Horry County Parks and Recreation (HCPR), the Myrtle Beach Triathlon Club, and the Waccamaw Trail Blazers. Building and grooming the trail to be suitable for bike use has taken the effort of numerous volunteers.
The park is open 7 days per week. Helmets are required for bicyclists and children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. No motorized vehicles or horses are allowed on the trail. There's been issues in the past with 4x4 vehicles trespassing on to the property so the area has been patrolled regularly.
One of the key participants that started the project was Pete Poitis, triathlete and owner of Hot Stacks Pancake House. He gave me some more details on the whole project.
"I stumbled onto this property last winter when I would ride by it on my tri-bike. There were no signs attached to this property but a huge wooden cross. I did some research to see who owned the property and I found that it was Horry County. I made a few phone calls and was directed to Brent Taylor [of Horry County Parks and Recreation]. We are very thrilled they gave us permission." Politis also explained because of the property's proximity to the Intracoastal Waterway, it makes it ideal for a triathlon event. The first of which is planned on September 29, 2012. More details on the event are here.
As a member of the Waccamaw Trailblazers myself, I've had the chance to ride the trail a few times already. The biking trail accommodates all skill levels and there are numerous elevation changes that aren't available at any of the other local trails currently. There are a few very soft sand spots but Politis says they are going to try an environmentally friendly product from Soiltac that should help firm things up.
My only real complaint about the trail is that it's currently a temporary situation. Horry County eventually plans to make the area into athletic fields. After all, there's bound to be many acres of already flat land nearby that would be better suited to open fields. Maybe if enough people enjoy the trail and share their experiences with HCPR, the trails could become a permanent attraction for both locals and visitors.