On Saturday, May 8, the City of Woodstock dedicated the Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails at Olde Rope Mill Park. In a ceremony attended by over 100 friends and family of Taylor Randahl, as well as officials from the City and Cherokee County, a beautiful plaque was unveiled in Taylor’s memory. Taylor died in a tragic accident on April 14, 2000 while riding his bike on a country road in Cherokee County. A vehicle traveling in the opposite direction struck a deer and the deer was thrown into Taylor.
The ceremony was led by the Mayor of Woodstock, Donnie Henriques, and included heartfelt remarks from Taylor’s father, Doug Randahl, Thomas Turner, who was riding with Taylor the day of the accident and Josh Lewis, who revealed the name of the first section of trail that was opened for riding the day of the dedication. The Avalanche Trail name was chosen to remember Taylor’s love for his first mountain bike, a GT Avalanche.
This event consummated a ten year effort by Taylor’s parents, Doug and Kelli, and his sister, Lindsay (pictured above), to build a mountain bike trail in memory of their son and brother. By age sixteen Taylor was a very successful cross country mountain bike racer, competing in events all across the U.S. and beating strong competition several years older.
The plaque honoring Taylor is set in beautiful stonework at the trailhead. The final words on the plaque encourage all riders “To honor his spirit, approach each ride with relentless dedication, fierce passion, tenacious commitment, and boundless enthusiasm. In so doing, he will be riding at your side.”
The Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails are being built by the Woodstock Chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA Woodstock) in partnership with the City of Woodstock. The City and SORBA Woodstock executed a memorandum of understanding in 2009 whereby the City will provide the park land, facilities and financial resources and SORBA Woodstock will provide the trail building expertise to design and build the trails as well as provide volunteer labor to build and maintain the trails. The park land is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the City.
The first section of intermediate skills trails, approximately 6 miles on the south side of the Little River, is scheduled to be completed by late this year. Additionally, 2.2 miles of beginner trails on the south side is also scheduled to be completed this year. The next phase of trail building will be approximately 5 miles of trail on the north side of the river. The County is in the planning stages of erecting a bridge over the Little River that will connect both sections of trail. Long term plans include a connector trail that will join the Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails with the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trails on Sixes Road, creating a network of over 30 miles of singletrack trail providing outstanding riding opportunities for riders of all skill levels.