Thursday, October 20, 2011

more work then "Bob the Builder" could do in a day !

Had a couple smaller days of trail work by myself and a huge day today with the both of us out there.  The other day involved clearing the trail and getting it ready to finalise.  Plenty of clearing to do but it is coming along nicely

The trail takes shape after detritus has been cleared !

We accomplished a fair bit today but never enough in my eyes !  We started on "Grizzly Bear", Toni has named this obstacle as it has a nasty bite if you make a mistake !  This is what it looked like before we got going

The new trail obstacle, "Grizzly Bear", au natural !
Looking  East  to West

We need the chainsaw to cut a flat bit into the top of the log and to cut up the dead logs all around it to use in the construction of the ramps to get over !

"Grizzly Bear", part way through construction
Looking West to East
and then we came back out after lunch to finish it, SWEET !

All finished, looking East to West

To celebrate, we decided to keep going and do a whole heap of benching

Plenty of benching with this steeper side slope
all full bench, half bench is half baked !

up to the next obstacle. The "Mossy Long Ride of D'eath !"  Hopefully we'll get back to that some time next week, it and the berm on the corner are the last two obstacles to be constructed.  Although we are considering adding something (who knows ?)  further back to enhance the flavour of the trail !

Still plenty of track to clear though but it's fairly flat so no benching needed !

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sustainable Trails !

Sustainable Trails

The philosophy I employ in all design and construction reflects a system of trail design and building as put forward by the IMBA.  There system of trail building works and I would encoyrage everyone building trails to adopt something similar.  Here are a few interesting links,

Anyone serious about trail building should buy their books on trail design, and in particular the "Trail Soultions" book, and use it as their bible.

I particularly like this simple 10 step process to avoid the most common mistakes some trail builders employ some or all of  them when building trail !!!

10 Most Common Trailbuilding Mistakes

For as long as humans have been following trails, we've been making mistakes on trails. Still, our missteps - whether they left us in the digestive tracts of saber-toothed beasts or wandering the intestinal roadways of trail-encroaching suburbs - usually only affect ourselves. When trailbuilders make mistakes, however, they affect everybody. Trail users, land managers, vegetation and wildlife all feel the sting of the well-meaning but inexperienced trailbuilder. In our travels, we often see the same mistakes again and again, but the good news is they can all be avoided. In an effort to bury them alongside dinosaurs in the evolutionary graveyard, we bring you the top 10:
  1. Not Getting Land Manager Approval
  2. We know, we know: you just want to build trails. But believe us when we tell you that nothing - not a single darned thing - more important before starting trailwork than the approval of the land owner or manager. In our experience, a failure to secure permission is the single biggest cause of trail closures. When it comes to building trails, to ask for forgiveness is not better than to ask for permission.
  3. Falling for the Fall Line
  4. Put simply, fall line trails are erosion nightmares. They turbo-charge natural and user-created erosion, exposing rocks and roots and generally living short lives before becoming loose, wide, ecosystem-damaging disasters. To build trails that last, use the Half Rule: trail grade, or steepness, shouldn't exceed half the grade, or steepness, of the hillside; and the 10 Percent Rule: overall trail grade should be 10 percent or less.
  5. Guessing the Grade
  6. Nobody, no matter how masterful their eye, can guess trail grades right every time. Trust us, we know. Sure, it's fun to try, but use a clinometer to confirm the grade whenever you're laying out trail - it's worth a regiment of self-powered, Fantasia-style Pulaskis, because no amount of trailwork can fix a trail built on an unsustainable grade. If you don't have a clinometer, we highly recommend an investment in this indispensable tool.
  7. Going Against the Flow
  8. Not even race courses - which are sometimes designed with erratic flow to throw off a racer's rhythm - should make this trailbuilding faux pas. All trailbuilders should make "smooth transitions" their mantra. Bad flow, especially fast sections leading into sharp turns, is a primary cause of user conflict. When you are building, think flow - it's the key to an enjoyable trail.
  9. Half Bench is Half Baked
  10. The only time you should ever skimp on a fully bench cut trail is (1) when the sideslope is so steep - 80 percent or greater - that the backslope exceeds six feet in height, or (2) when your trail design forces you to build close to the downhill side of a large tree. In both cases, a proper crib wall should be built to support your partial bench, and, as in all trails, the tread should maintain a five to seven percent outslope.
  11. The West Virginia Climbing Turn
  12. Our friends in West Virginia affectionately gave this name to some of their steep, fall line turns, and while they've gotten away with it in a few locations because of the soil and user types, most fall line turns will erode badly. If you want your climbing turns to endure, build them on sideslopes with no steeper than a seven to 10 percent grade.
  13. Building Houses of Straw
  14. Remember the little piggy who built his house with straw? He got chowed by a wolf. Using shoddy materials when building trail structures leaves you and others similarly vulnerable by reducing the structure's safety and longevity. This opens the door to things like pain, guilt and even lawyers. Build it right. Keep the wolves at bay.
  15. Finishing a Line Before Its Time
  16. We heartily support on-the-trail training, but some new trailbuilders are so eager to keep building more! new! better! trails that they don't devote enough time or care to each new trail section. Resist the temptation to move forward. Don't finish a line before its time, and always patch past mistakes.
  17. Building a Pathway to Grandma's House
  18. This is what we call some trailbuilders' obsession with lining trail with logs. A properly constructed trail shouldn't need them. In fact, lining a trail with logs can trap water and increase erosion.
  19. Ignoring Old Wounds
  20. As mountain bikers we may think our scars are cool, but scars on the land left by closed trails are damaging wounds that need to heal. Always reclaim eroded areas with check dams - natural obstacles like logs or rocks that divert the flow of water and soil - and reclaim all closed trails with transplanted native vegetation that conceals the old corridor. Shine the spotlight on the great trails you've built, not the ugly scars that have been left behind.

moving along nicely

The track keeps moving along nicely,  another two weeks or so should see the first stage of the southern trail network finished, I hope.  I was sidelined with a 6 day hospital stay so that crimped the plans slightly.

This afternoon saw the track progressing and about 50 meters of this section will need to be benched, it should make a sweet bit of riding through the forest.

Forest Section construction started

All going to plan (does it ever ?), Friday should see some of the construction projects on the trail started.

The plan is to have it finished and open to ride in about two weeks !

Saturday, October 15, 2011

rollin', rollin', rollin' !

We've been out for a couple working bees, progressing the track along nicely.  Clearing the top of the Dam was great, we have never been even able to walk along there.  There was a very thick lanata patch, and waist high Bladey grass to contend with.  No more, Toni LOVES to whippersnip, so she went to work on the Dam wall !
Attacking the Bladey Grass !

Dam Wall, lookin' sweet !
Track across the Dam wall was cleared, and we also completed from Glenns Ck Rd to the southern end of the Dam wall.

Clearing the line on the southern side of the wall,
towards Glenns Ck Rd

Work on the Northern side of the Dam will start as soon as we can.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Under starters orders !

We tried to head out yesterday to do some trail work but alas, rain it did but we managed to get out today.  Cleared the Lantana on the dam wall as the first order of business, then started trail work proper.  We decided to start at the end and work backwards, the treat being when we join to the currently constructed section, it will be completely open to ride, instead of teasing ourselves by extending the old section each time.  Now it's all marked out and cleared, I hope work on building the trail accelerates, as long as my momentum continues !

Link section from Dam wall to Glenns Ck Rd 
The trail "splits" on the other side of the Dam wall, one "arm" of the trail heading south east towards Glenns Ck Rd, the other heading south west to eventually be the main trail loop itself.  We have started on the SE section ! WOOT !

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All marked out

The section of track we have been clearing and building has been marked out all the way to it's terminus.  We wanted it to end at Glens Ck Road, this allows a nice bit of single track to ride out on when heading to "town" on the bikes and also allows us to integrate the forest fire trail at the back of our property into a loop.

The last bit was marked out today, crossing the Dam wall.

Standing on Dam Wall, looking across, wall goes to L

hopefully none of the fearsome yabbies that I seeded the dam with will have grown big enough to pull a rider into the Dam !

All your mountain bikes are belong to us !

There are a couple interesting features in the bit of trail coming down through the forest, a mossy log ride presenting an opportunity to ride along it for a short way, before dropping off to the right, where the blue tape is
Mossy log ride
There is some nice rock just out of the picture to the right, so we might be able to use that to make the ingress and egress ramps off the log hopefully.

The trail descends down through the forest at about 6%, with a 22% (average) crossfall on the land.

Trail marked out through the forest, can you see the trees ?

This log
The "third" bear !
presents another nice obstacle, we'll try and use the excess logs, cut to length with the chainsaw and make an interesting feature to ride over.  The problem is it will be like the other tow we made earlier and Toni has named each of these features Little Bear and Big Bear and she consequently decided to tenatively name the track "Two Bears", I am not sure if this will throw a spanner into her naming convention or not !  We'll see.

if it doesn't rain tomorrow, we'll restart trail construction !