Sunday, November 29, 2009

freeze/thaw time of year

With forecasted temps mostly below freezing from Wednesday on, frost in the ground will need to be ridden when the temps are below freezing, otherwise thawing produces a slimey tread.

Say NO to mud. When frost is in the ground, ride early in the day before the temps get above freezing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

some kc dirt (and rock)

Visited family in kc and took friday to visit three trails by the Earth Riders Trail Association. These guys have over 100 miles of singletrack. Stocksdale/Walnut Woods and Swope Park were new to me, I've been to Blue River Parkway before. I went to enjoy the ride but also to note their trail design.

Stocksdale/Walnut Woods has a green trail on a prairie and a blue trail in the woods with more climbing and some rocks. Because of the lack of rock, the design used some longer climbs without grade reversals than I've seen at their other parks. Had Ginger on a lead and was able to do most of the blue without getting off the bike. Saw a family out there: dad and dog running, kids on bmx bikes, and mom walking. Very cool. I rate this trail comparable to Tranquility in technical difficulty.

Went to Swope Park next. This is the newest ERTA trail with about 3 miles available. Very enjoyable. I actually had some questions as to why they chose to put in a bench on the right when a plateau was available on the left?

This following pic is looking back down with the plateau on the right. More grade reversals and shorter climbs resulted.

A good part of the initial layout runs along the top and side of this outcropping. Nice for seeing others below. The trail was difficult and I pushed a handful or more of times, especially for the 1' step ups. Talked with a guy who broke his hand on a step up. There's a bowling pin out there called the 8 pin marking where a broken hand needed 8 pins.

What I like about this trail is the climbing sections were rideable without blowing up. With rock available for ttfs, trail difficulty doesn't have to rely on or overuse climbing to provide a challenge. I like the continuum from picking lines to miss rock, to roll over rock, to lifting wheel(s), to progressively difficult trial moves.

My legs were a little sore after a lap each way but I still stopped at Blue Ridge Parkway. BuRP is downstream from Swope Park on the Blue River. ERTA has started a trail to connect them via the river bottoms. Both parks built up along with the connector will total over 50 miles!

BuRP has green, blue, and black routes. I walked a lot of the black route last time (a lot of trial moves) so I just stayed to the green and blue today, though I couldn't find the connection for the lowest section (route 5 and following). Good because my legs were really feeling it by now. These trails were a little steeper and the tread was more difficult because of the amount of horse traffic it gets. Because of the underbrush, trimming maintenance is needed, unlike what I saw at Swope Park. Still BuRP is very much worth the effort with some abandoned roads and RR bed, scenic bluff overlooks, and a house (only basement and sidewalks left) being overtaken with nature on the bluff.

That 2" root just in front of my tire has my number. Two times I've been to BuRP, I've endo'd on that root! Going too slow, tired, weight forward and high to look down the bluff, it put my pelvic bone to the stem and helmet to the ground. Hello!

100 miles on the car, maybe 17 miles of singletrack across different terrain, 7 hours out and back. Big Smiles! 8-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

work, play - mostly play

Thanks, Mike, for working, riding, and taking some pics.

Brian, Mike, Todd, Tim, Marie, and myself worked and played, well mostly played. About 1.5 hrs (9 total hrs) work and 3 hrs play. Two laps clockwise and one counter-clockwise. Counter has much more difficult climbing.

Climbed up the Tower bluff, running out of energy and air at the last switchback. Even after catching my breath, legs wouldn't make the last switchback but Todd did. Feel good that the layout is rideable both directions.

With loose dirt and some benching needed, the trail is the most difficult it will be to ride. The loose dirt requires finesse that will disappear with age and compaction.

Most of the trail is less than 5% grade except for the short, steep ups or downs. Similar to Jewell with little undergrowth, just hardwoods. Therefore very little maintenance. Climbing along bluffs like Platte, L&C, and Jewell, but not as steep except for the Tower bluff, terminal velocity in the tight trees like Manawa. Some ttfs require finesse and power, but connected with contour trails for recover time.

The uniqueness from other THOR trails are: the amount of cedar trees; the short, steep Tower bluff; the long, gradual chapel bluff; a swinging bridge; riding along the Platter River; and private property.

Topography, flora, fauna, and land manager rules give each trail a unique personality. We are blessed by our natural resources, and given the limited trailwork volunteers, we should not take for granted the trails we have.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Want to ride Calvin Crest? Sun, Nov 22

Discussed with Craig and Calvin Crest mtb trail will not be open to the public till next year. We want the first time, self guided ride to be a great experience. Hence, the mtb webpage, signage, and kiosk must be in place before the public opening.

But we will have a ride or two by appointment before then. This Sunday, Nov 22, is one such appointment. This also happens to be coupled with trailwork. Bring your McLeod or we'll have one for you to use. Ride after we work.

Seems most (99.5% according to IMBA) prefer to ride on these beautiful Fall days rather than do trailwork. I would rather just ride too, but then there would be less trail coming online. We can only ride when the ground is frozen. Let's do trailwork in these cooler temps AND ride.

We start work at noon and ride after that.

Questions? ask here or send me an email: tpmbt at cox dot net.

Will have a carpool leaving Bike Masters at 11.

To wet your appetite, I took some pics while touching up a couple spots last Sunday. This sequence is of the Tower Bluff descent we built a couple weeks ago. About 70' of drop with 5 switchbacks. Very fortunate to find these plateaus because much of the bluff is 35%+ grade straight down to the river bottom.

This is at the edge of the bluff. Need some benching but it is rideable. Maybe lack of benching is a ttf? 8-)

Benched a deer trail to drop down on a plateau. A boy scout fall line trail is to the right of the orange coffee can bottom.

First switchback. Able to incorporate natural grade for a wall ride. Chris saw this line.

Skipped to third switchback. After first ride, reworked to direct riders wide left to more easily make the sharp descending right turn.

Fourth switchback is a nice lefthand sweeper.

Here is another view of the fourth and fifth switchbacks from up the hill.

Same view from still higher up the hill.

Fifth switchback. Built in stall before right turn for grade reversal to shed water off the trail.

This follows part of a deer trail and finally exits on the river bottom.

On the river bottom is the Meadow Trail. Reminds me of an abandoned roadway that is slowly returning to nature.

If you want to experience this before the public opening next year, come work and ride with us this Sunday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trail Observation - Caution Note

Below is a report about events that took place at Lake Manawa recently. We are posting this for situational awareness purposes. With the transition of day light to nite time riding these shortening days Please Exercise Caution at our parks both in the trails and at the trail heads.

"This is an automated trail report. Please DO NOT click REPLY or REPLY ALL to this e-mail.
We received a report regarding
Lake Manawa

Where work is needed
Safety IssueMy coworker sent me the following message regarding a visit to Lake Manawa on 11/09/09. I appologize for his writing.
"I went out to Manawa yesterday to do a little mountain biking and when I got there some weirdos just got out of the trails. 3 older guys no helmets and crappy mtb's. They put the bikes in the back of their pickup, then a DNR officer arrived and parked right behind them. I guess there were reports of someone shooting a gun out there and the cop asked if he could search there vehicle. A few minutes later a real police officer drove up and the DNR officer found a handgun on the guy.My girlfriend and i proceeded out on the trails when we saw 3 real odd people walking on the trail and the last person in the group was carrying a handgun."
I thought somebody should know.
- Kevin"

I was a part of a small group ride last night at Lake Manawa and didn't have a single problem except we were running out of batteries and couldn't keep riding through out the nite. It is in SWEET condition right now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Calvin Crest update

First let me state that Calvin Crest is currently CLOSED to the public. It was reported some bikers were out poaching the trails. Please respect their property and don't ride there when it's closed.

When Calvin Crest is opened to the public, it will be announced on the THOR blog.

Friday, Paul and I went out and cleared two fallen trees, added more orange marking tape and raked sections of trail in order to see it better.

Saturday, I spent several hours tweeking the phase 2 layout and raking more trail.

Sunday, Brian, Chris, Dave, and myself spent a couple hours building six switchbacks to get down a 70' bluff. Then Todd, his wife and daughter, found us as we blazed the trail back to the entrance of phase 2 loop. At the bottom of the bluff, we hooked into the Meadow Trail that finishes the loop. Phase 2 added another mile, so about 4.25 total. Approximately 30 hrs over the three days.

Because of the small number of volunteers, we were exhausted and blistered from the pace and actually surprised to finish phase 2. (After riding it, it still needs a couple tweeks.) We then went out for a well deserved buffet.

We came back to ride a lap before hunters go out - to taste the fruit of our labors. As Chris attempted the rooted climb, he fell and twisted his ankle badly. He would find out later that night he actually broke his ankle in two places. The first casualty and the trail isn't even open to the public yet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meeting with IMBA


Ryan Schutz (IMBA's Regional Director) will be visiting on November 9 & 10 to do a "Scoping Visit". He'll be here to get a lay of the land, and facilitate us through the process of creating what we hope will be a master plan of our green space/trail system. With your help, we... can identify our existing green spaces, parks, greenways, preserves, etc and also identify the gaps and potential connectors.

On Nov. 9th, he would like to meet with the THOR advisory board members and those interested in playing a role in learning more about organizational building.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

trailwork at calvin crest sat and sun nov 7&8

Time to put some sweat equity into local trail construction. With IMBA's green space review next Monday and Tuesday (open to all members), THOR has been given authorization to construct singletrack this Saturday and Sunday at Calvin Crest in Fremont.

Saturday and Sunday, Nov 7&8
09:00-15:00 Trailwork the first half or so, then ride. Bow hunters are on the property so we are limited to this time window.
Directions to Calvin Crest

There is about 3/4 of a mile to build.
1) Cut and clear branches out of the trail corridor. Hand Saws, Loppers
2) Clear vegetation, bench and compact tread. Rakes, McLeods

The soil is like Platte River State Park - loose and easy to shape. From my perspective, trail construction opportunities don't get any better than this.

We have some tools, mostly need people willing to give their time and energy.

Email Dale tpmbt at cox dot net to carpool or rsvp.

For those available Friday, Paul and I are going out there if you're interested.