Friday, February 02, 2007

100% Flowing Cedar

On this fine chilly day in February, Rob, Tim and I took a day off from our regular jobs to do a some work on our favorite trail of all....Snakes and Ladders. Rob picked me up at my place at 7:30am. He borrowed my hard tail because he had a flat on his hard tail and the shock on his Heckler decided it had had enough and died on our last ride in the snow. I was on my Heckler and with me I had a chainsaw that my fine buddy Pete lent to us so that we could do some serious cutting of logs today.

A Husqvarna 359 (3.9Hp, 59cc, 20" bar) Sweetness!!

So after the short drive from my place to the Woodlot, Rob and I loaded up our packs with nails and gas and other necessities for the day ahead. As we there just departing up the hill, three guys pulled up on big bikes that were taking advantage of the stunning weather we were having today.

I must say that my pack was ridiculously bulky and heavy. I had my normal gear with me that consisted of my Dakine Nomad pack with my full face helmet, tools, leg and arm armour, 2L of water, but on top of that I also had the saw, 6 pounds of 10" & 12" spikes, 2L of gas, a bottle of bar oil and a few tools for the saw. I would have gladly paid for a Sherpa today but I put my nose down to the grinding stone and toughed it out.

We made our way to Quick Hit to see about some trees that had fallen across the trail. It turned out that they were some rather significant trees that will require a fair bit of time and a good saw to remove. We decided to leave them for today because our focus was Snakes and Ladders and these fallen trees would only delay any progress that would be made on Snakes.

So back down the road we went to the bottom of Snakes and Ladders. With all the gear we were carrying and the location we were working on today it was far easier to access the trail from the bottom. I could only push my bike up about 50m before I had to leave my bike and just hike my pack up and come back for the Heckler later. At the top I left my pack, looked at the area we were going to be building in and then went to get my bike. I have found that planning what you are going to be building for the day in your head well in advance of the build save a great deal of time and also give you a focus on what needs to be done. In my brief survey of the area I could see that we were going to need a lot of rung and a few more stringers for today's build.

After I retrieved my bike from the lower part of the trail I went back to my pack to unload the saw and get my camera to snap a few pictures. In no time at all Tim showed up riding down the trail so I snapped a quick picture of him riding by.

Tim riding to the build early in the morning.

After we gathered the tools for today's build we hiked up the hill a little ways to start bucking up some large fallen trees that would be used as rung for the bridge. The Husky saw that I brought turn out to be a real monster and ripped through the logs with total ease. After getting 5 or 6 big chunks cut on on log, Tim went to work splitting the wood into rung while Rob and I found another log a little ways away. Fortunately for us this area is wood and rock rich which makes building a lot easier. Rob and I cut 5 or 6 more chunks out of a huge fallen tree and then worked together to split the rung. In no time at all we had all the rung we would need for the day. As the 3 of us were tossing the rung down to the trail, the three guys that Rob and I saw in the parking lot were now coming down the trail. It is common trail etiquette to stop and offer help to anyone building on a trail, but it seemed as though these guys weren't up to speed on this idea. So as they rode through and stopped at the ladder down I kinda yelled in their direction to ask if they could help for a few minutes. They came back to us, picked up a handful of rung each and were on their way in no time at all. Tim, Rob and myself were somewhat amazed that they were really going to just roll through without saying thanks or lending a hand but I asked, they helped and all is good in the universe.

The layout of this bridge was absolutely critical to keeping the flow and speed of this section of trail. We spent at least half an hour figuring out angles and camber on the turns for this bridge and in the end we were pretty happy with the results. Once Tim did his traditional trimming magic the new ladder was ready to ride. You are now able to carry a fair amount of speed over what used to be a very wet muddy section of trail while enjoying a flowing bridge section.

The before shot and the finished product.

A little camber here and there of 100% Cedar

Looking back up the newly finished product.

So when we were finished building for the day we decided that we would push up the trail a little ways to get in a bit of a ride before heading home. We made our way to the wooden berm, turned around and the 3 Amigos were ripping Snakes once again. We stopped briefly at the new ladder to pick up the chainsaw and were on our way down to Shotgun in no time at all.

Rob volunteered to carry that saw down in my pack so I was free to ride at a good pace with Tim on my heels. Shotgun was a hoot and at the cars we cracked open a beer and toasted to a great build and ride.

No comments: