Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Passing Of Summer

The last official day of summer.

It was partly cloudy when I left the house.

It started raining during the climb.

I was riding my regular turf...The Woodlot. It was a little later start than what I am used to, but it felt great to get on the bike and ride in the hills. I was on my Heckler again.....I say that sarcastically because I really only seem to ride The Heckler nowadays. The hard tail is pulled out every now and then and the Ollie only seems like it is pulled out for the big hit days. I was kind of planning on getting a new frame this year, but I just seem to be liking the Heckler a little too much. It is simple, strong and does almost everything I ask it to do without a single complaint.

Anyhoo.....I rode up Stovetop again today in the wet and it actually seems easier than in the dry. I rolled over the sweet intersection of The Toadstools and then continued up the skidder to Tsuga. On the skidder I got absolutely soaked because when you pedal, you can't exactly stay centered on the trail to avoid the wet leaves that border the trail. The wetness aside, I had a good pedal up to Tsuga. At the trail head, I geared up and let go of the brakes.

Tusga was in great shape; no holes, no mud, no blowdown, just all natural goodness.

Once at Snakes and Ladders I took my time to see if there were any spots collecting water. There were a few, but a few minutes with a shovel is all that most need. For the most part, Snakes and Ladders is ready for the rains that are coming. A minimal amount of preventative work is all that is needed.

Timmy had been busy working on the trail at the extension. It is really close to being done. He had pretty much finished the hit that I roughed in last week. It was all framed and filled with dirt and tamped down. I was the first to hit it. Nothing big, but it puts you exactly where you need to be in the landing area. I cannot wait to totally dial the last section of the extension. I am really happy with what we have done.

So rather than work at the bottom of the extension, I took my bike up to the top and started work on removing a rather large amount of duff. The tie in to the original trail is not going to be as easy to construct as most of the extension we have done. The line consists of a trail builders nemesis.....DUFF. For a good 50 feet there is a substantial amount of duff, red rot, black, mossy, rooty, organic sloppy duff.

I spent 2 hours clearing 6 feet of trail. Thats right, 2 hours 6 feet. Some people wonder why it takes people so long to hand construct a trail. It is mainly because to do it right it takes a lot of back breaking exhausting work. Digging, picking, cutting and moving rock, dirt and removing roots all so that the trail will flow well and run smooth and dry.

This picture shows what I did today with an axe, mattock, shovel and saw. The cut into the duff is about 3 feet wide, at least 3 feet deep and about 6 feet long. It was a PITA to do, but it will be well worth it in the end.

This picture show just how much duff and stuff I threw down slope. All the red in the picture was my handiwork today.

During the course of doing this work today I had a few visitors on the trail. Firstly 4 guys hiked up the new line. There I was standing with an axe and 4 guys from Washington State walked up the trail dragging their bikes. They were lost. Not knowing how to find the beginning of the trail, they walked up form the bottom and somehow saw the new line and followed it to my location. How they found it I don't really know but they were happy to get some directions from me and they were on their way. One guy and his dog came down in near silence and then 2 guys that were hooting and hollering passed by.

Once I had emptied my tank, I packed up the tools and headed down the trail and out over to Shotgun. A quick blast down and then out to my vehicle. At the bottom I met up with a guy I had seen the last 3 weeks so we chatted for a bit then I got in my truck and homeward bound I was.

I managed to get a good chunk of work done on the trail and had a good solid ride as well.

Summer is gone, time for change.

No comments: