Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends Help Friends

A few weeks ago Tom from the FVMBA put a call out to people to help relpace a bridge on Red Mountain. The bridge in question is a 35 footer on Red Rider that is a little over 4 feet wide that sees a fair amount of traffic during the year and the Red Mountain XC race. It is super sketchy due to flexing and slipperiness.

At 8am the group (Tom, Steve, Kim, Gary and I) was assembled and shuttled to the top of Red Rider. I was the only on that brought a bike so it was a quick little zip for me down the trail to the bridge we were replacing.


Tom gave us all the rundown on the situation and we split off in crews to get the job done. I worked on splitting rung, Steve hauled the rung, Tom, Gary and Kim gathered new stringers and demolished the existing structure.

Kim starting the demo

Due to the length and width of the bridge, a lot of log rung needed to be split using a froe, wedges and a couple axes. Most of the rung I split were 4-5 feet in length and an inch or so thick.

Tom 'supervising' Kim's Demo

Dragging the stingers out of the woods took six people and a lot of effort.

The stingers getting put in place.

I was able to stay until the framing began but then had to leave due to prior commitments. The guys were able to finish off the structure a few hours after I left.

The bridge completed and only needing a trim and little rock work.
I finished off the day by riding the rest of Red Rider, Momentum and Black Tie.

It was a really productive day and a welcome change to build with a group of people equally passionate about building great trails.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rocking on Cabin

This morning I arrived around 7am at The Woodlot and was met with two piles of garden waste dumped in one of my usual parking spots. The Woodlot is a somewhat remote area and has seen it's fair share of waste dumped here. Most of the time it get discarded on the side of the road but this time the ass hat decided to dump in the middle of the road. Luckily today I had a shovel and bucket with me in my car that I was going to use on the trails. The clean-up didn't take all that long, but it's things like this that just make me shake my head at people's stupidity.

With the clean-up complete, I boarded my bike (Rune) and pedaled up the mountain. It was raining today but not so heavy that I was getting soaked, just a little wet.

When I made it to the powerlines I was literally in the clouds and hardly see in front of me. I'm normally met with a view of Mission to the east, but all I could see was white mist. Seeing as I had a shovel with me and my goal today was to get some trail work done, whenever I rode up to a big puddle on the road to Cabin Trail, I went work draining it. I was able to drain three large puddles that should remain dry until the snows come in December.

Last week I decided during my ride that I would begin doing some much needed rock work on Cabin Trail / Goldmine trail. A couple years ago a pair of quads went down this trail, got stuck and had to winch their way out of the trail. (Here is a link to some mountain bikers meeting the quads - WARNING- Explicit Language used) In doing so, several sections of trail that had previously been armored with rock were left in very bad shape and have since significantly eroded. I have made it a goal of mine to 1.)repair the vandalized cabin just off the trail and 2.)fix up eroded sections on Cabin Trail to make it safer and more sustainable by the end of the summer. Below are pictures of 3 sections that I repaired this morning.

When I finished the rock work, I stashed the tools I brought up to the trail and then began my ride down. I made a pit-stop at the cabin to see what kind of condition it was in. Structurally it is in okay condition but the roof needs a brace replaced and a few roof slats need to be installed. Also a few walls have been kicked out so they need fixing and the door needs to be re-installed. It may turn out to be a lot of work and I might need some help from friends, but I feel it is worth the effort to fix this old mining cabin rather than watching it disintegrate and rot in the forest.

After passing a couple younger riders on their way down Cabin Trail, I zipped down Snakes and Ladders, the over to and down Bloggy and then down Shotgun. It was a very productive day of building and a great ride even in the May spring rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Change and Renewal

Two weeks off the bike really made me want to go for a spin. This morning I took my Trance to the Woodlot and began pedaling. The weather was rather nice for a change and I was even met with a few rays of sunshine when I passed by one of the clearings. I had to pause and take the picture above because I couldn't believe I was actually witnessing sunshine.

I made my way up the skidder road and then up Stovetop. I have been in touch with the managers of the Woodlot recently and it looks like there are going to be some changes to some trails in the near future with new skidder access roads and logging to take place soon. Unfortunately Mandatory Caution and Upper Toadstool are going to have skidder spur roads cut across them. I walked the flagged spurs with my GPS to see where the skidder roads are going and put the data onto a map. Hopefully the impact will be minimal on the trails, but things can always be rebuilt once the logging is complete.

Proposed spur roads shown in purple

After walking the proposed spurs with my GPS in hand I jumped back on my bike and pedaled up to Cabin Trail. By this time the weather had gone from sunny with clouds to just plain old rain. At Cabin Trail I began my descent and then stopped to have a look at the trail in one of the particularly nasty spots. I decided right then and there that I was going to make this trail my summer trail improvement project. I am going to fix the nasty spots of Cabin Trail /Goldmine without dumbing it down and while keeping the trail all natural.

I then put on my work gloves and went to work stacking rock in a big bomb hole section of trail. I didn't have a shovel around to move any dirt, but I was able to get the rocks in place that I'll cover in dirt when I bring up a shovel.

When I finished stacking rock, I boarded my bike and rode the trail down to the powerlines, then Snakes and Ladders and finished my ride off with Shotgun.

It seems I may have unintentionally started a hefty project but one that is much overdue and in need of some TLC.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Big Bikes Rock!!

Last week I rode my Rune. It's a solid 6x6 bike that climbs well and rips on the downhill. Today I rode basically the same trails I did last week, but this time I was on my Legend MkII and what a difference the bike made on the downhill.

The ride started around 8 am where I met up with Curtis and Mark where we started the push up tot he top. Pedaling the Legend just isn't in the cards and Curtis doesn't really like to pedal, so we chatted during the push to Cabin Trail. There was a little less snow on the road this week compared to last week which means I can soon start doing some epically long rides into the wilderness.

The three of us (along with Mark's dog) rode Cabin Trail down to Snakes and Ladders. We then stopped for a few minutes to fix a section of trail that was in need of a little repair. Once we were done, we finished riding the trail and pedaled over to Bloggy Style. However on our way to Bloggy, we made a little pit-stop to check out a new line that someone has started working on. This trail is unsanctioned and work needs to be stopped. Fortunately for me when I walked down the trail there were two guys working on the line. I basically told them the reasons why they needed to stop building and about the options they had if they want to work on trails in The Woodlot. Hopefully they will stop building and remove their tools. If they follow my advice, I'll be able to get them working on another trail and show them some better trail building techniques.

Curtis, Mark and I then headed up to Bloggy Style where I put my helmet camera on and chased them down the trails.

The good times were topped off with a beer at the cars.