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  1. #1
    JLE
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    Moving a Large Loose Rock (Boulder) from a Single Track Trail in NOT Sanitizing

    Just a quick rant to the guy that gave me grief today on South Mountain Park Phoenix Arizona trail today.

    I was bombing down a single track today and misjudged my line and hit a loose rock (technically a boulder as it was bigger than 10 inches) that was right after a nice drop and pinch flatted my rear tube. After I changed my tube I walked back and pushed the loose rock off the trail edge, again pretty narrow single track. Some D-Bag rounds the corner and sees me pushing the rock off the trail and starts giving me grief for "Sanitizing the Trail" and that he's been riding the trails for 15 years and never moved a rock and that if I have to move a rock, I should ride on the road. Blaaa, bllaaa, blaaa. Basically, a lecture of inappropriate comments on his superior opinion of trail maintenance.

    So to whoever you are mr. Ahwatukee / South Mountain Park super rider for 15 years that has never moved a rock. I'm just not as perfect and technical and Godly as you are. So give me and the other normal human beings a break a keep you comments and lectures to yourself or tell your psychologist next week when you go in for your normal appointment. Also, maybe ask them to double up on your medication.

    And moving a loose rock that likely fell or was knocked onto the single track is not "Sanitizing the Trail" its moving a rock/boulder fall out of the way so no one breaks their neck. End of line.

  2. #2
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    HOW DARE YOU TOUCH MY ROCK


    I've moved things out of trails that fall on them all the time, never seen it as an issue. It's not like you dug up the rock and moved it and left a hole there.

  3. #3
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    Some people are just wound too tight
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  4. #4
    I like bikes
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    Sanitizing a trail is removing obstacles to make it less technical, usually more than one. Removing a pinch-flat menace....all good.

  5. #5
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    Wow. If those rules applied around here we'd be constantly riding over a bed of fallen branches of varying size that come down over the winter, after storms, etc. I think I would chalk your experience up to dealing with a d00shbag.
    2011 Trance x1

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  6. #6
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    One time I brought a little shovel to throw some dirt on the ONLY man made berm (and its small) in my local park. It had been desperately in need of some love for a long time. Everyone who past, were literally thanking me for giving it some attention. Then an a**hat on his cdale flash carbon 29er is coming up the hill and as he passes he asks me what Im doing in an accusatory tone. With out any reaction to his tone, I say exactly what I'm doing "throwing some dirt on the berm". He asks "why" again in an accusatory tone. "because its worn out and needs it". He gets to the top of the section of trail (now out of sight and hearing) and turns around and goes down the way he came up. As he passes this time he says "dont let the rangers catch you" said in a way that implied "I hope the rangers catch you". To which I simply say "yeah".

    To cut/ keep the story short, he goes up and down this section of trail, which is one of the steepest/fastest/most technical, several times making comments each time he passes. At this point comments are getting a little heated and the tone is getting nastier. (To keep this next classic comment in context: On the downs, he clearly has no skill at all. He goes slow as hell, goes straight through the S turn, riding off the trail to do so, skipping both the small man made berm and small natural berm each time. He doesnt lean his bike in the slightest. He doesnt have good foot position. His a** is on the seat. He isnt in the slightest resemblance of an attack stance. He is essentially a skill less noob who is in good shape and has a 8k +/- bike) As he is doing all this, he tells me "It's all about control, brotha" as if he were demonstrating his mastery of mountain biking. With this, if he wasnt really pissing me off, I would have been rolling on the ground laughing my a** off. The best I could come up with at that split second (this was as he was skipping the berms) was "No, its about about railing berms". He didnt have anything to say to that nor did I give him a chance to think it over before coming up the hill again. I grabbed my stuff and left before the situation escalated further.

    Sadly, you can run into all kinds of d***s on the trail.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtnord View Post
    One time I brought a little shovel to throw some dirt on the ONLY man made berm (and its small) in my local park. It had been desperately in need of some love for a long time. Everyone who past, were literally thanking me for giving it some attention. Then an a**hat on his cdale flash carbon 29er is coming up the hill and as he passes he asks me what Im doing in an accusatory tone. With out any reaction to his tone, I say exactly what I'm doing "throwing some dirt on the berm". He asks "why" again in an accusatory tone. "because its worn out and needs it". He gets to the top of the section of trail (now out of sight and hearing) and turns around and goes down the way he came up. As he passes this time he says "dont let the rangers catch you" said in a way that implied "I hope the rangers catch you". To which I simply say "yeah".

    To cut/ keep the story short, he goes up and down this section of trail, which is one of the steepest/fastest/most technical, several times making comments each time he passes. At this point comments are getting a little heated and the tone is getting nastier. (To keep this next classic comment in context: On the downs, he clearly has no skill at all. He goes slow as hell, goes straight through the S turn, riding off the trail to do so, skipping both the small man made berm and small natural berm each time. He doesnt lean his bike in the slightest. He doesnt have good foot position. His a** is on the seat. He isnt in the slightest resemblance of an attack stance. He is essentially a skill less noob who is in good shape and has a 8k +/- bike) As he is doing all this, he tells me "It's all about control, brotha" as if he were demonstrating his mastery of mountain biking. With this, if he wasnt really pissing me off, I would have been rolling on the ground laughing my a** off. The best I could come up with at that split second (this was as he was skipping the berms) was "No, its about about railing berms". He didnt have anything to say to that nor did I give him a chance to think it over before coming up the hill again. I grabbed my stuff and left before the situation escalated further.

    Sadly, you can run into all kinds of d***s on the trail.
    An introduction of his front wheel's spokes to your shovel? j/k
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  8. #8
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    I don't know. You said yourself that you made a mistake, misjudged your line, and flatted as a result. Rocks, like trees, are only dangerous if you hit them. The trail was not unsafe. Your riding was. Mistakes have consequences in MTBing. Removing that obstacle makes the trail easier, and is therefore 'sanitizing the trail'. Boulders are not the same as deadfall. A free standing rock of that size should stay IMO. It has enough heft that it need not be buried.

    I bet you wouldn't make the same mistake again. That rock is a learning tool.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllMountin' View Post
    I don't know. You said yourself that you made a mistake, misjudged your line, and flatted as a result. Rocks, like trees, are only dangerous if you hit them. The trail was not unsafe. Your riding was. Mistakes have consequences in MTBing. Removing that obstacle makes the trail easier, and is therefore 'sanitizing the trail'. Boulders are not the same as deadfall. A free standing rock of that size should stay IMO. It has enough heft that it need not be buried.

    I bet you wouldn't make the same mistake again. That rock is a learning tool.
    Give it a break. It's a loose stone, not a national monument. OP did the right thing. Sanitising the trail my backside! Tell me, if you wipe your butt after going to the toilet, does it make your butt less of a nice place to be? Is it still called "your butt" and will you continue to use it?

    If you want to ride natural terrain then go find some - it will not be called a MTB trail.

  10. #10
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    he's probably too lazy to move rocks
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  11. #11
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    For those that live in places that have things fall on trails and you need to move them, that is not the case in arizona. Our trails are rocks, you ride over and around them. When they get moved it effects the flow and the character and there is definitely a trend as more and more mountain bikers buy larger travel bikes to "sanitize" sections they can't clean. SoMo is a pretty big trail system with a lot of riders and they are pretty particular about the trail. Best thing would have been to explain that you had hit it, knocked it loose and were returning it to its original position, which is what you probably should have done anyways.

    It isn't moving a downed tree, it is moving a part of the trail and it could lead to erosion in the next monsoon cycle or other rocks falling into the trail or a new bypass trail forming, all things that are detrimental one way or another to the deserts trails. I have all too often seen a rock moved to bypass something and a new trail open up only to have it erode radically during a monsoon and destroy both options.

    Disregard for your riding environment is what got this rider angry. If you like riding SoMo consider his words in the context of the desert.
    Try this: HTFU

  12. #12
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    Re: Moving a Large Loose Rock (Boulder) from a Single Track Trail in NOT Sanitizing

    This is a hard one for me to judge. I want to take both sides. Sometimes I have a rock that I really like and don't like having touched. Sometimes I kick rocks on trails. Crap.


    Can you go back and get pictures of this rock?

  13. #13
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    I'm a regular rider at South Mountain. What trail were you on?

    For those of you not from Phoenix, our trails are rocks. While I wasn't the rider the OP met today (would've loved to be out riding), we do tend to take our trails seriously and would strongly prefer that they not be changed or modified to make them easier.

  14. #14
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    Op you're all good. My only advice is if something gets knocked outta place, try and return it to its original location if possible. Sounds like the guy you talked to was worked up over a small situation, don't sweat it. Take it for what it's worth and keep shredding.

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    ... and if we just ...

    Wow! the sandy and orange little rocks must be sacred to warrant such attention. we have plenty of ugly boring grey rocks here and lots of them get knocked around by riders, hikers and horses... And some of them get kicked in the bush or removed.

    We're talking about a rock that was knocked there and the guy just removed it so no one behind would get hurt.

    We made all our trails in the first place, not riding a natural path... A little bit of loving that's all this is.

    Every year I take my chainsaw to remove dead-fall after a long winter on my local trails. I got many thanks from riders (both bike & horse). A tree or a rock, same obstacle. If the trail was constructed that way with dead-fall and/or boulders build up, it would remain that way by "local standard".

    But common guys, it's pretty obvious when these obstacle were not met to be in our front wheels.

    I love riding in the desert but I am pretty sure, even with the great work the trail crews are doing, that my wheels have kicked more than one rock away or in the path of travel. How many times have I ridden behind a friend and gotten a baseball to my shin? Lots...

    By the way, great work to the trail crew on Captain Ahab... Impressive. As far as Porcupine goes, there's more rocks being removed by our bikes from coffee pot rock down to Jackass than the sanitizing going on. There's plenty of gnar around. I have done porcupine at least a dozen time (over the year travelling there), always seemed a little different, ALWAYS been great.

    Keep up the good work out there.
    Last edited by Silly Man; 04-18-2013 at 10:55 PM. Reason: mispelled

  16. #16
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    Re: Moving a Large Loose Rock (Boulder) from a Single Track Trail in NOT Sanitizing

    This is th AM forum. If you don't like riding rocks, you're likely in the wrong place. I dig up rocks to put them on or in the trail, not the other way around.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllMountin' View Post
    This is th AM forum. If you don't like riding rocks, you're likely in the wrong place. I dig up rocks to put them on or in the trail, not the other way around.
    Watch out for this guy! He's desanitizing trails! Call the trail police immediately!

    OP moved a hazard, as he said it was a loose rock. If its such a problem, individuals who maintain the trail can dig and put the rock back in place. Loose boulders have no place on the trail, a stuck boulder does however.

    I am against sanitizing trails, but the OP did the right thing.

    Step down from the trail podium you seem to be preaching from.

  18. #18
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    I find it funny that the guy brags that he has done zero trailwork in 15 years

    My rule of thumb is that if a rock is loose and small enough to get moved around when you hit it, I get rid of it. Of course, if the trail is all loose stones, that is a different story. In most situations, if a single loose 10" stone was sitting in the middle of the trail, I'd move it. I think it comes down to deciding whether something is part of the trail, or something that is ON the trail, and this is rather subjective.

    In reality, there are no hard and fast rules about what is trail maintenance, and what is "sanitizing". It's an ongoing process, and you have people on both extreme ends: Those that feel you should never in any way alter the trail (like the d!ckwad you encountered) and those that want to make every trail an IMBA style flowtrail that your grandmother could ride down, and an out-of-shape slob can climb.

    I think the one rule to not violate is don't change the trail just because it is to hard for you, this does get me pretty hot under the collar.
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  19. #19
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    sanitizing is one thing
    removing trail hazard is another.
    trails evolve over time, some people make some section easier, then they erode and become harder, some other build hard feature in them.
    to me, as long as people takes care of the trail I'm happy as the challenges changes oover time.
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  20. #20
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    1 loose stone amongst several is a trail feature; 1 loose stone by itself is not a feature. OP was right.
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    Re: Moving a Large Loose Rock (Boulder) from a Single Track Trail in NOT Sanitizing

    I wonder what the guy thinks about trail maintenance. Does he think some fairy takes care of it? The rocks move themselves accordingly? Maybe he knows something we don't.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

  22. #22
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    Maybe he saw a thread here about thread sanitizing and felt it was his duty to say something.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Man View Post
    Wow! the sandy and orange little rocks must be sacred to warrant such attention.
    Silly man, the rocks on SoMo are not orange nor are they little. Moving a rock from the trail because someone lacks the skill to ride over or around it is lame.

    Sanitizing a trail in that way sucks. If you can't handle a trail feature, pick another trail or just walk your bike.

  24. #24
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    I'm sort of confused at this point. My interpretation was that the OP had hit this rock that was outside of the line into the line and that this wasn't a "I don't want to ride over rocks because I suck" situation.

    Wouldn't it create more of a problem for the regulars on this trail to all of a sudden have some new, loose, rock in the middle of the line after a drop? If it were me I'd be happy that the OP had put the rock back where it came from so I didn't unexpectedly nail the thing. I dunno...that's just me.
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  25. #25
    JLE
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    Thanks for all the great back and forth dialog on this issue. I totally agree with many points that some Posters have stated and I would like to point out a few items just to clarify for those Bikers that don't know what it's like to ride on a desert mountain trail.

    This is in the South Mountain City Park (Largest City Park in the USA) and has designated trails and the park rangers request that people stay on the trails and don't blaze new trails or destroy the desert environment. This is a protected park not an All Mountain opportunity to go where ever you want.

    Most if not all of the trails are basically lots of rocks and boulders with some cross country style gravel/sand riding mixed in between lots of rocks and boulders. Again, lots of rocks and boulders in the desert out here.

    The trail in question is a very narrow single track on the side of a step hill with about a 40 degree up hill slope on one side and a 40 degree down hill slope on the other side. I want to paint the picture as this rock/boulder was either knocked loose from the up hillside or most likely a large chunk of rock/boulder that cleaved off the bottom of the rock ledge I was coming off.

    Just to make it clear, after years of riding, I have never removed a trail obstacle on the trail before to make it easier or less technical for me to ride, period. I have removed a few jumping cholla catus buds that break loose and roll into the trail and put 40 small holes in your tube as you roll over them. If you not familiar with this desert riding feature, key in "Cholla Catus Images" and take a gander. No fun.

    Also, one time there was a whole saguaro cactus that fell down after a storm that I ended up dodging around for a few weeks but I never "Sanitized" that Saguaro Cactus in the trail, it was much to big for me to handle but I think the Park Rangers "Sanitized" it and pushed it out of the trail.

    Back to point, if the rock/boulder is question was anywhere but on this narrow single track ledge, I very likely would have never touched it, as there would be room to ride around it and it wouldn't be a safety issue.

    For all those who think I should have just left the loose boulder sitting in the middle of the narrow single track as and "Fun Obstacle to Dodge" or "Learn Lesson Boulder" for the riders that followed me, know that I actually call the South Mountain Park Rangers Office and spoke with one of the rangers yesterday. The Ranger said that in the situation that was described, I took the right course of action and she said that anyone with any common sense should do the same.

    So to all the "Don't Sanitize The Trail People!!!" Relax, ask me if I need assistance or help, if you see me stopped on the side of a trail with my bike upside down

    Also, unless you see me with my pick-ax going to town hacking and chopping through a ridge or boulder or cutting a new trail, keep your opinion and lecturing to yourself and move on but most importantly "Have a Great Ride".

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