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Thread: muddy trails

  1. #1
    Bad Andy
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    muddy trails

    I will probably get ripped for this, but with all the questions on how the trails are, etc, lately, I'm gonna say it anyway.
    This is mid-Feb in Colorado. If you can see snow from wherever you are on anything north facing, the trails WILL BE MUDDY somewhere on your ride if it is a nice day. If it has snowed in the past couple days, it'll be muddy.
    If you wanna ride this time of year, do it when the ground is frozen, or on south facing stuff awhile after snow, or on the road.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Jackass
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrysler
    I will probably get ripped for this, but with all the questions on how the trails are, etc, lately, I'm gonna say it anyway.
    This is mid-Feb in Colorado. If you can see snow from wherever you are on anything north facing, the trails WILL BE MUDDY somewhere on your ride if it is a nice day. If it has snowed in the past couple days, it'll be muddy.
    If you wanna ride this time of year, do it when the ground is frozen, or on south facing stuff awhile after snow, or on the road.
    Thanks!
    +1

    I've been riding dawn patrol at Palmer the last couple of days and am totally dismayed at the amount of frozen ruts I cross every morning. Ride early and stay out of the mud you a-holes, especially in a place like Palmer that hundreds of people visit every time the weathers decent. You are not helping the sport.
    I'm making enemies faster than I can kill them!

  3. #3
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    Rode DBB/Indian Summer/Blue Sky/Valley trail (HTMP & Lory) to Shoreline/Maxwell. Started at 7am to ensure frozen conditions. Decided that it had gotten warm enough in the later morning that returning back on Blue Sky to DBB would have been muddy and extremely damaging to the trails.

    The most frustrating thing was the Blue Sky trail was completely torn to shreds by people who have decided that it is okay to ride in rim deep mud during the melting. Absolutely terrible and extremely frustrating to MTBer's continued access to trails.

    The strangest part of the ride today came when on the return ride on the highway back to Loveland, my bike got entirely muddy from the road grime that is present on the shoulder. Until that point, I didn't need to washer my bike. Go figure.

  4. #4
    30 something dad
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    Just back from a run on the Marshall Mesa network of trails and Cowdrey Draw Trail is trashed. It's only 1.5 miles long and there are at least 5 or 6 places where it's been widened significantly but, you guessed, a ton of bike tire tracks. As I ran, I passed two bikers, one already on the trail, and another I encountered on Community Ditch. I told that biker that Cowdrey Draw was super muddy, he nodded and we moved on. Upon my return down Cowdrey (after taking some of the side trails that were dry so I didn't do my own damage) there was that biker, off of his bike and try to pull clumps of mud off of his bike.

    I literally just picked up my new 2008 Rocky Mountain Element on Friday. No one wants to go mountain biking more than me. But the trails simply aren't ready. The only spot that could be close is out by the Boulder res. Otherwise, don't bike! Or use your road ride!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrysler
    I will probably get ripped for this, but with all the questions on how the trails are, etc, lately, I'm gonna say it anyway.
    This is mid-Feb in Colorado. If you can see snow from wherever you are on anything north facing, the trails WILL BE MUDDY somewhere on your ride if it is a nice day. If it has snowed in the past couple days, it'll be muddy.
    If you wanna ride this time of year, do it when the ground is frozen, or on south facing stuff awhile after snow, or on the road.
    Thanks!
    Amen!!! Since it has been so crappy up north, lots of riders have been coming south. Yes, it does snow in Pueblo, yes the trails get muddy.... The last snow we had (1 week or so ago), we got lots of traffic. As a result, lots of trail damage avoiding mud and such. Please, please, please have some respect. Now the trail club as to spend HOURS fixing it. When it is posted as muddy, please off. There are many signs at all entrances stating this. THANKS!!!

  6. #6
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    I agree but I suspect you're just preaching to the choir my friend.

    I think everyone on this forum understands the jones to ride that we've all got pent up, but hold off until your ride doesn't damage the trail and jeapordize long-term trail access.

  7. #7
    Rolling
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    If you ride muddy trails, just stay on the trail.

    Despite what people believe, riding muddy trails doesn't really add to erosion, it just widens the trail when the whimps skirt the goo.


    That said, riding clay ridden trails is foolish, unless you like the feeling of riding through a roach motel.



  8. #8
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    I like the way you think

    I am in favor of trail closures when it is like this. Just because it is in the mid 40's does not mean the trail is rideable. Most pro mtb's spend most of thier time on road bikes for training anyway. Hop on the road or bike path with your nobbies and get a great workout in.

    If you feel the need to ride single track in Feb, AZ, West TX and FL are great places to do this. The front range is not the place.

    Flame suit on........
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  9. #9
    RYD W/ FLO
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    Riding muddy trails is not a new issue and come spring/summer, the trails are always beautiful. Riding in muddy conditions may make things nasty for now but in the long run it will smooth itself out and I have no doubt that we will be riding buff singletrack come April. In the mean time, keep riding just ride through the mud not around it. Keeping the trails truly single is a much bigger issue than ruts around these parts with our very high user levels. See ya'll out there.

  10. #10
    Antitheist & Kitten lover
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    If you ride muddy trails, just stay on the trail.

    Despite what people believe, riding muddy trails doesn't really add to erosion, it just widens the trail when the whimps skirt the goo.


    That said, riding clay ridden trails is foolish, unless you like the feeling of riding through a roach motel.


    Agreed. I ride muddy trails, but I know that when I leave the house I am going to get wet and dirty. Straight down the center or nothing
    Race Mojo Wheels | Read VitalMTB

  11. #11
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    If you ride muddy trails, just stay on the trail.

    Despite what people believe, riding muddy trails doesn't really add to erosion, it just widens the trail when the whimps skirt the goo.
    That isn't a true statement for all environments. Palmer Park is a prime example of this. Many of the trails have V-ed out significantly in the last 15 years. This is due (in large part) to tire ruts which channel the water right down the center of the trail that would have run off if the rut had not been there.

    That being said, the REAL damage to the trails happens with the hikers and runners complain because the muddy bike tracks are difficult to walk on. All it takes is a few too many complaints and then a trails "multi-use" status could come into question.

  12. #12
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    Interesting discussion and I'd like to add a few comments. I agree with Lidarman in that trails (er, properly built trails) are made to take the impact and should be able to handle being ridden in adverse conditions. That doesn't mean it's right to leave a rut a mile long, but a rut *thru* the mud here and there isn't a huge deal. The real damage occurs when folks see the mud and ride around it, creating a braided trail. Also, as Kristian points out, it's not politically saavy to rut out a trail as it has indirect impacts via other trail users.

    I'd like to think that by mentioning this on mtbr that we're preaching to the choir but we're not. From what I've seen at the shop and talking to folks on the trail, there are far more church-goers than choir members on this board.

    Getting to ride real dirt in February is great, but please try to look at the bigger picture and the long run. There's much more to it that "how much mud to I have to spray off my bike."
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  13. #13
    crashes in parkinglot
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    Road ride on Sunday for me. Started out feeling like a superhero on the way from Boulder to Lyons. A little chilly, but working hard kept me warm. Then the pushment started, head wind from Lyons all the way home, finaly realized why I felt so good on the way north.

    I'd rather ride trails when its nasty cold, fewer people.

  14. #14
    My cup runneth over
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    Usually everything's frozen by 7:00 pm and still frozen through almost 8:00 am. Not every trail allows night riding but there are enough. It strikes me that people would rather complain and/or rut up the trail than ride at a time that's a little inconvenient. Frozen snow drifts are just another trail obstacle; ice, a balancing challenge; frozen ice chop a good reason for an FS; bike tire ruts, an excuse to keep us off the trails.

    Ride it frozen ot not at all.

  15. #15
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    We the people ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr
    trails (er, properly built trails) are made to take the impact and should be able to handle being ridden in adverse conditions.
    My thoughts as well. Many trails, especially older trails, simply weren't built to accomodate the weather. Yeah, there are some places where you just can't ride when it is wet (like much of Pueblo South Shore), but often the builder just didn't know how to create a sturdy trail, or they figured it was too much work. With some good routing, keeping in mind drainage and soil types, you can often build trail that can stand up to a lot of punishment.

    This all comes back to the earlier mention of commitment by bikers to create and maintain trails. If even half the riders would contribute a day or two a year to trail work a lot of the trail damage issues would just go away. It is possible to build trails that can handle a lot of use when wet, but it takes work. So pitch in. With some effort we can ride a lot more trails without worrying about damaging them. Off soap box...

  16. #16
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    Many trails, especially older trails, simply weren't built to accomodate the weather. Yeah, there are some places where you just can't ride when it is wet (like much of Pueblo South Shore)

    Yes, how true this is.

  17. #17
    Shattering Glass
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristian
    That isn't a true statement for all environments. Palmer Park is a prime example of this. Many of the trails have V-ed out significantly in the last 15 years. This is due (in large part) to tire ruts which channel the water right down the center of the trail that would have run off if the rut had not been there.

    That being said, the REAL damage to the trails happens with the hikers and runners complain because the muddy bike tracks are difficult to walk on. All it takes is a few too many complaints and then a trails "multi-use" status could come into question.
    Palmer Park really is a good example, there are ruts and foot prints in the dried mud on the top section of Grand View trail year round

  19. #19
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    Being from New England originally, I find it a little difficult to understand the "don't ride wet trails" mentality. If we did that in Vermont, we would ride for about a month out of the whole year. Obviously we don't ride just after rain, but if we waited until everything was bone dry (as some here seem to advocate) we would literally NEVER ride.

    That said, the soil out here is very different. I wait much longer after a rain or a melt to ride trails, because unlike east coast loam the dirt doesn't seem to just fill itself in. The key is just to use a little common sense - stay on the trails, walk sections if you have to, etc. Think at all times about being a trail steward, not a trail user. Even doing small things like piling up a bunch of rocks to cut off a side trail can make a huge difference (I can't tell you how many times I've done this on the top section of maxwell! Every time I go up people have just run them over again).

    I'm going riding today. I'm going to ride through the mud, and avoid trails I know are still bad. The trails will not die. I will have fun. Life will go on.

  20. #20
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zecanon
    That said, the soil out here is very different.
    That is the key phrase in your post. There is even a lot of difference among soil types in Colorado. For example, I've ridden in lots of mud at Keystone and the soil is up to the challenge.

    I've ridden here for the last 14 years and I've seen some huge changes in the trails during that time. Trails get wider, deeper and more trenched every year. BonkedAgain has a key point here--if every trail were built with proper drainage in mind, things would be a lot different. In Palmer Park, many of the trails are already so trenched out that getting the water off the trails is no longer possible. This has led to a different strategy--armoring the trails so that running water can no longer errode them. Of course, this is very labor intensive...

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