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  1. #1
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    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread

    Kicking off a new thread! Feel free to provide the latest trail condition reports and other updates about #bendtrails here! Happy New Year!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    Are the cota signs up yet does anyone know?
    Sort of...

    This sign is on Phil's Trail, about 35' from the parking lot:

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-mudsign.jpg

    There are no signs at the entry to Kent's or Ben's. Just a lonely naked post:

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-nosign.jpg

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    Unfortunately Phil's trail is taking even more damage that Ben's. The widening is out of control. There are dozen's of places on Phil's where the trail is now between 5 to 10 feet across. People have no business riding out there.

    Photo's from today's hike:

    Phil's -

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-phils1.jpg

    Tracks show a sh!tload of traffic.

    ELV Junction -

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-elv.jpg

    KGB Junction -

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-kgb.jpg

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    "“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey

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    It's this sign that should be there. I'll see about making more and getting them posted.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-muddy-conditions.jpg  

    "“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey

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    It's painful to look at the images. Sadly we have similar ones from ELV and KGB trail. The most important thing is: What is the best way to educate people to ride east this time of year? Goal for 2014 - help people learn where to ride each season!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cog Wild View Post
    What is the best way to educate people to ride east this time of year?
    Signs at the trail-heads, bike shops, pubs, and athletic facilities might do the trick.

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    There are already official closing periods for important wildlife life stages. Does anyone know of precedent for trail closures for vulnerable periods?

    There are rivers where high flow periods are open to boaters, low flow open to fishermen, and roads that have closure periods for bikes. I'm thinking about whether having closures to bikes only for Phil's when it's like this makes sense, so hikers/runners can still use and even have this seen as they recommended time for them, or if any traffic is really going to cause damage when it's muddy.

    Hikers aren't very good about going straight through puddles either.

    Either way, as use gets more intensive on MTB trails, I think official closures for bad trail conditions will likely be the future.

  9. #9
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    The challenge would be in convincing people to accept that the signs apply to them. Putting up signs is one thing but getting people to heed them is another.

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    Looking at those pictures, my first thought would be that just does not look like fun.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    The challenge would be in convincing people to accept that the signs apply to them. Putting up signs is one thing but getting people to heed them is another.
    For some people this is sure to be true, but I'm a believer that the majority of riders simply don't know the trails are permanently damaged during these muddy periods. They probably think they are open and ridable because they see other riders, or at least the tracks, out there. At this point it is very easy to miss the one sign that is posted 35' past the start of Phil's trail. When the trails are closed we need big signs leaving no room for debate.

    Worth noting that trail runners are contributing to the damage and widening.

    Yesterday I saw 3 runners and 2 riders in the late afternoon. There were maybe a dozen cars in the parking lot which is a muddy mess too, leaving no doubt about the trail conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreamRider View Post
    They probably think they are open and ridable because they see other riders, or at least the tracks, out there.
    Yes, all it takes is one other set of tracks and a person might think, "I guess it's okay to ride." The same thing happens on Flagline before Aug. 15th too.

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    Sadly, we probably need full-on "official" winter closures, or we'll lose the trails as we know them over the next 3-5 years.

    Downsides? Of course. More than balanced by the upsides? Undoubtedly.

    We closed Post Canyon to motos last winter. Best spring trail conditions in decades, due to lack of winter damage.

    Sadly, people complained vehemently, because maybe 8 good riding days were missed during the months-long closure.

    Sheesh, go skiing, ride some gravel roads, whatever, take a mental refresh from the mtb and let the trails do some healing!
    Whining is not a strategy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Sheesh, go skiing, ride some gravel roads, whatever, take a mental refresh from the mtb and let the trails do some healing!
    Right on! There are so many alternate venues to use when Phil's is wet and muddy, not to mention alternate outdoor activities, that there is simply no excuse for adding to the destruction that is taking place in the Phil's complex.

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    We need something bright and shiny.

    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-bdoxkgtiyaezpst.jpg

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    I like it!

    BTW, they should probably be closed to everyone.

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    Ok, more signs have been posted at the entrance of each trail at Phil's. You can see we were too late for the rider in the below photo, hoping the reason you see two tracks is because they turned around after realizing the trail was too muddy.. 2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread-img_20140110_105211.jpg
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    Best example of trail widening ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreamRider View Post
    I like it!

    BTW, they should probably be closed to everyone.
    Ditto, it seems like it should be closed to everyone. While hiking yields lower miles, it seems like no one ever walks through a puddle or muddy spot if they can avoid it. OTOH, plenty of people will ride through puddle/mud. I think you've got a better chance of educating people to at the least ride through mud/puddles who currently don't. I don't see much hope in getting people to walk through the same.

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    There are tons of tire tracks going around the big puddles. I found tracks going up and into the brush to avoid the mud puddles. It's ridiculous what riders will do to avoid getting wet and muddy!

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    I had a dream last night that the wind was really howling and knocking over trees on Sector 16 like so many matchsticks.

    I wonder if it will come true?

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    Sometimes you just have to close a trail when it gets sloppy. We use a couple layers of yellow "Caution" tape across the trail along with a "Trail Restoration in Progress" sign. Most people seem fine with it.

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    Any of you Bend riders out there have recommendations for what trails I should hit this coming weekend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polishtea View Post
    Any of you Bend riders out there have recommendations for what trails I should hit this coming weekend?
    Maston, Horse Ridge, Horse Butte, Radlands, Potentially smith/grey butte.

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    Any recommended highly over another? I've only ever been down to Bend for a quick trip on Funner/Tiddlywinks before and I assume these might be quite different.

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    I really like Horse Ridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polishtea View Post
    Any recommended highly over another? I've only ever been down to Bend for a quick trip on Funner/Tiddlywinks before and I assume these might be quite different.
    I'm with Streamrider, Horse Ridge is a great trail, fantastic views. If the conditions were decent there during the summer (gets too dusty/soft), it would be popular then, too, it is that good. But this time of year it is great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GauchoGreg View Post
    I'm with Streamrider
    And that's a first , so you know Horse Ridge has got to be good!

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    Horse ridge is sweet. a true winter gem. I love central Oregon!!!

  30. #30
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    Of Sketchbook's list, Gray Butte is my favorite.

    Gray_Butte

    Ten year old photos have been archived, but if you click on them they're visible:
    Smith Rock/Grey Butte ride report (pics)

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    Is Grey Butte the place with the legendary mud after a thaw or rain?

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    Maston is great, and would be the all time best winter riding, IMO, if and when it gets more trail mileage.

    What are the BLM plans for expansion here, if any?

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    Quote Originally Posted by StreamRider View Post
    Is Grey Butte the place with the legendary mud after a thaw or rain?
    My last ride there a few weeks back (3 weeks) there was a lot of mud from thawed ground only on the SW side of grey butte down through that little creek canyon.

    There was no snow there, but just the frozen ground had thawed.

    Not sure how much snow that area got, so I am unsure of how any of those trails are at the moment. The problem areas tend to be the area mentioned above, and the back side of grey butte (which is really an old road).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer View Post
    Maston is great, and would be the all time best winter riding, IMO, if and when it gets more trail mileage.

    What are the BLM plans for expansion here, if any?
    Last cota work party just over a week ago there were 2 guys from BLM there. I heard there are plans in the works. Mainly for Cline it sounded like. Sweet!

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    Anyone ride Maston yesterday, Weds. Conditions ?

    Thanks

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastsiderider View Post
    Anyone ride Maston yesterday, Weds. Conditions ?

    Thanks
    Maston is good to go.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    Maston is good to go.
    Depends on when you go.
    Rode it this morning. There are some really muddy areas there, mostly in the usual problem areas(canals).
    As with most spots this time of year, if you go early while it is frozen it is awesome. Unfortunately most people wait until it warms up before heading out.
    If you encounter mud, ride THROUGH it not around it. Trust me, your bike can take it and so can you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedy View Post
    Depends on when you go.
    Rode it this morning. There are some really muddy areas there, mostly in the usual problem areas(canals).
    As with most spots this time of year, if you go early while it is frozen it is awesome. Unfortunately most people wait until it warms up before heading out.
    If you encounter mud, ride THROUGH it not around it. Trust me, your bike can take it and so can you.
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by seedy View Post
    If you encounter mud, ride THROUGH it not around it. Trust me, your bike can take it and so can you.
    +1. Well said Seedy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedy View Post
    If you encounter mud, ride THROUGH it not around it. Trust me, your bike can take it and so can you.
    That should be put on a big bright yellow sign that is posted on the trails!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedy View Post
    Depends on when you go.
    Rode it this morning. There are some really muddy areas there, mostly in the usual problem areas(canals).
    As with most spots this time of year, if you go early while it is frozen it is awesome. Unfortunately most people wait until it warms up before heading out.
    If you encounter mud, ride THROUGH it not around it. Trust me, your bike can take it and so can you.
    I support this message.
    "“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey

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    no way! I will melt if mud touches me! and my brand new sidi race shoes! nooooooooo!



    ha.

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    2014 - Bend Area Trail Conditions & Blow Down Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by shugarbear View Post
    no way! I will melt if mud touches me! and my brand new sidi race shoes! nooooooooo!



    ha.
    Good one. So true.
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    Mud doesn't look good on my killer ride and the hose is already put away for the winter. Plus I heard it can stain the paint.

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    Feels like we may be fighting a losing battle out at Phil's.

    I have been told that there are local racers that ride Phil's regardless of COTA's request to stay off the trails during wet and muddy conditions. If these guys won't respect COTA's request to stay off the trails what hope is there to get the average Joe to stop? And to make matters worse they are posting their rides up on Strava, signaling everyone that Phil's is open for riding.
    Last edited by StreamRider; 01-24-2014 at 10:26 AM.

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    Phil's Trails are really great, lets all think long term. I only ride it when its dry, not when its muddy
    Last edited by rushman3; 01-24-2014 at 10:37 AM.

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    I'm hesitant to write this post this because i don't want to start a fight, but you guys really seem to be struggling to get your message to people and i think i know part of the reason.

    I think part of the problem is that a lot of people (myself included as well as others i know, local and non-local) just don't get why it's such a problem. Most people will follow rules that they understand and believe in, but if they think a rule/law is bogus, they will likely not follow it. I think that's a big part of your problem here. People understand you want them to stay off the trail, but they're not convinced that it's actually important.

    Trail widening I understand, that sucks. But the ruts? To my mind, that's such a non-issue. A lot of people post pictures in these threads of the trail damage, and i've got to tell you, myself and many others just roll our eyes at how silly it seems. Maybe you guys are all riding road bikes with 1/2" tires and I don't know it, but if not, why are these ruts a big deal? A big enough deal to keep us from riding? Riding is the whole point of ALL of this.

    I try to attend a couple cota work parties per year, and last year on the spring fling i was discussing with my crew leader, the trail damage that we were fixing. To me, the trail was fine. I just couldn't really understand the problem. There were several ruts that originally were maybe an inch or two deep, and they were already worn down (from traffic) to less than that.

    I don't generally worry about it that much, because i like to ride horse ridge in the winter, and i typically put the bike away for a few months and ski instead. Like i said though, i think maybe this is a major part of the battle you're in, that you just don't realize you're fighting. Maybe you do, you probably do, but I and other's remained unconvinced that we're ruining anything. I may very well be wrong, i just haven't seen evidence of it yet. Perhaps there should be a sacrificial trail that gets abused during winter and not repaired in spring as a demonstration of the damage that occurs, then we could see that and understand.

    IMPORTANT: I want to be clear that i'm not trying to argue about whether we should ride or not, I'm just pointing out what i think is one of the major reasons that people disregard requests to stay off the muddy trails in the winter. Maybe you guys/cota need to think of ways to really raise awareness/consensus that there is a real problem, then people may be more willing to help prevent that problem from occurring. Does that make sense?

    Does anyone agree that this could be a root of the problem or am i all alone here?
    Bend, OR

  48. #48
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    The short answer is that all of those ruts harden, dry up and break down and turn into sand and the infamous moon dust making for a very unpleasant summer.
    The other issue that you see all the time is that people are just afraid to ride through the mud and ruts. It is a visual thing. They see a smoother easier route, they take it. Human nature.
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    There is an H-U-G-E difference in opinion out there on the Phil's trail conditions.

    Here is a ride from Jan 6th by another local racer -

    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | phil's - COD is perfect - everything else above chicken lots of ice patches near Bend | Times and Records | Strava

    Someone asked this question in the comments section on that Strava ride:

    Oh wow, trails lower than chicken wet/slushie? Mrazek rideable at all?
    and this was the response:

    Below chicken dry. Everything else mix of melted/refrozen ice patches. Mrazek is ice.
    I don't understand that report because I have scouted the lower sections of Phil's, Ben's and Kent's on multiple associations and IMO it is definitely wet and muddy. These pictures are from a batch I posted after a hike on Jan 7th.

    Name:  1512822_1443814695833773_2141351930_n.jpg
Views: 355
Size:  48.7 KB

    Name:  1560666_1443814699167106_1026460166_n.jpg
Views: 352
Size:  54.9 KB

    Sure there are dry stretches with nearly perfect tacky dirt, but there are also many sections that are soupy just like that picture above.

    If you are riding out there when it's wet and muddy you are contributing to trail damage. What you may not be considering is that many of us aren't riding Phil's even though we'd really like too. If we, as a community, stay off the the wet and muddy trails we help to preserve a wonderful local resource for our kids and grandkids.

    Detailed soils explanation coming soon.
    Last edited by StreamRider; 01-24-2014 at 10:36 AM.

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    Lauren is a Guy just for the record. Lauren is the person on the strava above...

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