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  1. #1
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    Colonnade Beginning Skills Level Trail

    Hello.

    i've been involved with Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park in Seattle for a long time. i was asked by the Project Manager to take ownership of the Novice Trail (which we are currently calling The Learning Trail). When we built what's now known as Limestone Loop (the first phase of the park) we tried to make a trail that would satisfy a multitude of riders on a challenging cross country loop. In order to create sustainable trail in impossibly dry sifty soil we used alot of rock. That along with the steep terrain made some of the trail a little daunting for some folk.

    So, initially when i was approached i was a little apprehensive. But after thinking about it for a day or so, i realized that it would be a great extension to the Park, and a necessary addition. There was probably nobody as qualified to do the job. i was familiar with the in's and outs of the park, and was responsible for some of the carpentry work at the park, and ultimately if i chose to do it, i would commit to getting it done.

    It was an opportunity to be creative. To utilize my knowledge of what it takes to be a sound technical rider and apply that for basic lessons for a beginning level rider. And to provide an element that is essential to our recreation, bringing in new riders of all ages, encouraging groups of riders and families to ride together, create a trail that will support our clubs Bootcamp program, and provide a trail that people can simply warm up at then go ride some of the more aggressive trails at the park.

    So after only a month i'm happy to say work is coming along very nicely.

    Feature 1 is a Sand Feature. My thought was to provide a feature that would simulate riding on a loose surface. Similar to a leafy trail or a muddy trail, this is a great introductory feature that introduces persons in the quick realization that trails are not pavement.

    We built the decking so that riders can have ample time to advance their speed on the approach of this feature, instead of being forced to tackle it shortly after a climb.



    Feature 3 Skinny is included within this feature. Not only does it double as a divider from the sand and river rock feature, it also utilizes space along the center and border of the feature to be ridden.

    i'm trying to keep my features well spaced within the trail so as to give the rider ample time to adjust to each transition. However with this feature i made the exception.

    Here you can see the easy line includes sandstone pavers to the left, and about 4 feet of sand, the line to the right is 10' of sand. The easy introductory Skinny borders to the right.



    As you can see the sand is currently wet. Making it super easy to ride. What can i say, many materials we get for free by scouring Craigslist, and this sand was used to protect a house a few miles away from a flooding creek. We'll see how it reacts when it dries, and we can always add a different sand.

    Hey innovation you have to allow for some tinkering.

    After the rider rolls through this feature there will be a turn back to Feature 2 the River Rock Feature. Based on the same principle as the first, but now we're taking the rider to the next level by rolling them through a hard loose surface. Much like riding along a riverbed, and slightly simulating loose shale sections of trail.

    Again to the left we have the beginnings of an intermediate Skinny, which will run for number of feet beyond when complete. The line to the left is the easy line with sandstone pavers and a 4' section of rock, then the 10' section to the right.



    The 2 features are tiered, with the Sand feature having a drainage ditch cut beneath it. We have the sand at nearly 1' deep, and the river rock at about 8" deep.

    Rides just a little washy, just like it should. Test run.



    i asked Joel and Sarah to build me the next feature. They are doing a bang up job so far, and i'm very excited to see how it turns out. Roller Coaster Corner came from a request by Mike to have a bump structure that taugh riders to get off of their seat. Similar to a pump track, i decided to take the idea to a turn, and add some inslope. This will probably be a feature for an advanced beginner, prior to this feature i will have a mini wall ride and berm with dirt bumps, so it will be something fun to work towards.



    Also in this picture you can see the drainage work we have. The space is ideal, covered by freeway deck. However the rain from in between freeway decks, and water from a silly palm tree art feature drains right into the flat where the features are. So after a day of caveman trenching and another day of Ditch Witching we have 120' of drain and catch drain established.

    So much work ahead, but it's coming along splendidly in it's first month. With any luck by the end of January we will have 5 out of 17 features completed.
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  2. #2
    Just roll it......
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    Nice work, Skooks. You know that by posting this info. here on mtbr, you are forcing some bbtc'ers to have to register to see your pics!! Oooh, the drama of that group sometimes.

    Hey, I know you're taking time off the bike to keep the momentum high and make it happen. Serious kudos to you on the effort......folks are going to need a true learning area at Colonnade since the "beginner" line is more of an intermediate line, imo.

    Anywho, besides giving back to the riding community, I think building makes you a better rider. It allows you to look at terrain differently....or maybe a better vision for the terrain? Or......maybe I'm justifying my own building habit, but it's absolutely affected my riding in a positive way over the last few years.

    Cheers,
    EB

  3. #3
    dude
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    Hey, I think I was there with a buddy of mine that night. Was that you on the red bike?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    Nice work, Skooks. You know that by posting this info. here on mtbr, you are forcing some bbtc'ers to have to register to see your pics!!
    The pictures are hosted at Flickr so i don't think you have to be registered.

    i know what you're sayin though. Gotta find something to gripe about. i suppose if the advocacy boards were filled with things to actually justify whining about, it would be a downer and nobody would read it.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeyjoedotorg
    Was that you on the red bike?
    nope.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyjoedotorg
    Hey, I think I was there with a buddy of mine that night. Was that you on the red bike?
    that would be me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainblt
    that would be me.
    Would you be able to prove this in a court of mountain bike law?
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  7. #7
    dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainblt
    that would be me.
    ah. I was the guy on the Jamis Komodo trying to roll that line. I got it eventually.

  8. #8
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    that looks like so much freakin fun. Don't suppose anyone knows of anywhere like this in portland to ride? luckily seattle isn't to far away, 2 hour drive or so...post canyon and meldrum bar and the grotto are the only places I know of, excluding all the cool urban spots around the portland area.

  9. #9
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    Progress has been great, have been helped out everyday i've posted work for the trail.

    Was going to wait for the middle of February to post another report, but there is enough progress to share the current status.

    Finished grooming dirt for entrances for features and this round about. We'll look to define the trail with this extra granite. Not many places where this will be necessary, but using the tight twisty model to maximize trail distance, it's a necessity in spots.



    Finished the intermediate skinny, i wanted to extend it a bit further. It stretches to about 15 feet before you're atop the log round, and exit off the split log runoff.



    And from the prior picture you can see the Teeter Totter Feature. You can have a peek under the hood so to speak. Reinforces with 4X4 blocking, 2X8 stringer 1X4 treated runner, with a 1" steel pipe axle made from plumbing fittings. Neighbors rightly complained that it hit too loud, we fixed it with some 2" backing rod wrapped in some pvc roofing material. First teeter totter is 27.5" wide with a 15" apex, more difficult one is 18" with a 17" apex. Both are a few inches over 10 feet long.



    And we have completed the Roller Corner Feature. It came out a bit more difficult than first envisioned, but it's an outstanding practice corner. It's an undulating insloped corner with bumps. It's perfect for practicing turning fundamentals as you need to pre steer toward the corner on the approach, then steer wide as you round the corner. Otherwise your wheels fall off the structure. It requires balance, and forces you to maintain an even momentum in order to clear the bumps. You can't take it too hot or cold.
    It was a little bit of a mistake, but to me it's the perfect mistake.



    Another angle with a new trail we scratched. We don't have much water above but it does get a bit. So we got it dialed with proper drainage, but a little more aggressive on the slope, because we can get away with it.



    This trail will be the approach to the Log Rollover Feature. The trail will split into 3 trails each will have varying levels of difficulty. Finished the first level to the right. Rounds are 6"-7"-8" rounds. Spaced at 13' then 10' from each other. To the left have ample space, difficult lines will have log stacks aka log pyramids as well as wider logs placed at angles, and spaced closer together.



    Treated 4X4 some concrete, you could use rocks instead, Simpson tie with some wood screws. Easily maintained, and or replaced. If the logs get chain ring wear, you can turn them before you replace them.

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  10. #10
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    "undulating insloped corner"

    Fantastic work Tim.

    -Chris

  11. #11
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    Time for another report.

    With only a few more technical trail features complete the month of February seemed to come and go, quickly yet with good progress. The trail is taking shape, working out a few minor kinks, and anticipation that March should bring the project into the halfway mark where we can see the other side, a trail in working completion.

    Work underway on Wall Ride Feature, or what we're calling Wall Ride Jr. Setting posts in concrete, that make up the framework. With luck we should have it done next weekend.



    Mark of the trail workers.



    Minor adjustment was to reinforce the intermediate skinny by sistering a couple 2X4's along both sides. If someone per chance has an elephant tucked in their back pack it should hold. As i also widened the track towards the end of the skinny, allowing for more riders to have better luck completing the feature.



    Now for the completion of the sixth feature out of 17. Log Rollover Feature which is a feature emulating a common occurance of deadfall or blowdown of trees in the forest on our local trails. It was a feature that i wanted to do on the first phase of Colonnade but like other features it never came to fruition.
    So the ability to create this feature is special, and was a very slight motivator initially when i decided to take on the project. If i didn't do it, it wouldn't get done...

    Left line (advanced) has 2 diagonal logs. With borders so that the biker is forced to ride them honestly, and the third log is larger and off camber. Middle Line (Intermediate) has 3 logs spaced relatively close unlike the right line (beginner) which has ample space to set up. Second log in the middle line is a fatty.

    Log Stack awaits riders completing the Intermediate or Advanced line. Riders completing the Intermediate Line can choose the lower or middle tier on the pyramid. Riders completing the Advanced line can choose the middle or upper tier of the pyramid.



    Seventh Feature complete. Bumps! Yes bumps, they're not as easy as they look, and are great practice for people to get out of their seats and learn how to push their bikes, much like riders learn from riding pump tracks. We've got 4 of them created, 2 of them can be done then a beginner can defer by taking an easy out to the right, or the rider can continue to complete all 4 and then into the Roller Corner Feature.

    Bumps are retained with a post and some treated lumber, cobble rock base with crushed rock. Soil/Clay mix with a top off of thick sand.



    Some bordering with small logs, and adding some mulch for aesthetics, a cushy fall zone, and keeping the dust down. Building more inslope on the corner, and adding some crushed rock and sand that should mix in well with existing silty soil.



    Enjoying some well deserved ride time after a productive days work.

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  12. #12
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    Testing the begining skills level trail

  13. #13
    Just roll it......
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    Nicely done Skooks. Good progress, mang!

    Got a really nice day in the woods on Saturday doing some of the same.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikonbiker
    Testing the begining skills level trail
    i need to start bringing my own bike for testing, that guy only had a rear brake and it barely worked haha.
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  15. #15
    I'm on fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    i've been involved with Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park in Seattle for a long time...
    I've really enjoyed seeing your posts and build work at Colonnade. Wish we could borrow your build skills and ideas for a few weeks on the Right Coast....
    Sanity is the trademark of a weak mind.
    Cycle CNY

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trigger
    I've really enjoyed seeing your posts and build work at Colonnade. Wish we could borrow your build skills and ideas for a few weeks on the Right Coast....
    i would hope you would copy any ideas you like. That's a big reason why i'm sharing, so that other's can take ideas and put their own spin on it.
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  17. #17
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    this is such a cool thread. I can't wait untill the novice section is completely open, I live in Portland and I have friends in Seattle that I visit pretty often, I'll have to plan a weekend trip up there as soon as the trail is done.

  18. #18
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    This is awesome. Way to go!

    I was thinking about doing something similar in my back yard. Is there a website or book I can get that will show me the correct way to build this stuff? It looks so fun.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glynis27
    This is awesome. Way to go!

    I was thinking about doing something similar in my back yard. Is there a website or book I can get that will show me the correct way to build this stuff? It looks so fun.
    Study basic carpentry, then adjust to rules that make sense for what you're building. And remember it's always better to overbuild if you can.

    i am in construction, but i'm not a carpenter by trade. i'm sure there are books but i haven't read them. i would suggest you learn how to build a fence, and build a deck, as a starting base to learn. Then adapt what you've learned and keep learning. Even in the trade i'm in, doing it everyday you never really stop learning. As i'm sure other trail builders will find to be true, with the variation you find from project to project.
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  20. #20
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    Welp i can safely say we're halfway through the trail build. A major push with some very productive weekends with good volunteer turnout, it's good to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And we're at a point where it's starting to look like a trail now, and people are starting to understand what's been in my head all this time.

    3 more features for a total 10 out of 17 complete

    Wooden Berm Feature complete. After setting the foundation we finished the frame with Doug Fir logs as stringers. Split Cedar for slats.



    We filled in the base with dirt and a layer of crushed rock. Hidden we have a drain of cobble and crushed rock to prevent any puddling at the base.



    Also complete the Log Ride Feature. Again i wanted variable levels so we have 3 ways of riding. Lower is 10 inches from ground, Upper is about 18 inches, and combining the 2 we added a connecter. The connector is set where your wheel radius is such that your wheels barely make the connection.



    Of course you can ride it backwards the transitions are a tad different. The upper and lower log are the same as they are 2 halved cuts of the same round, although the perspective of the picture not show it. Nice beginner level log ride as the width of the tread is around 15".



    Next we're on to putting on the finishing touches of the trail. Whenever you're holding to a tight twisty trail you need to define the trail in order to keep people from creating rogue paths. And blazing in mach speed to surprise a rider from the opposite approach. Of course i expect this to happen at time, but with the introduction of rocks, logs, and mulch you greatly minimize this from happening. And introduce nice aesthetics as well.

    The correct path rolling Roller Corner clockwise.



    Having the benefit of watching people ride my trail i could see where they would bushwhack the trail. So bordering and making obstructions with some fencing and some strategically placed log round prevent people from blazing right into the Roller Corner to do it counter clockwise.

    Of course i don't expect people to not ride it backwards, but let's make them come in a starting a little further back on the trail. That way their approach is staggered and you won't have somebody hogging it over and over again.



    Again some more bordering we scratched out a nice S corner for our Beginner Switchback. Still needs a few tweaks with bordering and artsy definition, but it's come out nice.



    Onto a sneak peak at the 2 feature currently under construction. Climb Feature we're making 3 stair stepped spinner out of Sandstone Pavers. We dug out the bottom and flipped it up to build up the top, to get the desired transition.



    Pedal Pedal Pedal!!!!



    And finally we've got the start of the trail. Bridge Feature will be the first feature in the trail that will tie into the Sand Feature. So the connection will finally be made to the bridge approach which was one of the first things created on the trail.



    When i first started the project i would tell people what my plans were, and they would nod their heads in a somewhat vacant glazed stare, haha. i'm really happy to see that change now as stuff is coming together and i can demonstrate in physical form what was just rattling around in my skull prior.
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  21. #21
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    looks good dude! keep it up.

  22. #22
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    It's really odd how a bit of wood chips makes the place look less concretey and... friendlier. Who woulda thunk?

    Awesome work, Skoo!

  23. #23
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    Got to a point of feeling like one of those sprinters in a road race that just got brought back in by the peloton. i've been hitting the task with a blitzkrieg mentality putting in over 250 hours since X-mas. Well it was time to re-evaluate.

    So while progress may be slowed, the trail now know as Tqalu Trail will be finished. But probably sometime in the Summer instead of the Spring.



    Was able to finish the Bridge Feature. With over 40 of split cedar on top of peeled 4 to 6 inch round logs. With the thickness of both the rungs and the slats we were able to run the slats at 8 foot lengths and the rungs are varying from 2'6" to 3'4" wide along the corner. Got the proper slope, put up some fencing, and we were able to run a nice swath of dirt goodness finally creating a trail that ties all the first features together.



    Added fencing to define trail from the Bridge to the Sand/Skinny round about to the River Rock/Skinny, then back again to the Teeter Totters. Before we got the trail built people would shoot in from this angle, so we placed some rock to put a stop to that and add some aesthetics. People can still shoot in to strictly session the Teeter Totters, but now they'll do it on the other side of the column, with a better approach and with better sight lines for riders to merge toward the Teeters.



    Today was the last day for a while, and it really meant alot to have Art Tuftee there lending a hand today. He is the original designer of Colonnade so it was really a boost to have someone there who specifically understands the stressors involved in a project like this.

    i'm walking off for a bit, to get my life back, but i'm satisfied with what i've been able to accomplish. Inside i still want to see this trail to completion, but i can't do that being a tired zombie.
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  24. #24
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    Update time

    The first trail we completed included a hand sculpture from a fellow mt biker Jim N. i'm always thinking of ways to tie this trail to other trails in the park, so i asked him to make me a foot. He agreed and i'm absolutely stoked he created one for the trail. i only wish my mason work would be as up to par, but at least it will likely keep someone from running off with it.



    Finally found the time to track down some gravel appropriate for the sand feature. The first load was freebie sandbag sand we got from a Craiglist lead. It just packed up too well. So after a little running around i picked up near a ton of this Sandscrew Sand and it works great. Appropriately named if you don't carry your momentum you are screwed.



    Took some time off and i'm pretty happy. i put the word out that i was looking for someone to continue work while i was away and Mike C stepped up and completed a Practice Drop Feature.

    Approach and ramp.



    First feature that has been completed at this trail where i'm getting feedback it's too easy, which is a nice change. We'll keep on listening to trail users feedback, but we can lift if another 3 inches or so if need be. Taken from the Schleyer Drop model it can be rolled, and it's a great place to safely practice hucks and wheelie drops.

    Feature 12 out of 18 complete



    And progress on the Climb Feature is moving along, hoping to be complete next week and we'll look to take another short break from Tqalu again.

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  25. #25
    Moist and Delicious
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    Nice job, as always.

  26. #26
    56-year-old teenager
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    Damn nice work! I'll have to remember to bring my MTB next time I'm in Seattle.
    Work is the curse of the biking classes.

  27. #27
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    Drinkin the Kool Aid!

    We got some great progress on the hillside and really getting to a point of seeing the light on the end of the tunnel concerning completion of the Tqalu Trail.

    Feature 13 Climb Feature complete.

    Finally!



    We've got sandstone pavers buried and embedded in the dirt with some serious grade. The paver are old cobble road that was dug up from old Seattle roads, and the sandstone itself makes for fantastic traction. We'll add some fencing later as to minimize people descending from the feature, i'm not totally trying to stop people from riding it as a downhill feature, but by putting the fencing in, it will promote more riders to climb.

    Once you ascend a couple tiers the trail will veer to the left for beginners as the advanced line continues up to the right with one more steep climb. At the top we'll run a rock tread all the way down where it will re-merge with the trail after the Rock Garden.



    Showing the perspective toward the approach of the Rock Garden.



    Rocky Tread Feature showcases an advanced rocky tread spin off, yet for the beginner level the rocky tread is a Rock Garden. So it's a pretty big feature involving much work, so i'm glad we got this dialed. Note the various lines the rider can choose. To the right we've got about 5 feet to the left we've got exposure and we've got about 14 feet of rock. So we're promoting beginner level rider to get comfortable by riding to the right and working their way to left as they build in confidence.



    The untold tale of how we shored the trail by using a Bobcat should be discussed. Mike Westra the project coordinator really has helped me turn what would take weeks and weeks in matter of days dragging huge cottonwoods in place, shoring enormous amounts of gravel and dirt. Retaining and creating a nice wide swath of path along the hillside, gently sloped down with a subtle grade to assist new riders over obstructions.

    Oh and Joel L scored a bunch of these huge cottonwood rounds, so of course we had to create a little side option for a rollover.



    Feature 14 out of 17 complete

    Root Feature



    We buried some treated 4X4 in crushed gravel, attached some 2 to 5" round logs with timber screws. Cut some regular 2X4 inbetween the logs to support and keep them from rocking loose, and filled inbetween the logs with crushed gravel. Also built a small rock retaining wall and added a 5' cedar log at about 1' round to emulate a root drop.



    Switched direction here, i had originally intended an off-camber feature, but thought better of it. Instead wanting to add a feature that i thought would be funner, and be more consistent of a rooty challenge that is more common on local trails here anyways. i'm pretty happy i came to this decision as i think it makes the trail better overall, and helps assist beginner level riders which is it's primary purpose.



    That's a pretty important part of the process of the trail build is to allow for yourself to not only be influenced by others, but scrutinize yourself once in a while for the sake of the trail being better. You get hung up on what you had planned but be prepared when you actually get to the area to shift gears and move on something that might be better.

    Hoping for just a few more updates and a final report, i can almost see it!!!!
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  28. #28
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    Cool stuff. The cobble climb was awesome when I tried it earlier this week.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by roundnround
    Cool stuff. The cobble climb was awesome when I tried it earlier this week.
    Yah i'm really happy with how it turned out. To make it all the way to the top is really challenging.
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  30. #30
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Great work skooks! We all owe you thanks for the time and energy you've poured into this project!

  31. #31
    MOUNTAIN BIKE JUNKIE
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    totally wish they had a park like that where i live
    Life without danger is a waste of oxygen.

  32. #32
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    Update time.

    Early on in the process of creating this trail, it was suggested that a trail be built with no stunts/features. Many riders benefit from warming up before riding challenging technical terrain. So a trail was created for this purpose.





    Also this trail along with other trails will serve as an easily accessible place to host demonstrations. Where land managers and trail builders can examine sustainable trail builds built by and with mountain bikers in mind.





    It's also nice to have a nice forest canopy and a nice flowy XC trail. A nice sample of natural goodness just feet away from the contrast of a stark arid trail under the freeway.







    Picked up this metal grate from a job a few years back. It was an extra piece and usually a piece like this would find it's way to the recyclers in exchange for beer money. But it finally found a home in the park. Nobody knew what to do with it, luckily for me. Remembering i saved it for the park, it fit perfect over a drainage ditch. With a few bucks we secured it into place using concrete posts and lag bolts. And somebody dumped this sign off a few days back. i don't know if we can get the city to buy off into using this sign for the park considering it's likely removed from somewhere without permission. But i suppose we'll try anyways.



    We're on the home stretch...
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  33. #33
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    Tim,
    I decided to test the trail once on Saturday, and ended up "testing" the trail for quite a while. Those corners at the end are just so fun!
    I'm thinking the last left berm (behind the drop berm) needs to be a bit taller though. Try as I might, I had to slam the brakes as I went down the grate, otherwise i went over the edge into the bushes. That might just be me sucking at cornering though, and beginners aren't going to be going as fast as I was, but it's something to consider.

    Overall, I'm super stoked on that little section of trail, it just FLOWS.

  34. #34
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    WOW! Excellent work I am so jealous we cant get projects like this approved in Maryland

    Was there a lot of red tape involved prior to receiving the final go-ahead to start the project?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainblt
    Tim,
    I decided to test the trail once on Saturday, and ended up "testing" the trail for quite a while. Those corners at the end are just so fun!
    I'm thinking the last left berm (behind the drop berm) needs to be a bit taller though. Try as I might, I had to slam the brakes as I went down the grate, otherwise i went over the edge into the bushes. That might just be me sucking at cornering though, and beginners aren't going to be going as fast as I was, but it's something to consider.

    Overall, I'm super stoked on that little section of trail, it just FLOWS.
    Hey B
    Firstly super stoked to hear you're liking that trail. Someday i'd like to build an XC trail with me and Mike Wad who built the pump track. i think with our combined prowess we could make a trail that would not be about the flow but rather be ALL about the flow. But i think we're both pretty burned out on building for a little while after Colonnade draws to a close.

    i certainly gotta give you and Dave props for helping dig and rough, without you and Dave's help Andy, Scotty, Pip and i wouldn't have had such a nice day of finish work.

    The berm on the outside of the tree, i'm a little hesitant to make bigger. The Redwood Tree while being killer for aesthetics and natural canopy reduces the sight line. Collision is possible for a riders approaching each other there. If anything i think some tinkering on the berm above the tree might be in order to better accomodate riders coming off hot down that grate. And from your comment i'm thinking a nice long subtle bump on the trail could be used to slow riders, but would be consistent in keep the flow as the speed will be subtly absorbed but a slight raised hump/bump.
    Still time to tinker, your comments certainly have me thinking how to make it better while we still have some time left.

    i gotta bring my bike and ride, i suppose people would be surprised to know i have only brought my bike to ride this trail once in all the time i've built there. Usually just grab someone else's bike for a quick test or i just grab people and watch them ride something to sort out any possible challenges/concerns...


    Quote Originally Posted by ultrajounin
    WOW! Excellent work I am so jealous we cant get projects like this approved in Maryland

    Was there a lot of red tape involved prior to receiving the final go-ahead to start the project?
    The path has been long and hard by many many many people sacrificing and contributing. Construction has been going on for 3 years and the project was first proposed nearly 10 years ago i think.

    Check out more info here on your clubs Trail Wiki site, which include more links about the ongoing history of the park.
    http://www.bbtc.org/wiki/index.php?t...:I-5_Colonnade

    Also know that all the key players involved in this project are all hopeful and are glad to hear that this can inspire other mountain bike projects abroad. Obviously we're stoked on how this can effect us locally but alot of us do recognize that growing mountain biking abroad is key to enjoying more opportunity long term for generations to come.

    There are many things that need to go right for a project like this to have success, and we're not quite done yet. But we hope to be a testament to the ability that something like this can be achieved on the volunteer level.
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  36. #36
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    altogether and up-to-date, how much $$$ and time has gone into this project???

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmetheNewGuy
    altogether and up-to-date, how much $$$ and time has gone into this project???
    The Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park...

    i don't have the exact figures, but it's in the hundreds of thousands. Half of which we obtained by city grants the other half through donations. Some people have put in tons of time, i'm one of about 20 or more that have put in countless hours, and there are a handful of folk who've put in time in the background acquiring the funds etc.

    edit* i would speculate that thousands of different people have helped build at one time or another. Actual hours have been recorded, but i know for a fact that sometimes the sign up sheet get's forgotten amidst the work.

    The project needed alot of help on many fronts to be a success.

    The Tqalu Trail was built as a project among others in Phase 2. In this phase we've had one year and $140,000 budget.
    Last edited by Skookum; 06-13-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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  38. #38
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    ODDS AND ENDS

    A good time to update. i've got 2 more features to make and one to finish but the last weeks i've spent tying up loose ends. Most all of this work are adjustments and many are from suggestions from other folk, so thanks for the feedback all of you, you know who you are.

    For the Bridge feature we put up some more fencing and a couple more log poles. First and foremost this will visually aid new rider, giving them a mental confidence to ride the bridge.
    The poles are there for that purpose but as soon as approval is sent through from the city i'd like to attach a sign reading TQALU made from cedar as a header to the official entrance of the trail.
    Also fencing defines the border towards the end of the trail where people coming out from the Switchback Feature are compelled to run down to the final features, the Practice Drop Feature and the soon to be build Downhill Feature.



    And speaking of which here we have some highlights. The new berm at the bottom of the drop, the new speed bump at the bottom of the No Feature Trail and the new berm at the beginning of the Switchback turn.
    Also notable we built up a nice approach to the Practice Drop deck.



    Closer look at the berm at the bottom of the switchback. Now you can carry some speed around the corner, will help minimize skidding. Helps flow so on so forth, all good things.
    i always thought i'd return here and raise the inslope, but more and more people talked me making it a smallish berm and it is indeed the right call.



    Had to finish this section. Mike C, the builder of the drop recommended a berm and although i resisted at first it should have been a no-brainer. Might build it a bit more high, and we have some turfstone pavers for a nice skid plate prior to the berm.



    And for people coming off the grate with too much speed we added a nice bump. The Redwood tree makes for poor sight line and there's a small chance of collision for 2 ascending/descending riders. The bump should minimize that possibility, keep riders from sluffing off the inslope and slipping off trail by coming down and around too hot. Plus a bump (unlike a chicane) is conducive to flow which is like frikkin gold man.



    Set up a nice cheater board so people can dab on the steepest sections of grade on the Climb Feature. People not making the climb and other riders doing tricks on this section were wearing out the dirt and in short time the pavers would be coming loose. Had to do it, and of course now people are starting to ride the boards like a skinny so more adjustment will have to be made to put a stop to that.
    Always a process....



    Showing the fencing to define the trail. This will prevent riders from riding across, and also keep people from riding in hot from the road above. The road can be used as an easier climb access to the trail nearing the Rock Garden.
    Also not really shown is addition of more pavers to the upper steep section. By the amount of tire/skid/wash out marks, i made it a little wider.



    And onto the new and improved Root Feature. i used to get feedback and criticism from folk via email or second hand, about how some features are too difficult or dangerous. Now i'm getting it third or fourth hand which is kind of weird, but rest assured all who are concerned, i'm still listening.



    We shaved off the big nub on the end of the cottonwood retaining, and we built another level of rock retaining and log retaining. Skimmed the high side of the trail and built the level to the correct height.



    That should keep people from ramming into the column, as we're going to eventually route the trail above this new berm. In the meantime this new berm is blocked off with some wood. It doesn't take much time for people to do the work to remove obstacles, which is lame. But in this case i just need a day for the soil to dry and they can ride the hell out of it. So as long as nobody has cleared it as i type it should be safe, and i won't have to put anymore work into patching any ruts.



    And here is reason for a berm, a nice alternative approach to carry more speed to the Wooden Berm Feature.



    If memory serves me correct i think i was forecasting myself to finish the trail this month, when i first started. i'm actually quite close to finishing and so my prediction wasn't too far off. i needed a goal, a target to make and sticking to that deadline was unrealistic as it turns out. But i'm very happy with the progress that i've made. It always seems like i wish for more help, but i'm very happy with the help i have recieved, and without it i for sure could not have gotten this far.

    We're gettin there...
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  39. #39
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    Fantastic

    Dang Tim, that's some incredible work and serious man hours.

    Hopefully some day I'll get a chance to play out there and enjoy the fruits of everyone's labor.

    Well done to you and the rest of the crew

    -ck-

  40. #40
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    Safety First kids.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  41. #41
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    thanks for your work Skookum and the rest

    All of your collective work and dedication to Colonade have been noticed by many and appreciated by even more. Personally I ride the park on average about once a week (traveling up from Puyallup) and I can say that since I started hitting it about 6 months ago my skills and confidence have taken leaps and bounds forward. You have taken a small patch of ground and turned it into something more than most thought possible.

    Keep up the great work!!

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    I've been in discussion with trail leaders/city parks to build something similar to what you guys have done. Showing them pictures of your trail finally got the city officials to listen. They want a proposal with detailed/scaled drawings of everything we want to build. My question to the trail builders is this. Do you have blueprints of the ttfs you built or do you just build them as you go? Are there any sites that give details on building teeter-totters/wall rides/etc? We are in the process of measuring the land we want to use to get an idea of what we can build and the trail layout.

    Thanks for any help!
    Chris

  43. #43
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    I am sure that Mike has more detailed maps/information, but you can find quite a bit of information, including trail maps on the BBTC Colonnade Trail Wiki Page

    Good luck with your project and let us know how it goes!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by buconine
    I've been in discussion with trail leaders/city parks to build something similar to what you guys have done. Showing them pictures of your trail finally got the city officials to listen. They want a proposal with detailed/scaled drawings of everything we want to build. My question to the trail builders is this. Do you have blueprints of the ttfs you built or do you just build them as you go? Are there any sites that give details on building teeter-totters/wall rides/etc? We are in the process of measuring the land we want to use to get an idea of what we can build and the trail layout.

    Thanks for any help!
    Chris
    No thank goodness we didn't have to do engineering drafts for "everything" we built.

    There were submittals and i'll ask what they entailed and get more info for you.

    To be candid with you i'm in construction, i'm a foreman for a roofing company. i was given detailed blueprints from engineers at Boeing for this job i'm on, and i had to make drastic changes that were more in tune with the real world.

    A key success of Colonnade is due to the trust that was built by having competent workers who demonstrated knowhow and capability of building sturdy sustainable features and trail. i guess what i'm trying to say is, find competent builders, some who have construction and/or trail building experience.

    i could really go further into this topic, but let's just say it's wise to be patient and overbuild in these types of projects. Good planning is super important, and hopefully you just have to do some drawing/blueprints for each general ttf (logride/skinny/wall ride/bridge/teetertotter) then ask for the liberty for variation. i know that the city is constantly working with our project coordinator and sometimes asks for revisions. In fact the feature i'm currently working on was asked to be revised and it's going to really be better because of the concern. Having good trail builders/crew leaders using these criticisms as challenges to make the trail better is critical.

    If you need a template on how to build structures i would first invest in books on basic carpentry, and use rules on finished lumber as a guide to form a template on how to build your ttf's. As per trail building the same can be said for IMBA's trail building book. But really it's time to enlist and tap into the knowledge and experience of your local community/riders interested in helping out at the park.
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  45. #45
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    Thanks for any info you can provide. Our trail group has a great group of people with alot of experience in different areas. I have the IMBA books and have been going thru the web for ideas and plans for different features. I'm heading out this weekend to measure some of the current ttfs on other trails and go rough flag the area to get a better idea of layout.

    The land managers are very concerned about liability and are very strict on what goes on thier land. The more detailed i can be on the proposal, hopefully the sooner we can get this thru and get building. We are already planning on atleast 4 months just to make it past the paperwork phase.

    Hopefully by next spring we will have a pumptrack/skills learning section in the moving dirt phase.

    Thanks!

  46. #46
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    You don't have to sketch every feature. What you want to do is set design standards which will be observed and which set an outer limit on what can be built. If the land manager thinks that the standards are reasonable, then you can build freely as long as you stay within the limits of the standards. It would include things like quality (sturdiness) standards, limits on height vs narrowness (max height, but also min width at each height), standards for fall zones (important to make it safe to crash, not land on another feature), and so on. Ideally you identify different skill levels and outline what's appropriate for each level. Then you designate a trail as targeted to a given rider level and build it within that level of the standard.

    Take a look at the link below for some sources. Whistler has a trail design standards document, which is a good place to start--you can tell stakeholders that this is what's used at the world's premiere mountain biking destination. The Black Rock plan is worth looking at too, I think. Both are linked on the page.

    http://bbtc.org/wiki/index.php?title=Trail_Building

  47. #47
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    wow, those are amazing proposals! I've written a few but nothing like that. Thank you very much for the link. This is exactly what i am looking for to ease the minds of the city. We are wanting to build a very mild skills building area to begin with. 75% of our rider base on this trail are families with younger kids and people on box store bikes. There is a lot of land available to build onto as skills improve and to keep things interesting. Thanks again for all your help. Time to start re-writing things and get the ball rolling...

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by buconine
    We are wanting to build a very mild skills building area to begin with. There is a lot of land available to build onto as skills improve and to keep things interesting.
    From the sound of it, with all that you've wrote, it sounds like you really are on the short track to having a successful park in progress. Awesome to hear, and best of luck!
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  49. #49
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    Thanks, I hope it goes smooth. These guys have fought us on anything technical we have asked to do, even though other trails outside city limits have them. Start small and build from there is my hope. If we can get the mild stuff in, then hopefully we can build more challenging obstacles later. Thanks for all the help, i'll start a new post once the building begins

    Chris

  50. #50
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    Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Building Park

    Seattle Washington

    Tqalu Trail



    With time winding down, and a very pleasant vacation in the rear view mirror, it's time to see the trail to completion.
    Always something extra to tend to. Built the berm higher, it's a pretty brunt turn, so it needed to keep the raked out big bikes on track. It also helps visually so riders can track toward it.



    Feature 15 Rocky Tread Complete



    We dialed in the rock garden section on the lower half for beginners. Now the upper half is completed.



    Being how it's a more advanced line we see where the advanced climb ties into the rocky tread section which meanders back down. Tying back into the trail before the Rooty Tread Feature.



    i'm pretty used to being scolded for making the trail too difficult in spots. The upper line is more difficult for a beginner yes. But i truly feel it's a necessity for the trail. i'll get into that in a bit but for now i have made the major adjustment of having a retaining wall/fencing put in. It drastically reduces the exposure, and the rider is now aided by a fence to grab onto if they stall.



    Certainly i feel that all the challenges of varied folk involved adding criticism at times is frustrating. But it's not a big deal, and it actually leads to a better trail in where you can utilize suggestion or create your own solution out from the problem whether real or percieved. At any rate as a volunteer it takes more work, but to the quality of the project it will never suffer, unless you allow it to.



    A backwards glance and a reflection on the reasons why i like to introduce more difficult but like features. Firstly this is a beginner skills level trail, yes. But i think more challenge encourages riders to study more advanced riders and firstly recognize that it's possible to ride terrain. And from that study what those riders to conquer the like feature. They can have a go at the easier feature and work their way toward something, which makes the Tqalu Trail more viable for more people, and varying levels of beginners. There are mountain bike riders that have ridden for years and years, toting beginner level technical level ability. The Tqalu Trail affords them a safe and fun environment in which to expand abilities and enhance their strengths. There are also like features that are much more advanced in Colonnade Park, as well as other trails, so this give riders opportunity to work toward them as well. If this trail just had one easy line, it would fast lose relevance.

    Again the idea from the beginning is to adapt an "easy out" idea in a trail from a feature. Now instead we have the features with multiple line where it's encouraged to try a simpler section, but give the option of something more difficult. If you are on a skills building trail you are not looking to take the easy way out, you are looking to work your way up.



    Big thanks to many folk who helped me complete Feature 16 Downhill Feature.



    Of course it's not "totally" complete, but good enough for me to report on it. Some wood needs to be added to retain the sides and keep the sandstone cobble from sluffing out. But we got a nice skid plate with turfstone pavers over a nice drainage ditch.



    We've got 3 basic lines. The one to the right is strictly sandstone paver set to a nice even run out, no surprises. To the left we have a similar run, but i built it up another 8 inches or so and added a few rocks in the path for a bigger run down, and for something else in the sight lines. And of course some nice big fatty rocks down the middle.



    A closer look at the feature as well as highlighting the varied height. And below we have the option of choosing the Beginner Drop or Downhill Lite. Really only time i've routed the trail where you have to choose one or the other in the sequence. Decision is a little out of my hands in terms of space and terrain available. Oh well, end with bang either way.



    One more feature to go, i'm so close to completing major construction. Still more work to do with clean up, beautification, various knick knacks, and the most important tangent to the original vision of this not only being a skills building trail, but also an interpretive trail. The signs are coming, stay tuned....
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