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  1. #1
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    Erosion-loving purists versus dirt-packing DJ/freeride rehab....

    Before:
    (original line was to bump down the roots, "green" below).


    Two cheater lines gradually were opened up by riders (blue and red):



    After:
    (Closed cheater lines. Kept root drop at top, but packed dirt around roots. Made a "landing" for optional gnar gap.)






    Basically returned dirt to where it used to be about 10 years ago.... Packed in well, pump track style.

    Ride the root (drop)

    Walnut Creek Workday, Sat, March 2nd 9:00AM to 2:00PM

    Austin Ridgeriders Mountain Bike Club

  2. #2
    Heavylegs
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    Looks good glad to see riders taking time to restore trails as well as build new ones! Did you also do something to the stream? It looks as you filled it in at the base of the repaired section.

  3. #3
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    Looks great and I think the larger riding community will appreciate it. (And I can hear the grumblers........... Oh, they dumbed down the trail......)

    Keep up the good work!!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit Ridge Guy View Post
    Looks great and I think the larger riding community will appreciate it. (And I can hear the grumblers........... Oh, they dumbed down the trail......)

    Keep up the good work!!
    Yeah I specifically pointed out the 13 foot gap to the landing to rebut the charge of dumbed down... You want a challenge? Go fast and bunnyhop the gap!
    Also it may look dumbed down because you can't see the roots at the top as much but theyre still there....

  5. #5
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    I'm an "erosion-loving purist" in that I like to have trail tread generally in a natural state and only use armoring in real problem areas. I think this qualifies (by definition that would be anything that generates cheater lines), and it looks like really nice work.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFitz View Post
    I'm an "erosion-loving purist" in that I like to have trail tread generally in a natural state and only use armoring in real problem areas. I think this qualifies (by definition that would be anything that generates cheater lines), and it looks like really nice work.
    I can appreciate "natural state" for traditional xc singletrack.

    But, with the movement towards options for "flow trails," flow DH, freeride parks, etc. I'm also keenly interested on how to combine xc with those elements where both types of riders can ride a trail. Especially in places like Austin that don't have mountains with designated DH/FR runs.

    For example, I recognize that a lot of riders like to bump over rocks/roots. Yet a lot of riders with DJ/Freeride/bmx/4x background like smooth landings. I'm happy to bump over roots/rocks too, but it is super frustrating when there's a nice incline to pump up and the roots/rocks are exactly in the wrong place (at the bottom transition) rather than further up.

    This pic shows a dual-option line. Either you just ride down it and bump over the rocks. Or you launch it to a smooth landing. The worst situation for 'flow' riding would be to have a messed-up approach, smooth decline, then a bunch of messed up roots/rocks at the bottom.



    Here's another example of engineered ruggedness. In a natural state, you cannot easily ride over a boulder. However, you throw in a little design... and you can. (This could have been accomplished with stones or natural-cut logs rather than lumber... but still)...



    At Ray's MTB Park, they engineer ruggedness also:


    Sometimes I do that kind of thing on regular trails. If you have long boring sections... Add some stuff--or tweak things that are already there. Sometimes the distinction between "features" and "natural trail" does not have to be so obvious.

    I like how at the mountain parks, the jumps in the trails do not have to be all perfect like the controlled environment of a Hoots dirt jump park. This easy table at Keystone has logs bumping out of the top/middle (but not out of the launch/landing face). So even if you don't truly pull up and jump it, you can kind of skim over the bumps...



    I love the pacific northwest style of huge logs cut lengthwise and made into skinnies on the regular trails.... I get the idea of having training ground skinnies... but a lot of dirt roadies seem to forget that natural-looking skinnies are great on the trails themselves. A "skills area" is not a sufficient substitute for engineering cool stuff into the trails.


    and by the way, i use the term "dirt roadie" in a friendly way. i am getting more and more into trying to be in xc racing shape, and i've also been doing long road rides. it's sometimes just a different mentality of what good or fun trail is.

  7. #7
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    Good points. I am basically an xc rider; always glad to find a trail I can't quite ride without stopping or dabbing at first. I know freeride/DH is a big draw (we have a couple real success stories in the metro Seattle area), but I just hate to see trails in different parts of the country starting to look all alike.

  8. #8
    Delirious Tuck
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    I love that work! Awesome. I think I may even recognize one or two of your worker bees...

    Used to think that being a master of disaster through the tech was it, no challenge to smooth fast trails... Then I went to Raystown in PA and learned that the challenge isn't trying to navigate the obstacle, but adding speed which really ups the challenge and commitment factor.

    re: the thread derail of people saying things are dumbed down....

    I'm in an area where we don't have beginner trails and as a result the dumbing down is from a newer breed of "social" riders (largely associated with Meetup). Their take is that since its a public park everyone should be able to use it. They end up filling dirt into technical sections, rock stepping otherwise challenging ups, and removing rocks to create easy lines.

    We've tried to include easy B-lines for them, but apparently its too much a hit to their ego to go around so things get dumbed down. I've even had emails from these folks that the riders that have been riding these parks for years should go ride somewhere else because they CAN ride the tougher trails and leave these parks to the beginners. I should probably redact this person's email and shame them publicly, but that would be poor form - however I don't know how else to explain that its a privilege to ride mt. bikes and land managers don't like us modifying THEIR trails without permission.

    Then we have the experienced riders who don't like our fast new trails because they don't get that if they add speed they're not "easy".

    Build on!

  9. #9
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    There will always be complaints about trail sanitation or dumbing down the trail any time trail maintenance is done to address erosion issues. Sometimes it's warranted. Often, it's not. All you can do is try to educate them and get them involved in the process.

    Yes it's possible to keep the tech factor high or introduce additional tech challenge when addressing erosion issues, but it's not always easy or possible given the constraints you are dealt.

    Judging from the above photos from the OP, if nothing was done, the erosion would continue and the tree would eventually fall into the stream and/or the cheater lines would become established and the main line would eventually be abandoned and the erosion process would just continue down the river bank.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefriar View Post
    I love that work! Awesome. I think I may even recognize one or two of your worker bees...

    Used to think that being a master of disaster through the tech was it, no challenge to smooth fast trails... Then I went to Raystown in PA and learned that the challenge isn't trying to navigate the obstacle, but adding speed which really ups the challenge and commitment factor.

    re: the thread derail of people saying things are dumbed down....

    I'm in an area where we don't have beginner trails and as a result the dumbing down is from a newer breed of "social" riders (largely associated with Meetup). Their take is that since its a public park everyone should be able to use it. They end up filling dirt into technical sections, rock stepping otherwise challenging ups, and removing rocks to create easy lines.

    We've tried to include easy B-lines for them, but apparently its too much a hit to their ego to go around so things get dumbed down. I've even had emails from these folks that the riders that have been riding these parks for years should go ride somewhere else because they CAN ride the tougher trails and leave these parks to the beginners. I should probably redact this person's email and shame them publicly, but that would be poor form - however I don't know how else to explain that its a privilege to ride mt. bikes and land managers don't like us modifying THEIR trails without permission.

    Then we have the experienced riders who don't like our fast new trails because they don't get that if they add speed they're not "easy".

    Build on!
    Yeah! And in this case, if you add speed, you can clear a 13 foot gap step down to the new "landing" (spot where we covered over roots). Not sure how a 13 foot gap is "dumbing down" !

    couple of video clips:
    Walnut Creek - new root gap - CMC - March 5 2013 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Walnut root gap - CMC - March 5 2013 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    There will always be complaints about trail sanitation or dumbing down the trail any time trail maintenance is done to address erosion issues. Sometimes it's warranted. Often, it's not. All you can do is try to educate them and get them involved in the process.

    Yes it's possible to keep the tech factor high or introduce additional tech challenge when addressing erosion issues, but it's not always easy or possible given the constraints you are dealt.

    Judging from the above photos from the OP, if nothing was done, the erosion would continue and the tree would eventually fall into the stream and/or the cheater lines would become established and the main line would eventually be abandoned and the erosion process would just continue down the river bank.
    Yes definitely. In this case, the main line (green) was almost completely abandoned, with beginners trying to walk down the "red" line and everybody else hitting the blue line.

    In this case, I was specifically trying to add a new challenge (the gap step-down jump) while simultaneously fixing the erosion problem.

  12. #12
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    Great work and explaining how and why your group did the fix. From your description and photos, the goal of the project was to keep the trail from braiding out and to keep the trail a trail. Second, keep the tree from dying prematurely. Third, keep the character of the trail intact by using a change of rider's speed to bring in a new set of challenges. Hit it and clear it on a good landing, or go slow and bump down the roots. CMC's photos and text were spot on too. The area where I live and work on trails (N. AZ) is in a growing phase where these types of trail construction is really going to make a good trail system a great trail system.
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    Before:
    (original line was to bump down the roots, "green" below).


    Two cheater lines gradually were opened up by riders (blue and red):



    After:
    (Closed cheater lines. Kept root drop at top, but packed dirt around roots. Made a "landing" for optional gnar gap.)






    Basically returned dirt to where it used to be about 10 years ago.... Packed in well, pump track style.

    Ride the root (drop)

    Walnut Creek Workday, Sat, March 2nd 9:00AM to 2:00PM

    Austin Ridgeriders Mountain Bike Club
    really nice work, I think you defiantely hit the happy medium with leaving the gap jump option while allowing less adventurous/skilled riders the rollover option. How'd you guys get acroos the stream once you built up the dirt?
    Misfit diSSent 1x10
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  14. #14
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    while one half of the crew were working on the root-drop, the other half was moving stone and gravel to create a "bridge." it's not done by any means, because water is pretty good at washing away anything that tries to block it....


  15. #15
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    Is the water seasonal or year-round? Is this a stream or a puddle? I can't immediately tell from the photo. I assume you ruled out building a wooden ladder bridge to cross the water.

    You wrote in your first post that you basically returned the dirt to where it use to be 10 years ago. Were you able to stabilize/retain the dirt somehow so it stays put this time?

  16. #16
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    Have you thought about rocks for the stream crossing? We have used large (2-3 ft) sort of flat rocks to line the stream crossing in the past. Depends on flow and seasonal depth. Just fit them so the water can flow around them and you can ride over them. Like a loose rock armoring.

  17. #17
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    by the way, that stream crossing 'fix' is totally blown out by (literal) flash flooding a couple weeks back. ; )

  18. #18
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    More on the theme of filling wheelbarrows of dirt and putting them strategically back on the trail, not to "sanitize" but to bring the flow back, or add a new dimension (being able to gap to a landing etc.)....

    These exposed roots didn't add anything significant in terms of technical. But, at the top of a steep decline, they cause people to slow down and skid down the decline. Rather than just going fast and flowing down the descent.





    Similarly, patched a hole at the top of this decline. Not to "sanitize" but to make it better to haul ass and bunnyhop into and have a big landing to pump, without a stupid hole in it.




    Similarly, this rock face decline had a big erosion hole at the bottom. Pretty pointless and un-flowy to me. Filled it in and made a natural "landing" zone. Leave the middle rock area exposed to still have that feeling, but exit smooth.
    BEFORE:




    AFTER:

  19. #19
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    That's awesome work man props. How far are you trucking in those wheelbarrows?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by blmpkn View Post
    That's awesome work man props. How far are you trucking in those wheelbarrows?
    I don't truck em in ! You dig dirt on site. But, it's important to be strategic/discrete about where you get dirt. Sometimes I get it from a water-bar drain washout area; other times like 20-30 feet off the trail where it's not visible. Random holes are bad. Also, if you're digging a source hole, don't make it deep and irregular shaped. Make it a clean rectangle of equal depth, like 6" or 12" down across a 10 X 10 area or something, and then cover with branches, etc. so you're not making a hole that someone could walk into and twist an ankle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    I don't truck em in ! You dig dirt on site. But, it's important to be strategic/discrete about where you get dirt. Sometimes I get it from a water-bar drain washout area; other times like 20-30 feet off the trail where it's not visible. Random holes are bad. Also, if you're digging a source hole, don't make it deep and irregular shaped. Make it a clean rectangle of equal depth, like 6" or 12" down across a 10 X 10 area or something, and then cover with branches, etc. so you're not making a hole that someone could walk into and twist an ankle.
    Cool. I've recently started a trail on ny property, I'll have to employ your methods.

    Your work is certainly an inspiration, do you belong to and do this work for some sort of trail association? Or is this some freelance stuff on unofficial but public trails?

  22. #22
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    I work with Austin Ridgeriders Mountain Bike Club.


  23. #23
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    by the way, that stream crossing 'fix' is totally blown out by (literal) flash flooding a couple weeks back. ; )
    Got a pic?
    Curious how that played out.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Got a pic?
    Curious how that played out.
    this was during the recent flash flood.


    walnut creek

  25. #25
    Delirious Tuck
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    this was during the recent flash flood.


    walnut creek
    Totally fat bike-able.

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