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  1. #1
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    Trail Treadwork - blown out trails

    Now that it's raining for several days on end it's about the right time to fix the blown out trails right? Just wondering what the correct fix is for those places where the trail has a sharp edge. Don't know if I'm explaining it all that well but it mostly happens on corners. Do you just pull the material back up to the edge and pack down as best you can then hope the rain will settle it back down?

  2. #2
    i'm schralping yer thread
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    Depends on the specifics of soils, trail pitch, etc.; but usually best to chunder up the edge before pulling new material into the rut. You should then mix the old/new soils well and pack it solid. Otherwise, the loose fill is just going to slough off.

    Also, still a little early to begin working on most stuff around here. Give it a good couple of weeks of on and off rain. From our crew's experience working really dry areas like some of the stuff at tokul east, even if the trail surface looks saturated you can hit powder-dry soils 4-6" below.

    We're not going to do much messing around with flowtron/last frontier until the rain has really started...

  3. #3
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    Agreed. Did some tread work in T-West last week and the wet dirt, even after the recent soaking only went down 3-4"...

    However, we are going into leaf blowing season....

  4. #4
    i'm schralping yer thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    However, we are going into leaf blowing season....
    Let's just be careful out there, Bob!

    Trail Treadwork - blown out trails-gnomeblower.jpg

  5. #5
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    No trail gnomes will intentionally be hurt in the annual cleansing of the trails...

  6. #6
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    Thanks GeePhroh that makes sense. I was thinking maybe if I just knocked down the sharp edge now it might help.

    Bob - how's your leaf blower work on wet leaves? My electric one at home is terrible. I pretty much just use mine in the vaccuum and mulch mode.

  7. #7
    Just roll it......
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    Bring material down, don't bring it back up.

    Usually, there's dirt available on the backslope to use for fill on those types of fixes. Just make sure you clean up the backslope, so it's angled again. I see lots of folks leaving the backslope vertical (or even worse, overhanging) and those really need to be angled as much as possible. If dirt is not available on the backslope, then you may need to import from another location/borrow pit using a bucket.

    If you have access to rocks, put those down first and then dirt over them. Compact the hell out of the fixes and add a 2nd (or 3rd) layer of dirt, if necessary.

  8. #8
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    Got a professional grade Stihl backpack one that can dig a hole in the ground if you point it there too long.
    Seriously though, it's a good idea to do multiple passes until all the leaves are gone off the trees. I've gone out to Doofie when I waited way too long and it was all matted and packed down. Then, you just gotta get under it and try to lift sections. Do a lot of kicking piles off the trail too. Blow and kick, repeat. Helps to wait until we have had 2-3 days of dry weather though. Ran into another rider this weekend who thought a thick leaf "base" protected the trails over the winter. Sigh.....

  9. #9
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    Check and make sure the outside edge of the trail isn't build over organic soil. This happens when trail isn't benched back far enough. Rocks are good, the bigger the better. Is it a flow issue that's forcing riders to the out side edge?
    Pictures would be nice.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  10. #10
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    If the "berm" is in a location to trap water make sure to break it up to allow for easy flow of water off the trail.

  11. #11
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    Just don't patch the stuff up, try to figure out why it got blown out. To much speed or duff underneath the tread are what it is most of the time. Then try to Figure out a way to fix it for good. Leave the patch work to your local drywaller

    Also backsloping is an simple art that 95% of people never do right. I take my extra dirt needs from a low in the trail with good side slopes, by making the low lower or i take it from a sump next to a low in flat zones, or barrow pit as needed. Taking fill from a backslope most of the time just ends up making a trail wider then it ever needed to be.

    Keep trails NASTE.
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    Sustainable quality trails please.

  12. #12
    Just roll it......
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    This is a really good point to address the root of the problem first and then coming up with the fix second.

    EB

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbty View Post
    Just don't patch the stuff up, try to figure out why it got blown out. To much speed or duff underneath the tread are what it is most of the time. Then try to Figure out a way to fix it for good. Leave the patch work to your local drywaller

    Also backsloping is an simple art that 95% of people never do right. I take my extra dirt needs from a low in the trail with good side slopes, by making the low lower or i take it from a sump next to a low in flat zones, or barrow pit as needed. Taking fill from a backslope most of the time just ends up making a trail wider then it ever needed to be.

    Keep trails NASTE.
    Narrow
    Ass
    SingleTrack
    Epicness

    P.S. Logs are never the answer

  13. #13
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    Hey mtbty, I think your wisdom may get "lost in translation". Could you doodle up a little sketch?

  14. #14
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    LOL mtbty should change his sig line to "NASTE trails getting built in Cascadia by NASTE people."

    Ty's point resonates soundly. Fix it correctly. Thanks for the added explanation on your tactics for attacking a problem spot. Gives me more ideas on what to do. The areas I'm thinking about fixing are on already very narrow benched sections of trails. I think most people trend to the outside edge of this part of the trail and that's causing the problem. I'm certainly willing to locate a big rock to hardscape into the spot. Would add a nice little bump and/or technical feature!

  15. #15
    Just roll it......
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    Depending on the area, a lot of builders do a first pass to get a trail "rideable" from top-to-bottom with the intention of going back and fixing the sections as they become problem spots/get blown out. It's certainly not the ideal situation, but when you're working with a 4 or 5 man crew building in the hinterlands all winter long, that's just reality. A 2nd pass fix the root of the problem and widen the bench is all it usually takes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eerie View Post
    LOL mtbty should change his sig line to "NASTE trails getting built in Cascadia by NASTE people."

    Ty's point resonates soundly. Fix it correctly. Thanks for the added explanation on your tactics for attacking a problem spot. Gives me more ideas on what to do. The areas I'm thinking about fixing are on already very narrow benched sections of trails. I think most people trend to the outside edge of this part of the trail and that's causing the problem. I'm certainly willing to locate a big rock to hardscape into the spot. Would add a nice little bump and/or technical feature!

  16. #16
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    Here's a visual of what I think might be happening. If it's on a steep side slope we sometimes see the trail fracture and create that sharp edge you're talking about. This is usually because the trail has fill material underneath it, and this material gives way leaving a little ledge where the good dirt meets the fill.

    Trail Treadwork - blown out trails-bench-trail.jpg

    Edit: my "good" picture doesn't show proper outslope of the tread to keep water from collecting. Crappy sketch, but hopefully it makes the point about not building on junky fill.


    To fix this permanently (or when building new trail) get ALL the crappy fill material off the outside of the trail so that you're riding on native dirt.

    A lot of inexperienced trail builders tend to pile up sticks and material on the outside edge of the trail instead of chucking the stuff WAY down slope. Then a few hours into the build they don't realize their trail tread is partly built on organic fill or duff they didn't fully remove. It can look like good gold, but if there's crap underneath, the trail won't survive.
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  17. #17
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    Thanks Juice. Simple and effeective. As a point of process, a lot of builders cover their scraped off duff with mineral soil and "assume" that it's good as noted above. Not. the other thing to take into consideration is the up slope angle. by cutting it a shallow as you can, it give more material to work with, better sight lines, and room to ride the inner line versus way out on the outside where it may naturally be softer and easier to "blow out". This is a part of benching that is really overlooked with steep up slopes that within a year may have large overhanging ferns that inadvertantly "push" all users to the outer edge of the cut. I'll never forget Bruiser preaching that it's a "Full Bench" when we were tired and cutting corners. Which is why the trail never got called what Miller wanted it to be. "Balrog's Fall"...

  18. #18
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    Just to dive further into trailbuildng geekery....

    The angle of the backslope compared to the trail tread is known as the "angle of repose". It's best if that angle is soft - as less debris falls on the trail, sightlines are improved and the design doesn't push riders to the outer edge of the tread.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eerie View Post
    LOL mtbty should change his sig line to "NASTE trails getting built in Cascadia by NASTE people."
    I think this would work better.

    NASTE trails getting built in Cascadia by RAD people "Riders Armed to Dig"
    Maybe one of Evergreens new mantras along with
    Trail Don't Build Themselves 'Merica
    Epic trails get built in the Northwest by epic people!

    Sustainable quality trails please.

  20. #20
    Rock Gnome
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    [QUOTE=

    NASTE trails getting built in Cascadia by RAD people "Riders Armed to Dig"
    Maybe one of Evergreens new mantras along with
    Trail Don't Build Themselves 'Merica[/QUOTE]

    Much better than the stodgy 'trail work ahead' signs

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Compact the hell out of the fixes.
    Is there a best practices technique to good compacting or is it just step on it a lot?

  22. #22
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    The first thing I learned when doing trailwork for the USFS is your boot is your most used trail tool. You can use it for clearing drains, tamping, knocking the high sides down

    That said, a tamper works best (but isn't very practical in many cases), so usually a mcleod works just fine. On a lot of my "trail fixes" I usually have my collapsible tool with me (Trail Boss - google it) and a rogue hoe end, so I just use that and my feet.

    Another thing a lot of people don't do is compact the downslopel. I compact the trail tread and the dirt that is on the downslope multiple times. Usually, that results in dirt sloughing and requires more dirt, but once that all settles, it's totally solid.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Just to dive further into trailbuildng geekery....

    The angle of the backslope compared to the trail tread is known as the "angle of repose". It's best if that angle is soft - as less debris falls on the trail, sightlines are improved and the design doesn't push riders to the outer edge of the tread.
    Dorking out even more for general consumption . Angle of repose is the max steepness a slope can hold its shape. So when you are moving dirt around you should try not to push (make steep then it wants to be) the natural angle that dirt settles at (Angle of repose). But better or best building practices would be to go mellower then the angle of repose and go with a 1/1 or mellower backslope angle (45deg slope angle or less).

    We go over all this stuff in an Evergreen Trail School and we will be having one in Maple Valley in Oct! Or come to a work party and just ask question, I can dork out for days on all kinds of trail stuff.
    Epic trails get built in the Northwest by epic people!

    Sustainable quality trails please.

  24. #24
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    Great thread, everybody.

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