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  1. #1
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    Millers, braids and sanitization

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record - there's a thread over at Bikerag which describes some sanitization of the features over at Miller's Pond. I thought maybe a thread here would hit a different, possibly wider audience. I hate seeing sanitization anywhere, but Millers? Come on! that place is a playground and was created specifically for MTBers - if you can't ride it, walk it.

    Don't change a trail you didn't create. Making hard lines easy by filling in gaps or adding booster rocks is NOT improving the trail! Don't create Sally lines around the harder stuff - ride it or walk it.

    I think we all can do more to spread this message via word of mouth. I have to assume at this point that anyone reading this is one of the "good guys" and already knows the rules, and that people who do sanitize trails don't frequent internet message boards.

    Talk it up to people you see on the trail - especially obvious newbies.

    John

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    Sorry to be a "bad guy" here, but I rode Miller's two weeks ago for the first time...and after reading so many awesome reviews on Crankfire I was completely disappointed. YES, the place has a lot of individual features, but it has ZERO flow. I am not a pure XC rider, but a trail has got to be completable. I am not a newb, with 4 years of pretty solid riding...but making the trails hit every single rock garden in the place is ridiculous....some of them are manageable, but others truely are impossible...and yeah the drops are cool...but as soon as you hit the drop you have to grab a hand full of brakes to avoid either a massive rock, tree or get ready for a turn. To put some more flow into that place would be nice, I DO NOT WANT THE CURRENT TRAILS DESTROYED, but flowing work-arounds for more XC oriented rides would be awesome because the topography is really awesome.

  3. #3
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    I am not one of the trail builders, but the trails were built like that on purpose. Its not meant to be a flowy ride - more of a X-stuntery place, where sections are sessioned. There are plenty of places with flow around. I know Puke and the other guys over at Bikerag put a lot of time into Millers to make it what it is. They are scoping out a new trail that is actually going to be planned with XC/flow in mind rather than just feature after feature like Millers is now.

    As far as some sections being impossible. I don't know for sure, but I think every feature out there has been cleaned at some point. If you ever get a chance go ride with Puke, Mountainman or some of the other riders from Bikerag - you will be amazed at what can be done on a bike. Personally I enjoy the challenge and trying out stuff I haven't made before is really appealling.

    I think I saw something from Superbman on NEMBA the other day (someone was criticizing Mt Holyoke for not being techy enough) if you don't like the way the trails are laid out - find a land manager, work the relationship and make a trail that works for you.

    That said, perhaps that's some of the problem here - people have a mistaken idea of what Miller's should be and make "enhancements" to make it "better". I really appreciate your opinion here, helps to maybe understand what is going on out there.

    John

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    I layed out and built most of the trails at millers with the help of many others. Millers is not for everyone, its a technical area, with technical trails. Some sections have awesome flow, others are methodically technical, a wet dream for many riders but too much of a challenge for some..

    CT used to be blessed with many technical riding areas but due to high volume, most trails have turned into super-highways.

    If you don't like the trails at millers, its easy, just go somewhere else, just please do not create additional trail braids. If the main trail can be worked on in certain parts to help the flow it will. This is a BRAND NEW riding area and is currently evolving into something great.

    As far as the attitude of leaving the braids, this is not an option and is not acceptable to the land manager. Trail braids make the trail system more confusing. And if it was allowed, before you know it, millers would be like trumbull, no trails, just ride everywhere..

    When laying out a trail you have to make many decisions, certain features you pass up for the greater good. Until you design a trail yourself, I really don't think you can understand.

    We are laying out another 3.5 miles of trail at millers, and they happen to be a little bit more xc due to the terrain in the area. But you can be sure, if there is a cool rock, or tree, the trail will go right over it, or near it.

    If you live close by and would like to be involved with the trail building, let me know.

    PM

    Quote Originally Posted by BBlazerSK5
    Sorry to be a "bad guy" here, but I rode Miller's two weeks ago for the first time...and after reading so many awesome reviews on Crankfire I was completely disappointed. YES, the place has a lot of individual features, but it has ZERO flow. I am not a pure XC rider, but a trail has got to be completable. I am not a newb, with 4 years of pretty solid riding...but making the trails hit every single rock garden in the place is ridiculous....some of them are manageable, but others truely are impossible...and yeah the drops are cool...but as soon as you hit the drop you have to grab a hand full of brakes to avoid either a massive rock, tree or get ready for a turn. To put some more flow into that place would be nice, I DO NOT WANT THE CURRENT TRAILS DESTROYED, but flowing work-arounds for more XC oriented rides would be awesome because the topography is really awesome.

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    Although I am an XC rider, I have to agree with Jisch. The trails at Millers Pond were built with a certain kind of riding in mind. If that ain't your thing, there are several great XC choices nearby. I rode there once and even though the trail head is just a few miles from my doorstep, it's doubtful I'll ever go back.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBlazerSK5
    Sorry to be a "bad guy" here, but I rode Miller's two weeks ago for the first time...and after reading so many awesome reviews on Crankfire I was completely disappointed. YES, the place has a lot of individual features, but it has ZERO flow. I am not a pure XC rider, but a trail has got to be completable. I am not a newb, with 4 years of pretty solid riding...but making the trails hit every single rock garden in the place is ridiculous....some of them are manageable, but others truely are impossible...and yeah the drops are cool...but as soon as you hit the drop you have to grab a hand full of brakes to avoid either a massive rock, tree or get ready for a turn. To put some more flow into that place would be nice, I DO NOT WANT THE CURRENT TRAILS DESTROYED, but flowing work-arounds for more XC oriented rides would be awesome because the topography is really awesome.
    Odd that there were "so many awesome reviews"... and you didn't find it to fit your taste...all those reviews must have be at the wrong place…

    My turn to be the bad guy…
    I'm wondering...you've got a solid 4 years riding under your belt...I’m thinking you most likely go to XC races...I’ve got a question: How many racers to you see?...
    Back in the day, it used to be hundreds of riders at a race each class/age group might get 20-75 riders...now I'm betting most of the races there are never much more than a total of 50 to 75 rides (all classes counted)...
    My point is XC is dead, and the trail builders are building what they are wanting to ride...you want super hwy then volunteer some time and have input on the trail design…but don’t create pu$$y paths or dumb the trail down…

    better yet do as jmk999 points out...you could alwayhs go to the other 100 places in the area that are smoothed out…

  7. #7
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    I never see anything in BBlazer's post where he said he did any trail sanitizing or braiding. He just stated his opinion of the trails as Millers and that he personally found it to lack flow. Maybe his expectations were artificially high by reading online reviews of Millers. Ever have something like that happen to you before - you know - sort of like hearing all these great reviews of a rock band or something - only to go see them live and be totally let down because said band actually sucked balls or had a bad night on stage? Maybe he was experiencing a little bit of that.

    Some people like to ride "flowy" stuff, some people like to just freeride and could give a rats ass about pedaling to the good stuff, some people like to ride for hours pedal to the good stuff and stop and "session" stuff over and over. Different strokes for different folks and IMO it is all good (except maybe for the lazy ass folks who just want to huck off stuff, but aren't willing to pedal to get to it and decide to put up lame ass stuff 100 yards from the trail head - that's lame).

    Honestly, I give him credit for stating his opinion. I realize some of you guys are the architects of those trails, but it can't hurt to consider other people's viewpoints now and again either.

    With that in mind - I understand where you guys were coming from and what you were trying to achieve with the trails you've built at Miller's - but you also have to realize they really won't be for everyone. Maybe he will choose not to ride what currently exists - that's probably cool for him and for those who were the architects of those trails. However, perhaps he will pitch in and help with some of the new more XCish trail building that is in the works and that would be a win win for all parties right?

    I'm not sure why anyone in this thread needs to be the "bad guy."

    I often hear people state XC is dead - dead to them perhaps - but not dead to a lot of other folks out there. I would argue that XC has just taken a different turn towards more endurance type events - the numbers at those types of events seem to be increasing overall.

    If I'm going to pay to ride my mountain bike, I personally would rather pay to ride and race in a 6,12, or 24 hour event with a great vibe rather than the intense feeling and vibe that I get at XC races - but again that's just my point of view.

    Those said XC folks may think Cross Stuntry and freeriding is silly - but to you guys it is what spurs you on to ride and progress and improve. Both can and should be allowed to coexist - after all the commonality is that guys and gals are outdoors riding their bikes and that's a good thing on many many levels.

    I think there is plenty of room for the pure XC guys, the freeride crowd, the cross stuntry crowd and everything in between.

    I'd rather see threads like these take the form of a discussion/dialogue rather than an argument. I think good can come from discussion/dialogue but arguing about this type of stuff is just a waste of time. Hopefully this thread can continue as a constructive dialogue rather than an argument that contains accusations and digs at other posters.

    I like how Puke ended his post - his last sentence welcoming BBlazer to help is the right attitude to be taking.

    Just my 2.5 cents and then some.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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    Good points Mark! I am totally open to suggestions for millers, its just the braiding thing is a big no-no, regardless of the level of the trail.. I certainly dont think xc is dead, to me millers is full on xc, old school xc with some modern lines mixed in. You can ride it many different ways, but its just not for beginners, its way too technical.. Millers even beats the crap out of me every once in a while..

    We did a bunch of trail braid blocking and un-sanitizing tonight at millers. But I tried to make some compromises here and there, made the main trail a little more flowy where the trail braids ended up, but still blocked the braids.

    We can get much more accomplished if we work together, the last thing I want is to have to re-block trails every time I ride out there, it is not very productive.. Communication is key..

    PM

  9. #9
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    Agree with you 100% there MMcG. Keep it constructive - I am definitely not a Freerider, but I love the challenge of trying to push the limits, I just don't understand the mentality of someone altering a trail to make it easier. I am really glad Bblazer posted up, its a good perspective.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch

    I think I saw something from Superbman on NEMBA the other day (someone was criticizing Mt Holyoke for not being techy enough) if you don't like the way the trails are laid out - find a land manager, work the relationship and make a trail that works for you.


    John
    This person wasn't refering to Batchlor street, was he? Becuase if that place is not technical enough for him, he must be an animal on a bike.

    It sounds like Miller's would eat me alive, but it sure would be fun. I will make sure to hit that place this year sometime for a beat down. I will just make sure I have some armour and a full face helmet by then

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pukemaster
    Good points Mark! I am totally open to suggestions for millers, its just the braiding thing is a big no-no, regardless of the level of the trail.. I certainly dont think xc is dead, to me millers is full on xc, old school xc with some modern lines mixed in. You can ride it many different ways, but its just not for beginners, its way too technical.. Millers even beats the crap out of me every once in a while..

    We did a bunch of trail braid blocking and un-sanitizing tonight at millers. But I tried to make some compromises here and there, made the main trail a little more flowy where the trail braids ended up, but still blocked the braids.

    We can get much more accomplished if we work together, the last thing I want is to have to re-block trails every time I ride out there, it is not very productive.. Communication is key..

    PM
    Puke - please keep me posted about Miller's trail work. I need to put some trail work time in and I also need to ride Millers (or at least try my best to ride what I can - the rest I'll get off and walk if I have to).

    Feel free to hit me at [email protected] to keep me updated. With my kids and my divorce - it is sometimes hard to have a lot of free time for such stuff - but if I can, I'll pitch in when available to do so.

    All the best,

    Mark

  12. #12
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    OK so I was a little crabby... still might be because I didnt get out of work in time to ride tonight..but I still feel XC is dead...hell I did it for 15 or so years...if it's not dead I sure tried to kill it.....
    Also, an ultra is an ultra IMHO, just like it is in the running community ultras are in their own crazy class just like Trials...cool just different.

    But I'm having some issue with letting this P-path thing drop...

    Some of us on this thread have had discussions every year about trail braiding at Case MT...
    I've always said it's because over use and I've also said the same thing that Bblazer is saying...
    Riders who lack the skill tend to come up to an obstacle that is a little above their skill level and if they aren't feeling the flow they will create their own flow buy going around the obstacle...i.e. dumbing down the trail with an unintentional creation of a P-path...
    Here you guys are looking at someone telling you why they feel it's OK to go around something...and I'm tell you it's the same as the issue you see a Case just on a lower volume level...

    Think about it...if you took your Mother to Case, wouldn't you expect her to describe even the easiest lines at CAST the exact same way BBlazer did about Millers???

    Be honest...

    Either this is not cool for both Case and Millers or you except it as the nature of the beast...to me it sounds like exceptance...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMcG
    I never see anything in BBlazer's post where he said he did any trail sanitizing or braiding. He just stated his opinion of the trails as Millers and that he personally found it to lack flow. Maybe his expectations were artificially high by reading online reviews of Millers. Ever have something like that happen to you before - you know - sort of like hearing all these great reviews of a rock band or something - only to go see them live and be totally let down because said band actually sucked balls or had a bad night on stage? Maybe he was experiencing a little bit of that.

    Some people like to ride "flowy" stuff, some people like to just freeride and could give a rats ass about pedaling to the good stuff, some people like to ride for hours pedal to the good stuff and stop and "session" stuff over and over. Different strokes for different folks and IMO it is all good (except maybe for the lazy ass folks who just want to huck off stuff, but aren't willing to pedal to get to it and decide to put up lame ass stuff 100 yards from the trail head - that's lame).

    Honestly, I give him credit for stating his opinion. I realize some of you guys are the architects of those trails, but it can't hurt to consider other people's viewpoints now and again either.

    With that in mind - I understand where you guys were coming from and what you were trying to achieve with the trails you've built at Miller's - but you also have to realize they really won't be for everyone. Maybe he will choose not to ride what currently exists - that's probably cool for him and for those who were the architects of those trails. However, perhaps he will pitch in and help with some of the new more XCish trail building that is in the works and that would be a win win for all parties right?

    I'm not sure why anyone in this thread needs to be the "bad guy."

    I often hear people state XC is dead - dead to them perhaps - but not dead to a lot of other folks out there. I would argue that XC has just taken a different turn towards more endurance type events - the numbers at those types of events seem to be increasing overall.

    If I'm going to pay to ride my mountain bike, I personally would rather pay to ride and race in a 6,12, or 24 hour event with a great vibe rather than the intense feeling and vibe that I get at XC races - but again that's just my point of view.

    Those said XC folks may think Cross Stuntry and freeriding is silly - but to you guys it is what spurs you on to ride and progress and improve. Both can and should be allowed to coexist - after all the commonality is that guys and gals are outdoors riding their bikes and that's a good thing on many many levels.

    I think there is plenty of room for the pure XC guys, the freeride crowd, the cross stuntry crowd and everything in between.

    I'd rather see threads like these take the form of a discussion/dialogue rather than an argument. I think good can come from discussion/dialogue but arguing about this type of stuff is just a waste of time. Hopefully this thread can continue as a constructive dialogue rather than an argument that contains accusations and digs at other posters.

    I like how Puke ended his post - his last sentence welcoming BBlazer to help is the right attitude to be taking.

    Just my 2.5 cents and then some.

    Cheers,

    Mark
    Mark your first paragraph perfectly describes what I was expecting...I was anticipating a downhill like course and flow...but instead I got something in between...hence freeride....and it just wasn't what I was expecting.

    Puke definitely post of the dates for the XC work and as long as it is either after work or on a weekend I would really like to help make an option that does "flow"...and I think that will only add to the awesome reputation that the trails have.

    As far as trail braiding goes, I couldn't agree more with all trail builders, both at Millers and abroad, having a disorganized mess of trails never is enjoyable...having route options and various loops are nice, but it really has to be designed and/or approved by the land manager/trail builder. I know that at Miller's I either tried it (and usually failed) or walked the intended route, in a few places there were heavily traffic-ed work arounds, and I would make use of them when they were available.

    On a real positive note to the Miller's builder (Puke), I loved the skinnies there, though I didn't get a lot of "full-pulls" they were fun to attempt and most of the time if i screwed up it was reasonable to ride off of and continue on my way.

  14. #14
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    Miller's has flow. It's a techy trialsy kind of flow, but it definately has flow. One of my favorite places in CT to ride so far!

    That said: I'm heading over there Friday ~ 10am to work on my skinny skills and flow riding for a few hours.
    Last edited by scrublover; 06-11-2008 at 11:55 PM.
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    Good points from everyone.. Back to the original quote, "millers is not for everyone" - there are some people that mtb and live right there and dont wish to ride there.. Others Drive from Waterbury, branford, Springfield Ma, with 4$ gas prices to ride there.

    Making some sections flow better is not a bad idea, I just dont want to pave the whole place. Some of the lines have fallen apart and most rides I do there with groups, I don't have time to get off and fix them. Need to do some more TM rides (like last night), ride a bit, get off, fix some stuff up. As long as the advanced optional lines stay as is, and the trail stays very technical, ill be happy..

    Thanks for everyones 2 cents on this issue!!

    Glad you like the trails scrub, im a maybe for friday.. Of course..

    PM

  16. #16
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    I've only ridden Miller's once, and haven't seen everything there yet. I usually ride Trumbull because I live close to it. What happens is that I spend so much time at Trumbull that I know every little rock and root and I know exactly how to ride them... I've been pushing myself to branch out and try new areas so that I can progress and push the limits of my skills. When I went to millers I was told that it was 'rocky' and 'techy', that was it. It kicked my ass. I know I wasn't prepared, mentally, for what millers has BUT I'm totally intrigued by it now... when I go back, I'll have a better idea of the 'pace' of it because it certainly is not a fast ride like Trumbull... It's a challenge... there are some awesome lines in there, great job Puke and all who work on it...
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  17. #17
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    Everything at Millers is makable. I've been riding 4 years. Nothing is a gimme and every inch of that place makes you earn it. I like the challenge.
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    I am in the same exact boat. My buddy Pete and i live in trumbull and that is our main riding spot. we took our first trip to millers on saturday and rode for 3plus hours in that heat and that place beat the crap out of me and i loved every minute of it. cant wait to get back there. keep up the good work on those trails!! it defintely has an old school feel to it to me and those skinnies are impossible. you guys have some serious balance. peace out

  19. #19
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    edit: nevahmind.

    Nebby: nah, going to stick closer to home/deal with less holiday traffic by checking out Haviland hollow instead. Same time, 10am if anyone is into that.
    Last edited by scrublover; 07-03-2008 at 12:52 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Bump?

    you planning on trail braiding?

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    I rode MIller's for the first time this week. It certainly requires constant attention and yeah I had to get off the bike a walk a few sections - that happen everywhere I ride - but I really had fun.

    IMO, if someone spends the time and effort to build a trail, it's their prerogative to lay it out as they see fit. In this care, they chose challenging lines that take advantage of all the natural surroundings have to offer - kudos for their imagination.

    If I were laying out the trail, I might have selected some easier lines, but since I didn't I'm not about to change things - gotta play your cards as their dealt... If I can't manage a section, I'll get off and walk it.

    In any case, I'll be back to Miller's soon trying my best to ride it they it was designed.
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    Where is Millers?

    I live in Western Ma. and really want to try this place once this summer. It sounds a bit out of my league, but it would still be fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Mailloux
    Where is Millers?

    I live in Western Ma. and really want to try this place once this summer. It sounds a bit out of my league, but it would still be fun
    Looks like it's in Durham, CT, about 1.5 hours from you.

    http://www.crankfire.com/trails/trail.php?trailid=83

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvibert
    Looks like it's in Durham, CT, about 1.5 hours from you.

    http://www.crankfire.com/trails/trail.php?trailid=83
    When are we going?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Mailloux
    When are we going?
    You tell me, I'm busy all next weekend, but should be relatively open after that.

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