best way to smooth bumpy grass for a race course?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    best way to smooth bumpy grass for a race course?

    A friend and I get to design the race course for an upcoming event, and there's some field areas that we've used before at this site that we plan to use.
    I know from experience that bumpy rough grass areas are unpopular with the racers, so we want to smooth out a path or two prior to the race (the land-owner is fully on board and we're getting ongoing approval for everything). The purpose of the grassy areas is to lengthen both the start and finish areas to give some more passing opportunities prior to the single track, and prior to the finish, -at the finish it will also give the spectators a little more racing to look at.
    We have a riding mower, access to a kubota type small backhoe, and a pickup truck or two.

    I'm trying to think of the easiest and most cost effective way to smooth out some double track in these grass areas, I know that mowing won't do it alone. I also know from some 'light logging' experience that yarding out a fir log often makes a nice smooth path, I'm thinking of pulling a log with a chain wrapped around the tail end for sort of a cheese grater effect.
    Any other/better ideas?
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  2. #2
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    Turf roller?

  3. #3
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    Smooth mountain bike trails for racing? Start on pavement? :-)

    How much time before the event? Is re-seeding an option? A turf or log roller won't do much unless you have moist ground.
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  4. #4
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    We've got a couple of months, and it's plenty wet.
    Ride across a standard grassy field a couple of times and you'll see what I'm talking about , it's very different from a partially worn trail. I pre-rode it a couple of times, once with my go pro, I'd send you a link but you'd probably get motion sick!, I can't watch it without getting woozy, it's slow and rough going.
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  5. #5
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    I wouldn't worry about it too much. Best part about the bumpy start is it will help separate the field prior to the first choke point. Smooth trails takes all the spectator fun out of racing.

    A couple of months is probably not enough time to reseed the field. You will get some growth but it will not fill in the holes and any new grass will not have enough root to survive the crush of tires.

    Is this a park or private land? If you know the owner you might be able to import fill dirt prior to you rolling it out. That would help level it and when it comes time to seed (assuming that happens) next years event will be closer to sidewalk smooth.
    The world does not revolve around you but your actions impact us all!

  6. #6
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    It's a county park, the longer term plan is that most of it will remain as a multi use path after the event, as it offers some views of a wetland. It would make a really nice dog-walkers loop, with 2 bridges over a small creek, but would stay open to bikes too.
    I think I can get enough locals pre-riding it to break it in a little bit; it would be nice to make it more palatable, but not completely sanitized.
    bankerboy; yes, the purpose of this design is to get some pack separation and passing opportunities before the single track entry point. My biggest racing frustration is those courses where there's a short sprint trail before the singletrack starts and then few other passing areas. My race group is smaller, but some of the grids have quite a few riders and this should be a well attended event by local standards.
    skidding is the signature of the novice; learn how to use your brakes.

  7. #7
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    If the land owner is OK with it, and you want to end up with a singletrack dirt path when done, you could roto-till it then roll it with a turf roller, then ride it in to fully compact it. Just make sure you don't attempt it when the ground is saturated. I also probably wouldn't attempt it in rocky soil, or in summer months when the ground is baked hard as a rock.
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  8. #8
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    you need to get a chunk of chain link fence, 6x6 and a pipe
    on one end so it stays wide

    tie it off drive around a while dragging it

    this is how I smooth the area around my cabin
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  9. #9
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    Svck it up. It's mountain biking. Racers have suspension and or limbs that are designed to go up and down in adverse conditions.

    Live a little. 🙂

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    you need to get a chunk of chain link fence, 6x6 and a pipe
    on one end so it stays wide

    tie it off drive around a while dragging it

    this is how I smooth the area around my cabin





    Throw down a bunch of sand before using the chain link.
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  11. #11
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    A harrow will work good if you can find one, most farmers will own one and you can drag it behind a four wheeler or a truck.

  12. #12
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    Tell everyone they will need their full suspension bike.

  13. #13
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    Uhh, ride your mt bike and not your cross bike? Mow close and get some kind of heavy roller?

  14. #14
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    We have similar problems sharing parts of our race course with cows....

    Can you hold a free "come ride the course" day or two during "prime" conditions... that would be slightly on the soft side - but not soggy - and "ride in" the new trail?

    If you have a tractor you could make a custom mini plow/harrow off of the 3 point hitch to fluff up the soil then riding it in will be faster.

    Another tack is mow it short and then blade it with the tractor as best you can.... this is pretty much what we end up doing each season....

    Best of luck! :-)
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  15. #15
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    I think I can get some scrap chain link fence, that sounds like an idea worth trying, -thanks guys. It will be open to pre-ride for almost two months, and I'm encouraging the locals to put some tire wear on this area.
    skidding is the signature of the novice; learn how to use your brakes.

  16. #16
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    Rent a vibratory plate compactor from home depot. Soak the grass in the corridor with water run the plate compactor over it and hold it back over high spots so it beats them down. This method won't jack with the root structure of the grass. Deep penetration with water is key.

  17. #17
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    ^ beat me to it. was just gonna say get a hose and wet the bumps then tamp them down with a tamper.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

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