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Thread: log in the face

  1. #1
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    log in the face

    Ok, I am pretty much a newb at much of MTB but had a question about a feature on a local trail that has me a bit confused.

    In a local compact, windy trail with lots of log crossing there is one in particular that is not like the others. That log crosses the trail diagonally, with a choke (one side is a living tree, the other some more logs) leaving about a foot and half spot to clear the log.

    Ok, tight log cross, I get that.... But there is also a high fallen tree that at one point blocked the whole trail, and has been cut. However, it was cut in a way it leaves a lot hanging over the trail, at face level, so that if you don't clear the log well riding one way you will most certainly get a face full of lumber.

    But it doesn't pose much of a threat clearing the log the opposite way. So I was wondering... is this an intentional limitation, or just a bad cut? I'm not saying I'd cut it back more personally but it's seems like arbitrarily dangerous spot in a tough, but otherwise sensible trail. Or am I just being a big babby?

  2. #2
    saddlemeat
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    Well, you bring up a good point about grooming a trail for both directions. Also consider, as a newb, that you may feel differently in a year or two. You could inconspicuously trim it to a slightly safer shape, in my book.
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  3. #3
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    A picture of it would help.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike for days View Post
    Ok, I am pretty much a newb at much of MTB but had a question about a feature on a local trail that has me a bit confused.

    In a local compact, windy trail with lots of log crossing there is one in particular that is not like the others. That log crosses the trail diagonally, with a choke (one side is a living tree, the other some more logs) leaving about a foot and half spot to clear the log.

    Ok, tight log cross, I get that.... But there is also a high fallen tree that at one point blocked the whole trail, and has been cut. However, it was cut in a way it leaves a lot hanging over the trail, at face level, so that if you don't clear the log well riding one way you will most certainly get a face full of lumber.

    But it doesn't pose much of a threat clearing the log the opposite way. So I was wondering... is this an intentional limitation, or just a bad cut? I'm not saying I'd cut it back more personally but it's seems like arbitrarily dangerous spot in a tough, but otherwise sensible trail. Or am I just being a big babby?
    Reach out to whoever maintains the trail. There may be a reason for the log not being cut, particularly if it has been there for a while..
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    A picture of it would help.
    they are worth a lot of words.

    Yeah, I'll take a pic as I'm going out there this weekend.

    Since it's in a city park they would probably know who maintains the trial? Or check the local bike clubs to see if tehy know?

    And again, I'm wanting to manacure the danger/difficulty out or anything, it just didn't make much sense to me.

  6. #6
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    What a great attitude! I wish more riders were like you. You didn't just say "That's wrong." and start changing things. You thought about it and even came here and asked.

    Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
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  7. #7
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    My assumption-having not seen the situation in person-is that deadfall was cut by someone on foot who was thinking about slow-speed foot use (hiking) of the trail, and not thinking about risk management and the body mechanics/positioning required to clear the log obstacle on a bike.

    My opinion is that situations like this aren't a matter of "dumbing down" the trail as much as finishing the job as it should have been done in the first place. If I was the land manager and concerned with the safety of my users (and my insurance rates) I'd cut that thing out ASAP.

    Nothing like facial trauma to teach somebody to be a better rider!
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  8. #8
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    Welp, it rained all of Saturday so I did not get out to the trail.

    But I will certainly take that picture (or a couple) to give a better idea of what I'm talking about.

    Thanks for the words Trail Ninja: Yeah, I wouldn't want to just start changing stuff and then a year later, with a better skill set, say "wow, wish I hadn't done that."

    thumpdumpster interesting point about the cut might just be accommodating foot users.... as there are certainly more than I expected that use these trails (since they are fairly obscure, but still in our main park system).

  9. #9
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    I'm with thumpduster on this one. I don't see the skill building potential to a log in the face and it's more likely that whoever trimmed it wasn't thinking "bike".
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    I'm with thumpduster on this one. I don't see the skill building potential to a log in the face and it's more likely that whoever trimmed it wasn't thinking "bike".
    Agreed.

    Anytime a log is cantilevered off the ground within the path it's a hazard, not a feature.

    It's pretty easy to identify if a log/tree is being used for a roll-over or a log-ride.

    Depending on the trail some folk prefer cutting the logs closer in to create a slower tighter trail. In most situations though the standard is cutting them around 4' back, if they're not being used as a trail feature.

    On a more advanced level, the line of thought could be safety which in this case sounds pretty obvious. Also they can be fall hazards. If you are in a technical stretch of trail why put hazards to fall on. And what is in the visual sight line of a rider cumulatively affect where bikers ride. For instance you have a log cut close to the trail on the right side, after time riders will veer towards the left, altering the trail.
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  11. #11
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    MTB is risky enough without added hazards. One thing we try to do is clear dangerous obstacles in all fall zones as well as those impinging on the riding line. It is an ongoing issue with new deadfall after any wind. Our eucalypt branchess tend to land with upsloping limbs creating a real penetration risk. We try to move or cut them back wherever possible and get them well out of the way. The way the OP describes this obstacle makes it sound like a risk only, rather than a trail feature. It should be removed btsoi.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    What a great attitude! I wish more riders were like you. You didn't just say "That's wrong." and start changing things. You thought about it and even came here and asked.

    Thank you.


    . . .
    Last edited by cmc4130; 04-04-2012 at 10:47 AM.

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    ^^^We encourage all club riders to correct problems they come upon. A small hand pruner or folding saw in the camelpack is all it takes. Maybe clear a few of those rocks the local bears keep rolling into the tread. Make one improvement on every ride = light work.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  14. #14
    Almost Human
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    We have trail builders/park planners who like to do this also (place hazards on trail to slow people down). I've been to many parks/trails planning meetings where people (bike riders!) actually propose these obstacles as solutions. I've actually been in arguments with trail builders who DON'T want to sign unsafe blind corners because they theorize that this slows people down (makes them ride slower everywhere).

    My argument is how does someone know to slow down if they've never been around the corner before, or encountered the hazard? the risk is that someone get's injured first.

    We also have planners who ignore placing signage before trail intersections on our multi-use trails. I've literally almost died because of this. Ended up with a ruptured spleen, damaged kidneys/intestines/stomach and broken ribs after getting t-boned at an unmarked intersection.

    More recently we had someone cutting ditches across the trail for some reason (drainage?). My rear wheel found one in the middle of a berm while I was leaning over. So I've spent the past 6 months OTB from a bruised prostate after having my saddle slap my ass so hard I couldn't sit for a week. Plus I got a camera shoved up my junk to make sure nothing was broke. Peeing every 15 minutes for several months is not fun. I can only hope that one day these same people feel my pain.

    I think the bottom line is that some people just don't know what it's like to go down a trail at 20+ mph on 2 wheels. They don't want you riding that fast either. These people should not be allowed to touch tools IMHO, nor design trails for that matter. I think the longer you ride you realize that people with no common sense are the real hazards to having a safe trail. No it's not the bike that will kill you, it's those "other" people.

  15. #15
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    Jeez Uncle Trail, the benefits of community work have really been bestowed on you I'm feeling uncomfortable sitting here.

    Agreed. Anyone who incorporates dangerous trail features for a higher purpose has no place on any trail crew, other than to learn why not! Any rule that prevents line of sight pruning is one looking for liability. Appropriate trail signage makes 100% sense (and here it is almost non-existent).

    The best chance is to shorten the learning curve for enthusiastic trail fairies and make the trail better for other users at the same time. That is to keep up the good work, help sort out the bad work and have a constructive presence.

    What bsieb said is cool. Doing little jobs with handbag tools opens your mind to trail potential, just by stopping to do it and thinking. From there you learn by absorbing how the trail changes over time and by helping the experienced workers make the big and exciting stuff happen. When you see how trimming a branch changes the line riders take through the next few corners, then you think twice before excavating a footy field of dirt and rock hoping to make a better line.

    Anyway, removed or moved a series of massive fall hazards again today (pointy limbs and whole trunks) and surveyed recent trimming. Looks good. Oh, and repaired an eroded corner with bunches of stone in the trench and made new entry and exit lines, and drainages.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post

    I think the bottom line is that some people just don't know what it's like to go down a trail at 20+ mph on 2 wheels. They don't want you riding that fast either. These people should not be allowed to touch tools IMHO, nor design trails for that matter. I think the longer you ride you realize that people with no common sense are the real hazards to having a safe trail. No it's not the bike that will kill you, it's those "other" people.
    I think common sense is to un-blind the turn or intersection. If an intersection has sight lines you don't need a yield sign in the woods. Europeans drive with unsigned intersections all the time. If for some reason you're not allowed to un-blind the intersection then yeah fair enough, sign it. But even there it's still dangerous because people frequently ignore signs.

    Ideally it would be better to re-route the trails to not have a 90 degree 4 way intersection...Like for example at Winter Park a lot of the jump/freeride trails have a slow-down bermed turn before crossing a utility road. The trail doesn't have a 90 degree line across a utility road. I can draw a pic if that doesnt make sense.
    Last edited by cmc4130; 04-04-2012 at 11:11 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumpduster View Post
    My assumption-having not seen the situation in person-is that deadfall was cut by someone on foot who was thinking about slow-speed foot use (hiking) of the trail, and not thinking about risk management and the body mechanics/positioning required to clear the log obstacle on a bike.

    My opinion is that situations like this aren't a matter of "dumbing down" the trail as much as finishing the job as it should have been done in the first place. If I was the land manager and concerned with the safety of my users (and my insurance rates) I'd cut that thing out ASAP.

    !
    I agree. Ducking isn't an MTB skill in my opinion.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi View Post
    I agree. Ducking isn't an MTB skill in my opinion.
    I have seen it used well in a couple of situations. Definitely not in a place where you have speed and could take your head off if you miss the tree. In a slow speed technical section, I think it can be used as long as the feature is obvious.

    But with that said, it needs to be done appropriately. The branch needs to be supported on both sides to minimize the fall risk. It needs to be well monitored and removed when it deteriorates enough that it may break and fall.

    I have also been ripped off my bike when the headlamp on my helmet hooked on an unseen low branch in the dark (on a section of trail where I was going downhill and had some speed).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I have seen it used well in a couple of situations. Definitely not in a place where you have speed and could take your head off if you miss the tree. In a slow speed technical section, I think it can be used as long as the feature is obvious.
    Yah we have alot of trails that are low speed, but i don't think i'd ever consider a low hanging branch that was big enough to whack the light off your helmet a feature worthy of protecting.

    The feature i enjoy seeing from time to time is when a trail is routed inbetween two small trees, that cut a wide bar. The skill of popping then turning your front wheel to worm your way through without stopping is challenging. And unlike a low hanging obstacle is not a disadvantage to tall riders who may be prone to concussions.
    .~...|\
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    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    I think common sense is to un-blind the turn or intersection. If an intersection has sight lines you don't need a yield sign in the woods. Europeans drive with unsigned intersections all the time. If for some reason you're not allowed to un-blind the intersection then yeah fair enough, sign it. But even there it's still dangerous because people frequently ignore signs.
    Sorry for dragging this OT a little since I know you are talking about
    singletrack, but the same people who build that, build this...

    This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about.

    So you start downhill with a gradual right into a blind left turn under a RR bridge...




    then... with mud in the corner and rip rap on the edge of the trail you go through the blind corner and hope no one is coming too fast the other way.




    Kind of hard to see the mud in that shadow with sunglasses on too.




    The section under the bridge used to be a gravel trail without any rip rap.

    The gravel/dirt just sloped down to the creek. Maybe a 5:1 slope at most.

    You could run off the trail when someone came around the blind corner on
    your side of the trial. Which happens frequently. It was dangerous. But at
    least you could ride off the trail without killing yourself.

    I ride through here to get to MTB trails. I was also a partner in the GOCO
    grant that built the above "improvements".

    So why do I bring this up... I broke my wrist trying to keep from sliding into
    the rip rap about 300 feet down the trail from here last Spring.

    Yeah it was my fault my tires had mud on them, obviously, and I slid out going around the next corner down the trail. Maybe I'm just getting old. But I have to ask

    WTF? Why would anyone put this rip rap like this next to a bike trail?

    Did someone actually think this would drain? It's common sense guys. But
    some people no matter how "smart" they are, just don't got any.

    Back to the OP though. Yah remove the limb. Definitely.

    Screw the guy who thought that was a good idea. That kind of stuff get's
    people seriously hurt. Safety is always more important than whatever
    reason someone comes up with to keep a hazard on the trail. Always.
    Last edited by UncleTrail; 04-06-2012 at 11:23 PM.

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