It turns out, building trail can keep you very busy. But it’s a rewarding kind of busy. Lets see if I can give you an idea of what’s going down.
The local municipal parks and rec department has graciously made land and a machine available for the building of trails. Our local IMBA group worked on the design, and layout started up as soon as everyone was on the same page.
Just because there’s a machine, it’s not all easy work. After cutting the main bench, all the clean up, back blending, and such is hand work. Turning this into what the every day rider recognizes and single track is easier than hand benching, but only by about half.
This short drop down into a gully is all the machine can manage. The majority of the digging work is done though, the grade is ridable, and it’s short enough to be sustainable in spite of a higher than normal grade. Unfortunately, finishing this still involves moving a lot of dirt, and cutting all those roots out.
This is the same grade entrance to the gully as pictured above. Here you can see the trail cut down both banks of the gully for the crossing. Both cuts are protected by structure in the bank (rocks, trees, stumps) against the worst of the current when the water gets up. The bottom of the crossing has since been armored with a rock/clay/sand mixture that shouldn’t wash for a long, long time.
This turn took about an hour for two people to put together after the excavator went through. The trick to getting dirt to sculpt right is the right amount of water. When you have to rely on rain for that water, it can be interesting to get your timing right.
The hand built section above shows two routes, one more XC, one more AM. The problem with the AM side, is that the radius of the dip is very close to the radius of some wheels. Tricky.
The trail above seems to be heading straight for a large pile of dirt. In a sense, it is. In what may be the best example of combining machine built and hand built trail, the above pile of dirt was shaped into a nice berm, to get you turned around and going the other direction, shooting you around the …sideways…growing maple tree.
There’s much more to come, and I’ll be quite busy for a while yet. The reward for all this work will be a 5 mile loop through the woods. A loop that should be challenging, fun, rewarding, and hopefully an asset to the community where it’s being built.