Rock and Roll

On Wednesday night I joined Jeff P and Oli for a little trail maintenance. After an exhausting ride into the wind to the top of the creek trail, I found the other two up on the hillside already working. I had an apprehensive feeling when I saw Jeff P messing with large boulders so far from the trail…

Creek Trail
Two Drains were added, and we brought in rocks to narrow the trail

The project of the night was to put in a choke. There was a section that was becoming rutted from people skidding into an upcoming downhill turn. A fast straightaway in the trees would allow people to get their speed up, but when they came around the corner, they’d notice that they needed to scrub off a lot of speed quickly.

Creek Trail
Arranging the Rocks

Since Oli had just taken a header off the rock drop and broken his helmet, he was on rake duty. Lucky bastard. Jeff P led me through a choke cherry patch, and up the hillside where the “good” rocks were. To get people to slow down before the turn, we started narrowing the trail coming into the turn with some large rocks. We also added a couple drains to divert water off the trail.

Creek Trail
Try and move THIS rock, sucka!

The larger rocks had to be jacked up with smaller rocks, using a pick for a lever. They crashed down the hillside as far as gravity would take them, and then we he had to lift and turn them the rest of the way to their final resting spots. Luckily there was a thorny thicket of choke cherry at the bottom we had to get through before reaching the trail. We’d work together for a bit, and then take turns. At one point I felt a funny tearing sensation below my belly button. Probably nothing…

Creek Trail
Digging in the Step

Oli had a nice hole dug for the step by the time we got the rock down to the trail. After the rock was in place, and the fill dirt put back in, things were starting to look pretty cool. These guys do nice work.

Creek Trail
Finished Choke and Step

There wasn’t much time to test out our creation, as it was about 8:45 and starting to get dark. We hopped on the bikes and made our way down the trail. We didn’t have lights, but the pace wasn’t what I’d call slow. Jeff P had his BOB trailer attached, and still made pretty good time down the trail. He didn’t even slow down much for the log crossing, the trailer bouncing wildly into the air behind him. The clamor of the tool laden trailer reminded me of a chuck wagon. I imagined pots and pans banging together as he descended, and it made me laugh. There was even one time when sparks shot off the back of the trailer when he took a tight corner and the trailer hit a sizable chunk of granite.

Creek Trail
Looking back up the Trail

By the time we got to the Postal Route and Jackrabbit, it was completely dark. These trails are almost completely smooth though, so it was easy to ride by memory. I rode home for a quick shower and a tall glass of Mirror Pond Pale Ale before immediately passing out for the night.

I got to ride the trail the next day. I was only able to appreciate our handiwork for about 1.25 seconds, as the trail is pretty fast. Still, I think the new obstacle did it’s job, because I got my bike down to speed in time as we had intended. Although not necessarily challenging, this new obstacle makes the trail more interesting.

I’m looking forward to the next trail maintenance party. Although I wouldn’t mind doing a little rake or shovel work next time!

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18 thoughts on “Rock and Roll

  1. The back is getting better everyday. Should be no problem with trail work as long as I bring decent shoes as cycling shoes are nearly death traps for that work. Right now the back only seems to hurt while sitting at my work desk and while doing yard work. 🙂

  2. That “sensation” was just a hernia. Best to just get yourself a sling and walk it off.
    When I saw the darkened photos on your flickr site I thought you were building illegal trails under the cover of night. Good to see your work was legitimate and above board. I was so close to hitting the “rangers” speed dail number! :^)

  3. Illegal trails? That’s crazy talk. We were just fixing an erosion problem on an “existing fisherman’s trail”. Just being good stewards of the land, you know?

  4. I even picked up an empty 12 Pak box from nearby the lower bridge the other day so we can always claim ‘Trail Clean Up’…

    I think I’ll try and get the dumped tires and electronic equipment off the V&T soon as well.

  5. I know you were doing good things. And I applaud your efforts.
    But I really just wanted to create a contraversy, to get you all worked up and defensive. Looks like my evil plan was a success; boooooo haaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaa! :^)

  6. Ah yes. Worked up and defensive. My head is spinning, and the spittle is flying. Picture Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly with no sleep for four days coming off a dose of speed large enough to kill a horse, and then slamming a venti starbucks / red bull cocktail. And someone stuck a tack on his chair. That’s me right now. Un-freakin’-glued.

    Sorta like THIS.

  7. “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
    H.S. Thompson

    forget the starbucks and red bull. you need ether. diethyl ether and i know the location of a very large can. nothing’s more depraved than a man in the throes of an ether binge…

  8. Wow I thought all the trails in “The A.C.” were natural .
    I had no idea ?
    Give a few of us a heads up when this kind of effort is going to happen again . I want to Play.

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