Those of you who know section 7 will recall that in the wet, this is where you get the most mucky! Section 7 is where the original boardwalk is and the singletrack up to the start of the fire road climb. Today was something i've been looking foreward to doing for a few weeks now ... altering the end of the section to solve the endless maintenance issues!
In the previous weeks, Clixby's had been playing with their digger on the trail edge along the road to solve the drainage issues there, but this left the series of ugly and messy 'lakes' from evil root number 1 to the end of the section. We opted to re-route the trail onto the fire road a little earlier than the current end, removing the (huge) puddles and ugly illegal exit points some riders had created.
The usual gang turned up at 10am and we began sorting out tools and who was going where. Rob and Martin loaded up a trailer to take the heavy stuff to the site, before going to tweak some other things noted from the previous days trail inspection. Dave, Petra, Jess, Charlotte, Jez, Bruce, Steph and Andrew (and me!) set on to Section 7.
Summer on the Chase sees massive bracken plants, brambles and nettles but they don't take long to clear. As soon as they were cleared, we could see exactly where the trail should go and got down to cutting the trail.
I wandered down the trail to the plateau... It's been a feature of Follow the Dog for as long at i can remember. It's a place where people stop to catch their breath, have a chat and a laugh about the boardwalk while watching others struggle with evil root number one. Another feature of the plateau is the lake that regularly forms there! As much as i like it, it has to go!
There must be some invisible attraction to mud and water, because not too long after i started digging a gulley, Jessica and Charlotte arrived! We dug the gulley out and then breached the dam holding the lake back! It was so much fun watching the water drain away! What was left was a stinky, slimy, muddy mess .. which needed clearing! We found the original trail under neath and suprisingly it was solid and sound - excellent news! There was still lots of mud and water to clear away though...
Meanwhile, back at the new bit of trail, the gang had made great progress, and the new section of trail had emerged. Three Log steps were placed into position, and surfacing began. This in itself was a problem as we hadn't got any surfacing material ... Easy to resolve - there was a large amount of now redundant trail we could use! So, the mining programme began!
Soon barrow loads of material were emerging from the mine which went into the trail surface and down to the plateau to build up the high side of the trail to make the water run away and not puddle.
By now it was 1pm, but we were so close to finishing, we stayed on a bit longer. Eventually, it all come together and what remained was a superb looking snake from the original trail onto the fire road ... should be sweet to ride!
Once brashed, we headed back ... and i wet for a ride in the now heavy rain ... but it was great - muddy, slippery and great biking ... why did we remove those puddles?