Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Irish Coffee (Trail Building Tuesday 29th December)

We split into two groups today. Andrew, Bruce, Dave, Petra, Charlotte & Jessica went to continue the woodwork on 'section M for Mystery' while Martin and myself continued digging in waymarkers.

The woodworkers made really good progress and another structure is ready for decking.

Martin and myself continued digging holes and filling them back in.

At lunch we had Christmas cake and Irish Coffee (that'll teach the others for abandoning us!)

The waymarkers are 90% done now and we should be able to do the final few in one session, we just need to finish building the trail first!

Don't forget it's the next Big Build Day on Sunday 3rd January.


Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Tooth Fairies (Trail Building Sunday 27th December)

Today the majority of the crew went to build a short connector at the end of 'Deerskull'.

Andrew, Alex, Dave and myself had some planning to do before next weeks 'Big Build Day' but were thwarted by the lack of flags so Dave and Andrew went to start some wood work while Alex and myself went on a flag hunt! We knew we had left some somewhere but Cannock Chase is quite a big place when you are looking for pin flags. We found some in the end and also ran down the 'Mad Hatter' to test its flow.

When I rejoined the other they thought they were just about finished and ready to head back to the 'tea earn' but I quickly identified some more trail that needed digging and set them back to work!

Jez had kindly brought Chocolates but Jess bit off a bit more than she could chew and will be leaving a present for the tooth fairy tonight!


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Freezing Mulled Wine (Trail Building Tuesday 22nd December)

More waymarker installation today. Unfortunately Bruce couldn't make it so we replaced him with Andrew. Andrew seemed to insist deciding on the best place to put the post BEFORE digging the hole and using a spirit level. Very strange behaviour but given how hard the ground was probably a very sensible one!

It was bitterly cold today but the mulled wine kept us warm and Jason from the Forestry Commission had provided us with a tin of Chocolates.

Dispite the ground being so hard we made really good progress today, it won't be long until we'll be attaching little red arrows to all these posts.

Have a good Christmas and we'll hopefully see you all at our next Big Build Day on Sunday 3rd January.


Monday, 21 December 2009

Chase Trails Needs You - Big Build Day Sunday 3rd January 2010

What better way to see in the new year and work off all that Christmas Pudding that by coming to a Big Build Day. A great day out for the whole family, free food (turkey curry?), a free prize draw and the chance to spend the day with like minded people digging brand new trail.

Chase Trails Big Build Day - Sunday 3rd January 2010
Meet outside Swinnerton Cycles Forest Cneter 10am

Check out Missus Toast's most self-indulgent and nerdy BBD poster yet (her words not mine!)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Spirit (Trail Building Sunday 20th December)

It was just a little cold and icy this morning to the extent that I thought we might not be trail building but when I suggested this to the other I was greeted with 'IT'S SUNDAY - WE'RE TRAIL BUILDING'. Well that was me told!

Woodwork, rocks and surfacing were off the agenda today which just left good old digging. We headed to work on the 'Mad Hatter' and fortunately the ground wasn't too hard.

The kids (Charlotte, Jessica & Rob) were in high spirits today and entertained themselves by singing Christmas Carols and taking lots of photos. Everyone else worked really hard and dug a significant section of trail.

Energy was provided by mince pies and Christmas cake (thanks to Kath & Abbey) and everyone worked long into the afternoon (apart from those that left early to see Father Christmas!).

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported Chase Trails this year. We would like to wish you all have a merry Christmas and a happy new year.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

I Don't Have A Map (Trail Building Thursday 17th December)

Today Martin, Bruce and myself made a start on installing waymarkers for 'Phase 2'. Digging in waymarkers can be very therapeutic, very little to think about just digging holes and filling them back in again. Between digging we chatted about everything and nothing. We enjoyed lunch at Five Way sheltering from the icy wind as it started to snow. (Well actually Martin and Bruce enjoyed their lunch while I picked mould off my sandwiches!)

After lunch Alex joined us and we went to do some maintenance work around the causeway. The bridge looked very picturesque covered with a dusting of snow. We cleared some mud and moved some rocks so hopefully you'll notice the improvements the next time you ride it.


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Double Skinny? (Trail Building Sunday 13th December)

We set ourselves a challenge – finish the framework for the ‘Gold Mine’ bridge today which was a tall challenge considering it’s getting dark by 4 these days. Loaded up with lengths of timber and fixings, Dave and I headed for Rainbow Valley. When we arrived, a large group of riders were eyeing up our handy work and one asked if there was going to be an easier route across … “no mate, the plan is to flood the area so you’ll need your SPD wellies!”

Later someone else asked if we were going to deck it.... “No, it’s a double skinny”. “I can’t ride that!” was their reply – sorry, but we were in a mischievous mood.

Working like Trojans, progress was swift but light was fading fast as we finished the last span. There is a little tidying required here and there before the decking goes down but first the Forestry guys need to give it their seal of approval.

It might look like a film set for the next ‘Indiana Jones’ film but it’s securely screwed together …. that said it’s best not to walk on it as the wet wood is rather slimy.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Kitbag Hill (Trail Building Monday 7th December)

Today Martin, Dave and myself worked with a group of RAF recruits to build and surface another section of 'Phase 2' trail.

The RAF were great to work with picking up all the basic trail building techniques really quickly and putting in loads of effort.

Giving the history of the RAF on Cannock Chase it was great to have them come and be part of 'Phase 2' and be part of what was hopefully a mutually beneficial and rewarding day.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Great Lake Swimmers (Trail Building Sunday 6th December)

We had some maintenance work to do on section 15 this week so while Andrew and Dave went off to continue work on the 'Gold Mine' the rest of us went to re familiarise ourselves with Follow the Dog. The main job was dealing with some potholes that were developing. We had hoped that we could just drain the water and shallow off the edges but the surfacing quality was poor so we ended up resurfacing. As always newly laid surfacing needs time to settle so section 15 will be closed for a little while.

We were all looking forward to our mid morning baggin as we had mince pies left over from a BC Cycling course we hosted yesterday. Unfortunately the goodies were locked in the back of Martin's Landy and he had gone walkabout. Luckily everyone except Alex had their own snacks so we all refueled whilst trying our best to make Alex feel hungry.

Without enough time to head over to 'phase 2' we decided to head to section 14 and do some 'drainage work' (playing in puddles!)

Ian soon appeared on bike with the excuse for being late that he 'had looked everywhere for us'. Anyone remember Ian's last excuse when he was cut up on a roundabout and ended up at CyB? At least he made up a good story that time! Ian was armed with Chocolate just to make Alex feel even more hungry. [Tasted good too ;)]

Given the amount of rain some of the puddles were pretty deep. I think we must have raised the level of Fairoak pools by a good couple of inches. I hope the fishermen had their waders on.

Finally we tackled the biggest puddle of them all at the end of section 13 before heading back to Birches for mince pie, bourbon biscuits and cups of tea.