Thursday, 20 May 2010

Praying for rain (Trail Building Sunday 16th May)

… but only over night! The recent long spell of dry weather has caused the trails to dry out and start to break up – an inevitable drawback of the Chase’s sandy ground. This is limiting the amount of repair work we can do at the mo.

The last but one corner on “The Link” down to the railway crossing was getting badly chewed up as the ground there is predominantly sand. This exposed a particularly nasty root that many riders were riding around so we tooled up and headed over to have a look. After setting up warning signs and a temporary diversion, Phil and Bruce set about hacking out the offending roots.

Whilst Ian and I were watching folk ride the stepped corner, we could see why many were failing to make it round – they were coming into it too straight and having to make a sharp turn mid corner. To make things easier, we removed a couple of roots on the edge of the trail and tweaking the entrance. After making our changes, most riders were negotiating the corner more successfully – job well done.

How to ride the stepped corner tip : Enter at walking pace, well over to the left hand side and steer your front wheel around the outside of the corner. Don’t look at your front wheel but where you want it to go further around the corner. Stand up with your weight slightly back and try to remain relaxed. Don’t use your front brake – just a little back brake to control your speed and you’ll be around before you know.

After finishing our tidying, we joined the rest of the team. They had built a retaining wall on the exit of the corner to support the trail and were just finishing reshaped the corner. The entrance had been lowered about 18” after removing the evil roots and intentionally narrowed to slow riders into the corner. If everyone is gently with their rear brake, then with a bit of luck it should hold up until it beds down. If you see riders skidding around corners, have a quiet word in their ear – “Skids are for kids!”

Dale, Dave, Jez and myself finished the day with a quick lap of the Dog (and it was quick – Dale had orders to be home by 4). We’re still trail building every Sunday, either doing maintenance work or adding new stuff to the Monkey …. come and join us for some fun in the sun.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Not Taking It Easy (Trail Building Sunday 9th May 2010)

[Dave] Toady we split into two teams Martin and Andrew went to continue work on the larch bridge. Petra, charlotte, Jessica, Bruce, Jezz, Nigel and I continued working on rocks. The rocks in question are a Black option which used to be a part of the old monkey trail. We started work on this section a couple of weeks ago and we will probably need another couple of weeks as it is quite a big job especially with only four people man handling the rocks.

We continued with our picture less jigsaw to try and get the rocks into the right location to give a nice technical decent and to armour. We appeared to be out of rocks from our local pile so we would have to retrieve some from a pile further up the trail, we managed to move a few to our location and continue with the jigsaw. Thanks for the patients of the riders that stopped while we had to get some rocks over the trail.

The time was getting on our junior trail builders put material between the rocks and brushed the excess off to reveal how the trail feature looked.

With aching backs and a sense of achievement at the amount of work we had done we headed back to the yard for a well earned cup of coffee outside Swinnerton`s cycle centre.


Sunday, 2 May 2010

Taking it easy

After the mad dash to get things finished for the launch, we’re taking things a little easier lately. We’ll be keeping an eye on the state of the trails but now we’ve had a bit of rain they should bed in nicely.

Last Sunday, we headed up to the original Monkey to shift a few more rocks onto the black option. The last but one berm was treated to a good selection of gritstone but more is needed to finish the job properly – watch this space …

Saturday, the trail crew headed back out west to Coed y Brenin for our Bank Holiday outing. A good day was had by all and it culminated in another trip to the chippy in Barmouth. Unfortunately the wet weather put pay to our sand castle competition so we settled down undercover filling our faces – fish, sausage, chips and freshly made donuts!

Sunday saw us splitting into teams – Bruce and Ian went to Upper Cliff, Andrew and Alan went to Lower Cliff, Martin went to look at his larch bridge while Petra, Jessica, Sally, Jezz, Dale and Dave went to carry on working on section 'H' that is due to be opened later in the year. The plan on 'the Cliffs' was to make a few urgent repairs where the trail surface was breaking up.

On section H, started back in October 2009, we were surfacing and sealing the surface with a wacker plate. Extreme Wheel barrowing the surface material into position can be very hard work, if you do see us working please feel free to stop give us a hand. Even 10 minutes will help. The other teams completed the work that they were doing and came to help with the surfacing.

The surface will require a lot more work before it is ready to ride so if you want to help, we meet outside Swinnerton`s Cycles at Birches Valley, 09:30 every Sunday. Come prepared to work outside.

Andrew & Dave