Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Chase Trails Needs You. - Big Build Day Sunday 2nd Jan 2011

What better way to see in the new year and work off all that Christmas Pudding that a day digging some brand new singletrack that will form part of the 'Monkey Trail'. We have given you all a bit of a rest from building to give you time to enjoy riding the new trail but now we need everyones help to improve what we have even more. We'll be starting with a Big Build Day on Sunday 2nd Jan 2011 when we'll be building 'section D', a singletrack climb to replace the fireroad that runs up deercote slade. As always we'll provide the food and tools, all you need to do is turn up at Swinnertons at 10am prepared to work outdoors and have some festive fun...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Appliance of Science (Trailbuilding – Sunday 19th December)

With the thousands of wheels that have rolled through the first section of The Dog, the trail bed has taken a good battering and a number of areas are showing the signs. The FC would also like to reroute the start of this section away from the busy concert site area so last Sunday with this in mind, we wondered through the trees and started to formulate a plan.

Being the first section of our red grade trails, we deliberated over the possibility of making the section into a sort of “skills area” with low level skinnies, rock steps and other features for riders to hone their skills on. Our plans will have to be approved by the FC but we’ve got a few interesting ideas in the pipeline.

The more observant may have noticed the new sign at the start of “The Stegosaurs”. Erecting this was one of those jobs that we’ve had on the cards for some time.

This Sunday we were back in section 2 to do some detailed planning so proper drawings can be produced for the FC. Armed with one of those digital laser distance measuring thingies, Ian practised his surveying skills whilst Jez held a big measuring stick and Bruce scribbled down the numbers. Martin acted as a banksman asking riders to take care as we were working on the trail. He didn’t have many to warn – something to do it the cold snowy conditions I reckon.

Not sure what happen next as I did a runner – a fellow mountain biker’s wedding was on the cards at a posh hotel down near Stratford.

Finally, Chase Trails wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Warning : Trail Trolls at work (Trailbuilding – Sunday 5th December)

With rock hard frozen ground and a good layer of snow, digging this weekend was off. So to keep us amused, we decided that a little trail planning was in order. Our ultimate goal is to remove the fireroad from our trails, only using short portion to link the singletrack together where necessary. To achieve this on the Monkey, the long fire road climb in Deercote Valley will be replaced with singletrack in the trees. Early in the planning of the Monkey Trail (or Phase 2 as it was known then) we’d taped a corridor with the view of it being machine built but unfortunately funds didn’t allow for this happen. Now, our plan is to hand build this section over a number of Big Build Days with the first one early in the New Year …. watch this space for more information as we finalise things.

To get the ball rolling, the trail required taping in more detail and heavier brash shifting so it’s possible to get a feel for the trail. These things always take longer than expected so we only managed to get about two thirds the way along the trail. There are a number of tight twists and turns, up and downs to add to the appeal – certainly better than a long fireroad slog but only time will tell.

More of the same next week to finish the top section and check it flows as we want.


We must be mad! (Trailbuilding – Sunday 28th November)

It was -6 degrees when Dave picked me up at 9:15 on Sunday morning – just a tad chilly!
The plan for today was to finish the snagging work on LSN and the larch bridge sections so we can get them signed off ready for opening.

Whilst the rest of our hardy team made extra wide posts for the grading signage IKEA style, Martin, Phil and I trundled off to the Steg with two loaded wheelbarrows. As the recent wet weather had left a slippery slime on the deck, we were going to sprinkle a sand and grit mix on the rocks and causeway bridge to improve grip. Martin swept the deck clear of snow and I spread the mix whilst Phil did the public relations bit and diverted riders around the bridge – sorry for the inconvenience caused.

We returned just in time to find the guys had finished their handiwork – it was time to weave our way around the Christmas tree shoppers and head out to Rainbow Valley.

While Bruce and Martin planted the new extra wide posts at the start on the black section and just before “Oblivion”, the rest of us headed for the end of LSN. We planted a couple of waymarker posts where LSN and the red trail remerge then worked our way along the trail checking for and removing low branches. Entertainment was provided courtesy of Ian keeping himself warm removing a rather stubborn stump in a fall zone.

After completing the snagging work on LSN to our satisfaction, we forewent an afternoon ride and decided to complete the snagging on the larch bridge section. A couple more waymarkers were erected and fall zones cleared on stumps and brash. With frozen fingers and toes, it was definitely time to call it a day!

As we can’t use road salt on the trails for environmental reasons, watch out for icy patches if you’re out riding in the current wintry conditions.