After many, many months being closed for repair and upgrading it was with great pleasure that the Trail Crew set off with a trailer of tools and a song in their heart to open Section 11. The cheerfulness was reinforced by Abby arriving with another birthday cake for Charlotte! Lovely. Even the apparently simple task of opening a section takes a couple of hours. The brash has to be removed and the various shortcut opportunities eliminated. A final safety check of the various boardwalks, and any hanging branches overhead that may fall on the unwary. James and Matt grafted away sweeping the trail surface clear of pine needles and stuff to ensure a grippy start to the day. (Those Chase Trails people are really house-proud!)
Eventually about noon, the start was cleared, the diversion sign removed and the trail inaugurated by Phil & Tom, and Petra, Charlotte & Jess, plus a posse of riders who were either lurking waiting for it to open or just struck lucky. Having watched several dozen ride through and all survive unscathed and happy, we noted where any finessing might be needed, and moved on.
Just as we were in sight of having all sections open, it became apparent that the final length of the Tackeroo descent, the hairpins and berms at the end, are breaking away at the edge with a risk of high riding bikers encountering the scenery at an unexpected angle and unwished velocity. Attempts early in the week at running repairs were scuppered by bikers who rode dangerously in the vicinity of trail crew so the only option has been to close the section from Hugh's Bridge and divert riders down the bridleway back to the Forest Centre. Many people are riding this dangerously fast and with no regard for the interests of other users on foot or horse, or even pedalling uphill. Take it easy folks and think of others!
Right, to give you guys (and dolls) a bit more of a heads-up on what's going on with Tackeroo, here's an update from today's inspection and the commencement of works. The first feature after Hugh's Bridge is the pair of log steps/drops. These are digging out on the down slope and require repair and/or modification (and possibly rocks). Between there and The Rollers there are a few corners that urgently need rebuilding/changing and maybe a new berm.
The Rollers - We've started digging the bottoms of the rollers out in preparation to fill them with rock slabs. A couple of them have had a couple of feet dug out. The idea being that we will be able to use the rock to channel the water away without it pooling and turning the valleys into bogs like last winter. This should also mean we won't get frozen mud ruts again when it freezes. The height of the rollers won't change and neither should the inclines, they just won't wear away and turn to mush in winter.
The Berms - These have collapsed in places so we've also started digging out the backs of the berms at the bottom in preparation for crib walling and rebuilding with better material. Big thanks to Matt (no 2) who rode in and dug like a good 'un. It was especially good of him because he'd arrived just too late to help on Section 11, so made the effort to ride over and join in on Tackeroo. Outstanding!
This will not be a quick fix so please be patient with us. Please don't try and work round the tape and brashing. It just means we have to waste time putting it back and delays progress. Even though there's a fair bit of work going on in the final length, it's still intended to press ahead with the Werewolf Drops remodelling if enough people turn up on Sundays (10a.m. at Swinnos, Free Car Parking), so come along and help us help you!
...and cakeaholics will be glad to know that Abby's cake for Charlotte was delicious.