After getting rather soggy feet, there was an indication that maybe a little excess mud and water was present on section 8A (from the top of the fire road climb, through the old growth). What better day to pick for trail maintenance than a rainy one? Well at least you can work out where the puddles are, but the shock was where the trail was. Sounds obvious, but no, you've actually been riding largely off the left side of the trail for at least 18 months. This was not immediately apparent until I set about a spot of one man maintenance.
The puddle points were cleared by pulling the accumulated ledge of mud and pine needles from of the down-slope side of the trail. On the first bend in from the start, that edge of mud was about 13cm high! The side of the trail has been cleared off for a metre out from the down-slope trail edge to give plenty of space for the water run-off to soak away.
It seemed strange that there was trail material under a 50mm layer of mud and grass to the right side of the trail. This ran to about 30cm out from the edge of the riding line. The clearing continued, as did the revealing of more trail material. It soon became apparent that the riding line had migrated left by 30 to 45cm. The right side of the trail had slowly disappeared with time, and become buried - in 18 months! Even more surprisingly, this shift in riding line was to the left of the trail for the whole of this section (300 metres or so), not just a few bits - most curious.
However, the actual trail was in good shape, but the other 50% of the riding line will certainly need surfacing at some stage. The suspicion is that this section may have been too cambered (contractor built) and too narrow, and riders may have ended up riding to one side of the trail surface. This got slowly worse with time, hence why all the mud and pot holes have come about.
A wet cold day, but a good five hour session, and no shortage of happy riders working off the Christmas food. No offers of help mind you! The riding line has been moved back over to where it should be, and the muddy pot holes covered with logs. Your feet should now remain drier down this section, as long as you stay on the actual trail !!
Don't forget the BIG BUILD DAY on 8th January!!!