Thursday, 30 August 2012

'Red Monkey' Diversion on Sunday 2nd September

To allow for us to carry out repairs to the rock gardens on the ‘Red Monkey’, we will be imposing a temporary diversion from the red/black trail decision point (near the ‘M3’ information post) out onto the fire road then down to the end of the section.

The diversion will form a permanent waymarked short cut for those that find the rock gardens too technical,

The ‘Black Monkey’ will still be open for business – this will be getting some TLC in the near future.

Please obey all warning signs and any requests from the trail crew for your own safety – we’ll be shifting some sizeable rocks on Sunday.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Where in the world ....

.... are our readers based? Now, as I expected, the vast majority of our readers are in the UK but it's surprising just how far a field the Chase Trails net is cast …. this map shows where in the world our followers are – the darker the green, the more hits.

In tabular form the “scores on the door” are:

Country                                          Page views
United Kingdom                                  976
United States                                       93
Germany                                             32
Russia                                                19
France                                               10
Netherlands                                          8
Japan                                                  7
Canada                                                5
Norway                                                5
Australia                                              3

(these are just for the last 7 days)

A warm welcome to all our readers, no matter where they live.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Monkey Maintenance – Trail building

For a change of scenery, this week we were over on 'The Monkey Trail'. The first jump / roller down into Deercote Valley had a sizeable braking hollow which we planned to fill with rock. Don’t worry, it’s smooth(ish) and totally roll-able – in fact you probably won't even notice the rocks.

As we didn’t want to close the whole section, a temporary diversion was imposed around our work area marked out with signs and barrier tape – it looked like a section of a XC race course. Thanks to all riders for obeying the signage and their comments of appreciation for our efforts.

Dave, Jez, Bruce 2 and Steve – the rock crew, first drove posts into the ground to support a larch plank that formed the anchor for the rocks. Starting at the lower edge, the various sized rocks were shuffled into position and the gaps between them filled with surfacing material. To finish the feature, logs were positioned to funnel riders onto the armoured section. The end results looks pretty smart – judge for yourself.

Meanwhile, Petra and Martin emptied a berm sump pool with the sump pump then helped by Original Bruce, dredged the foul smelling sludge out of the bottom of the sump. I started digging off the back side of the berm ready for the drainage pipe to go in. After laying the drainage pipe, the berm was rebuilt and wackered smooth. As we couldn’t leave it to settle, it may need a little TLC in a few weeks time after the passage of several hundred tyres have bedded in the surface.

Whilst in the area, we also dredged out another sump and cut a drainage channel thus preventing another berm from flooding come winter.

There are a few more berms to sort out on this descent but that’s for another day … it was gone 3pm by the time we got back to base.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

"Crumbly Corner" is no more – Trail building

As a one off "out of hours" build session, Dave and I planned to repair the left hand corner on Tackeroo that has started to break up. When the trail was resurfaced, this corner would have benefited from crib walling to support the outside edge – hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Armed with a selection of tools and several larch logs, we pinned the logs in place and back filled with new material. Rather than keeping the corner totally flat, we’ve kicked it up a little with a small berm …. a berm-ette if you like.

Thanks to Adam and Cabbage who helped carry the logs and drive the posts in. Thanks also to Pete, Ellie and friends for stopping mid ride to help barrow and lay the new material and clearing the undergrowth to improve the sight line.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Temporary Closure of Tackeroo – Thursday evening 23rd August

Just to give everyone the heads up, we’ll be doing some emergency repair work to the damaged left hand corner on Tackeroo this coming Thursday late afternoon / evening.
It’s the one that’s broken away not long after the rock garden ramp. We’ll be adding larch logs along the outside edge to support the trail which has broken away then repair the surface.

Please follow the diversion – from Hugh's Bridge along the fire road. It’s only for a few hours while the trail is quieter.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Time for some maintenance – Trail building

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be concentrating on general maintenance of the trails – both ‘Follow the Dog’ and ‘The Monkey Trail’. This Sunday saw the team make a start on filling the worst of the holes in the first section of the Dog. Rather than diverting riders around the whole section, we deployed our warning signs and asked riders to take care as they passed the works.

The new material seems to be packing down well under rider’s tyres including the new berm-ette on one corner added to steer riders in the right direction. We've got grander plans for this section but those will have to wait for the mo.  


Sunday, 12 August 2012

"Option B" - Trail building

After the fun and games of last weekend’s ‘Sleepless in the Saddle’, normality returned to the trail crew …. well, as normal as we get. So, this Sunday we aimed to open the new bypass around the Dog’s most technical feature - 'Werewolf Drop'. For those that had watched the Olympic mountain biking, the easier option around a techy feature is called an “Option B” rather than a “chicken run”.

Before opening our option B, we had to move a rather large pile of rocks from the fall zone of the bridge. Bob, the Forestry’s digger driver, had dropped a job lot of rocks for us to use to add some teeth to the Werewolf …. more on that in later posts. Whilst Dave and Jez busted a gut shifting the rocks, Petra tidied the edges of the trail and brashed any possible short cuts. Martin and myself joined the existing trail to the new section with a log step and fixed signage to the waymarker posts.

We’re hoping that the new route will reduce the queues at the top of the drop with less confident riders taking the bypass.

Elsewhere in the forest, Bruce and Steve erected a few larch log fences to deter riders from shortcutting the corners at the bottom of Lower Cliff. Please keep to the trail – short cuts damages the edges and drags mud onto the trail surface.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

'The Link' Upgrades

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, we’ve been otherwise engaged riding at Sleepless and away on a busman’s holiday in South Wales – riding at Brechfa and Afan. Whilst we’ve been enjoying ourselves, the Forestry guys have been busy tidying the end of ‘The Link’ which drops you down to the level crossing ready to take on ‘The Monkey’.

The original surfacing had sunk which always resulted in a lake at the end of the section after wet weather. Bob the JCB driver dug a sizeable drainage channel and raised the level of the trail with new material.

The guys then built a fence and installed “V” posts to stop motor crossers tearing our trail to shreds – we don’t have too many problems with them on the Chase unlike some of the Welsh trail centres.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Monkey Diversion lifted

The diversion from "Five Ways" around the felling work has now been lifted so there are no longer any diversions on our trails. The Forestry contractors did take a lot longer than expected owing to technical problems with their machinery.

We’ve repaired the damage to the start of the ‘Larch Bridge’ section and replaced an uprooted waymarker post.

Take care on the fire road descent – it’s a little loose in places and also in the turning circle at the bottom as there is still a log pile near the trail. Give the forestry vehicles a wide berth when they are loading these onto the timber wagons.