Ride & Maintain – Part One

05/21/2017

It was blue skies, green forest and a fresh spring breeze for HAFTA’s first “Ride and Maintain” event this past Saturday the 20th of May.

Our plan was to ride a circuitous loop through the dry sections of trail inside the Agreement Forest. Each rider would bring along a small pruning tool in their pack and at some point we’d stop to trim back some of the ever advancing vegetation that (without our insistence) would easily swallow the trails. Riders brought hand pruners, tiny hatchets and folding saws. These tools are great for the majority of problems one encounters, but as soon as we left the parking lot we realised the previous week’s intense band of thunderstorms had left us some larger surprises!

Trimmed off the sharp branches and gave ‘er – our chainsaw guy will be back for it.

Without the availability of larger tools we limbed this downed tree to make it as safe as possible and headed onward.

As it was only the organizers who showed up, we decided to turn this ride into more of a maintenance event than a ride. Myself, Barry and Rob headed south on Stunt trail to verify trail conditions in the areas worst hit by floods. Trails this direction had been underwater for a few weeks previous and were just beginning to dry before the “rainpocalyse”. We were curious what had happened since that rainstorm as at that time  B.C. Rocks had an impromptu river running through it.

We arrived at the spot on B.C. Rocks where the impromptu river had been flowing and the river was gone – In fact the soil was dry! There was even some new life growing. In general the Stunt Trail and B.C. Rocks were in great shape, but conditions took a turn for the worse on HammerHead trail. Here is what they looked like on April 7th:

This photo was just snow melt and a few weeks afterwards we had the massive rain event. When we arrived at the bottom of HammerHead we were greeted with a mess. Many riders had been using it despite our efforts to communicate with them about the potential for damage. The result of their eager use is that the trail is much wider and rutted now. Things did not get better as we headed down The Southern Edge with many rollers having ruts 4″ deep in their valleys and the rest of the trail tread chewed up and widened by people riding it while it was saturated and likely underwater. It will take a while for people to smooth this trail out if doesn’t turn into a series of permanent puddles/mud pits due to excavation of material.

We found even more trees down on The Southern Edge.

We continued south down to Rottweiler trail and then looped north as we wanted to check out the Flow Trail which had also been underwater during the rainpocalyse. Unfortunately the issues created by certain riders on HammerHead were also present here.

Please “Ride Dirt not Mud” or we end up with trails that look horrible, are consistently muddy and suffer from prolonged ponding.

We popped out at the top of Flow Trail and made our way to Christmas Trail. Christmas trail is one of the very last sections of trail to dry out in the spring. We erected signs to let people know to just avoid it as the trail is currently a disaster.

After erecting the new signs we travelled north up Boundary A to ride the Gnome rock. We checked out the puddle on the very northern tip of Boundary A.

It’s really a pond

 

The “puddle” has since dried up, but we spent several minutes removing branches people tossed into the puddle during its intermediary drying stage. There is actually a small section of armouring here on the left side (This view) that can be ridden on when the puddle is there. However when the puddle is muddy you can’t see the rocks that would stop you from sinking. I guess we’ll have to fix this and make it more prominent at a later date!

We travelled back to Boundary B to ride the armouring we  created during our spring trail day. It rides pretty darn well and the best part is no more mud! Stay tuned for our next ” Ride and Maintain” event. We’re currently sorting out ride leaders, but we’ll have one in June (Likely not the 4th, but we’ll see).

 

UPDATE: Our chainsaw guy has fixed the downed tree on Boundary A.

Another small request is please do not park like the drivers did on the far right, it obstructs people who are in the actual spots and if an ambulance need to squeeze in and through the emergency access gate it could be a problem – Ambulances are pretty wide and there is free parking at the Mohawk Raceway across the road.

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