Friday, 26 March 2010

Well as the thaw continues another good week of work at Laggan Wolftrax. After a busy weekend of riders and lots of rain I was keen to quickly re-assess the trails as the previous week had been so dry and quiet, all generally ok, with the worst of the puddling and mud being on the climb to the black and the black itself. In fact the poor old black needed quite a bit of spade work to clear some v deep puddles and nasty muddy patches. No worries with this level of erosion, it's just added character! What I was worried about was how much "short-cutting" there was around the demanding rock problems - I mean, come on folks - ride it or walk, going around only drags more mud onto the proper trail and causes more erosion. After much rolling of rocks, dragging of trees and raking over rut lines, order was restored - bring on Easter..... it may well be that the FC eventually decide to "formalise" these "cheat" lines. Discuss! Back on the new green climb all goes well, well apart from the amount of trees I had to fell on my own - ouch! Generally I don't like to fell too many trees when building trails, but in this case they had never been thinned and there was no option but to fell a machine wide corridor, anyway it'll allow more native species to regenerate. (tree hugger bit over!) Off for Easter now, might even ride my bike!

Friday, 19 March 2010

The thaw continues. At last the snow has gone from our local trails and I've been able to assess how our local trail centre - Laggan has fared. So the van was emptied of all the winter kit and loaded with chainsaws, handtools, bike, lots of warm kit, trainers (sometimes I run the trails!), various bike shoes, big work boots and loads of green flags for a new trail.
The bike came out first and it was great to blast round the deserted trails, they're riding really well, I suppose a 2 foot snow blanket over the last 3 months has kept them cosy and unused.
Then a slower more critical walk round with the tools, just checking on the drainage and dealing with any downed branches. The black needed some TLC, so two good hard days digging and moving rocks took care of that for the moment, but I'll need to head higher up next week to sort out some drainage issues near the top.
The new green climbing link has started, don't go getting all excited at that, it's only a link from the big motorway by the road to the wee wiggly green run home trail. But it's good to stick some flags in and work again with Duncan - the local (and one of the best) digger drivers.
Oh and there is the small matter of having to fell the trees for him, which after a winter of being a skibum is a rude wake up shock to my soft body! So a busy 5 days, much aching and blistering, bring on the weekend.....

Monday, 15 March 2010

Ok then that's me back on line: the snow has started melting at most levels all over Scotland and much as I have "fully" enjoyed my skiing winter it's good to smell the earth and get back to digging.
Whilst we're a few weeks away from anything happening in my neck of the woods - Northern Scotland, Fife is well clear of the freeze and it was a pleasure to get down the A9 and catch up with the Lochore Meadows gang and boy they've been busy. Not only have they installed some very smart and professional looking signs, but the volunteer group have been tidying and sorting out access routes / hanging out areas.
The user group they've got running is keen and well supported, both by the cyclists, but also by the local community.
This is great to see and a surefire way of guaranteeing a trails success. As a trail designer this level of community support at an urban based, easily accessible facility is I think the way forward and great for the future of our sport.