Thursday, 24 January 2013
Building trail in the frozen North
Ah yes, snow, we love it, pretty to look at, lovely to play in with the kids, great to ski on and very photogenic.
Try building trail in it, 'mare.
Funnily enough, the actual building of good old 'full bench cut' trail isn't too bad: all the topsoil has to be stripped back anyway, so the snow goes with it, leaving a clear and clean bit of sideslope to work on. The problems arise in other areas, like getting to the site - which means negotiating the infamous Bridge of Brown (often snow effected) then progressively less cleared back roads then tracks.
Machines freeze to the ground, or simply won't start, getting fuel and supplies around can only be done with our 4x4 winter tyre shod vans (dumpers with metal tracks tend to just sliiiiide - oops) soil freezes overnight so must be raked into shape straight away and then protected with rolls of material, tools break, trees freeze snap and fall over, and obviously it gets dark really early.
However, we are getting trail down, and the hand squad never grumble, never give in, never drop their standards with a 'oh that'll just have to do attitude', and when all else fails, they walk in, carrying fuel, pipes, spares and whatever is needed to keep the job going - hard as nails. Chapeau - as we cyclists say.