No guessing what is going on around here. Having tied myself to Logan Community Trail Care Alliance, every Saturday morning is dedicated to getting up at 5am, loading the trailer, packing the BBQ supplies and trying to be at the meeting point by 6am. Isn't it funny how the people that live closest to the meeting point are always the last there!
The day dawned absolutely clear and sunny for the first time in weeks. Luckily it was still cool as well.
The council was unable to drop the rock and gravel at the trail head like last week. No, we would have to push those massive rocks about 100 metres(yards) across wet, soft grass before we even got to the trail head. Tough prospect there.
A great opportunity for an upper body workout and to raise a sweat though.
The final berm on the top section as well as the two log rollovers were finished this morning. The first gully crossing has been completed with a large gum(eucalypt) tree's roots being rock armoured to protect the old fellow from any MTB induced harm.
Those rocks ARE really that big! At least 60kg(120lbs) each....all moved by hand....
The BBQ and cold drinks went down a treat today after all that hard work.
This is what it looks like creating just one feature along 20 metres(yards) of trail. Only about 300m(yards) to go......
While I am in the video editing mood, here is a snippet from my ride on monday. Stupid fun!
We are due to get another 300mm(12 inches) of rain this week, starting from tonight so the chances of riding either mountain bike, road bike or R1 are very slim this week. Especially coupled with the fact that I am on call with work and WILL get called to fix any glitch in the system during the week. Bugger...
Time to read lots of others blog posts I guess.....
My newfound enthusiasm for getting on my mountain bike has transcended the crappy weather we have had for the last few weeks here in Brisbane.
On Sunday I got out for a soggy road ride around the Redlands area, kicking a few steep hill demons in the process. Yesterday I jumped on the mountain bike for a wet fire road ride. The Bayview MTBing area is a very weather proof set of trails, being quite rocky for the most part, so quite immune to rainy weather.
Heading out into steady rain isn't something I have done in quite a while. It can be unpleasant if cold and is quite hard on the equipment when mixed with mud. But, to hell with it. I need to get some miles in my legs and it would be interesting to see how the Bayview trails handled the moderate rainfall we have been getting.
The way down was a bitumen road run, sticking to the quiet roads to avoid idiots in cars. It can be very challenging for them to actually drive while you are texting and those pesky cyclists just jump out at you! Still, I was warm and having fun and they didn't get me.
Hitting the dirt it was easy going despite the rain as the fire roads down here are quite well formed with a recent re sheet with crushed rock. This makes for zero mud off road riding. Good for both the drive train and the conscience. It also makes for some bloody good fun flying down hills and tearing through huge puddles like an eight year old.
The area is so green with all of the rain at the moment. You might think I have pumped up the saturation in some of these Go Pro pics, but they are straight off the camera. The Go Pro isn't really known for it's colour or low light qualities but it is the only waterproof camera I have.
Moving up and over the hill into a bit of single track the heavens opened and the rain really pelted down. I was amazed at the water running along the trail. There was absolutely no drainage with sections 60-70-80 metres long funnelling the water along the trail until it finally found a low point to exit. If it wasn't for the rocky terrain these trails would have been erosion nightmares years ago.
As it is, some simple drainage would help futureproof the trail for years to come. I had planned on wearing my new shoes but as it turned out I was glad I didn't. Using my heel I dug several drainage points on some of the worst sections of the "Vegemite" and "Chicken Run" trails.
It is very simply done and the trail will benefit from it massively. I am not trying to be some type of "trail care hero" but I find it hard to ride a trail these days without a critical eye on it's condition. Some of the fixes required are so easy and take no time at all. If only more people would just have a go. These are "our" trails, despite what the powers that be would have us think. Government is there to serve the people, not the other way around after all...........end rant.
Heading out onto the road again it was a quick pedal to the Mount Cotton shops where a meat pie had my name on it.
Burning my lip on the filling I contemplated my next move. My plan was to chug up over the Eastern Escarpment then on toward home. The access to the EE was in doubt as the Rainforest Gardens was for sale last time I rode through. I wasn't sure if the way would be open (I sound like a Hobbit there...) and it is a large back track if it was closed.
So, the easy way home it would be. At least I managed another 30km and reminded myself of some of the good AND bad things about riding in the rain. All good training for a potential ride in changeable Victoria.
The growing popularity of bikepacking races like the Tour Divide, Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail Race are spurring local riders to peruse maps, scheme, then trail blaze some routes here in Oz. After all, we certainly have the land area for it, if not quite the 14 000ft mountains. No problem though, as the organisers just run you up and down the hills a number of times!
Photo courtesy of CTR site.
Seriously though, planning and mapping these routes really is a labour of love. Ex Brisbane-ite and seriously talented MTBer, Ryan Hawson is the organiser of a race/ride along the Great Dividing Trail in Victoria's goldfields area.
Photo courtesy of Tour Divide site
These "races" are just a line on a map. Apart from turning up at a designated start point at a designated time, you do everything else on your own. There is no outside support. From an organiser's point of view this keeps the logistics and hopefully, liabilitiy to an absolute minimum and from a racers point of view it means no entry fee(or prizes), just the satisfaction of covering the nominated distance in the best time that you can, while sourcing all of your needs from the countryside and communities that you pass through.
Here is the route as hosted on the track leaders website.
It is about 384km (240mi) with 9000m (29 500ft) of climbing. Not bad for a flat country! From 7am Eastern Daylight Savings Time on the 9th of March, you will be able to watch the progress of racers/riders on this map thanks to the Spot trackers they will be carrying.
I am hoping to be one of those dots crawling across your screen but clearly I need to get out there and do some riding! Realistically there isn't much I can do to improve my fitness in the next 18 days, so some long slow rides to get the backside used to the saddle is probably the best preparation I can do at this late stage.
Oh, and pray for a roster that gives me the time off to have a go!
Well, Saturday morning dawned cool, with blue skies over Cornubia. Perrrfect conditions for trail building.
The council had come to the party during the week with about 3 cubic metres of clay laced blue metal and the same of rock, so it was to be a morning of fitting berms to the already constructed benching.
The guys jumped straight into it and we managed to move most of the material by about 8:30am! Mountain bikers are fit buggers and make short work of this type of job. I think we would give paid labourers a run for their money! Enthusiasm sure makes a difference.
I had set the Go Pro up on a tree with the Gorilla Pod and took about half a bajillion photos of the guys building the first berm. While trying to stitch these together into a stop motion video my computer somehow managed to dump most of the shots so that all I was left with was 40 or so photos of Tom putting the finishing touch on the berm. It was a shame because I had the guys from the first rock until it was absolutely complete, all in focus, clear and at a cool angle. Bugger!
We managed to beat the rain with showers beginning to pass over during the last twenty minutes. With no new benching to erode, the rain would simply pack down the new berms. The "flow" of this trail build is making it an absolute pleasure to turn up at 6am each Saturday. I think the others are feeling it as well because there is an under-current of quiet excitement about where this trail is going, both physically and metaphorically.
We retreated to the shelter, downed a few sausage sandwiches and admired with quiet satisfaction the bare spot where a few hours previously 4 tonne of rock had sat.
We are trying to come up with a new name for this section of the trail. As such, we are open to suggestions. Keep in mind that the trail it links onto is called "Resurrection". Some of the other names here are "Stupidly Happy", "Wallum Froglet" and "Jigsaw". Feel free to offer any thoughts as they will all go into a vote as we near completion, with the most popular name being assigned after approval by "the powers that be".
The trail already feels at one with it's environment.....
Despite the early showers around 6am it was another great turn out this morning by southside mountain bikers. Remember, just because it is raining where you are, it doesn't mean it is raining at trail care.Unless of course you ARE at trail care! Just remember, we will post up if the build day is cancelled by 5:30am on that Saturday.
Well, the rain only lasted long enough for eveyone to sign the register while we waited under our rad SRAM shelter.
Did I mention that we had a good turn out? Well, it was almost too good a turn out, as it turns out!
Due to the ongoing flood cleanup the council were unable to deliver the rock and gravel needed for this weeks build. This meant that the planned berms and tech features would have to wait until next weekend and some free trucks.
So we got on with some serious benching instead.
I appologise if anyone felt a bit underutilised on the day but I am looking at it as a positive in that a small group of us didn't have to smash ourselves as often happens and that we built some really solid, low maintenance bench.
Thanks go to Andrew for overseeing the effort here.....(above)
We grow our worms big here in Cornubia! Maybe we should have been fishing instead?
The rock and gravel are being delivered as I type, so hopefully we will have plenty of eager volunteers to wheel these materials down the hill, into position. You will then witness the trail coming together as we put the finishing touch on the previously benched sections.
Well yes, it is that time of the year again. Time to begin another marathon trail building effort.
Last year we completed the Wallum Froglet trail after much sweating and straining and carting of about 6 tonnes of rock half a kilometre uphill. Suffice to say it was a massive undertaking and a steep learning curve in trail building, planning and management.
This time around we have very similar terrain that is steep and challenging. The difference is that we are starting from the top of the hill and working our way down the slope toward an existing trail. This will make for much less physical effort required from us volunteers and actually does beg the question "why didn't we work downhill last year?"........
Saturday morning dawned cool and calm after thunderstorms on Friday night. Perfect trail building conditions with the hilltop shrouded in cloud.
The massive amount of rain we had last weekend, topped off by the rain Friday night kept the soil soft and easy to dig. This made progress relatively quick for the morning.
While we had plenty of experienced regulars we also had a good number of first time trail builders. Well, first time to our trail building, as they seemed to have a pretty good idea of what to do. This assisted with the rapid progress we made for the morning.
One major positive this year is that things feel more organised. They may not actually be, but it feels as if they are. This may be purely down to our increasing experience or the attendees increasing experience or just how smoothly Day 1 went.
Or it may be because we had steak AND salad, as well as the usual sausage sizzle after we had finished digging for the day. Totally upmarket!
The small amount of trail is open for riders to visit and experience. Hopefully this will entice others to come along and help out with the build in the coming weeks.
Floody took an awesome panorama photo with his magical iPhone and it gives a great feel for what our little piece of bush looks like.
I am looking forward to next weeks progress as we will be getting closer to the really interesting terrain. Bring it on!
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