Trail Talk #4: Digging for Dead Presidents

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Volunteer Crew Leader Mark Aubin puttin the hurt
on some backslope. Photo Bogdan Marian.

Well, with some good digging conditions and the help of volunteers segment 5 is well on its way to completion. The machine construction was completed at the end of last week and the hand finish work is rip-roaring along. On Saturday a group of volunteer crew leaders came out to do some finish work and practice their trail work and leadership skills in preparation for the forthcoming large public volunteer days. The goal for the day was to leave a few finished sections and to complete several trail features. The volunteers sculpted a couple berms, backsloped through some serious terrain, and improved trail drainage. Soil moisture was perfect for compaction so we broke out the hand tampers and vibraplates to pound some of that loose terra firma into some tasty singletrack, built to leave your synapses tingling for years to come.

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Volunteer Crew Leaders Robert and Robert tuning a big
insloped turn. In the foreground Robert is tamping
ontop of a trash bag to prevent the moist dirt from
sticking to his tool while in the background Robert is
adding some more dirt to the exit of the turn after a
volunteer who rode the turn found that it shot you
right into a tree. Suboptimal. Photo Bogdan Marian

On Monday we hosted another volunteer day to recruit those who had the holiday off, and of course in honor of presidents past and present. The late great John F. Kennedy once said “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We all know what he was talking about, grabbing a shovel and building some dope ass trails. Imagine how much rad singletrack we would have if the CIA hadn’t assassinated trail advocate numero uno… On a related note, rumor has it that Honest Abe had a penchant for going buckwild on two wheels. Next time you see a picture of him look real close. Hidden amongst his ample sideburns were some chin straps and a buckle that kept his stovepipe hat planted securely atop his dome piece when he was throwing nasty dumped threes off the capitol steps. Anyways, on monday our crew leaders, some team members and parents from the Santa Cruz Mountain Composite Racing Team, and some other volunteers paid it forward with some more dirt sculpting. They were able to buff out a super natty wall ride, make good progress on a series of rollers, and shape the big turn into the redwood retaining wall that we built last week (see trail talk 3).

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Volunteers sculpting then compacting a nice sweeping left hand berm that will set riders up perfectly for a wallride. Note the trusty steed close at hand for product testing. Photos Bogdan Marian

We are stoked on the progress. We have brought bikes out and are doing ongoing flow checks. Some volunteers tweaked a couple of berms based on their impressions of how the berms rode. One particular berm lacked enough hook at the end and pointed riders right at a tree. To remedy this volunteers added more dirt so that the berm got riders pointed down the trail. This is a critical part of the construction process because while we have a good idea how trail features will work out, we can’t be sure until we put the rubber in the dirt and give ‘er. Product testing reveals that section 5 is going to be a real face melter. I rode it right after we finished the machine construction, before we had compacted the tread or shaped any berms and it was already fun. It is so chock full of swoopy turns, rollers, ups and downs and all arounds that it left me with that warm fuzzy aura that you get when you ride a trail where you don’t have time to think about your line but only to react on instinct. One move puts you right into the next. Trailgasm. And it aint even finished.

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Volunteer Crew Leader Dan King doing what he does, leaving butter smooth tread with his rogue hoe. Photo Bogdan Marian

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