Become a Chase Trails Member!

Slip Slidin on AoT – Trail Building 1st November 2009

2 November, 2009 at 08:57

Wet… Thats how the day started for me. I got up early to get a ride in before trailbuilding but the journey to Birches Valley suggested that it was going to be a very wet ride! After negotiating with minor flood on the A449, i wondered how much of the Chase would be under water – the answer was most of it! From the start of section 2, to the last blat on 17 to the causeway there was water and grit and mud everywhere – but it was brilliant!

I pulled up in the yard with grit grinding in the disc rotors to find most people had arrived and started loading up. By now it had stopped raining which is great news! After a quick chat i got changed out of my soaking clothes, then we all headed up to Five Ways to do some more on the trail from the last Big Build Day.

Now, this section hasn’t been named yet, but the conditions on it in places are treacherous when its wet. We’re going to need lots of surface materil here – LOTS! This slippery beast has lead to it’s second name so far – AoT (I won’t expand the reasoning on this name) – the first was just daft. Others were mentioned, like ‘Face Brake’, but AoT is the best so far.

Today was about progressing the trail further down the hill and making some tweaks and adjustments. Dave and Jez found a couple of stumps that needed removing and while ‘trimming’ the roots of one tree at the edge of the trail ‘it fell over’ …

Fortunately for us, Silver Birch are classed as a weed by the Forestry Commission, so this wasn’t much of an issue. It also means the long corner works so much better.

Further up the trail, Bruce, Sally & Phil were hard working some sculptural magic on two left hand berms … Photos don’t give the size, shape and depth of Berms … thats when i had an idea. I had seen some photos that create 3D images … so i thought i’d have a go …

The trick is to go a bit cross eyed, so that the two images merge into 1. Then you need to focus on the middle image, and suddenly it all fits! I need to work on it to make them better, but it gives you an idea…

While we were digging, the weather was good to us. Apart from the odd nock on a tree which releases a mini shower, it remained dry. But as we were loading up the tools, the rain started to fall again – timed it just right!

E:)

Halloween Challenge (Evans Cycles Ride It, Cannock Chase – 31st October 2009)

31 October, 2009 at 22:00

Although not on official Chase Trials business Dave, Petra, Jessica, Charlotte, Jez, Andrew, Jay and me took part in the Evans Cycles Ride It yesterday and wanted to share our escapade with you all.

The day started off with thick dark sky lashing down copious amounts of rain. At 6am most of us were up and getting our gear together for the day our love of mountain biking meant we somehow overlooked the inclement conditions outside, besides as Jez said “just means more mud!”

We arrived at the Tackeroo campsite at about 8.30am to improved weather conditions meaning it was now just a little damp under foot. We headed over to registration and paid our fee to receive a map and gel bar in return. Charlotte and Jessica located us although they were not looking too well, we could see Charlotte’s bones and Jessica’s heart. It was marginally concerning to see that Jessica’s heart was not beating but she seemed chatty as normal so it didn’t seem to be bothering her. Dave, Petra, Andrew and Jay soon appeared and we all headed down to the start.

There were three different ride options for the day Short = 14 miles, Medium = 24 miles and Long = 28 miles. Dave, Andrew and Jay were feeling particularly energetic and had signed up for the long route, Jez more sensibly had signed up for the medium route whilst Petra, Jessica, Charlotte and I had opted for the short route.

At approximately 9.20am we were off, the route we had been told would stay within the confines of the Chase keeping to numerous bridleways that criss-cross the area taking in the beautiful forest scenery. The website promised it would be a great day out in the saddle. Jay, Andrew and myself had not been out riding for a while so were looking forward to getting on our bikes while Jez and Jessica were looking forward to searching for mud and puddles.


The route started reasonably sedately as we picked our way through the forest crossed over roads before heading back to the forest. The boys had decided to ride with us girls on the short route before heading off to their medium/long ride afterwards. With varying fitness and technical levels they were able to hone their bike control skills by riding at a more sedate pace than they may usually do. The route presented us with various surfaces to ride on from mud, leaves, tarmac, sand and pebbles which made for an interesting ride however, feeling this was not enough of a challenge the organisers had supplied up with climbs. At one stage Charlotte and Jessica’s enthusiaum was waning exclaiming “I thought it would be more down!” before assuming a strong pout. We were rewarded with some long and flowing descents but unfortunately they tended to follow some rather tough lung bursting climbs.


Still the day was not without its entertainment, at the half way point Andrew demonstrated a particularly flamboyant way to dismount a bike. Jay and I both experienced one of those ‘way hey’ moments when on a particularly rocky decent not far from The Ford, whilst Jessica chose to ride through a rather large muddy puddle before exclaiming “I’m soaked!”

At the drinks station where the routes split Petra, Charlotte, Jessica and I headed back to Tackeroo wondering why it was we had paid for the privilege of such a tough ride whilst debating that the published mileage must be wrong as we were sure our 14 miles felt more like 41! The boys headed off for more torture knowing they were set to climb up Abrahams Way, come down and then climb back up the fire road next to it before descending once more. After what felt like a short time later they too arrived back at Tackeroo.

Results for the day are to be published on the Evans website and although no certificates or medals were given I would like to express thanks on behalf of Petra and myself to the boys for riding with us and supporting us. Charlotte and Jessica would like to say a BIG thank you to Jez, Jay and Dave for taking pity on them and pushing their bikes up the numerous hills. Personally I would like to thank Andrew for the riding tips and to everyone for making what was a challenging day enjoyable and for reminding me why I like coming out riding at Cannock.

Lei xx

Skulduggery on ‘Deerskull’ (Trail Building Sunday 25th October)

25 October, 2009 at 23:00

Whilst the others were building sand castles, Ian and myself headed off to fettle ‘Deerskull’. For those that can remember the lovely warm Spring, it was the trail we built on the Big Build Day back in April (you can read about on Missus Toast’s blog). Test riding the trail had shown a number of problems. The main one was the first corner into the dense trees did not work – the two trees on the inside of the bend were throwing riders out wide and heading straight towards another tree. Being well prepared, we only had one short folding saw between us – while I hacked at the trunks, Ian lent against them so with our combined efforts the two trees didn’t stand a chance. Now the corner looks like it will flow smoothly into the rest of the trail.

Next we tweaked the short climb after an evil root – being a red grade trail, it seems a shame to remove the root so for the moment it stays. A rotten root was removed and the slope of the climb reduced.


Another problem was a step part way down the compression with its landing at the bottom of the slope – not ideal. As the entrance to the compression was on a slight climb, we decided to lose the step totally – don’t worry there’s a tricky diagonal one further down the trail to maintain a technical element.


Recent rain had hi-lighted the areas of trail where water was collecting thus requiring improved drainage, so to finish our morning’s work we tidied up some sections of the trail out slope. For the technically minded, have a look at Ian’s Trail Tech guide to bench cutting.

To allow these reworked sections time to settle, we wrapped up by rebrashing the whole trail – so please steer clear and leave it to slumber in peace.

Andrew

Absinthe Is The Root Of All Evil (Trail Building Sunday 25th October)

25 October, 2009 at 22:00

This morning started very early for Charlotte, Jessica, David and myself. The girls and I were booked to go on a rutting walk to see the fallow deer and had to meet at Birches Valley at 6.00 a.m. David, unfortunately, had drawn the short straw and was ‘on call’ so he had the tedious task of waiting at the car for us. As it started to get light we were walking into the woods and saw lots of fallow deer, they were making very loud grunting noises and we did see two deer fighting with their antlers. The girls found this walk fascinating.

We arrived back at Birches Valley around 8.00 a.m. and found Jez all kitted up for a ride before trail building. As we ate our toast and had a drink Ian also turned up ready for a quick blast on his bike before building.

Later Martin arrived in his Landrover closely followed by Andrew, Bruce, Frank, Steph, Alan, Sally and Lei, tools were loaded and a discussion took place as to where we were going to work.

Andrew and Ian went to do some work on ‘Deerskull’ and the rest of us went back to work on the sandy trail that precedes the ‘Absinthe trail’ which we had started last week. As we were digging the trail we unearthed quite a few evil routes so the ‘muscle’ Bruce, Jez and Lei (in training) used mattocks to remove some of the roots.


Frank and Steph dug holes for posts to be used for holding the trail surface on entry to the bridge. After this Jez was made to ‘walk the plank’ across the bridge with the wheel barrow full of tools and then everyone else had to follow.


We went to the end of the ‘Absinthe trail’ to put in a log step for the exit out onto the fire road.


This done everyone packed away and headed for Birches Valley except for Jez, Lei and Sally who had headed up the next part of the trail to take a look.

Petra

Loki the Labradoodle (Trail Building Sunday 18th October)

18 October, 2009 at 21:00

The day started earlier than usual this week. For some bizarre and masochistic reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a ride round before building. For me, this meant a 6am alarm call – it’s a 115 mile round trip – to load up the car with bike and gear and head on up to Cannock. So, at 8.09am I was off for my ride. 15 or so miles later and it was time for large amounts of caffeine and chocolate from Swinno’s and to meet the rest of the gang to find out where we were working.

There was a choice today to split into two groups to get as much as possible done with precious volunteer time – rocks or digging, both on the Monkey. Transport was assigned and our motley convoy set off. And promptly got stuck unable to get through the barrier off the main road as the FC have put a new padlock on it and not given a copy of the new key to anyone. Much arm waving and head scratching ensued and eventually the decision was made to go to the next barrier along and drive round to get to our destination.


There was plenty of testosterone flowing for the rock moving, so Dave, Petra, Charlotte, Jessica, Josh, New Andy, Jay, Alex and his dog, Loki, set off down the hill to smite the earth with tools. It would appear that silly people who don’t understand what no entry signs mean or pay attention to trail closure signs had in fact been riding the section after where we were working backwards (down, instead of up – not some kind of stunt riding). So, once we’d finished building the amendment to the trail, we returned the old exit of the trail back to Mother Nature’s sweet embrace, with a large amount of earth and several tons of fallen trees. Greets to the 2 riders who showed up to say Hi. Next time we’ll make sure we stop off at Swinno’s again just before we go to see if there are any stragglers who want to help us out.

There was still a large amount of muscle flexing going on at rock central [Frank mainly – the rest of us struggle in that area – Ed] so we decided to head back to the log bridge we’d built last week and make a start on bench cutting the trail to the bridge – also known as ‘Absinthe’. Bad news is that the entire hill on the other side of the bridge appears to be made of sand. This means that we’ll have to bench cut the whole section, which is about 300 yards, and then barrow some imported decent surface in to stop the trail disappearing into a scene from Lawrence of Arabia.

In other news, the young’uns were using the log bridge for some kind of gladiatorial combat, presumably over rights to who got to hold Loki’s lead. In the carnage, Josh tried to stop a wheel barrow with his jaw and managed to cut his lip. This was duly administered to from a handy first aid kit. Luckily, the wheel barrow sustained no damage. Late in the afternoon, Martin turned up and walked around with a shovel for a while. He alleged that he’d spent a good part of the day finishing off the construction of the log bridge although we were fairly sure the extra supports and the bolts that had been fitted were just coincidence and could have been put there by anyone.

Jez.

Days Like Diamonds

13 October, 2009 at 19:00

I know this may sound like a badly written Singletrack column but some days I just think to myself how much I love riding my bike and that there really is nothing else I’d rather have been doing.

I spent this morning at my desk looking out at the sun shining and the clear blue sky. By lunch I could resist any longer, I wouldn’t go far, just a quick spin and I had a couple of things I needed to look at so I could kill two birds with one stone. But it didn’t take long for urge to ride to kick in. Maybe if I just did that one section, and if I linked that bit in, and then I could ride that trail…

Eventually I was heading for home until I bumped into a stranger (John who races for Mammoth), got talking and decided to go and ride a few trails together. Unplanned adventures are always the best and the next hour or so was spent happily chatting & riding as the sun slowly fell from the sky.

By the time I got home from my quick lunchtime spin it was nearly dark. There are some days that catch the light, days like diamonds.

Rob.

I Promise That This Won’t Hurt (FtD Trail Inspection Monday 12th October)

12 October, 2009 at 21:00

If you ever ride ‘Follow the Dog’ on a weekday you may have come across some strange looking people wearing hi viz jackets walking along the trail. We’re actually not just out for a walk but carrying out one of our regular safety and maintenance inspections.

We carry out inspections in partnership with the Forestry Commission. Ian, Martin and myself do the majority of inspections (we have even been on a training course). It normally takes most of the day so we always take a picnic lunch, usually eaten at the start or end of section 8 (maybe we need to build another bench!)


We also take the opportunity to collect litter (3 bags this month). It is amazing the number of water bottles and broken bikes parts that we find. Ian has an unhealthy obsession with collecting reflectors.

The weather was beautiful today and the trail really quiet. We saw a few rider in the morning but hardly any after lunch. Thanks to the guy from Kent who stopped for a chat at the top of the fireroad climb and took our ‘picnic’ photo. The highlight of my day was seeing a group of fallow deer enjoying the late afternoon sun.


If you ever see us out on the trail we’ll make sure we move out of the way but please slow down as you pass, shout hello or even pull over and stop for a chat.

Rob.

A Bridge To Beaudesert (Trail Building Sunday 11th October)

11 October, 2009 at 18:40

Despite a rather grey and marginally damp start we had a good turn out and would like to welcome Sally and Alex to their first building session. Bit confusing with two Alex’s and Alex No2 may have wondered why so many people he had not met before were talking about him wearing lycra, but he soon realised he didn’t need to worry as it wasn’t him we were discussing! The grey day didn’t dampen our spirits and everyone was in a good mood, some were even humming and all of us were looking forward to working on the end of section H Phase II.

Realising that he would be building a log bridge today Martin set about recruiting some muscle and made a bee line for Jez! After his successful show of strength whilst relieving Alex of rock duty a few weeks prior, Jez seemed a natural choice and Martin sold it to him by saying he could use the big lump hammer to hit things! Next Dave was recruited, although unfortunately due to injuries from a crash he was unable to hammer he did a sterling job digging and moving logs. He was also the brave man holding the posts in place for Jez to hammer – rather you than me mate!!


Meanwhile slightly further back barrow loads of good earth were being conveyored in and our thanks goes to Tony, Steve, Bruce, Alex and Frank for supplying a steady stream for us to whack. We progressed well down the trail and were all chatty talking about riding and trails, Alex and Sally were asking where else we had been building and we discussed the problem of keeping the numpties off the new trails until they had settled and between us came up with some rather interesting suggestions…..

firstly we discussed burying Charlotte and Jessica in the trails up to their necks to scare off any potential riders, although Petra didn’t seem to mind we decided that it would take quite a while to dig a suitable hole. Petra suggesting pinning Charlotte to a cross at the entrance but for some reason Charlotte didn’t seem too keen? I suggested burying a skull in the ground and having two cats’ eyes in it, might freak people on a night ride, Petra suggested this could be accompanied by paper skeletons hanging from the trees which could of course be laminated to enable them to withstand the weather. Alex then came up with the piece de resistance of burying a few cats in the trails up to their neck and the high pitched meow and hissing should ward off even the most hardy rider?!


Thanks to everyone’s hard work we managed to complete the trail up to the log bridge and as if signalling the end of building it began to rain! As we packed up Alex and Alex headed off to check the other trails and photo name and shame any numpties they found. Jez and Dave kitted up to head out for a ride, whilst the rest of us headed back to Swinnerton’s to celebrate a successful day with a well earned cup of coffee.

See you all again next week.
Lei x

Send in the Clowns (Big Build Day, Sunday 4th October)

8 October, 2009 at 09:11

Plans of making it early to help load up tools didn’t quite go to plan and I arrived with Junior trailbuider Abi after 9 to find most of the tools loaded with just a bit of faffing left until we were ready. Being ready early doesn’t always mean an early start to work and faffing continued until we swept up the volunteers at 10. Off up to the trail site in convoy and we were just about ready to make a start.

We only started running big build days this year and they’ve turned out to be a massive success for us with a load of new faces most of them becoming regulars. What’s been great to see is the number of children coming along and having fun helping with the building or just messing around in the forest. Along with the older kids who can cut trail on their own (as long as they get a chance to go climb trees too) we’re getting the younger ones interested too, this time our youngest were Immy (3) and Abi (4). Both of them had a blast digging in the dirt, playing with the dogs who came along with Grimey Lymies and generally getting into a real mess.


It means that those of us who have to balance family time with bikes get to mix the two together and spark a bit of enthusiasm from the younger ones. It’s got to be better than staying a home in front of the TV.


Other highlights of the day included decent weather (the last session on this trail couldn’t have been any wetter), too much food (we needed Scruff and Snakebite to help finish it off) and giving away the last of some of our limited run kit (meaning we’ll be able to roll out the new prizes next month).


We ended up digging around 250 metres of new trail and surfaced some pre dug trail too. There’s still over 500 metres left to dig on this section so we need your help, next BBD is Sunday 15th November and we’re out every Sunday too.

Stu.

All The Fun Of The Circus (Chase Trails Needs You – Sunday 4th October)

30 September, 2009 at 07:33

It’s Big Build Day time again this coming Sunday (October 4th) and with the official launch of ‘Phase 2’ less than six months away we need all the help we can get to finish our hand built sections and make sure everything is ready to ride. So if you can please come along and lend a hand, it’s a great day out (and there is free food!)

Check out our news story on singletrackworld

Missus Toast has once again designed a great poster…

Industrial Espionage – Erm … of sorts!

28 September, 2009 at 17:30

Sunday is Trail Building day. I loaded the car and headed off to Birches Valley to meet up with everyone to go make trails. As i approached the motorway roundabout, some EeeJit cut me up, pushing me onto the motorway… yeah cheers mate – where did you buy your licence? EBay Mongolia?

Now heading the wrong way on the wrong road and in a wrong frame of mind, i was overtaken by a tatty looking camper van. On the back were several mountain bikes flapping around. ‘Where are they going?’ i thought. I then realised that i hadn’t been any where else on my own other than The Chase recently and maybe i should go somewhere different, somewhere i hadn’t been before. I had a full tank of fuel, a bag full of chocolate, my bike and all my riding kit – what was stopping me going where i wanted? Feeling very guilty for not going trail building, i carried on. It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving – no, it really is illegal – so i couldn’t phone the guys to let them know. By the time i did stop they would know i wasn’t coming along anyway – sorry guys for not letting you know.

So where did i go? I went to the original British Trail Centre at Coed y Brenin.

I’ve never ridden there before and heard so much about it. When i got there, i was spoilt for choice! How lovely to be able to choose from 5 different Black or Red trails! … on closer inspection most were variations of a theme but that didn’t matter. Maybe thats the beauty of Coed y Brenin, variations to suit you, i like it. Judging the time i had to ride and the journey back, i opted for the mbr trail. I was guessing that it would be proper black, not Llandegla Black (sorry Llandegla), and i wasn’t disappointed! I was very tempted by the Beast and Tarw, but i didn’t know how much time i would have as i didn’t really know what to expect … other than rocks.

Rocks. More rocks, and then more rocks… I’d left my pads at home (i was supposed to be at the chase remember and you don’t need them there) so started a little cautiously on some of the rocky sections, wondering if my hardtail and i could cope. After a while, i started to gain my confidence and then noticed that if i thought about the rocks i had a really hard time, so started blatting them.

Wearing the Chase Trails riding shirt keeps me connected to the Chase and trail building wherever i am, and is regularly a conversation starter. Talking to other riders about the Chase and the trails is a great way to spread the word and get them intrigued to come and visit and help trail building! Nearing the end, someone on a (heavily) spec’d Orange 5 stopped me and asked if i was from the Chase. I’d discovered the three guys were from Stoke and regulars to the Chase but hadn’t yet been trail building. It didn’t take much convincing that Phase II was going to be awesome.

Still caning the rocks, I hooked up the back wheel a couple of times and nearly came a cropper but didn’t. By the last section, i was getting air off of and over the rocks and really enjoying what i would not have attempted at the speed i was now. I’d even started cornering harder without thinking about it, one of my riding weak points.

By the time i was back at the car, i felt that my riding had just jumped up a level. I reckon i might be able to tackle the new rocks on The Monkey now! I’d had an awesome ride and wanted to ride more, but time was pressing and i had a long drive back on the numpty infested A5. Feeling very pleased with myself, i closed the door on the car and set off. The thought in my head was about that ****** idiot in the Silver 58 plated BMW 130 … ‘Cheers Mate’. No really, cheers!

Coed y Brenin on mbwales.com

E:)

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss (Trail Building Sunday 27th September)

27 September, 2009 at 21:00

A good turnout today boosted by new volunteers Dominic, Paul & Andy. Ian was absent but I’m sure he would have a good excuses? As the majority were clean fit and sober the plan was to return to Rainbow Valley and continue working on building rock features on the Monkey Trail.

Andrew, Petra, Charlotte (now aged 11!), Jess (still 9) and myself had a few bits of planning left over from increasingly dark Thursday nights to finish so headed off armed with marker tape, inclinometer and saws. After finishing our first section it seemed a convenient point to stop for lunch so we sat and enjoyed a picnic whilst we thought about the rest of the crew toiling away with all those heavy rocks!


After lunch we moved on to tape a section of trail that is due to be thinned. Here we marked the trail to make it more visible to contractor and also marked key trees that are ‘pinning’ or ‘anchoring’ the trail so that they won’t get felled. Once we were done (and out of tape) we walked along the top of Rainbow Hill to see what progress the rock shifters had made.


Work today had been on a new feature on the ‘red’ and by the time we arrived they were nearly done. It looked really good and perfect as a red grade feature. Charlotte and Jess swept the rocks to make them look nice before Frank recovered them in gravel to allow the rain to wash it into all the gaps. Building the rock features is time consuming but is really enjoyable and I’m sure will be worth all the effort.

Don’t forget it’s a Big build day next week, Sunday 4th October, Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre 10am.

Rob

The Morning After The Night Before (Trail Building Sunday 20th September)

20 September, 2009 at 21:00

Saturday night was our belated 2008 Chase Trails Christmas meal & party. This is the one time each year we get to thank all our regular volunteers and their partners for all the time and effort they put in. I’ll spare you the details (mainly because I can’t actually remember most of the night) but I think it is safe to say we all had a good time.

Numbers for Sunday morning trail building were unsurprisingly a little low but full credit to everyone who made it, new volunteer Tom also joined us. As an added bonus there was lots of party food left over so any one who could stomach it was able to feast on sausage rolls and cake.


As the ground was relatively flat there was no easy bench cutting for us today. The technique employed was ‘cut and fill’, cutting a trench to reach good ground and then filling it with good quality surfacing material. Compared with bench cutting this is much harder and time consuming with lots of wheel barrowing being needed. The vast majority of ‘Follow the Dog’ was built this way but we have become spoilt by the easy bench cutting on most of ‘Phase 2’.


While most of the crew were digging Martin was clearing and prepping for a new section of woodwork. The plan is to lay two fallen trees side by side and deck between them (similar to the new bridge on FtD but not as wide). When not circulating distributing food I was supervising Martin (sitting on a log) as my head didn’t seem to like movement or noise!


Apart form me everyone else seemed really keen to keep building today and so we kept working well into the afternoon (probably all the food they eat) and got loads done, maybe we should have a party every week..

Rob.

Points Of View

17 September, 2009 at 17:00

After a brief chat and cup of coffee in the FC office Martin and myself set about the important business of creating a bench and bike rack for the viewpoint on the (as yet un-opened) Lower Cliff section of Phase 2. Seeing as there was only two of us we seemed to take a lot of tools but at least we wouldn’t suddenly realise we were missing something, would we?

The first job was creating the bike rack by simply cutting wheel sized slots in a big log. One slight problem, no bike to check the spacing! After a quick phone call to Swinnertons and a conversation about tyre widths and the current fashion for wide bars we can to the conclusion that five slots would be ‘about right’. Martin cut the slots and I pryed them out with an iron bar. Lets hope they are the right size!


Next up was a bench. We could have simply skinned the top off a log and left it at that but with Martin’s woodworking skills and more importantly chainsaw this was going to be a ‘proper job’. Logs were dug into the ground to support the base and back, a log was spilt to create two flat surfaces, scolopes were scooped to create nice joints and then the whole thing was bolted together.



We weren’t quite finished by lunchtime so we had to have lunch on a skinned log but at the end of the day we sat back on our new bench and enjoyed the view. It’s amazing how satisfying creating something like this using just a few basis tools (and a chainsaw) can be.

Rob

Rocking & Rolling (Trail Building Sunday 13th September)

13 September, 2009 at 21:00

Another great turnout for some rocking & rolling on the Monkey with the regular crew being supplemented by Phil (obviously not put off by last week) and new volunteers Nick, Tom & Andy. Despite the large number of people it was surprisingly quiet for some unknown reason? Ah, we were missing Charlotte and Jess!


The plan for today was building the second rock feature on the Black Monkey. The aim was create armouring on the approach to a moderately steep section leading into a berm. The trail already featured a nice little rooty step so this was left in place and supplemented by a bigger rock drop. In a similar vein to the root the rocks were positioned to give a bigger drop on the fast line into the berm and a smaller drop on the slower line. Once the suitable rocks were selected they were lowered down the hillside and then expertly positioned on the trail. Bob couldn’t make it this week but Dale, Dave, Alex, Frank and Steve did a fine job with ‘the jigsaw’


While the majority were working on the black feature new volunteers Nick, Tom & Andy were given the task of digging out the ground for a step on the red line. The plan for this started out as a simple one rock step but evolved into a really nice multi rock mini-feature. Good work guys, hope to see you again soon.


The day finished with Andrew and myself ‘testing’ the newly constructed features (this is an essential part of the trail building process!). Both features rode really well although Andrew was definitely thankful for his bash ring whilst riding the bigger side of the black drop.


We’re planning on continuing rock shifting for the next couple of weeks so if you want to come along and help make sure you bring your steelies.

Rob.