Trail Maintenance - Thoughts..

The Northern Monkey
The Northern Monkey Posts: 19,174
edited December 2013 in MTB general
Just wondering what everyones thoughts are of the trail maintenance thats been carried out on the Cwmcarn DH track.

Personally, I think its bloody awful!

1452053_448599205245424_1169432045_n.jpg
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Comments

  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    It's supposed to be a downhill track, not a motorway.
    I could ride my road bike on that.
  • lawman
    lawman Posts: 6,868
    Canal path much?! :shock: That's awful, especially for a DH trail!!!
  • DCR00
    DCR00 Posts: 2,160
    Is that it finished?
  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    Does look like a pretty big double there so it needs to have a fast run in but that looks a bit too smooth.
  • arran77
    arran77 Posts: 9,260
    When do they paint the white line down the middle :shock:
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

    seanoconn
  • Hob Nob
    Hob Nob Posts: 200
    Trail correlates to the general standard of squids who use the uplift service there these days?
  • Kowalski675
    Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    That's the top surface, not just a base? It does look rather like they're building a footpath.
  • Angus Young
    Angus Young Posts: 3,063
    They've used those Irish guys who knock on your door and ask you if you want your drive Tarmac'd.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
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  • Does look like a pretty big double there so it needs to have a fast run in but that looks a bit too smooth.

    The double was do-able in the 1st place, it will be too easy to overrun now!
    There is a fence on the otherside too, so it could actually be more dangerous!

    Cwmcarn again, this bit is right at the bottom of the DH.
    1451551_448599141912097_219553194_n.jpg

    The last decent of the red XC have more rocks!
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,856
    Just got back from an uplift there today.

    Thankfully most of it isn't tarmacced. There's several bits they've changed:
    - Top section for about 200 yards of so coming up to the quarry gap. Different layout, new little step down and the merge in with the black has moved. No tarmac. Alright by me
    - The switchbacks are gone and there's now 2 big steep berms. Not bad, just different and faster
    - The bit just after the road tunnel including the 180 degree berm has been shored up and cleaned up a bit. That's alright as it was getting a bit sketchy last time I was there.
    - The big tabletop after the cattle grid is a now a double with a tarmac upslope. Alright if you're good and can clear it but a lot of people will end up casing it and end up with a rear minion up their arse like I did. Was better before as you could take it at whatever speed you wanted.
    - Drop off into the descent under the wooden bridge has a bit of tarmac and has been flattened a bit. Don't mind but they've left some bloody big rocks poking out of the the big berm just after that, which should have been sorted.
    - The rest of the jumps after that (small jump after the big berm, next table top, the hip jump and the last little table top at the bottom) have all been tarmacced on the approach. You can hit them a bit faster but it's not what a DH track should be like. I reckon they just don't want to have to rebuild them for a long time.
    - The hip jump before the wooden bridge jump now seems steeper and you feel like you're landing almost vertically and losing a lot of momentum - not good. That's the jump in the first pic in this thread.

    It's the bottom section that's been messed up. Top bit is still OK and the middle section almost unchanged - just a few tweaks.

    Darrell assured us that it wasn't tarmac but it looked like it! Rowan Sorrell was around today checking his handiwork so you know who to moan to...
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Antm81
    Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    I don't think that's Tarmac, it looks to be stone just well compacted obviously there's a lot of fine stone in there to make it look smooth.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,856
    Antm81 wrote:
    I don't think that's Tarmac, it looks to be stone just well compacted obviously there's a lot of fine stone in there to make it look smooth.
    You're right about that, I was calling it tarmac because it looked like it. Hopefully it will break up and mix in with the soil over time, but as this was the first day it was open after they've done the work and the resemblance to tarmac was quite noticeable !
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Antm81
    Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    It will do, we build dirt roads at times but even with a lot more work than they've done there it takes a lot of work to maintain it as a smooth road, carefully watering etc. with our weather it will hopefully break up fairly soon
  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    Why put a surface like that on a trail which is mostly ridden by people on bikes with 200mm suspension?
    I remember the good old days when dh tracks had rocks roots and gnarly stuff.
    Unfortunately trails are getting too groomed now.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,856
    Why put a surface like that on a trail which is mostly ridden by people on bikes with 200mm suspension?
    I remember the good old days when dh tracks had rocks roots and gnarly stuff.
    Unfortunately trails are getting too groomed now.
    To put it into persepctive, it's about 100m in total of a 2k track that's been done like that and as antm81 says, it will break up over time - hopefully. I can see why DH purists hate it though.

    Also, there's more to the track changes than the surface: the couple of bits I didn't like were more to do with the reshaping of a couple of features.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Kowalski675
    Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Unfortunately trails are getting too groomed now.

    I blame Jimmy Saville...
  • paul.skibum
    paul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    That looks sh*t - I haven't seen the new penhydd trail at afan but fear it will be like the new final descent to Glyncorrig - wide and built for big bikes not like the old naggery singletrack descent which was so good.

    In my opinion cognation are taking a lot of these tracks in the wrong direction out of ease of building - the big walking digger may be a fast building method but its not the same as a man with a matock and a rake.

    On the plus side my backpack trail saw came in handy yesterday when I cut through a fallen tree across a trail. That's trail maintenance.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp whore.
  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    The other side to this is if you dont like these trails then get out to your local woods with a shovel and a rake and get creative. We have built some proper gnarly dh stuff at my local spot. Building can be good fun as well.
  • Ulysses
    Ulysses Posts: 104
    The other side to this is if you dont like these trails then get out to your local woods with a shovel and a rake and get creative. We have built some proper gnarly dh stuff at my local spot. Building can be good fun as well.

    Reminded me of this I watched the other day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3JRxxznYM4
  • dusk
    dusk Posts: 583
    How many trails actually require 200mm travel in the UK these days? I can't remember coming across much
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  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    Depends how fast you want to ride them.
  • bennett_346
    bennett_346 Posts: 5,029
    dusk wrote:
    How many trails actually require 200mm travel in the UK these days? I can't remember coming across much
    Travel is never required, it's there to give someone of a given skill level more grip than they would have on a shorter travel bike and therefore be able to ride faster with less skill. Most people will also prefer the feel of using longer travel for DH type trails too.

    If you're racing, it will give you a time advantage over someone using less travel so long as the trail doesn't require pedalling, hence everyone will mostly use the longest travel they can afford for DH racing.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,856
    Travel is never required
    You'd have trouble doing a decent DH course on a rigid...

    Anyhow, best go ride CC and make your minds up for youselves. There's more to the track changes than the resurfacing work.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • bennett_346
    bennett_346 Posts: 5,029
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    Travel is never required
    You'd have trouble doing a decent DH course on a rigid...
    Not necessarily. You'd just be a heck of a lot slower.
  • lawman
    lawman Posts: 6,868
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    Travel is never required
    You'd have trouble doing a decent DH course on a rigid...
    Not necessarily. You'd just be a heck of a lot slower.

    I kind of agree with Bennett for once, I think geometry plays a bigger part than travel. If you built a rigid with DH angles it might be easier to ride than a longer travel bike with bad geometry.
  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    A rigid might be a bit tricky on big drops or on a track like Egypt at Gawton which you have to ride at speed to get down.
    There's nothing you cant ride on a hardtail though.
    Proper DH bikes are just great for all out speed.
  • There using this type of surfice alot at the moment, its pap.

    its horrible to ride to i just find the top layers of stones just rip away and pelt the bike, yourself with little fragment rocks which is annoying, as find i get the rocks rolling on the surface lowering grip not increasing it!
  • rockmonkeysc
    rockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    This sort of trail building is why I generally avoid trail centres and bike parks.
    It's great for lasting well with heavy traffic and never getting boggy but it's not the best surface to ride (in my opinion). I prefer to ride trails built by local riders on a zero budget. They tend to make the most of natural features and work with the natural ground conditions. Riding places like this you do have to be prepared to do your share of work though.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    edited December 2013
    Why put a surface like that on a trail which is mostly ridden by people on bikes with 200mm suspension?

    Because it's the easiest and quickest way to make a durable surface- machine building to get the trail in place, machine compacted to harden it. Handcutting is great but never makes as durable a surface, unless you import stone and that takes so much manpower, you end up with about 1 foot of trail for every 50 you could have done with a 360. (also, relatively few people can do it well)

    Over time it'll wear in- vegetation will encroach, the surface will roughen and also lose its colour. I've had people complain about the scar of a new bit of trail then say "Why didn't you build it like that bit, it's perfect", pointing at a section that was built in exactly the same way a year before. Or likewise "why is it so wide" when the idea is that dirt and vegetation will grow over the edges- the sides remain to support and protect the ride line.

    An armoured trail isn't really finished when you top it off- you build the trail you want to exist in the future, not the trail that'll exist right now.

    Stevo 666 wrote:
    You'd have trouble doing a decent DH course on a rigid...
    [/quote]

    p4pb8461849.jpg

    I always post Jesse, here he is at the 2012 endurance downhill at fort william, 6 hours on the world cup track- he did 13 runs in total, beating 3/4s of the field. I had my skillz compensator with me so I managed to beat him by a place.
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  • benpinnick
    benpinnick Posts: 4,148
    I'm not a huge fan of the current trail building methods either. I hate to say it but its mainly Back On Track's influence Im afraid. Tracks are getting smoother and more sanitised in an attempt to speed up the development and limit rework required in the future. It means everything is getting samey and a lot less fun unless you ride at warp speed. We need to go back to hand laying tracks to get the really great stuff we saw in wales developed at places like CyB.

    I run the trail team at Swinley now that Rowans team is done, and once we start properly taking over in April (when the warranty runs out) I am minded to rip up a lot of the trails laid down recently and start again with the surfacing etc. I would like to find a way to make them more loamy and natural feeling, as well as alot thinner, and much more difficult. I think clever drainage is the key to getting them to stay weatherproof without adding lots of hardpack. Something we don't seem to have at Swinley now. Some of the hard pack trails drain worse than the old ones! They just don't get muddy like the old stuff.
    A Flock of Birds
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