Trail Building Weekend Summary
The Trail Building Weekend Summary (1500 words) – by Nate Teh (LDTR Head Trail Builder).
Apologies for any spelling/grammar mistakes.
More pictures will be uploaded over the coming days.
Please note, there are some soft spots on the new sections and unrefined areas - read below for info.
Thanks is an understatement. We just had our biggest weekend of trail building ever.
Two full days (Sunday the official trail build one) involving a total of 18 different volunteers and over 129 hours.
A summary of each day is below, with frequent/commonly asked questions at the very end (Read it all before you ask a question that makes you look silly).
Our biggest thanks goes to Craig, Jim, Praveen, Grant, Renae from Parks Victoria and Coates Hire and the Fire Team who all have gone out of their way and above and beyond in helping myself and the club out over the weekend.
DAY 1 (Saturday/ Hug Trail):
The aim of this day was to replace the rotting log step down on Hug Trail and rebuild the berm just after it, which is all just before the boardwalk.
Three of us started the day off slinging large rocks one by one from near the Pump Track into the Coates Hire tipper using the excavator (sounds simpler than it is). We drove to Hug Trail, closed the trail and began hauling in the rocks with a sling from the fire trail to the log step down.
After some sketchy driving along the trail, we formed a safer transport route to the side of the track. While doing this, we also completed some drainage along the section. After hauling in all the rocks we began removing the log and rebuilding the berm.
We managed to remove old chicken wire and also a very sturdy star picket which were used in the building of this feature originally.
We decided to add a A and B line to the rock feature (2 levels of step downs, with the A line having a way to climb up it for riders riding anti-clockwise). Keep note that there is a C line to the right and a D line (long way around).
After completing a large majority of the job, we also decided to add a large rock just above the log drop to create a reverse grade drain.
At this point, another volunteer showed up to help compact some dirt.
We then packed up and drove back to the compound at around 4pm.
From there, everyone but myself left and I continued to haul mulch from near Skills Park all the way to Redgum Trail to prepare for Sunday’s build.
After 3 hauls of mulch, I then decided to start cutting in the new alignment on the State MTB Course to help with the beginning of the next day.
From this, I packed up and left the Parks Victoria compound at 7pm.
Day 2 (Sunday/ State MTB Course\Redgum Trail):
The aim of this day was to create reverse grades on Redgum (just before Tramline Track) all the way up to Valley View Track. This also involved drainage along all of this section, creating new drainage, clearing a new path for the alignments and mulching/closing off the old original trail.
We also chose to re-paint the Race Container in the Event Village.
We started the day off at 8:30am with 16 committed volunteers who worked tirelessly for the whole day.
A few of the volunteers started by painting the race container which went until about 10am.
The rest of the volunteers began haling mulch, pulling logs across and smoothing out the rough cut made by the excavator on the new sections.
There are 4 new sections which come in and out of the original trail.
We built berms on some corners but not others (see FAQ below) and completed a bunch of drainage using the aggregate rock and soil we had.
Renae from Parks Victoria also spent a few minutes teaching a couple of our volunteers how to cut and poison a few weed classed plants. This was a great exercise which we haven’t completed recently with Parks Victoria (awesome to see happen)!
By mid-day we had completed 60% of the work. While Jim went for a shopping trip for more fuel for the machinery, we all enjoyed a snag and a drink.
For the next few hours we continued to manually clear the path that the machine had roughly gone through and ensured that the drainage was receiving some love. We also roughly cut out the 4th section on Redgum.
At roughly 3pm, almost everyone headed home for the day exhausted and hard worked.
While Craig and Praveen hauled tools and some of the equipment back to the Parks Vic Compound, I continued to fine tune the Redgum section and pull logs across the original track.
We managed to get a satisfactory trail grade reversal carved in.We still need to complete drainage on the Redgum section, compact a few things and add some more technical sections in. But we want riding lines to form, to see where the wet spots occur and just have a pause so we don’t burn ourselves out.
By 5:30pm, Praveen and I were back at the compound putting the tools and equipment away. By 6pm we had completely packed up and were on our way home.
FAQ/ Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: Are you tired?
Q: How do I help/support?
A: Donate on our website, become a member, race or join a skills session. All of these profits go back into the trails/club/the park. If you have time, keep an eye out on our website/facebook/insta/email list for dates on the next build.
Q: Why’d you choose to do all this?
A: In summary – we have audit that we work off which states the issues on the trails we have now and what we need to do to fix them. When we tick off everything on this audit, it shows to the land manager and other parties that we can handle the trails we have now and maintain them. When we tick off all the tasks on the audit, it gives us a better education around maintaining the trails. The more educated we are and the more our trails are up to standard… the better chance we have of applying for new trail as it shows that we can look after what we have now and are skilled enough to do so.
Q: Why’d you replace the feature with something similar but just rock?
A: Wood makes for a great temporary resource, but is terrible over the long run. Wood rots and erodes quickly with tyres riding over it. Due to the moisture content and the surface. Rock is more sustainable and will last longer with less maintenance. We’d rather be building new trail then returning to features every 2 years. Rocks also allow for more variation in the feature (i.e.- two lines).
Q: Why’d you put a massive rock in the trail where the rut is? I LIKE RUTS!
A: We like ruts too, but too much rut = not a sustainable trail that can handle the water flow or the riders’ braking. A rut is great, but an unsustainable one isn’t. The rock will help divert the water off to the side of the track and help with allowing the rut to not grow as fast as what it was.
Q: Why did you rebuild the berm? I like to get a good spray of dirt when I do a sick skid on it!
A: The berm was more like a pile of silt. Silt and sandy content means that part of the trail is collecting all the water flow. It also creates an unnecessary risk when cornering. Plus, you can now carry more speed into this corner due to the height of the berm increasing.
Q: Why did you basically disregard the old trail and choose the paths you chose for the new sections?
A: The old trail was fairly straight. It carried a lot of water flow through it during storms/heavy rain which made for a few sections to rut up, drains to block and silt to grow at the end of the trail section. By adding reverse grades in and curling the trail around with the new sections, we’re slowing the water flow down dramatically. This also allows us to add more drainage points. The paths we chose had more drainage points and also made use of the elevation. You now spend longer on this section of trail by switch backing up instead of spinning your rear wheel on the loose gravel going straight up.
Q: Why didn’t you add any features in?
A: We might in the future, but for now we want the riding lines to form and to see how the drainage holds up. We want what we have in place to compact and to see how riders adapt to the alignments. If it’s necessary to, we will. We also need more time (keep in kind it took us basically 7 hours with 15 volunteers to do what we just did today).
Q: Why is it all basically flat and boring?
A: Similar answer to the above.
Q: Why are some of the corners tight?
A: These are black and blue trails. Although the new alignments are exactly black or blue, if you can ride a tight hair pin corner without getting off or dabbing your foot… you need to ride it again and work on your cornering skills (we aren’t making the corners wider).
If you read this far – something’s wrong with you. Go ride it and enjoy!
If you have more questions – I’ll answer them after some adequate sleep.
- LDTR Head trail Builder