Over-maintenance?

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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby c0nsumer » June 26th, 2018, 9:16 pm

ryguy79 wrote:
c0nsumer wrote:
ryguy79 wrote:Some of my favorite technical trail sections are probably what you would call blown out.


Genuinely curious: like what?


Most trails in the mountains above Colorado Springs were originally hiking or moto trails. The soil there is all decomposed granite. Very loose, erodes easily, exposed roots and rocks, etc.

Obviously impossible to replicate here.

https://www.bikemag.com/photos/riding-r ... o-springs/

I used to pedal the stuff they shuttled in that article. I would not have left if my wife hadn't been so strongly pulled back home after we started our family.


Ahh, sorry. I was hoping you had examples of local stuff.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby ryguy79 » June 26th, 2018, 10:03 pm

c0nsumer wrote:
ryguy79 wrote:
c0nsumer wrote:
ryguy79 wrote:Some of my favorite technical trail sections are probably what you would call blown out.


Genuinely curious: like what?


Most trails in the mountains above Colorado Springs were originally hiking or moto trails. The soil there is all decomposed granite. Very loose, erodes easily, exposed roots and rocks, etc.

Obviously impossible to replicate here.

https://www.bikemag.com/photos/riding-r ... o-springs/

I used to pedal the stuff they shuttled in that article. I would not have left if my wife hadn't been so strongly pulled back home after we started our family.


Ahh, sorry. I was hoping you had examples of local stuff.


Seems like Poto had some washed out rooty sections that were fun last time I rode it. I seem to recall popping off roots on a downhill through a washed out little trench-ish thing. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, I rode a bunch of places again downstate last summer when we moved that I hadn't ridden in a long time. But to a person who doesn't ride outside of Michigan (not saying that is you) I would think they would see my favorite trails from living in Colorado Springs as totally blown out gravel above town or unrideable rock gardens in the parks in town. I felt that way when I moved there but it was a motivator to develop my riding skills. That motivation doesn't exist to a large extent here.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm not saying dislike Glacial Hills overall, but I see so much lost opportunity for a much more diverse trail network even with the same trail layout. I still ride it all the time and have fun. I just have to get WAY creative to make it the type of fun I like. I pump, manual, and jump every little roller I can to get the max fun out of it. I also am not saying they should be completely unmaintained or built straight down the hill. But a lot of the mileage could benefit from being treated more like a mountain bike trail and less like a dirt sidewalk. Maybe I'm crazy for thinking that's not a silly thing to advocate for here. Time will tell.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby jlrotax583 » June 27th, 2018, 9:30 am

I see where you are coming from and I don't think your wrong in wanting these types of trails, its just that
with the new "sustainable trail guidelines" these days, I don't think you will ever see something like Poto, Pontiac, and to some extent Highland and the old Torn shirt. For the LP, with the planning going into trails these days, Its either Glacial type, DTE/Big Kame or manmade structures. Not saying that's good or bad, just the direction things have moved in the past 10 years.
The days of "riding erosion" are over.
What makes Glacial even more of a challenge is that, bikes came last for the most part and there probably is still resistance to them this day.
On a separate/related note, they are "updating" the Vasa ST now. Some of the cool, old school parts that have been there forever are being cut out now in what I can only guess is for flow and sustainability. I understand this, but you can look at this activity and understand why Glacial is what it is. My opinion/summation only.

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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby c0nsumer » June 27th, 2018, 10:22 am

Jon / jlrotax583: Well said, I agree with that completely.

ryguy79: Thanks for explaining, and yep. That section's quite fun as it is. The problem with that section is what made it the way it was. That section is a 5' deep trench that eroded into what it is, from what was clearly at one point a trail running down the crest of a small ridge. The sand pit at the bottom there (the Waterloo Trail intersection) and the sand on and after the subsequent right hand turn all came from that downhill. Give it another 5 years and this section will be deeper, sandier, etc. (This is what I refer to as blown out; very eroded and progressively getting worse.)

If you take some time to look around at Poto, PLRA, Torn Shirt, and even Stony you can find a number of sections like this which have been routed around. Some of them (especially at PLRA) are "WTF that was the trail trail?!?" type hill/gravel stuff. Many of these were sections that riders would maaaaaaybe be able to ride up once in a while, with a lot of walking. As MTBing became more popular (and as folks spun tires and skidded on these bits) and cut through the top soil layer they changed from steep dirt to gravel trenches. These days most folks don't want trails that 95% of riders have to walk some section of. Hills like that result in a bunch of erosion and maintenance work, and on top of that parks don't want them because they are more likely to injure folks, are very hard to get emergency services on (evacuate people from), the works. Not to mention the parks' need to balance other user groups and those who see MTBs as tearing up the woods. As jlrotax583 says, I just don't think you'll see much of this challenge-via-erosion stuff anymore.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby Josh McCreedy » June 27th, 2018, 10:38 am

The economic study of Glacial Hills cites a 1.5 million dollar yearly benefit to the community. The majority of users are on foot, but mountain biking got a lot of major players involved in fundraising and is part of the fabric of the town. It is very much in their interest to offer a diverse trail experience for a variety of users. If there are still plans to build new trail, and this typed of narrower, rougher tread trail is outlined in the trail plan, then a lot of this discussion is moot. From a system perspective, Glacial Hills needs and can support more variety--even if I love eating up smooth miles there on a rigid 29er.

It's interesting that everyone always talks about Highland...From a trail system perspective, it is lacking variety in almost the opposite way from Glacial Hills. Isn't Highland fairly uniform in difficulty? When I ride it, I see the massive amounts of unused rock--including some big dogs!-- all over the place. If I were starting from scratch out there, I would build a mildly rocky green loop, some rockier, steeper blue miles, and some flat-out tough (tougher than what is there now), steep black diamond areas with existing rock and roots: more variety.

I've put in a lot of miles in Marquette, too, and love it all. In the LP though, we have to look for opportunities to retrofit existing trails for more technical opportunities, and when we can build new (like at Glacial Hills), trail variety should be a core value. I'm not a big fan of rotting logs or trying to maintain wood structures, as we miss choice opportunities to use native rock all the time (Highland, all of Holdridge).

I would also add that current guidelines are anything but the "brown sidewalk" that some people tend to associate with the IMBA publications. The BLM has a new guide that talks about "playfulness" as a trail value. Everything depends on who is doing the advocacy, trail planning/design, and actual construction.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby c0nsumer » June 27th, 2018, 12:04 pm

Josh McCreedy wrote:I would also add that current guidelines are anything but the "brown sidewalk" that some people tend to associate with the IMBA publications. The BLM has a new guide that talks about "playfulness" as a trail value. Everything depends on who is doing the advocacy, trail planning/design, and actual construction.


I like to think of the Brown Sidewalk term as more of a injoke these days. Pretty much every brand new trail, regardless of difficulty, looks like brown sidewalk. Then after a year of riding it narrows to a strip on the nice-to-ride line, then another year it's a narrow brown ribbon.

This is a good thing, as for the most part trail builders shouldn't try to define the EXACT riding line during build. Except where narrow bench cuts dictate it, this almost always ends up in a not-great-to-bike line, with dangerous (to fall on) things right next to the riding path. By making the corridor a bit wide then letting the riding dictate the exact path the route becomes less jarring, more fun, and is safer overall.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby Jared13 » June 27th, 2018, 12:28 pm

c0nsumer wrote:These days most folks don't want trails that 95% of riders have to walk some section of. Hills like that result in a bunch of erosion and maintenance work, and on top of that parks don't want them because they are more likely to injure folks, are very hard to get emergency services on (evacuate people from), the works. Not to mention the parks' need to balance other user groups and those who see MTBs as tearing up the woods. As jlrotax583 says, I just don't think you'll see much of this challenge-via-erosion stuff anymore.


I don't think he was asking for something that 95% of riders couldn't ride, just asking for a little variation on what's there. You can add quite a bit of fun to a trail without drastically changing the difficulty. Leaving some roots here and there or an "unintentional" rock kicker on the side of the trail shouldn't change the trail rating but would definitely add to the fun level.

One thing I would love to see more of in MI is the stacked loop system. It's an excellent (and relatively safe) way to add variety to a trail system. Lebanon Hills in MN and Sunderbruch Park in IA are two examples that would be close to the terrain we have here in the LP. I think incorporating a stacked loop design off of the existing trails at Glacial Hills would be a great addition. Unfortunately, all of this is much easier said than done.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby ryguy79 » June 28th, 2018, 10:05 am

Josh McCreedy wrote:The economic study of Glacial Hills cites a 1.5 million dollar yearly benefit to the community. The majority of users are on foot, but mountain biking got a lot of major players involved in fundraising and is part of the fabric of the town.


Odd. From my experience riding there mutiple times a week all year long, I see WAY more people on bikes, especially when you get a mile or more from the trailheads.

Regarding discussion around trails that 95% would walk. That's a cultural thing here. 13 years between west Texas desert riding and Colorado and there is a clear difference out there. No one there seems to expect 100% of riders to be able to ride 100% of the trails in a given network, which sounds like a big thing here. And for the record, Highland isn't that technical. Like DTE, I'm not sure why its looked at as some sort of benchmark. There were trails Colorado Springs that took me years to master. Some of these were trails in a city park by my house, not up in the mountains. Yes, the soil and geography are vastly different, but more so is the attitude.

We're mountain biking, right? One of my neighbors has a bunch of PRs on his CX bike. All I think is that they should leave some more of the roots and rocks in the trailbed. If machine building is required, maybe try to use the available terrain with more creativity. I can think of several spots where the trail was practically bulldozed flat right next to what could have been used as jumps or rollers depending on your skill and speed. Even some sanctioned B-lines would spice things up.

Anyway, I rode with the GH board chair again last night. He mentioned that he'd like to have some more challenging stuff out in the "never never land" area past Orchard Hill. Fingers crossed. He also offered to give me a tour of the unmarked VASA goods. I'm curious how that compares.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby ryguy79 » June 28th, 2018, 1:23 pm

c0nsumer wrote:Jon / jlrotax583: Well said, I agree with that completely.

ryguy79: Thanks for explaining, and yep. That section's quite fun as it is. The problem with that section is what made it the way it was. That section is a 5' deep trench that eroded into what it is, from what was clearly at one point a trail running down the crest of a small ridge. The sand pit at the bottom there (the Waterloo Trail intersection) and the sand on and after the subsequent right hand turn all came from that downhill. Give it another 5 years and this section will be deeper, sandier, etc. (This is what I refer to as blown out; very eroded and progressively getting worse.)


When I think trail erosion, I have happy memories of ripping the Captain Jacks trail. Parts of the trail are like erosion luge on a ball bearing gravel surface.

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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby Jared13 » June 28th, 2018, 3:48 pm

ryguy79 wrote:And for the record, Highland isn't that technical. Like DTE, I'm not sure why its looked at as some sort of benchmark.


What are some benchmark trails for you around Michigan? I'm looking to do some driving this summer and want to make sure the ride is worth the drive time. :D

To make this sorta on topic: Have you taken any of the trail maintainers/board chair on trails you like to ride to show what could be added?
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby ryguy79 » June 28th, 2018, 4:41 pm

Jared13 wrote:
ryguy79 wrote:And for the record, Highland isn't that technical. Like DTE, I'm not sure why its looked at as some sort of benchmark.


What are some benchmark trails for you around Michigan? I'm looking to do some driving this summer and want to make sure the ride is worth the drive time. :D

To make this sorta on topic: Have you taken any of the trail maintainers/board chair on trails you like to ride to show what could be added?


In comparison to UP stuff and out west Highland isn't that technical. I know this is the mmba forum, but there's riding beyond LP Michigan you know. :wink:
Yah Hey in Marquette springs to mind as legit tech in MI since I just raced on it last weekend.

I recently took one of the GH board members, who has become a good friend and riding buddy, to Boyne Highlands for a DH day. We talked trails almost whole time. He hadn't ridden much tech but had a blast and was picking up what I was putting down.
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Re: Over-maintenance?

Postby Jared13 » June 28th, 2018, 6:26 pm

ryguy79 wrote:
Jared13 wrote:
ryguy79 wrote:And for the record, Highland isn't that technical. Like DTE, I'm not sure why its looked at as some sort of benchmark.


What are some benchmark trails for you around Michigan? I'm looking to do some driving this summer and want to make sure the ride is worth the drive time. :D

To make this sorta on topic: Have you taken any of the trail maintainers/board chair on trails you like to ride to show what could be added?


In comparison to UP stuff and out west Highland isn't that technical. I know this is the mmba forum, but there's riding beyond LP Michigan you know. :wink:
Yah Hey in Marquette springs to mind as legit tech in MI since I just raced on it last weekend.

I recently took one of the GH board members, who has become a good friend and riding buddy, to Boyne Highlands for a DH day. We talked trails almost whole time. He hadn't ridden much tech but had a blast and was picking up what I was putting down.


I travel quite a bit so I know there's riding beyond the LP (29 states and counting ;))

I'll have to check out Boyne Highlands when I get up in that area again and try Yah Hey when I get to Marquette later this summer. You need to ride Harlow Lake just north of Marquette. It has some really impressive and fun rock faces!

Good to hear the board member was...um, on board with what you're hoping to get in place there. Glacial Hills has something special going on already, I think it'd be even better if got a few techier options as well!
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