Category Archives: Trail work

Developing construction skills for a skills park: a work in progress

I published a post yesterday to my local mtb club’s blog titled, CROCT’s Sechler Skills Park continues to evolve.

The skills park is my primary responsibility as one of CROCT’s many volunteer trail workers. My motivation to work on it?

  • Our in-town Sechler Park MTB Trail is a river bottoms trail and doesn’t have a lot of challenging terrain. So having a skills park in the middle of it is way for local riders to practice their skills and challenge themselves
  • It’s handy to have a local skills park for instructional clinics. Kids who live in town can ride their bikes to the park via the local network of paved trails
  • I’m always working on my own riding skills and being able to construct features that are appropriate for my own development is a treat

Last summer, my interest in learning to jump via Ryan Leech’s Jumping with Confidence online course (affiliate link) spurred me to learn how to build beginner and intermediate level table top jumps. I had the full-time use a tractor with a bucket, free street reclamation dirt from the City of Northfield, a budget from CROCT to have it hauled in, and labor from other trail worker volunteers to help me shape, learn, test, and rebuild the jumps until we got them ‘good enough.’

By the end of the season, I’d gotten to where I could consider myself solid at beginner-level tabletops. Here’s a 1-minute video clip of me riding the 7 jumps that we built:

And the jumps proved to be a hit with kids and adventuresome adults, of course.

In addition to the 7 tabletop jumps (6 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level), the skills park also now has:

  • 3 berms (1 large wood berm, 2 dirt berms)
  • 2 wood drops (1 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level)
  • 2 large log piles
  • 1 line of 8 small rollers
  • 1 log skinny/logover obstacle, configured for several levels of difficulty
  • 2 railroad ties configured for uphill steps
  • 1 large boulder
  • Several skinnies (intermediate-expert) with changing configurations

We’ll be adding more features to the skills park this year.

My summer as an MTB skills park dirt boss and heavy equipment operator

This past summer, fellow mountain biker and uber volunteer Bill Nelson used his Ford Tractor to help CROCT, our local mountain bike club, fashion various obstacles in our new skills park area along our Sechler Park mountain bike trail. I soon became his apprentice operator and it inspired me to take on the role of skills park ‘dirt boss’ for the trail. More details and skills park photos in this CROCT blog post.

Bill Nelson, Ford tractor Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson

CROCT’s first National Trails Day & membership drive: superb

Over three dozen trail workers (including 15+ kids) showed up at Rice County’s Caron Park on Saturday (National Trails Day) to work on the first segment of a CROCT mountain bike trail there (I’m a board member). The weather was gorgeous and the bugs were non-existent. Under the direction of trail steward and CROCT board prez Marty Larson, the crew worked from 9 am to noon.

The results? Amazing!

CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park CROCT loop 1 Caron Park

We don’t yet know the mileage on the new intermediate-level segment that we’re currently calling Loop 1, but it’s significant and it’s going to be a blast to ride. (If you stay connected via the CROCT Facebook page, Twitter feed, email newsletter, or Google Group discussion list we’ll alert you when the trail officially is open to ride.)

We broke for lunch and beverages at noon. Milltown Cycles in Faribault donated and served the hot dogs, brats and pop. Bauers Southside Liquor in Faribault donated and served a great selection of beer:

CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park CROCT membership picnic 2015 - Caron Park

After lunch, we raffled off some swag donated by Milltown Cycles to CROCT members in attendance. John Ebling and Kevin Keane won helmets and Jeff Kreis won a jersey. Four others got 3-packs of cycling socks:  Continue reading CROCT’s first National Trails Day & membership drive: superb

Two dozen volunteer trail workers install two bridges and reroute a trail in a week

I’m a member of the CROCT Board here in Rice County MN and after witnessing the speed of vehicle traffic on the recently reopened Sechler Road (it’s closed to vehicles during the winter months), we made a quick decision last week to remove the ditch crossing bridge that we installed recently and reroute the trail directly over the creek prior to the gate at the north entrance to the park, keeping riders completely away from the road/pavement.

The creek crossing required a bigger bridge than the one we used for the ditch so the two bridges that a crew of CROCT volunteers fashioned from the wood of the old Mill Towns Trail bridge were put into service:

 

Last Tuesday, CROCT member John Ebling used his tractor to transport the bridges to the shoulder of Sechler Road near the creek crossings:

Continue reading Two dozen volunteer trail workers install two bridges and reroute a trail in a week

Young guys sweep MORC’s 2013 annual awards: Chance, Adam, Colin, Mike

Adam Buck, Chance Glasford, Colin VanDerHydeThe MORC Board announced its annual awards last month and four young guys (three in the right photo) were recognized for their volunteer work:  Chance Glasford for the President’s Award; Adam Buck for Volunteer of the Year; and Colin VanDerHyde and Mike Mullany for Trail Workers of the Year.

As a geezer, I’m glad to see this.

Continue reading Young guys sweep MORC’s 2013 annual awards: Chance, Adam, Colin, Mike