Tag Archives: Jeff Leech

2014 IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop

Last Thursday and Friday, I attended the IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop in Cable WI, a gathering of practitioners devoted to improving off-road cycling and fat biking in winter.

QBP  MORC logo 200 IMBA CAMBA
The event was sponsored by QBP and hosted by Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA).

John GaddoDSC06075  Cold Rolled

Following a late Thursday afternoon/evening fat bike ride by approximately 15- 20 riders on the newly groomed Esker trail in the CAMBA trail system’s Cable cluster, participants gathered for the opening reception at the Lakewoods Resort. QBP’s John Gaddo showed Cold Rolled, the  documentary by Clear & Cold Cinema featuring the 15-mile winter singletrack Snow Bike Route (SBR) that’s part of the Noquemanon Trails Network in Marquette, Michigan.

Continue reading 2014 IMBA Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop

Winter Bike Expo 2013: my first MORC booth duty stint

Winter-Bike-expo-2013

Freewheel Bike held their Winter Bike Expo 2013 at their Midtown Bike Center this weekend and I was around both mornings, primarily wearing my MORC/IMBA member hat (unlike last year), as I did my first ever booth duty stint. Continue reading Winter Bike Expo 2013: my first MORC booth duty stint

MORC hosts the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew: sustainable trail building practices taught by Lori and Jesse

Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston IMBA Trail Care Crew logo C.J. Smith, Jesse Livingston, Lori Reed, Jay Thompson, Reed Smidt

Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston, the current members of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, came to the Twin Cities last Friday at MORC‘s invitation for a weekend of their education program on sustainable mountain bike trail building practices.  I caught up with them for a bit of socializing on Friday night at Dick’s Bar & Grill in Osseo after their session in Monticello with some metro area land managers. L to R in photo above: Elm Creek Singletrack Dirt Boss C.J. Smith, Jesse Livingston, Lori Reed, Elm Creek Dirt Boss and MORC board member Jay Thompson, and MORC president Reed Smidt.

Jesse Livingston IMBA Trail Building School, classroom session, Monticello MN

Lori Reed Clay Haglund, Lori Reed, Troy David Grieves, Jesse Livingston
They did their one-day IMBA Trail Building School on Saturday for a couple dozen MORC members. The 3-hour classroom session in the morning focuses on:

  • IMBATrail Care Crew Quick Reference GuideTrail building theory
  • Essential elements of sustainable trails
  • Designing a trail
  • Constructing the trail
  • Rerouting and reclaiming trails
  • Advanced trail construction techniques

Since I started mountain biking in 2011, I’ve showed up to help a bit on a few local trail work sessions (2013 sessions here, here, here, and here) but I’ve been mainly a clueless laborer who retreated behind a camera whenever I got tired.  I took this IMBA Trail Building School because I wanted to have at least a beginning understanding of the art and science involved. As a newbie, I came away very pleased with the experience.  I thought their rapid-fire presentation in morning session was well done: lots of photos and videos, a few quizzes, hands-on with a clinometer, and thankfully, no Powerpoint slides of deadly text-only bullet points.

IMBA Trail Care Crew with MORC members Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston

Rhett Williams, Matthew Bailey, Jeff Leech MORC members with the IMBA Trail Care Crew
The afternoon field session was held at the Bertram Lakes Singletrack near Monticello.  After a quick demo by Jesse, we divided up into 3 teams of 8, each led by a MORC dirt boss (my team was headed up by Jeff Leech).  It was very helpful to have the hands-on experience and coaching. I don’t know how many feet of trail the crews created but I think we more than marginally adequate as we finished early.

MORC group ride at Elm Creek Singletrack with Jesse and Lori MORC/Elm Creek dirt boss C.J. Smith

MORC group ride at Elm Creek Singletrack with Jesse and Lori Jesse Livinston, Lori Reed, Reed Smidt
On Sunday morning, a group of us did a group ride with Lori and Jesse at Elm Creek Singletrack led by local Dirt Boss C.J. Smith.  ‘Twas a fast, flowy ride on a gorgeous autumn-like day and a fitting send-off.

You can follow Lori and Jesse on their IMBA Trail Care Crew blog (they have a blog post up about the weekend titled They Still Got It), their @Subaru_IMBA_TCC Twitter feed, and their IMBA Trail Care Crew Facebook page.

See my album of 40+ photos (large slideshow, recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Carver Lakers scheming, on a such a summer’s day; MORC dirt bosses gear up for a big technical feature

Reed Smidt, Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Drew Diller Porter Million,  Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller
To the mountain bikers riding past this group of MORC dirt bosses (Drew Diller, Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Reed Smidt) on Friday night on the far west loop of the Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail, it probably looked like they were discussing the best place for a picnic. Only partially true.

Carver Lake Park, west loop, playground Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller, Porter Million Porter Million, Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller Future site of picnic area
They were mainly doing planning for an elaborate technical feature in an area called the Playground, using many of the logs that the City of Woodbury graciously piled nearby at their request.  Photo on the right: that’s where they’re planning to eventually put a picnic table.

[Apologies to the young whippersnappers reading this who are all WTF? about the title of the blog post. My geezerly brain sometimes shifts to ancient song lyrics like this one when I have to think of a title.]

Anatomy of a MORC MTB trail work crew: reshaping corners at Carver Lake Park

Those of us who love to ride have endured a miserable spring here in the upper midwest, with the trails closed due to wet conditions as often as they’ve been open.  The weather has also taken its toll on the trails indirectly because so many of the weekly work crew maintenance sessions have had to be cancelled.

So with the weather cooperating last Wednesday night, I followed a MORC work crew at Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail in Woodbury while they reshaped several corners.

Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak Matt Walkowiak Matt Walkowiak and Porter Million Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak
This section of the trail had become hazardous because it’s at the end of a relatively fast downhill. Riders were often hitting the tree or sliding out trying to go around it on the left. MORC Dirt Boss Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak removed the tree, and then dug up a lot of roots and moved a significant amount of dirt to both make a small berm and provide two places for rain water to flow away from it.

L to R: Ray Schwarz, Jeff Leech, Viv Jones, Aron Braggans Viv Jones and Aron Braggans Aron Braggans Viv Jones
Matt Walkowiak, Zach ?, William Sweasy 11-DSC01314 Zach ? and William Sweasy
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was shoveling, hauling, and hand tamping a lot of dirt to build up three troublesome, off-camber, eroded corners on another section of the trail.

Foreground L to R: Jeff Leech, Viv Jones, Porter Million, Drew Diller, Zach ? Porter Million Foreground: Zach ? and William Sweasy
With a couple of coaching sessions from Porter, the crew reshaped the problematic corners into berms. I later emailed Porter for an explanation and he wrote:

These berms were carefully constructed to avoid puddling in the instance of rain. By taking the slope of the turn into consideration, and by also adding a roller, the crew was able to design the berm to direct any water flow to a specific drainage area off the trail. By adding the properly constructed berms to this section, a rider should be able to carry their speed through the turns, and have less fear of washing out on what use to be a couple of loose, off-camber turns.

Viv Jones, Ray Schwarz, William Sweasy, Drew Diller, Zach ? L to R: Porter Million, Zach ?, Drew Diller, Matt Walkowiak, Aron Braggans, William Sweasy, Viv Jones, Jeff Leech, Ray Schwarz, Joel Hampton
And the crew saw everything that they hath made, and behold, it was very good. Right photo, L to R: Porter Million, Zach ?, Drew Diller, Matt Walkowiak, Aron Braggans, William Sweasy, Viv Jones, Jeff Leech, Ray Schwarz, Joel Hampton