Thursday, July 31, 2008

Race Route Clearance...

I met with Josh, the head ranger out at Lake Ahquabi State Park today, for final clearance on the August 10th race route and to talk about all of the details.

We drove the intended course in a 4 wheel drive ATV to make sure the route was the best for both the public and the riders safety. The course is in good shape in spite of all the rain we've had. There are still about 3 or 4 mud bogs, but they can be ridden through on a bike. He showed me a neat way to avoid the campground area, the Sunday line-up at the dump station and still maintain the distance of the loop. Actually, this new way adds some more distance and more scenic trail along the lake. It means we will have to cross a paved road in the state park two times instead of the one I was planning on, but I think the additional trail will be worth it. I will have volunteers at both crossings to hold traffic as bikers cross the paved road.

The DNR crew is going to mow the growth on one section of loop that will take us by an additional pond and allow the entire race loop to have no 2 way bike traffic at any point. Sweet. We found a couple of trees that need to be removed with chainsaws on the backwood trails that are not maintained. Josh promised the DNR crew will make a sweep through the race route on Friday, August 8th to cut and clear out anything that needs to be trimmed. Perfect!!! I'll do some trimming of things myself in the next week as the rain has made things grow like wildfire at the park. Vegetation is bursting forth in such conditions.

I have to get out and measure the total loop with these new sections to have an exact mileage so we can determine the number of laps. The route is shaping up to be an excellent race course that will challenge all. I will do most of the course marking on Friday, August 8th and Saturday, August 9th for those interested in pre-riding. Final markings will be done on Sunday morning before the race.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Trail Work...

My wife and I have done a few loops to see what the current condition of the trail is like out at Ahquabi following the ice storm damage from December, the removal of the Honeysuckle by the DNR and all of the spring thunderstorms.

As you can see, there are a lot of downed limbs, branches, and debris on the trail:

Keeping up with the wife

The DNR has been around the main loop with chainsaws, but the backwoods trails need some chainsaw work.

Here's a corner that was in need of a good raking to remove the loose debris:

No Cellphones allowed!

I've completed cleaning one of the backwoods loops with my rake which took about 4 days of trail work to complete. I was able to move all of the fallen trees from the trail except for one which will need a chainsaw to remove. I will now start the other backwoods loop before moving back to the main trail to remove fallen debris and to rake up most of the loose stuff.

The forest canopy can get quite thick and low at certain points on the trail. There are a lot of low hanging branches that I am trimming back so nobody loses an eye or gets their face scratched out on the race course. Here's a shot from early last fall to show the canopy:

Forest at Ahquabi

And here is a sample of the amount of leaves on the doubletrack in the fall that I am currently raking to get the trail to dry out and make the surface super-fast:

Riding the Trail