Friday, August 28, 2015

Trimming and Trail Preparation is underway...

It's hard to believe that it actually took me until the month of August to begin trail work out at Lake Ahquabi this year. Not until August? Well, plenty of things contributed to that late beginning of trail work including me being involved in doing a lot of trail work at Banner as well as Center earlier in the summer. Toss in weather issues making it too wet earlier to get out there, and finish that off with me being out of town for all of June and up until mid-July. However, my attention is now on getting the trails at Lake Ahquabi in pristine condition. Bob Matthews has been at it as well and is doing quality work to get the trail system whipped back into shape.

It will come as no surprise that the amount of rain this year has contributed to incredible growth of the side and top canopy, weeds, grass and of course erosion. Last year, the tornado that hit Lake Ahquabi required massive attention on removing all of the fallen trees. One of the large trees left over from last year could be ridden under last season without removing it, but this year had fallen enough to require removing. Bob and I took it on with his Stihl chainsaw. He taught me how to use the tool and I am hooked!


I opened up the rest of the East Loop using my Earthquake Viper...


I've used the Viper so much this summer at Banner, Center, and now Ahquabi, that the bushings on one of the wheels are shot and need replacing!

This year is not as challenging as last year in terms of all the heavy tree removal, yet it is challenging to remove all of the trimming that has been done to open up the trails using the sickle. The trails are now open, but clearing of the debris is underway with plenty more debris to remove from the tread and toss into the woods. It takes about 2-3 hours every 100-200 yards to clear all the debris in the northern loops, so it is slow going up there. The main loop should go quicker, but I am also raking the tread to get rid of all the collected small twigs and sticks that can ruin derailleurs and spokes. Manual labor intensive - yes, but the end result will be worth it.

Bob Matthews posted up a good video on the Facebook Page of the progress he made after 5 1/2 hours of debris clearing yesterday in the east Mickey Mouse ear loop.

We could certainly use some help out there clearing debris. If you go out for a ride, you will quickly see what it is and where it is. If you can spare an hour or two of your time to throw the trimmed branches and limbs off of the trail and deeper into the woods - that would be great and much appreciated by all trail users (hikers, runners, bikes). Or even if you stop during your ride and toss two or three branches or limbs off the trail - that would be great as well.

Grooming and debris removal will continue as the next few weeks unfold.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Mullet Fall Classic 2015 Plans are Underway!

IMBCS season number 13 is just about to hit the midpoint of our season this weekend with the Sugar Bottom Scramble. I turned my trail work efforts to Lake Ahquabi this past week with mowing, trimming, and tree removal getting what was not whipped into shape - whipped into shape. I am happy to say things are looking good. One more section of trail to trim with the push behind string trimmer, and some clean up from the sickle that will then lead to meeting with the Ranger to decide on this year's actual route.

New for 2015 will include a Trail Run race at 9:30 am. So if you like to run - this could be a good way to start your day off getting some fresh dirt on your sneakers. It's one of the training grounds for the Simpson College and Indianola High School XC teams, so it is a natural fit to offer a trail run race this year. Both the Summerset Shootout and The Mullet Fall Classic are using our events as a testing ground for Trail Run Races to see how it goes with thoughts for future inclusion of this category at IMBCS events. If you have a spouse, friend, colleague, family member who likes to run - bring them along to try out the Trail Run Race.

I am also bringing back the special Fat Bike Race this year (2 full laps). Although it is not a recognized IMBCS category for tracking points, this is just a fun race for those who want to come out and race for the fun and prizes with other Fat Bike aficionados. You can also race your FAT Bike in any of the XC or Marathon categories for series points and competition for the medals and prizes in our traditional categories and age divisions. You do not have to be in the "FAT BIKE' division to race your FAT BIKE, but a special category will be there again racing for big meat awards (just like last year).

In addition, the Marathon is back. Kids Race is back. Chip Timing is back. PiPi's Toilets are back. Pot Luck is Back. Beer Garden is back. Post Race Party and fun are back.

Fall Racing. Prepare....