Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trimming Back the Nasty Stuff

This goes out a bit late, but kudos to the fine volunteers who have trimmed back poison oak on the South Yuba trail in the past month. These people include Mike Haire, Dave Lawell, George Maier and others. This time last year, the trail was badly overgrown with the nasty stuff, enough so to make it unusable to many of us. But now it is in great shape. Thanks guys!

I've been encouraging other trail users to bring clippers and folding saws with them on their hikes and rides. Local offices of federal land management agencies have seen budgets for trail maintenance staff slashed this year. Thus it is up to us to make up the difference.

On my rides, I carry a pair of cheapo hand clippers and this Felco folding saw. This saw is amazingly effective at trimming anything up to 5-6" thick. I've pruned back a lot of manzanita on trails near Osborne Hill in the past few months.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When Horses Attack!

(Just kidding with title of this posting :-)

From Joe Chavez of the Tahoe National Forest:

"FYI - The annual horse endurance event will be happing this weekend. They will be using some of the trails in the Burlington area and Pioneer Trail. They posted a sign at Chalk Bluff Staging area last weekend. Please let your club members know this will be going on. Thanks, Joe"

Please note that there is yet another equestrian event the following weekend too. So unless you enjoy hiking or riding a mountain bike through dust and horse turds, find another place to ride. Where? The South Yuba is in great shape, as local mountain bikers have spend many hours trimming back poison oak in the past few weeks.

And lest my equestrian friends think I am picking on them, let me acknowledge that the Gold Country Trails Council just put in a ton of trailwork on the Halllujah Trail extension and Rock Creek Trail. Rock on, Wilbur!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Improvements to the Excelsior Trail

Several volunteers with the Nevada County Woods Riders dedicated some quality volunteer time to improving switchbacks on the Excelsior Trail near Burlington Ridge. According to Joe Chavez of the Tahoe National Forest:

"I had two NCWR volunteers help me reroute the 2nd climbing turn on Excelsior Trail (bottom of 19 turns) on Sunday (5/20/07). They each contributed 3 hours (including driving time). The old one was too steep coming out of it and was rutting pretty heavily already."

More work needs to be done on this trail, but I am glad to see the original route improved.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Help Shape the Future of Riding in Auburn

Jim Haagen-Smit reminds us:

"Please plan on attending a workshop on May 30, 6:30 pm in Auburn - Canyon View Community Center, 471 Maidu Drive, Auburn.

The Management Plan for the Auburn State Recreation is being updated. This includes our favorite trails from Auburn-to-Cool, to the Foresthill Divide Loop."

I agree; this is a very important process and we need to work with State Parks to improve and optimize mountain biking opportunities at ASRA. These management plans are where important issues are decided, such as implementing or improving new trails, resolving user conflicts and establishing cooperation between user groups and State Parks.

Learn more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

High Elevation Trails Melting Out

On Sunday, a bunch of us rode Blue Lake Trail > Grouse Ridge Trail > Spaulding Lake Trail. For those of you who don't know this route, it sits near the junction of Highway 20 and 80 in the Tahoe National Forest and tops out at about 6100'. We encountered very little snow and enjoyed a gorgeous ride on some wickedly technical terrain. The Grouse Ridge Trail descent is as crazy as ever; "rock garden" does not even begin to describe it.

I managed to shear off my derailleur hanger early in the ride, but was able to make a completely functioning conversion to a single speed, with SS-like gearing (~32x18). So I got to experience the rockiest terrain around here on a hardtail singlespeed. Funny enough, I really enjoyed this setup and was able to ride all but a few sections.

Much beer and chips were had at Fuller Lake at the end of the ride.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It is Official: Bill Haire Rocks!

On Friday at the California Trails and Greenway Conference, Bill Haire will receive a Lifetime Achievement award for his ceaseless work on trails over the course of his career. Whether as a USFS staff member, Nevada County Land Trust Trails Coordinator or plain old volunteer, every single mountain biker on this list has benefited from his efforts on local trails. There are outstanding trails near Downieville, Bullards Bar, Burlington Ridge, Grass Valley/Nevada City, Grouse Ridge and elsewhere that would never have come to pass without Bill's quiet but relentless efforts. And sometimes, it seems that he is just getting started (or at least he likes to think so).

The next time you see Bill, be sure to thank and congratulate him. Chances are, he'll have a volunteer trail project that needs you some time in the next few weeks :-)