Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scott's Flat Trail Improvements (Lakeside)

This morning, Rick Weaver and I put in some volunteer hours on the BONC-adopted Scott's Flat Trail. Under Rick's expert guidance, we took out the big downed pine across the trail. Bucking a large suspended tree like this is beyond my pay grade, so I just took pictures and helped roll away what Rick lopped off.

Next, we worked on a nearby section where water backed up in a few places. With a pick and shovel, we dug water outlets on the side of the flume to allow water to flow off the trail. Because the mud is so saturated, it will be some time before the trailbed dries out enough to sculpt the final product. But this is a great start.

Some additional pictures.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BONCers Improve Round Mountain

Be sure to check out the Round Mountain trail improvements BONC volunteers accomplished today. With many new faces, a solid turnout, newly sharpened tools (thank you Land Trust) and near perfect trail building conditions, we kicked butt:

Re-built one of the steep RM Trail switchbacks - Matt and Dan led the charge on this one, sculpting a beautiful, more sustainable route.

Created an entirely new switchback on the Upper Hudson Trail - Dieter and company artfully built a new climbing turn which replaced a badly eroded fall line section. Across the road, I used a pick axe to eliminate the water trap that created a nasty axle-deep bog in the wetter months.

Cut bench and pruned - The rest of us focused on re-establishing the proper width of many portions of the South Yuba and Round Mountain Trails and pruning back vegetation. We also cut some drainage outlets.

Repaired signage - Terry, Rich and I installed a new sign post at the RM/S Yuba intersection. A big thank you to Chris Rose who donated the post.

Additional thanks to Sierra Coffee Roasters, New Belgium Brewing, Bill Haire, the BLM and all out fantastic volunteers! BONC's next official trail volunteer day is on Saturday, January 28 at Hirschman Pond, though you can also help out the Scott's Flat Trail Alliance as they continue work on this new trail.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Round Mountain Trail Volunteer Day - Sat. 12/17

Help us improve Round Mountain singletrack near Nevada City! We'll throw down for free New Belgium cold beer and hot chocolate. With a good turnout, we can accomplish our tasks quickly and ride these great trails afterwards.

We will place and repair signage, create drainage features, cut bench, trim back overgrowth and have a good time hanging out in this beautiful area. Meet at at Merrimas and Rock Creek Road @ 10AM on Saturday, 12/17/11. Waiver signature required. Hope you can join us!

See map.

YBONC/BONC at Victorian Christmas

If you get a chance, be sure to stop by the BONC/YBONC booth at Victorian Xmas in Nevada City. We have a raffle and other goodies for sale, all of which benefit the Scott's Flat Trail project. We also have maps and a schedule of 2012 BONC events. Stop by and say hi!

On Sunday, my daughter baked and sold a bunch of cookies for the booth to support the trail. Her cookies may make a reappearance, who knows. Don't let an 11 year old girl out-donate you! And remember, you can always support the project online.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Singlespeeding in Nevada County

I recently built up my first dedicated singlespeed rig. After ~15 rides, I've fallen in love with SS riding. Why you ask? Well, I am trying to understand myself, but it goes something like this:

As a 12 year resident of Grass Valley, this flavor of riding has provided a new set of challenges on trails I've ridden countless times since moving here. Hills that were mundane or routine are now significant physical challenges. Cleaning them are often personal triumphs of strength and determination (or in my head they are). At the end of a ride, I feel thoroughly worked in a new, different way. I very much feel that I've accomplished something. The 29er wheels make the hardtail thing much more fun for me, as the big wheels smooth out the rough sections.

Not all local rides are SS friendly (or at least not with my current level of skill/strength/stamina). But routes that I find well suited to SSing include: Bullards, Miners/Pioneer/Scott's Drop, certain trails at Osborne Hill/Empire Mine, Auburn and Round Mountain. I am learning that you want rolling trails which are less flat. Big climbs are OK too, as long as they are not crazy steep.

I plan to explore more trails on my SS to see which are fun and which are beyond my abilities. South Yuba Trail is on my agenda.

ABOUT THE BIKE: Built on a 2011 Specialized Rockhopper SL 29 frame, my bike uses a 32/20 gear combination, which suits my desire to clean as many sections as possible without spinning out too much on flat portions. I use a suspension fork (Reba XX with a remote lockout) and super wide Easton Haven carbon bars for leverage.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Scott's Flat Trail Construction: First Impressions

Today, I had the chance to check out progress with the new Scott's Flat Trail construction on USFS land. Note that this trail is not open yet and is only in a rough cut phase; please do not ride the trail yet. Lots of finish work is yet needed, then a winter of precipitation.

The Scott's Flat Alliance construction team is doing a great job thus far. The trail winds through the forest and will feature moderate berms and dips/jumps where you will be able to enjoy some airtime, if that is your thing. I spoke with Chris Rose, who is leading the chainsaw crew and he is pleased as well.

The first section starts on flat terrain, so it might be challenging to provide adequate drainage. It is only after significant rainfall that you tell for certain where water will collect. I always think that a trail isn't really done until at least few years after construction when you get to tweak things here and there.

Please donate!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trip Report: Paradise Royale

Recently, I had the privilege of riding Paradise Royale, a mountain bike-specific trail west of Garberville, CA (Humboldt County).

This trail was designed and built by IMBA Trail Solutions in cooperation with the BLM and volunteers. The trail showcases state-of-the-art building techniques pioneered by Joey Klein and other IMBA builders. These folks set the standard for trail design in California and elsewhere. I've seen their handiwork in several locations and in my opinion, no one approaches their skill and design abilities.

The trail traverses thick forests of Douglas Fir in the beautiful King Range, which towers over the Lost Coast. The trail is not particularly rocky; you could enjoy it on a hardtail or short travel bike. The features I appreciated most include:

SWITCHBACKS - Despite steep terrain, the uphill switchbacks are built with a more even grade than on many other trails. This requires significant hillside excavation and/or cribbing, but the result is switchbacks which are more sustainable and fun to ride.

GRADE - The builders were not afraid to create short steep sections, some of which are at 15%. This made for fun, challenging sections (both up and down) for mountain bikers. I wish local US Forest staff would accept such grades for short portions, as they make trails much more interesting. I've often found 5% grade trails to be monotonous.

MTB SPECIFIC FEATURES - The trail offers unpredictable twists and turns for riders. If you like to catch air, there are many lips and tabletops from which you can launch (these also serve as effective water diversions). There are alternate lines with rock drops, log skinnies and fun obstacles. And of course big burmed turns on the downhills.

TOLKEN TERRAIN PARK - This adjacent area includes a pump track, rollers, big gap jumps and more. This recent addition to the trail system is very cool in that it weaves through forest trees, as opposed to creating ugly dirt areas I see at other bike parks.

I would not say that Paradise Royale is quite worth the 5 hour drive from Nevada County, unless you include some of the excellent nearby attractions (Shelter Cove, redwoods, hiking, surfing, etc.) as part of your plans. The trail is currently only 12 miles long. However, soon IMBA will complete a nine mile extension, so your trip could include a 30 mile epic and a second day of shorter options. Someday, perhaps IMBA Trail Solutions can build a local trail or two in our backyard.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bullards Volunteer Event Postponed

This weekend's Bullards Bar volunteer event has been postponed due to weather. We will announce a new date ASAP.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Video: Gold Country Trails Council

An interesting video about our friends with the Gold Country Trails Council. Includes a nice mention of other local trail groups and how we do so well cooperating on multi-use trails:

We have a remarkable relationship between equestrians and cyclists in Nevada County.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Bullards Bar Volunteer Day - 11/19

NOTE- This event is postponed due to weather. We will announce a new date ASAP.

Recently, Moss and the Forest Service surveyed Bullards Bar trails in preparation for our 11/19 volunteer event. There is one section of the Bullard's Bar trail which will require a re-route; it is between Dark Day and 7-Ball Trail. It is currently dangerous to ride or walk. There are also some downed trees.

Join us as we re-build this blown out section of our singlespeed-singletrack paradise. Meet at 10AM on Saturday, 11/19 at the 7-Ball trailhead off Marysville Road (see map).

Note that the trail section is ~1.25 miles from where we will meet. If you bring your bike, we can access the site quicker.

Afterwards, we will ride and hang out. Free beer provided courtesy of BONC.  Please bring long sleeves, long pants, appropriate shoes, a snack and some water. Ride afterward, helmets and waiver signature required.

RECAP: Round Mountain Gala Ride

In spite of 37 degrees and overcast skies, we had a big turnout for yesterday's Gala Ride at Round Mountain. Many of the participants had never ridden RM trails, so it was fun sharing this local trail network with everyone. Jon Pritchett led the advanced group while I corralled the rest. Many cold beers and tall stories were shared after the ride. It was nice to have SERT and FATRAC members join us.

Join us for more upcoming BONC events:

Bullards Bar Volunteer Day -11/19
Gala Ride at Bullards Bar - 12/3
Round Mountain Volunteer Day - 12/17

See you on the trail!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Today at Bullards

Today, I did an inventory of several Bullard's trails in preparation for BONC's trailwork day on November 19th. Recent storms took down a fair number of trees (~10) on the Bullard's Bar Trail itself, but Schoolhouse and Eight Ball looked fine. If the USFS does not get to these before our volunteer day, we hope take them out. Later this week, Moss and Joe Chavez will do a further inventory of additional needed improvements.

There are two blown out sections: one east of Dark Day and the monster one west of the boat launch. Once the USFS repairs the giant canyon (perhaps in 2012), BONC will cut a new section of short trail to replace the portion taken out last year.

NOTE: If you or anyone else takes out the aforementioned downed trees, please let me know so that we don't waste volunteer time hiking out to these areas, thanks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Do We Build A Trail?

This following article appears in the latest Bear Yuba Land Trust newsletter. It describes how the Land Trust successfully creates so many local trails:

"Bear Yuba Land Trust has been successful in building a number of trails in recent years in an area where prior to that the only trails were those on public lands managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the State Parks. How did we do it? We did it with partners in each and every case. Trail building is a complex and often difficult task requiring securing trail easements, permits, completing environmental studies, and lining up funds and resources for trail construction. This is where the partners come into the picture with various degrees of involvement.

The Hirschman Trail is a joint venture with the City of Nevada City, the property owner. A Memorandum of Understanding set out the responsibilities of each party. The Land Trust prepared the grant application, designed the trail, prepared specifications and provided oversight during construction while the City was the grant applicant, completed environmental studies, secured permits, assumed accountability for all expenses, contracting, signing, and completion of the grant stipulations. Working together as partners, the trail was completed.

Another recent trail project is the Rattlesnake Ridge Trails which were constructed by volunteers from the Rattlesnake Neighborhood Association and the Land Trust on trail easements donated by the developer of Rattlesnake Ridge and on County Road Right-of-Way. The Neighbors came to the Land Trust for assistance in designing and construction of the trails, providing additional volunteer assistance and securing a County encroachment permit to build the trail. Without this cooperative effort, it’s not likely that the trail system would have been completed.

The Deer Creek Tribute Trail on the north side of Deer Creek was built with the involvement of a very large number of groups including Friends of Deer Creek (Sierra Streams Institute), American Rivers, Champion Road Homeowners Association, City of Nevada City, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Irrigation District, Sierra Fund, and the Land Trust. Each had a role in the building of the trail which provides a route through Nevada City and downstream paralleling Deer Creek on a combination of sidewalks, roads, trails, and canal banks to a bridge crossing Deer Creek at the lower end of the project. This 8 mile long trail system will soon be complimented by a trail on the south side of Deer Creek from Jordan Street to Providence Mine Road following the abandoned Rough and Ready Ditch. Partners for this project are the City of Nevada City and Sierra Streams Institute.

Other trails and partners include the Loma Rica Trail (Loma Rica Ranch, County of Nevada, Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District), the Cascade Canal and Orene Wetherall Trails (Save Our Historic Canals, Banner Mountain Homeowners, Rotary, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Irrigation District). The Alan Thiesen Trail was built by Alta Sierra Property Owners Association (ASPOA) and the Land Trust. ASPOA provided funding for the brush clearing and volunteers to assist Land Trust volunteers with the construction and on- going maintenance. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the “Adopt-A-Trail” program where routine trail maintenance is accomplished by volunteers who have agreed to take care of the trail.

Our volunteer with the longest stint, Deane Dvorcek, has been caring for a portion of the Litton Trail since 2004. We currently need Adopt-A-Trail volunteers for Litton, Cascade Canal Access, Orene Wetherall and Hirschman Trails. If you are interested in adopting a trail segment, contact Bill Haire.

Bill Haire Trails Coordinator"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Round Mountain Gala Ride 11/5

Join FATRAC and BONC at our upcoming Gala as we ride BONC-maintained singletrack at Round Mountain. Meet at at Merrimas and Rock Creek Road @ 10AM on Saturday, 11/5/11. This is a No Rider Left Behind event. Cold beer will be provided after the ride by BONC. Helmets and waiver
signature required. See map:

See you on the trail!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Local Youth Race on Saturday

The NU Miners race team and others will compete at a local race venue on Saturday, so please join in and cheer them on!

The races kicks off 11AM off Conservation Camp Road as you head up Highway 20. Look for the event signs. Bring your cow bells, camping chairs, cameras, and appetite to enjoy a day on the Tahoe National Forest. Horn of the Bull Caterer will be catering this event with it’s famous green sauce topping on tamales, tacos, quesadillas, etc. Cheese quesadillas for vegetarians. Bring your own water; there is none available on site.

The race is open to middle school age teens as well and they are not required to be in school bike clubs. Same day registration requires parental signature on release waiver, and a $5 one day USACycling License, plus the race fee.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trails at Rice's Crossing

The Bear Yuba Land Trust is applying for a grant to take title to Rice's Crossing, which comprises thousands of acres southwest of Bullards Bar. Should they be successful, the Land Trust will plan and build many miles of trail on this property with connectivity to the Bullards trail system. Very exciting stuff. See map at left.

BONC recently submitted a letter of support for this initiative. Also, BONC director Terry Hundemer recently visited the property with Land Trust staff.

This is one of many such trail-related projects the Land Trust is pursuing at this time. In the near future, the Land Trust may acquire tens of thousands of acreage, from south county to Grouse Ridge. We are fortunate that our Land Trust supports the vision of balanced recreation and preservation and BONC wants to help them build more trails for our community.

BONC continues to strengthen our involvement and support with the BYLT as we recognize that no local entity creates as many nearby trails as our Land Trust. The more we support these efforts, the more we can have input on trail access, design and location. We hope that other local mountain bikers will also step up, either at Land Trust trailwork days or via financial support.

Monday, October 10, 2011

RECAP: United Trail Day 2011

This year's United Trail Day event was bigger than ever, with my guestimate coming in at 100 participants. The Nevada County Woods Riders, Gold Country Trails Council, BONC, Nevada Union Miners and Union Hill School Bearcats all convened to deliver some impressive trailwork on Burlington Ridge area trails.

The crew I led brushed the Towle and Hallelujah trails, which very much needed our attention. I started to take pictures, but really, what is the point when Robert Lowe is out there working his photographic magic. See his event pictures.

I was very pleased to see the high turnout of young volunteers. We set a great example for these kids when we demonstrate through example the meaning and value of trail stewardship. Big thanks to Chuck Ross, Sam Raymond, Eric Newman and others for bringing the kids. And to the Gold Country Trails Council that fed them a great meal afterwards.

FYI: If you are looking for a riding destination this week, look no further than Burlington Ridge. Jon Pritchett, Jamiel Fox and I rode it extensively yesterday and it is tacky and sweet. Best conditions all year.

Friday, September 30, 2011

October BONC Newsletter

The BONC October newsletter is now available online. Be sure to check it out.

This issue includes an article about the NU Miners high school mountain bike team, plus details about upcoming local mountain bike events.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FHDL Trail Story

Today, the Sacramento Bee published a very positive story about FATRAC and the Forest Hill Divide Loop Trail. This is indeed a great trail and one of my favorites to ride in the winter months once the temperatures cool down.

Thank you FATRAC!

United Trail Day - Saturday October 8th

Please join us United Trails Day on Saturday 10/8/11, 9AM at Skillman Campground. It is probably the most important trail volunteer day of the year and by far the most rewarding.

We will again be cutting new singletrack as we extend the Hallelujah Trail east past Skillman. Cyclists will volunteer alongside moto riders and equestrians as we build more trail for everyone to enjoy.

This event is important as it shows other local trail users that mountain bikers are committed to working cooperatively on our trails. All participants will enjoy BBQ; the spread last year was amazing!

Read that last sentence again.... FREE HIGH QUALITY FOOD! See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Joe Chavez Speaks to BONC

A great big thank you to Joe Chavez of the Tahoe National Forest, who spoke at our BONC gathering last night. As recreational officer, Joe talked about trail projects in four areas of the Tahoe NF: Highway 20, Downieville, Forest City and Grouse Ridge. Each region has a specific trail initiatives. We talked about many items, but like BONC, itself, this recap is focused on Highway 20 and Grouse Ridge. Joe made the following points pertinent to BONC:

In Highway 20 trail projects/re-routes include Scott's Flat and the Pipeline Trail (reroute of the steep trail down to Rock Creek Nature Study Area), whereas Grouse Ridge projects involve extension of the Bowman Mountain Trail, the Lindsey Lakes and Crooked Lakes re-routes and a new trail between Fuller, Rucker and Blue Lakes. You'll see some BONC volunteer efforts at Grouse Ridge soon.

The capitol improvement budget the USFS had for constructing and maintaining trails has all but vanished. Because of this, the Tahoe National Forest relies heavily on BONC, GCTC, etc. to fill the gap. Joe mentioned that focus on new trail projects may be metered out in coming years, as the TNF has so many other projects to focus on and no additional staff or resources.

According to Joe, there is good progress on the Scott's Flat Trail. The Land Trust required some modifications to the original route and the ologists asked for some changes as well, but these are resolved now. Next steps include finalizing the NEPA (environmental docs) for the USFS portion of the trail, then NID will need file CEQA (state enviro docs) for the trail on their lands. NID management is still sorting through all this, so who knows how long it may be before the trail comes down to the lake. Joe hopes to start construction on the trail this fall, if only on the USFS portion.

We still hope to bring in RTP funding for the South Yuba Ridge Trail project, but it may require some volunteer labor. A necessary easement across private land is still in the works.

A terrific meeting. Look for more great speakers at upcoming BONC gatherings soon! You can always support BONC by becoming a member.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trail Between Grass Valley and Nevada City

Today's Union has an article about Jerry Henderson's effort to create a trail between Grass Valley and Nevada City. Jerry has quietly plugged away at this initiative for years and now is seeing some traction for his efforts.

Trails close to town like this are crucial and I applaud Jerry's efforts to collaborate on this trail.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scott's Flat Trail Web Page

BONC has launched a web page devoted to the Scott's Flat Trail project. Learn about this exciting endeavor, read news, view maps, volunteer and donate. We will update the page as the project progresses, so be sure to bookmark.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Building a Destination

Several friends and I spent most of last week riding the incredible trail system of Park City, Utah. What strikes me about PC riding is how varied it is: buff singletrack, stunt riding, DH lift, rocky chutes, epic cross country, bike park jump lines, paved bike paths, you name it. Hundreds of miles of singletrack weave through the aspen forests above PC.

So as a trail advocate, I wonder how all this came to be. Locals tell me it is the result of collaboration between local and federal government, ski resorts, bike shops and different user groups. There is perpetual trail building in PC; I spied trail building equipment and freshly cut bench on almost all of the sections I rode, all of it high quality construction.

Park City is a wealthy resort town and has decided to partly fund trail planning and construction with a restaurant tax. It makes sense. In the non-ski season, there is a massive excess inventory of accommodations, restaurant seats, etc. A world class trail system brings many visitors to the PC and keeps the cash registers humming in the off-season.

It takes a lot of vision, determination, time and perseverance to create what Park City has. Mountain bike destinations do not happen overnight. There is a lot to learn from the success of Park City trail advocates and clearly, no one group can take all the credit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Equestrians, Hikers and Mountain Bikers Welcome

On Sunday, I saw the cover of the Union Sunday edition and it made me smile ear to ear. The front page headline shouted out: "On the Trail: Equestrians, Hikers and Mountain Bikers Welcome".

I've long preached the virtues of working together with different user groups to produce a larger inventory of local trails. The Gold Country Trails Council shares this vision, which is wonderful. Sometimes, I think that as a trail community, we take this cooperative spirit for granted. In Marin, Folsom, Santa Rosa and other Northern California locals, different user groups can be at each others throats fighting over trail access. Here we do things different.

Including multi-use trails in our planning means that we all have more trails to use. We can and should build mountain-bike specific features or even entire trails for sure. But it is worth recognizing that a shared use approach leverages the collective interests and resources of all of us, instead of just one group.

If you have not see the Union article, check it out.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Help Move a Trail Project Along

The hardest part of creating a new trail is acquiring all the necessary permissions to do so. This sucks but it is undeniable. Designing and building the trail can almost seem incidental when compared to the lengthy, arduous process of planning and advocacy. It can be frustrating to those of us who want to just start cutting singletrack.

The Scott's Flat Trail is no different. The volunteer group leading this effort has a done an exceptional job moving the process along. But of course hurdles remain: a trail easement needs to be established and NID has to author and submit CEQA documentation (state environmental review). Sometimes unforeseen additional hurdles pop up months down the road.

But you don't need to just cross your fingers. You can help this great project in one very key way. The USFS is accepting public comments about the proposed trail. Your letters of support are needed. Please send yours as soon as possible, as the deadline of September 16 is fast approaching. Here is a sample letter.

You can also view a map of the proposed route here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bowman Mountain Trail and Beyond

Jon Pritchett led the two of us on a fantastic loop in the Grouse Ridge area. The highlight was the Bowman Mountain Trail. This singletrack affords amazing vistas as you ride high above Bowman Lake and look north toward the Sierra Buttes.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, the Gold Country Council is working on a great project whereby the Bowman Lake Trail will comprise of a full loop off the Lindsey Lakes Trail. This terrific volunteer project shows that local recreational user groups can and should be building trails on Forest Service land. We have the skills, motivation and ability to create great riding experiences as mountain bikers and equestrians.

It was nice to ride with someone who shares my love of Grouse Ridge's technical trails and amazing scenery. Jon is passionate about expanding local riding opportunities; we are all fortunate to have him as a leader of BONC. Like myself, he sees no reason why we should have to go to Oregon or Utah to experience first class riding when we can develop it in our own backyard. We have lots of public land, cooperative land managers, user groups and the Land Trust to make it happen. In fact, more trails near Grouse Ridge will see expansion/re-routes in the future with mtb/equestrian trail expertise and efforts.

If you are curious about our route: Fuller Lake > Bowman Lake Road > Lindsey Lakes Trail turnoff > a bunch of fireroads > Bowman Mountain Trail > Lindsey Lakes > Crooked Lakes > Carr/Feely > roads back to the Fuller. Next time, I plan to add Grouse Ridge Trail + Spaulding Lake Trail to the end of this loop.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Downed Trees and the Dakine Builder's Pack

This evening, I bucked the downed oak and cedar that blocked the Scott's Flat Trail for the past few months or so. With NID permission of course.

To access this section, I rode in wearing my Dakine Builder's Pack. This nifty backpack held my chainsaw and chaps, with lots of room for other tools, water, hardware, first aid supplies, etc. The Builder's Pack is a worthy investment for anyone who wants to access trailwork sections on bike or foot.

My chainsaw fits securely on the outside pocket with the saw bar sticking upward (I use a protective plastic cover to prevent a crash from turning exceptionally nasty). I wouldn't want to climb anything especially steep or long with this setup and and I noticed that my rear suspension and tire compressed more with the added weight. Also, you have to watch out for low hanging limbs, as the bar sticks up above and behind your head.

However, riding with it is surprisingly easy. I was able to ride all of the Scott's Flat Trail (including over the step-up bridges and roots) without a problem. Dakine did a good job designing the pack such that your chainsaw is balanced well the user's back. Chris Rose borrowed mine for a while and found it "ninja". I sorta had to pry it back from him :-)

The Builder's Pack is not cheap ($170 or so), but I'll use it so much over the years working on local trails, no doubt I'll get my money's worth from it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

September BONC Newsletter

The September BONC newsletter is online. Read about the latest in Nevada County mtb advocacy, riding and social events.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grouse Ridge Trailwork by the GCTC

My blog probably under reports the local volunteer efforts of our equestrian friends, but here is some recognition for last weekend's trail improvement event by the Gold Country Trails Council.

Nine hearty souls from the GCTC cleared overgrowth and downed trees from Loney Meadow, Crooked Lakes and Bowman Mountain trails north of Grouse Ridge. They cleared all the way to Penner Lake, to the back of Bowman Mountain and everything from the Loney Meadow campground to the access roads/trails to those places.

The Grouse Ridge trail network still needs some additional love, especially with so many downed trees on the Grouse Ridge Trail. The area is a beautiful corner of Nevada County and on behalf of all trail users, I thank the GCTC volunteers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sample Letter of Support - Scott's Drop Trail

Below is a letter of support I've authored for the Scott's Flat Trail project. Please feel free to use it, edit any part of it or write your own. Please submit your letter by September 16!

Genice Froehlich
District Ranger
Yuba River Ranger Station
15924 Highway 49
Camptonville, CA 95922

Dear Genice Froehlich,

This letter is in support of the Scott’s Flat Trail proposal. This is an outstanding project which replaces a steep, user-built trail with a longer, more environmentally sustainable one.

This trail provides key connectivity between the Pioneer National Recreational Trail and the highly popular Scott’s Flat Lake recreational area. The US Forest Service and Nevada Irrigation District have worked together to ensure that the chosen trail route respects acceptable environmental standards as it passes across both private and public land. Volunteers have contributed significant amount of time supporting the US Forest Service as it plans this trail. The Bear Yuba Land Trust has donated time to establish a public trail easement to protect permanent access to this important recreational amenity.

As a local mountain biker, I recognize the need for environmentally sustainable trails which provide important outdoor recreational opportunities. I thank the different agencies, non-profits and volunteers who have contributed to this cause. The project deserves the continued support of the Forest Service.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scotts Flat Trail - Proposed Route Map

View Scott's Flat Trail in a larger map

Joe Chavez of the US Forest Service forwarded a map to me to share that shows the final proposed route (see full-sized map). The trail follows a moderate grade as it descends from the Five Mile House to join the existing lakeside trail.

This map is *approximate* and I'll update it as necessary. The route may be subject to change before the final docs are approved. Where the trail crosses NID property, NID requires a trail easement which the Land Trust is working to provide. And of course, funding and volunteers are needed to support construction.

But we should end up with a great local trail. Please consider supporting this endeavor as you can. Jon Pritchett can answer your questions. See my earlier post on this trail.

From everything I hear, last night's fundraiser for the Scott's Flat Trail was a resounding success. Good job everyone! Lots of interest and excitement about this project. Sorry to miss this event, as I was out of town on business.

UPDATE 8/13 - You can view the original USFS map of this trail here. Also, the entire trail measures to be about 4.5 miles from the 5 Mile House to the dam.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Accolades for BONC-FATRAC Volunteers

A few notes from the Truckee Donner Land Trust. First from John Svahn:
I work for the Truckee Donner Land Trust. I just wanted to say thanks for coming out and volunteering on the trails at Waddle Ranch, and I look forward to riding on your new work! I also wanted to pass along that both of our trails guys, Kevin and I, are avid mountain bikers as is our entire staff. (Entire staff of 5...) We try to design trails for a fun mtb experience whenever possible, and look to “retrofit” existing ones to make mtb riding more fun as well. Our flagship trails project, the Donner Lake Rim Trail, has sections that were designed with mountain bikes as the primary user, and hopefully they deliver.
And from Kevin Starr:
I just wanted to say thanks again to all those who participated and helped with this last weekend’s event. It was great to see so many people fired up on the trail work and I look forward to getting this event going next year again.

Monday, August 01, 2011

BONC Gala Ride - 8/6/11

Join us for a BONC Gala Ride as we explore Osborne Hill area trails. Meet at Penn Gate at Empire Mine on Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 9AM.

We'll ride formal and informal trails in this network. As usual, we'll have beer and drinks for participants. Looking for another ride leader or two, please let us know if you want to ride and help out. Helmets and waiver signature required.

See you there!

Recap: MTB Tahoe North 2011

BONC, FATRAC and Hammering Wheels hooked up with the Truckee Donner Land Trust for a exceptional weekend of building and riding Tahoe singletrack.

Volunteers converted 460 yards of old fireroad into swoopy singletrack at Waddle Ranch, a 1600 acre Land Trust acquisition adjacent to Martis Valley and Northstar. The Land Trust was very receptive to our ideas about trail design and enabled us to implement berms and mtb-friendly features. The vision is to create an area-wide trail network for all of us to enjoy.

As always, we took in lots of primo North Shore riding, including Tahoe Rim Trail, Sawtooth and Northstar area trails. IMHO, Tahoe riding is the best in California and mountain bikers will do well to support the Land Trust, TRT Association and other organizations that create these A+ trails.

Big thanks to New Belgium Brewing, who kindly donated their excellent beers for volunteers to enjoy.

Pictures of the event. Hope you can join us next year!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

August BONC Newsletter

The August BONC newsletter is online. Read about the latest in Nevada County mtb advocacy, riding and social events.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Movie Event to Benefit Scott's Flat Trail

Join us for a benefit showing of "Pedal Driven" on August 10th @ 6PM at the Five Mile House east of Nevada City. Proceeds from this event go toward the Scott's Flat Trail project, which will result in ~4.5 miles of high quality singletrack between the 5 Mile House and Scott's Flat Lake.

Pedal Driven explores the long-standing conflicts between riders and the federal agencies charged with managing our public lands. The evening will also feature speakers, d'oeuvres and a silent auction. Cost is $30 for adults, $10 ages 11-17, $5 age 10-under.

If you have any questions about this outstanding trail project or how you can support it, please contact Jon Pritchett.

See my earlier post about this forthcoming trail.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Matching Program for Trails

Fact is, no one builds more public trails closer to town than the Nevada County Land Trust. They are the premier trail building organization in our area. Over the past decade or so, Bill Haire and his colleagues have forged relationships with private land owners and government agencies and no one can match their record of success of putting trails on the ground close to home. The result is that more users are on more NCLT-created trails for both recreational and commuting purposes.

The Land Trust also has an incredible donor who is willing to match donations to trail work in Nevada County dollar for dollar up to $10K. Mountain bikers and other trail aficionados can take this opportunity to double your contribution and thereby bring even more trails to Nevada County, like the brand new Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City.

Trails don't just happen. Donate today!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bullards Report

I don't usually ride Bullards in July, but conditions in the Sierra are not usual this year. Today I rode everything east of Dark Day.

The trails are in very good shape. If you pay attention, you can see evidence everywhere of the destruction wrought on this trail system by the winter. BONC volunteers, Woods Riders and others put in enormous efforts to repair and improve the trails; without this, I would not be able to ride there today. As is typical at Bullards, there are some sections that need short reroutes or a tree taken out. BONC will host another trailwork day later this year to address some of these issues, so stay tuned.

In the 15 years I've ridden Bullards, I've never seen the lake so high (see pictures).

The landslide west of Dark Day is still gianormous and impassable with a bike unless you are very determined. The USFS still plans to repair this ASAP and rebuild this short section.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Save the RTP Program TODAY!

IMBA is urging us to help save the Recreational Trail Program (RTP) and well we should. The RTP is very cost effective and provides funding for projects like the South Yuba Ridge Trail and other local trails. It creates healthy outdoor opportunities and draws tourist dollars to towns like ours. From IMBA:

We urge you to send a short email TODAY to your members of Congress:

Tell them that you want to see funding for biking and walking programs preserved.

If some Congressional leaders, like Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe, get their way, dedicated funding for three crucial programs — Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails — will be eliminated.

Cost-effective federal investments that are improving our nation's trails and bike paths better could disappear if we don't take action. Your message is critical — please contact your members of Congress RIGHT NOW!

Why does this matter to mountain bikers?

Many of the at-risk federal programs directly help improve mountain biking in the United States. For example, the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is incredibly valuable — no other federal funding source comes close to creating the trail opportunities that RTP puts on the ground in all 50 states. More than likely one of your favorite trails was funded in part by RTP.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

MTB Tahoe North - BRING IT ON!

BONC, FATRAC and the Truckee Donner Land Trust have planned for an exceptional weekend of Tahoe riding, fun, camping, raffle/prizes, singletrack building, free beer and more riding! Join us on Friday July 29 - Sunday 7/31!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gala Ride - Saturday 7/2

Join us for a BONC Gala Ride on Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 9AM. Meet at the USFS Ranger Station on Coyote Street in Nevada City. We'll ride formal and informal trails right out of town. As usual, we'll have beer and drinks for participants.

Looking for another ride leader or two, let me know if you want to ride and help out.

NOTE: the GCTC Poker Ride occurs on this same day out of Skillman. We'll stay away from all the equestrian traffic in that area.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Free BONC Water Bottles!

BONC will provide free BONC water bottles to the first ten volunteers who help build the Tribute Trail on Wednesday 6/22 and Saturday 6/25! Help us complete a hand-built section of singletrack right here in Nevada City.

In addition to water bottles, BONC will try to score additional swag for participants. Come join the fun! On Wednesday, meet at 4PM at Pioneer Park Tennis Court parking lots on Nimrod St and on Saturday meet at the same location at 9AM. Please come prepared with long pants, closed-toe shoes, gloves and water. Matt will provide snacks and cookies. Bring trail tools (shovels, mcleods, pulaskis, rock bars, and hoes) if you have them.

This multi-use trail will be the south side of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, and will eventually connect to the trail on the north side of the creek by way of a suspension bridge just downstream of the Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Build Nevada City Singletrack on Saturday!

Please consider joining Matt Frietas this weekend as he cuts new singletrack right in Nevada City! This project will replace steep sections of the STP trail and connect to the Tribute Trail (see below). This is a great local volunteer project.

Meet this Saturday, June 8 at 9AM at the Pioneer Park Tennis Court parking lots on Nimrod St. Please come prepared with long pants, closed-toe shoes, gloves, and water. Matt will provide snacks and cookies. Bring trail tools (shovels, mcleods, pulaskis, rock bars, and hoes) if you have them. Rain cancels.

If you can't make it this weekend, other volunteer days are coming soon. Check out my earlier blog post for these dates and times.

Friends of Deer Creek has partnered with the City of Nevada City to build a trail between Jordan Street and Providence Mine Road. This multi-use trail will be the south side of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, and will eventually connect to the trail on the north side of the creek by way of a suspension bridge just downstream of the Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Input Needed: Potential Park in Grass Valley

The City of Grass Valley is applying for a large grant to develop a ~3 acre park at the northeast corner of Sutton Way and Idaho Maryland Roads. The City is hosting public meetings about this endeavor. Times include:

06/08 - Wed - 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
06/09 - Thur - 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
06/11 - Sat - 9:00 am-11:00 am
Location: 125 East Main St, Grass Valley

Please consider attending one of these sessions. BONC and NEO are pursing a bike park facility in Grass Valley (see BONC newsletter). Here is your opportunity to speak about some trails on this small potential park (though the GV bike park may be located elsewhere).

Tell council members how cycling has helped you improved your lifestyle, engaged you with the outdoors, etc. Your voice can help influence change with the decision makers in Grass Valley. We need to show up in numbers to let the Grass Valley Council know there is a huge local cycling community.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Scott's Flat Trail Impressions

Recently, my dogs and I had the pleasure of walking the proposed trail corridor for the Scott's Flat Trail. This entirely new section of trail will begin at the 5 Mile House and wind its way down to Scott's Flat Lake at the NID campground, where it will join the lakeside trail.

This is a *big* project that will result in ~4.5 miles of new singletrack close to town. Volunteers have done a good job picking the route, which follows a gentle grade across forested NID and USFS lands. I saw little evidence of much rock in this terrain, so I envision the trail will be very smooth. The gentle grade means that the route will be quite rideable in both directions, unlike the existing Scott's Drop Trail it will replace. And of course, much longer.

When the time comes, I hope BONC volunteers will step up to support this very local trail. The working group has already done a lot of preparation; as with most projects, the majority of required effort for a trail occurs long before any dirt is turned. If you have any questions, let Jon Pritchett know at

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tribute Trail Ride Postponed

Because of high probability of rain showers on Saturday morning, the Tribute Trail Gala ride is postponed. We will try to reschedule this event ASAP.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Help Continue to Build the Tribute Trail in June

Matt Frietas passes along this information. A great project for local volunteers!

NOTE: This is not the trail across the new bridge at Stocking Flat, but rather the Sewage Treatment Plant trail (STP). We're going to be cutting new trail to replace the excessively steep sections of the existing trail, as well as to expand the trail system into new areas of the City-owned land between Jordan St. and Providence Mine Rd.

Please join us at our twice-a-week work days this June! Wednesday evenings (June 8, 15, 22, and 29): 4pm until dark Saturdays (June 11, 18, and 25): 9am to 2pm. Meet at the Pioneer Park Tennis Court parking lots on Nimrod St, as parking is limited at the site. We’ll carpool from the park.

Please come prepared with long pants (poison oak!), closed-toe shoes, gloves, and water. We’ll bring the snacks and cookies. Bring trail tools (shovels, mcleods, pulaskis, rock bars, and hoes) if you have them. All work days are weather dependent. We won’t be working if it’s pouring.

Come help us build a trail in Nevada City this June! For more information or questions regarding the volunteer days or the project please contact Matt Freitas at (530) 265-6090 ext. 251.

Friends of Deer Creek has partnered with the City of Nevada City to build a trail between Jordan Street and Providence Mine Road. This multi-use trail will be the south side of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, and will eventually connect to the trail on the north side of the creek by way of a planned suspension bridge just downstream of the Nevada City Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

South Yuba Ridge Trail Progress

On Sunday, Art Clarke joined Joe Chavez of the Forest Service to continue surveying the South Yuba Ridge Trail route. Art has devoted many hours to this project and we are very appreciative of his tireless efforts. The USFS tells me that we need one or two more volunteer days to complete the field work.

Once this is done, BONC will complete a grant application to fund construction (likely an RTP grant). We are in need of volunteers to help prepare this application; please let us know if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BONC Ride - Friday 5/20

Join us for a BONC intermediate-advanced paced ride this Friday, May 20 @ 5:30PM. Meet at the USFS Rangers office off Coyote Street in Nevada City (map). Helmets and waiver signature required. We'll ride trails in the Highway 20 corridor or over to Round Mountain.

Perhaps beer afterwards? See you there!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pioneer Rock Garden SAVED!

The USFS is planning a re-route of the lava rock garden on Pioneer near Washington Overlook. The original Forest Service plan was to close the rocky section, which the USFS suspected was eroding. The rocky section is also difficult to ride for equestrians.

THE GOOD NEWS: I met with the USFS in the field this week to discuss this, as I was concerned that we might lose one of the few fun technical sections of this trail. We walked the existing alignment and the new one. After lengthy discussion, I am happy to report that the USFS will likely keep the rocky section in tact!

The new plan is to only reroute the steep 100'-long section on the east end of the rock garden, as it presents an erosion problem, but leave the rest of the rocky section alone. Volunteers will build a new alternative trail route just uphill from the rock garden so that there will be a challenging alignment (the existing rock garden) and a new tamer section for equestrians and others. NOTE - All of this is tentative and pending USFS approval.

Want to support trail advocacy and improvement efforts like these? Join BONC today!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Tribute Trail Gala Ride - 6/4

Join BONC and the Nevada County Land Trust as we celebrate National Trails Day and the new Deer Creek Tribute Trail! We will being our ride on Saturday, June 4th @ 8:30AM. Meet at Pioneer Park in Nevada City. Helmets and waiver signature required.

We'll break into groups based on ability and ride trails close to town, starting with this new trail. This is a No Drop ride, and BONC will provide refreshments and perhaps swag afterwards.

This new trail begins at Pioneer Park in Nevada City, winds its way through the city streets, and then out Champion Road and onto a system of service roads, trails and canal banks to the new trail and the Deer Creek bridge site. Thanks to the hard work of Bill Haire and the Land Trust, this trail is open to all non-motorized users, including mountain bikers.

Come join the fun!