To preface my post and lend a little bit of justification to the title I would ask that you take a quick minute to reference this post from two years ago. http://olydirt.blogspot.com/2013/02/evolution-of-corner.html
We'll use this as a sort of "then and now"
What I like about this series of pictures is that it illustrates the only two work parties this set of corners has ever had. Two years ago when it was rock armored there were plans to continue the rock across the trail, and possibly down through the following corner, but due to time constraints and lack of man power (holy shit those rocks were heavy) we chose to armor 3/4s of the way across the upper corner and leave a thin "easy" line on the inside. To secure the rocks properly in the ground we covered them up to the top in native soil, knowing that as the corner was ridden the dirt would pack in around them and at the same time slough of the top, revealing the upper 1/3-1/2 of the rock. The lower corner on the other hand was just re-sculpted and allowed to exist in it's current form for several reasons.
1. Because it has a firm fallen tree backing, and a depth of soil from the face of the berm to the tree of upwards 18" we deemed the erosion risk and exposure of said tree to be minimal to none. Partly because the corner had been skidded to death for two years prior with no significant damage to the overall form.
2. Because that corner was fun as shit when you learned how to carry speed through it.
Fast forward two years of heavy ridding and we arrive at the second work party to lay shovels into this particular section of trail.
While it would be easy to sit here on my high horse and say that the corners where perfect and needed no work that would be inaccurate. As illustrated by the photos bellow the corners suffered just the amount of damage that you would expect from running two races, (Capitol Forest Enduro 2013 and Capitol Forest Classic 2014) numerous locals only Friday night super D's and all the other traffic that passes through in 24 months.
That all said the general foundation of the work we did remained, the majority of rocks embedded retained their stability and remained in the ground, and the lower corner kept its dirt backing and showed no signs of skidding through.
|Notice said down tree backing on bottom corner.|
As well as the growing pool of gravel at the bottom of what for some can be a very high speed corner.
Notice some differences? Rock armoring was moved across the WHOLE width of the trail, finally eliminating the always intended temporary easy line but rather then harvest nicely packing dirt that will match the structure of the rest of the trail, gravel was packed in. That's all the blue stuff in the bottom pictures that is not in the top ones.
When we initially worked on this corner we could have used gravel to structure the turn, but we didn't. Because:
1. It costs money, and you have to cart it in, on 5 gallon bucket (or something similar) at a time.
2. It DOESN'T PACK. (This was the big reason)
If you think that gravel does pack I would reference you to the bottom picture. Here you will see the accumulation of gravel run off from the upper turn, this does not ride well. In fact it rides awful, like really really awful. It sucks speed, kills traction and flow and increases risk of serious injury while giving nothing of benefit back to the trail. The corner that used to be "fun as shit" when you carried speed through it is now a shitty sling shot into crash zone. Something that should be noted is that there have already been two reported crashes caused by this accumulation of gravel, one of which resulted in a broken arm.
The frustrating thing about this is that it takes more time and money to cart gravel in then it does to utilize the resources that we already have access to. The dirt in capitol forest is unique to the region and rides amazingly, we should take advantage of it. We are not Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and this is not Tiger Mountain. Lets stop trying to be.