Post-race trail conditions

May 25, 2010 by Gary "Story Hawk" Henry

Hi Ben,

Mike Goodwin and I closely monitored the trail conditions up to the afternoon before the race. While they were quite muddy in some places, we – well, Mike – determined the trails were in condition to withstand the 59 starters who went out.

We had to put in a new trail section Friday on the blue-blazed trail just down the hill from the corps of engineers trailhead. The Lake was on the verge of taking the old tail down. Since then, the Lake HAS taken down the old trail, and is now on the verge of eating the new one we just put in. I’ve flagged the heck out of it. Mike and I are planning to go put a new section in much further inboard.

Mud Creek on the blue trail was up about 4.5 feet Saturday. Had to string a hand line across, which I will leave up until the water goes down

First mile on white from corps of engineers, and first mile on blue from corps of engineers – which we’ve long called “the muddy mile” are too muddy for traffic.

I’m on those trails constantly, running, lopping, moving fallen timber and removing trash. So I see them day-to-day. Other than being muddy in the usual spots that are always muddy this time of year – mostly the “muddy mile” – they are not in bad shape. Cactus Ridge and the skills area are certainly runnable without chewing up trail – not sure if that equates to rideable.

I know what you’re talking about, and DID postpone a race in 2008 for the very reasons you mentioned. But that is a very serious move, and only to be done as a last resort when entrants are coming from across the country. We did seriously, and in my opinion, responsibly weigh all the factors before greenlighting the race.

Trail maintenance and repairs are ongoing and occur whether there’s been a race or not. I’ve been removing the course markers section by section, and I think you’ll be pleased to learn, as I have been, that our runners were very conscientious about trash – there’s been virtually none on the trails. I’m well-acquainted with the trash situation out there, having led several trash clean ups. You may have noticed the difference between now and 2009 on the white trail where it goes by Campground 1. Also the red shoreline trail.

Speaking of the red shoreline trail, I had to reroute that part of the course onto blue when I learned that part of it, that was fine on Friday afternoon, had risen dramatically overnight. I didn’t get a chance to see it, but reports from runners were enough to make me take action.

Sorry for the long-winded response. I sure appreciate your interest in the well-being of the trails. I’ll be out there again tonight, cleaning blue and white from Marina Road to Lands End, and will give you another report tomorrow.

Best,

gary

From: Ben Bolin [mailto:ben@earthriders.com] Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 10:55 PM To: unews@ultrastory.com Subject: Hawk 50 - post race trail conditions?

Hey Gary,

Sounds like you guys had an interesting race.

From a lot of the reports that I have read it sounds like the trails got trashed too. What's your take on the damage? Probably should have moved it to the rain date eh? I know that mountain bike tour that was scheduled to use some of the trails out there for that day was called off due to wet trail conditions so they wouldn't damage the trail system.

Unfortunately last year we ran the Bone Bender in similar conditions and trashed the Smithville Lake Trails. The Smithville Trail Crew spent a lot of volunteer hours fixing post race damage. We still have a few issues from that event. That was a big learning lesson for us and we won't be repeating that ever. Responsible racing to keep the trail systems that we have worked hard to acquire is way more important than making sure the race goes off on the date. Building a race with rain dates/proper trail condition dates is very important to doing that.

Just curious if you guys have plans for post race trail repairs? I think there are some upset trail users outside of the trail running community.

I wanted to get your take on the situation.

Sincerely,

Ben Bolin President - EarthRiders Mountain Bike Club

Comments: 2

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  • Ben, under normal circumstances we would have required that the rain date be used. However, the trails were already in poor condition from contined use by bikers, runners and hikers this spring. Due to the ongoing usage during muddy conditions, I felt that adding a few organized runners to the trails would not damage the trails any more than they already were. I've been on representative sections since Gary's race and confirmed that trail conditions did not deteriorate further as a result of the race. Gary's Trailhawks group and the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club continue to help with trail maintenance and repair day in and day out at Clinton. I have found them to be very responsible trail users and event hosts in the past and expect that will continue. Unfortunately, it's the everyday trail user we need to reach in order to not damage the trails during wet conditions. I am open for any new ideas on that front. Finally, we'll be out there repairing and improving the trails over the next several months. Thanks to some great volunteers, I think we can stay ahead of the less considerate trail users. Mike Goodwin Clinton Lake Trail Coordinator

     
     
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