Sunday, April 27, 2008

To the death of cameras and rest...

Okay, I think this one is gonna be thick.

Here we go with a summation of the last week. It was a very needed start to the "real season". I have done a pretty good job of transforming from stage to stage in life lately and have tried to be as adaptable as possible. Life comes at you just like the flow of a new trail, you have a number of options, but they seem to lie within the same corridor. I rode some fantastic stuff in Grand Junction and Fruita. But, it still wasn't home; it was a good time and proved to me there are "goods" elsewhere in the country. I am really happy with where I am, but to always know you could be somewhere else is nice, if not a bit comforting.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty well summed up in the previous post, but there is also a bunch of dirt jumping on a strange, unknown bike; a cool local bike shop in Fort Collins and a billion other experiences involving rock and rolling, rap and braaapsidy.

Wednesday Greg and I cruised across the mighty Rockies for the short trip into Fruita and Grand Junction. Immediately, we went on a ride at the 18rd trails and they were very much the Bent Creek of Fruita, not in a bad way; but in a, just 18rd way. Then, upon arrival at his friend Kevin's house we jumped back on bikes and I got to do some fuuunnnnn wall riding, might get some photos out in the next little bit depending on whether Greg likes the shots. BECAUSE MY CAMERA FINALLY DIED. I have been subjecting this thing to loads of death rolls and she keeps ticking. The last one died when I OOOPPPS dropped it in a creek I was walking, after a crazy storm with Rich Edwards of IMBA....hope he reads this and gets a smile. Adventure is one of many spices to life. I think of adventure like I think of Cilantro; one of the greatest spices.

Back to the camera. I got no shots of the trip, and I think it was intended that way. I have been documenting life a bit more closely than I would necessarily like to. A bit of a "gap" is good. I am striking a new balance everyday. Berm, roller, roller, rock, root, BBBOOOOOOSTTTTTT......ah, the trail of life. I hope this brings you around to a dream of flowing through it in your day......Ben

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fort Collins Training Days

I am out here in wonderful Fort Collins, Colorado where the Earth is dry and the days are beautiful. The last two days have been spent teaching a mechanized trail building training and it has been great. Enjoy the pictures. The class participants were from the Larimier County Parks and Open Space, USFS, and Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol.
All in all a great time. This was the first time I have had the pleasure to teach a class solo, I have always worked with a co-instructor in the process of teaching. I loved it and hope to do more of these in the coming year.

Major thanks go out to IMBA, Greg Mazu of Singletrack Trails, and Barb Allen of Diamond Peaks for allowing me to come out and teach what I love to willing folks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In Colorado....

I just arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado, my home for the next couple of days. The flights were a bit rough after we had a home warming party at the house last night, yeah I may have over indulged a bit. The photo above is the token airplane window shot.

A recap of the week, sorry it has been a bit since an update. The photos below are of the log ride in the park we just worked on, enjoy the joints, more to come for sure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A fresh morning after a crazy weekend....

Okay, about five days to catch up on. Let's begin with "Dirty Thursday". This week was awesome, we had a total of around 21 folks show up for a crazy little workday. Below are some photos. We worked over the bottom of wolf branch and had a good time doing it.

Then, Friday started a fun little follow weekend. Team XXX was in town and I spent my weekend following them around doing support and being a cycling concierge. Check out their site. Here are a few pictures from the weekend. The van was my office, and the view was spectacular. If any of you guys find my site. It was really fun, thanks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A ride and a new project...

First the ride. Bent Creek gets hammered, let me just say that. This past Sunday everything was still a bit wet from the week's rains, but people just had to get a ride in and the Crick got hammered on. I went out to shoot a few photos of the work we did on Deerfield Trail on Monday and some spots were still a little soft from all of the traffic. The place is going to be a constant battle. But, I am game.

Here are some photos of last Thursdays end product. This first one is where the bench cut had begun falling apart around this tree, so we re-established the bench and masked the other line.

This image is of essentially the same thing but at the creek exit.

Here is the creek flowing clear after cleaning out the drain and removing some of the material that had been placed at its exit.

Finally, the FS sent someone through a while back and did a horrible job cutting back the corridor, one of the things they did was drop this big red oak across the creek ravine. People naturally started trying to ride it, but the fall zone was littered with stubs and debris, so we cleaned out the fall zone and created a sustainable entrance and exit. This is by far the hardest log ride in Bent Creek. But, it is a perfect example of a TTF option. You must make a hard turn off the original line in order to get to the entrance and the main line is much easier. Also, with a clear fall zone and low speeds the penalty for failure is low. Enjoy.

Oh, the new project, well lets just say it is the first of its kind in the southeast and my buddy Ryan has been at it for a very long time, Good Job Dude.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Butterfly Joints....

No, not some colorful creature intended to help wash out reality, instead a way of joining two pieces of wood.

Yesterday, I worked on moving some dirt around in the neighborhood park to build a small jump line and then moved a few logs around, which is the part I get really excited about. I haven't gotten to do wood work in a bit. Pictures will follow in the next few days of the beginning of the project. ANYWAY, the whole butterfly joint thing and the above photo is relevant I promise.

To link logs together there are a number of techniques, I have used dovetail joints before and will probably use them again, but I have never had the opportunity to use a butterfly, which I really like the idea of. There are a number of factors that have me headed in the direction of using no metal fasteners for wooden structures. However, I need to experiment a bit more to get the craftsmanship and detail I would like to have for something like that. The photo at the top is of a table made by George Nakashima, a Japanese woodworker who creates amazing furniture and is know for his use of butterfly joints to fit wood together. Look him up, you just might learn something and get to see pretty pictures along the way.

Friday, April 4, 2008

First "Dirty Thursday" ...

Last night was great, it was the first "Dirty Thursday" of the season. I was worried we would be inundated with folks, but instead it was perfect, there were only a handful of us and we still got a ton done in a few hours.

The photo above is of Adam working on reestablishing the bench cut section of trail leading into a seep crossing while the others gathered material to use for chokes. At some point in the last two years a crew had come through and brushed the area leaving it littered with debris, so we worked on cleaning that up and putting the debris into specific areas where the corridor was allowing people to cut the turns in the trail. Deerfield is now squared away at least for this year. Some maintenance may happen next year on it, but otherwise the "hotspot" is taken care of.

Next week we work on Wolf Branch and drop a bridge at the bottom of the trail to cross over the consistently boggy area. Next week should be a blast.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Relax and ride

What a week it has been. Things are coming along on getting a couple of projects lined up for the next few weeks. Right now it is simply a matter of working hard in the mornings and then relaxing a bit in the afternoons and trying to ride as much as humanly possible.

Tuesday was a pretty easy day. Then, yesterday, I went out with Woody Keen and Chuck to look over some of the things PAS is looking at in Bent Creek. It was a nice four hour tromp in the woods. The above photo is from the climb up to Green's Lick, which by the way is coming together nicely for NTD. Today, is a "Dirty Thursday" and I will need to do a bit of prep and set up leading into that this afternoon. Then, tomorrow I wanted to go to I9 and work on the track and jumps a bit more, but it is looking a bit foreboding in the weather forecast. We shall see.

I also have been reading a really good Steinbeck novel about a scientific expedition into the Sea of Cortez also known as the Gulf of California. He does such a great job of painting humanity and life with a touch of realism, passing by the shallow pieces of the human soul and diving right into the core of a person. He is a great writer and one that I will probably explore a bit more in the coming months.

Enjoy the day and smile at least once.