Saturday, February 2, 2008

When you're a Jet,....


Wrecking Ball and I got up early this morning to join the trail workday out at Cadillac. We independently, but unanimously decided it was damn cold this morning, and stalled for an hour or so. Once the snow thawed from his neighbor's roof, we decide we better get to work so we could, hopefully, ride later.


For those out of the loop, the city hired a professional trail builder to rebuild, and add on to, the Cadillac Trail east of the Piney-Z Park. I have to say I'm a little skeptical at the moment. I just keep reminding myself of the Rubiks Cube theory. You have to trash the thing before you can solve it. We jumped in and moved dirt, cut stobs, etc. But apparently the tractors were goinng to make another pass after we were done, so there was no finished product when I left. It looks kind of wide, but I guess that's to be expected at first. Once it gets ridden in, I think that several pieces will resemble the fast section at the far west end of the trail. There are several new bridges being built over ravines on the slope, so those could be cool. I was listening to the trail pro explain that two of the bridges needed to be almost 5 feet wide. That really makes me wonder if everyone is on the same page. It's my understanding that Cadillac is to be one of our more technical trails. Nothing technical about a 5 foot wide bridge. W.B. could drive his little Mazda over that! And it's not like these two bridges were over massive chasms. We were actually noting that one of these gaps was only a foot deep and could be easily bunny hopped, but we understood the need for some sort of span to prevent erosion. Anyway, I'm no trail pro, so what do I know? I do know that the city is open to alternative technical lines, so we may just need to build those later. I just worry that the main trail gets too "mainstreamed", as Wrecking Ball put it. Think Good Charlotte as a punk band. Ya dig? I'm definitely not on the same page as those guys.


I guess now I have to train my weakness, patience. Lack of patience is why I bailed on the whole trail building scene anyway. Everything has to go through so many hoops, and appeals, and processes. I went to a bunch of after work and 7am pow wows about big plans for the bridge over the train tracks, a master plan for TB Park, etc, back in the day. It seems like 80% of what we talked about 10 years ago, has still not come to fruition. Some of it is still being talked about. Good God! What's left to say? Luckily for me and the rest of the offroad folks around here, we have guys like Aucilla Sinks and Chuck, who will stay the course, and plug away through all of the red tape it takes to make something happen. I'm just not wired that way. My buddy Marcus loves to make fun of my deliberating, perhaps over thought, decision making process, but this makes me look like Speedy Gonzales!


A cool byproduct of moving dirt today was the happenstance siting of Big Jim Slade. Big Jim was part of the old Revolutions crew about 10 years ago. We ran him off back then. But he sems to be sniffing around again. Perhaps he's a glutton for punishment, and is back for more. Running with this bunch can be harsh from time to time, but you'd definitely rather be with us than against us. Thin skins need not apply.


Ok, now that I'm starting to sound like a bad line from West Side Story, I'll sign off. (BTW, that's Wrecking Ball on the left.)


16 comments:

Donnie said...

The place will have no "soul" so to say, i was out that way Thrusday & they were at it with the track hoe. No soul i say, no soul!

BIG JIM said...

That Big Jim character sounds like a pretty cool dude...even if he has gotten fat and slow....oh, and thin skinned...must have been abused as a middle aged state worker...

Human Wrecking Ball said...

BTW, I have way better toe form than the other two. High, straight, and JAZZ HANDS BABY!
W.(&,5,6,7,8,)B.

AucillaSinks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AucillaSinks said...

Well done Dudes! Apebike, you've been plugging away at advocacy in one way or another for a long time, and you're still plugging.

I was there last month when Woody found the main bridge spot. "Skinny?" I said. "No" he said. "It ain't about the bridge, it's about the gorgeous oak tree root system hanging 12' in the air next to the bridge". Woody thought it was one of the coolest things he'd ever seen. He wanted riders to be able to look up into the root system as opposed to looking down at a skinny bridge over a 2' deep, 2' wide dirt ditch that's practically hoppable. I'm not sure why the other bridge is wide too but I can tell you there is no policy or liability thing. These guy's can't wait to implement some freestyle never-seen-in-Tally kind of structures.

Your rubiks cube theory is spot on. You've got to think long-term. True, the machine-made trail is probably a bit wider than if it were hand crafted. But two miles of trail in week? That don't happen by hand. Even if the side-slope segment that Woody & Co. designed were built hand, by the time you angle the back-slope and shave off the out-slope so the water will sheet flow across it, it's going to look huge by Larry Wolfe commando standards. But wait a few moments in the total life of this trail (i.e. 4 months) and the line will be as skinny as it possibly can be given the amount of usage that it's getting. Also, the trail segment that is being replaced barely touched the side-slope. It meandered along the top the whole way only to shoot straight down and up again on the occasional gully. That ain't soul, that's a fucking crime. The new trail goes up and down and up and down that sweet slope for its entire length. Now that's soul food.

I remember working on a section of the Fern when it was barely a year old and Sunshine Larry and crew rode by and incredulously said "What are you making, a highway?!?" No, I said to myself, I'm making this trail to be as skinny as it can possibly be. I had a vision of hundreds of people using this urban trail every week for decades to come. I knew that if I didn't fix this problem spot that it would soon become an 8' wide eyesore. So it was ugly for a few weeks but it's been 2' wide for ten years now.

juancho said...

Mystery and I altercated with some equestrians out at Munson yesterday while you were working. All of this advocacy activity has stirred up the natural balance. They need to keep their damn donkeys off the trail.

I gave 'em a talkin-to so put me down for a volunteer hour.

M Dub said...

Enough with the mumbo jumbo. How was the riding. Detail it out for those of us who sat around all weekend. Sure wish I coulda made the Sunday ride.....

BIGWORM said...

Thanks for jumping in, 'Sinks. That's exactly what I was looking for. I realize that there will be some growing pains, but I'm waiting to see how it all turns out before passing any major judgement. The way I see it, if when this trail has healed, I still don't like it, then I just need to be more vocal at the next meeting. That should go for just about anyone riding out there. I know there is talk of hiring people to rehab TB Park and Rootbug. If you don't like Woody's work on the Cadillac, let it be known so that at least you have a voice on the hiring of the next trail pro. For that matter, if I really dig the new trail, I'll be just as vocal singing his praises.

sasquatch said...

Aucillasinks tells the tale with his story about the bridge builder designing the bridge so that the rider can pay attention to the scenery rather than the bridge. That purely reflects the bridge builder's priorities. Those are my priorities, too, and there are two reasons for that. I deeply appreciate the woods (like you), and my technical skills suck compared to the guy who wants the skinny bridge or no bridge.

"Public" trail built by older, less technically capable (or interested) dudes (not that there aren't some older bad-ass riders out there, but there aren't enough to carry the day), is going to privilege predictable, sustainable, scenic trail with wide bridges. Say what you will, but that's the way it's going to be. You don't need to wait around and see. You could go ahead and start hollering right now.

Look at the bright side; it'll take at least a decade before the traildozers start lumbering toward the Live Oak Connector trail.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

I trust the sinks, he has a great track record and a big bag of skills on the bike and off.
I also have to wonder: can't you look at the root system while you are walking over the skinny bridge?
When I had trouble getting over logs and technical stuff (for the first four years I rode) it never occurred to me to move logs or make everyone else ride easier stuff. Now that I can, I get livid when logs are removed and balance beams turn into highway ramps. Don't they also serve to keep traffic slower?
I am down with digging the woods, I don't think we should build north shore style widgets, but should the whole trail be dumbed down to the lowest technical denominator? I hope not.
I think the last reroutes out there were met with the same criticism, and they were fine, so I am hoping for the best. I'll say this for the half full crowd; the long sweeping stuff out there looks flowing and fast. I just hope the outlaw, technical side of Caddy survives.
w.b.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Well, I can admit when I was being paranoid. I rode the trail and I think is going to be kick ass when it is worn in. Chuck, Woody, all the other folks involved deserve a big thanks. The trail is going to be WAY better.
Now leave me alone Big Worm!
b.w.n.z

AucillaSinks said...

I rode it today too and am very pleased. I know there is a little bit of armoring left to do on the HilloDeath but what do you think? It's definitely a little easier because I cleaned it on my second try and it's been quite a few more tries than that since I cleaned it pre armor (I'm no Apebike). I thought the armoring job was pretty cool though. They made it resemble a section of North Carolina trail.

It was out of budget and time frame for this project but for the future, I would like to see innovative and liberal use of log features, rock gardens and decking that goes up, up and through the middle of some of our huge oaks. I think we could focus on those challenge features to help define our signature features for Tom Brown, Cadillac and the Rootbug. Make em fun as hell and unique in the SE.

juancho said...

And snakepits too.

maybe some sharks.

BIGWORM said...

I plan to ride out east tonight to see how it all looks. W.B. had some good things to say, so I'm excited to see it from the saddle.

I'd like to see some Juancho pits! Can you imagine the fear of pedalling over a writhing pit of Juanchos growling and spitting about the Twilight Trail. Oooohh, Scarrry.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

HISSING REPTILIAN BASTARDS!
W.B.Z.N.

juancho said...

SSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssss!