I met Gary Meyer (COTA snow trails ambassador) + TJ and Matt from the Hub Cyclery today at 9 am for some work on the new fatbike trail network. Our goal was to create some berms on some downhill turns as a test.
On arrival, snow was coming down hard! We parked near the entrance to cut in a corridor through the giant snow wall which will allow riders on weekends to ride from the West lot down onto the trail without needing to ride the road to the East lot. (That reminds me we need to update the GPS data for the trails to show this new section of trail.) Gary then installed a new fat bike sign.
If you have crashed on the ice in the parking lot you will be happy for this new section of trail.
Next we moved our cars down to the East lot and setup to take the bikes out on the trails. While we tried to figure out how to attach snowshoes and snow shovels on our packs – Gary did some sign work near the Kiosk.
Big thanks to Pine Mountain Sports for lending us 4 packable avalanche shovels.
All loaded up, we set off on bikes toward the downhill portions of each fat bike loop. New snow was about 2-3 inches deep and made the trail quite slippery and hard to see once past the access corridor. Luckily there are ribbons in the trees to help lead the way. Trails deep but rideable. We rode out on the exit of the short loop as it’s closest to the downhill sections.
Once to the downhill section of the short loop trail we slapped on our snowshoes and got out our shovels. We quickly figured out that the general method was to pile snow on the outside edge of each corner and stomp it down with snowshoes on both sides. Snow packs a ton, so you really have to toss a lot of snow on to make much of a difference. We made jokes about people flying off the berm and landing in our borrow pit :).
After packing, Matt tested the berm on his fat bike at very low speed and made a giant rut. I mentioned he must be too FAT. Gary told us it would need to set overnight. We fixed the mess and headed to the next turn.
We were sort of bummed about all the new snow, but in the end it’s probably good as nobody was riding out there. The berms will have a chance to setup.
We installed about 8 berms on the 2 downhill sections. There is no end to how many you could build. Big question is how do they hold up after the snowmobile and roller go over them? The snow machine is currently broken and new grooming might not happen till around Friday.
If you’d like to donate to the trails goto cotamtb.com/donate/ and click on the donate to COTA button. Once in Paypal, leave a note that it is for Wanoga Fat-bike trails. You can also mail in a check with Wanoga Fat-bike trails in the note field.
We are hoping the snow machine can now lean around the corners a little more so that berms form each time the roller goes through. Time will tell! We also added a roller/jump near the end of the long loop.
After a few hours of digging and stomping we were soaked and had to head back. Riding back was significantly harder than when we came. The snow was even higher now. I am still amazed Gary could navigate his way. Snow was coming down so hard I could hardly see where I was going!