Sunday, January 25, 2009

All things rooted can stay

Amazing how roots on mountain bike trails can withstand years of pounding without budging. They simply brush aside the dirt and sand, stubbornly exposing more of themselves and just taking the bike whipping we give them. Poet Pablo Neruda asks, "Why do trees conceal/ the splendor of their roots?" and I would say to Pablo, you are looking at the wrong trees.

We live on the coastal plain of Virginia, so it is difficult to train here for technical limestone that we will encounter next weekend in the Shenandoah mountains. I have found a reasonable way to prepare for rocky climbs and descents is to train on Tidewater roots like many of those exposed on trails at York River State Park (left).

Volunteers have re-routed some of the rooty sections there lately, but frankly lots more needs to be done for the overall health of the trail. I am watching EVMA website for the next trail maintenace day at York River because I want to help out there. But until more re-routing, great rock training.

Dead wood on the other hand is a different story. Susan had not been to the park in 5 years, so today we rode to the site where she and I built a log jump 10 years ago. We were cleaning up that day with EVMA after a storm, and there were lots of fallen trees. Don Peterson assisted us with a chainsaw, and we completed a log jump about 3 feet high and 4 feet long.

At left, we are standing on the path with the log jump under our feet. It has been beaten and pushed back into the earth from which it came. It was solid as steel that first day, but I have watched it diminish back to smooth trail over the years. At left, Susan holds the only remaining log piece. Nothing gold can stay. . . .

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