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Saturday, December 27, 2008

ATV Damage

The gate to the Forest Road was wide open the other day. I called the DEP police and they relocked the gate some time between last night and this morning but the damage was already done. Granted, the ATV arsehole already wreaked havoc on the trail by destroying the up and over at the big pine tree.

I think I will have to step up the efforts in creating blocks in the trail to discourage the ATVs as much as possible.

What gets me is that they purposefully destroyed the up-and-over so that they could through in the future knowing full well that what they are doing is illegal.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Wet Spot was wet!

Last Sunday there was an inch of snow in the forest and a week later the snow was gone yet everything was frozen. We must have got somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 to 6 inches of rain all day Thursday and Friday morning and the deluge certainly had some interesting effects on the Gussy Trail that may require some more tweaking. There were certainly some surprises.

It looks like some more stream armoring may be necessary where the trail comes down from the funnel and cuts across the little vale over to the Log Ride Short. This wasn't really a surprise and it will be an easy fix because there are plenty of flat rocks on the side of the vale. In fact it could turn into a neat stunt - a rock skinny.

Surprisingly, there was a pool of water near the Three Sisters Roller that is completely blocking the trail. I ended up cutting around to the west. While that is doable if you roll the Sisters but I think I will create a bypass more to the south encompassing a rock outcropping that might have some drops and additional rollers to ride.

Via Roma is holding it's own especially with the increase in water flow. I would have liked to have gotten more footage but I was running short of time.



No surprise here, nor at the other stream crossings. Just more water than usual flowing. All three crossings are holding up nicely.

Makes me thirsty just looking at it.

The Wet Spot, after 9 months of being bone dry was actually pretty wet. Which means more armoring will be required.


And finally, the DEP put up a no motor vehicles sign at the trail head off of Sanford Road. Hopefully, some of the ATV riders will have enough of a conscious to head this sign.



Sunday, December 7, 2008

First Snow on the Gussy

Here are a few shots from this morning's ride, part of which included the Gussy. I was surprised to find that despite the snow most of the up and overs were really rideable. If you want to see more of what the forest looked like with it's first blanket of light snow take a look at this post on Cycle Snack.

These two pix are on the existing feeder trail off of the Forest Road on the north side of the forest. Above looking south where I haven't been, below looking north where I rode.



The snow really helps visualize where the trail goes and where it should go. Last ride on the Gussy in which I rode north I realized there was the potential for another re-route, nothing major, but I think makes the trail flow alot better. Below is a map depicting this re-routed section. It's after the third stream crossing.

After making that crossing the trail heads south winding in and out of big trees and then abruptly turns to the right (west) and hooks up with the bench climb CTNEMBA created during the summer. This re-route extends the curve farther south around a little hummock/rock outcropping where there is some drop and roller potential. The added benefit of this re-route is if you are coming the from the other direction the turn north is not as abrupt and thus flows better.




Monday, November 3, 2008

The latest on the Upper Gussy

If you have been following my blog Cycle Snack you will see that I have been riding the Gussy quite often.  I also regulary receive feedback from other riders that are on the trail on the weekends, too.  The biggest issue right now, with the leaves down, is being able to follow the trail.  I have added more green engineer tape to mark parts of the trail however it seems it is still difficult, especially if you are not used to following the impressions bikes leave in the leaves.

Depending upon the temperature and whether the ground is frozen I might try to do another trail maintenace day on November 23d.  I think I want to concentrate on the lower end of the trail near Sanford Road that got some initial attention but hasn't been touched since.  As with every TM, I hope to have ride afterwards.

The latest obstacle to be introduced to the trail is called the Short Log Ride

Remember, if you are riding in the fall Monday through Saturday to where blaze orange because it's hunting season.  I have not encountered any hunters on the Gussy, in fact all my interaction with hunters so far has been on the fire road.  Also, it would behoove you to wear a bell as a way to further announce your presence to the hunters.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Short Log Ride

The short log ride is found in a draw on the northern section of the trail. At one time there was this old, dead tree blocking the trail route. Below is a little map of where this is and that of the reroute that Tom and I did last weekend.


To give you some perspective of what we did to this section last weekend I have quite a few before shots. The first three were obviously taken last winter. Where I decided to run the trail there was an old tree down next to some boulders and blocking the route of where I wanted to run the trail. To the left it was too wet (year round) and to the right too steep.

In the picture below, you are looking back up (North) the proposed route of the trail and you can see how this part is kind of a draw. Down the center of the draw is an intermittent stream so the proposed trail sticks to the sides of the draw and cuts diagonally across just once.

Come spring, Tom came through with his chain saw and cut the tree blocking where the trail would go. Apparently he got one good cut at the top of the tree and was in the middle of cutting the top part to clear the trail but ran out of gas.

Tom and I came back two weeks later to finish what he started. After finishing the second cut we carefully maneuvered the log into position so that it was abutting one of the boulders.

As you can sort of see, the rock that the log abuts is angled and creates a ramp. A perfect beginning for a log ride. Call it a beginner's stunt.



So, here are some shots of the work that we did last weekend. This section needed to be benched because it was just and open slope. We pulled out two really big rocks from the treadway. One was used on the southern section of the log ride and acts as a ramp. The other one was used in creating the ramp on the top part of the stunt.



Below is the rock we pulled out that was blocking part of the treadway. It must have weighed over 500 pounds. We were able to move it into place at the end of the stunt to create a nice ramp.



Another rather large rock was pulled out near the treadway and was used to create a ramp up to the rock before the log. It took a few tries and different combinations of the rocks to get the ramp just right.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Trail Reroute

Rerouted a section of the Gussy Trail today. Didn't have my GPS so instead I made a little video walk through.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Trail Building: Sunday, October 12th

I am planning on another trail building day on the Gussy Trail. It will be on Sunday, October 12th, from 8 am to Noon. We'll meet at the Echo Valley lot.

Please dress appropriately, including sturdy boots or shoes, gloves and water.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rock Cairns and the Wet Spot

Two new sculptures on the Upper Gussy Trail. I haven't been on the trail for what seems like a month now and did a ride before work this morning on the Qball. Found this first one on the technical part by the big boulder.

This one (sorry for the blur) is on the tree at the up and over at the start of the re-route. According to Rob, there is another rock cairn somewhere else along the trail but I haven't see it yet.

These are cool because it tells me there are hikers or hikers that are artisans that have found the trail and are using it.

Did some work on the Wet Spot this morning as well. Hard to tell in the picture below but the horses can past softly on the right, bikes too I suppose but then there would be no challenge, and bikes on the left on what I have tried to construct is a rock bridge or skinny. Rides nicely but I imagine it will need some tweaks.



Saturday, August 23, 2008

We Came, We Saw, We Benched!

And fixed the mud wallow at the third stream crossing. We had a great turnout of Mountain Bikers from the area that included Paula Burton, Rob Goyda, Rich Stinchcomb, and Rich Coffey who came all the way from Stamford! We hit the trail and hiked up to the off camber climb/descent in the rerouted section of the trail. Found some discarded propane canisters which tells me a hunter has camped in this area (not allowed).

My plan for the morning activities was to bench this section of the trail, fix the mud wallow at the third stream crossing, and open up the go-around for the horses at the new up-and-over that the trail gnomes built. Not only were we able to do that, but we also benched the switch back section of the trail which lies between Via Roma and the Wet Spot. Not bad for three hours worth of work!

Here is what the mud wallow looked like before at the third stream crossing. Funny, I thought we would have this problem at the second stream crossing.

Rich is standing above our handy work. The nice thing is that we left the right side open for the horses to use because they prefer softer terrain.

Wish I had brought my hand truck because that first rock was heavy and it took Rich and I to carry it together with a few breaks from where we found it.

Here is the re-routed section that we benched. It's south of the new up-and-over I mentioned earlier.



Here is the whole crew after the work was done. It's amazing how much you can get done with a great group of people. I am going to ride through again next week and take some shots of the other spot we worked on.


Also, during the ride following the TM work we ran into Tom Ramsdell who came out to take out some the sharp rocks in the trail. He made some changes to the Wet Spot to make it more conducive to horse travel - which I now understand is necessary. I made some spot corrections so that it's still challenging but I need to go back and take a longer look at it and arrange some more of the rocks. Still, it was very ride-able.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Rider Feedback

Somebody posted a comment on Crankfire.com about the trail that I thought I would share:

I took my Wife and Son to the Upper Paugussett to do a quick ride....we parked at the Echo Valley Lot. I applaud your efforts on this trail - and I agree someone has removed any technical aspects by building ramps for everything, they are fun to launch off of though.

The trail has nice flow and was a fun quick loop.

The problem is that i see that from the Echo Valley lot there are no markings or any hint on how to find the trail, we simply explored all the options until we found the trail which was fine with us, but if you want this trail to get ridden and worn in I would make it easier to find, if possible.
His last comment about easily getting to the trail from the lot got me thinking. The orientation of this trail is really to ride it from North to South, that is if you want a flowy ride. In order to get to that point, you have to ride up the forest road. Otherwise, if you want a good workout which is a series of climbs then the other direction is the way to go.

It seems however, if you are not sure where the trail is and you didn't bring a map, it will be hard to find. I think I need to put up a trail map at the Echo Valley Kiosk to orient people where the trail is and how to pick it up.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Trail Clearing!



I finally got this one section of the trail opened up. I clipped and Rob, who was riding with me today, threw the cuttings into the wood! I have been wanting to get this section for a couple of months now and I finally just did it. A few before and after pix, however they really don't do it justice. The pictures with Rob (above and last picture below) riding through show the opened part of the trail much better.



before

after



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

August 23rd: Trail Building and Ride

Meet at the Echo Valley Lot in the forest.

Please try to arrive between 7:30 and 7:45 so that we can leave promptly for the trek into the woods.

Directions:

From Exit 10 I-84
Turn Left if coming from the south/Turn right if coming from the north.Head west on US-6 [Church Hill Rd], for approximately 0.6 mi. You will pass under a railroad bridge and when you see Starbucks on your left there will be a right turn onto the Boulevard.

Turn right onto the Boulevard and stay on this road for 1.3 mi. When the road crosses under a highway bridge, it becomes Hanover Rd. Take Hanover Rd for a half mile and Echo Valley Rd will be the first road on your right. Turn onto Echo Valley Road and follow for 0.9 miles.
You will come up to a fork in the road and stay to the left. Continue for a few yards until the asphalt ends and a dirt road begins. Do not turn left onto Sanford Road, there is a blue sign that says scenic road - that is the wrong direction.

Continue up the dirt road, passing a yellow house on your left and then a red barn and then you will come to the parking lot.
Please ensure that you dress appropriately and wear boots or heavy duty shoes. Please bring work gloves, water and bug repellent.
A ride will follow.

If you come late, take the blue trail to the ROW (right of way - old road lined with stone walls) and follow the Gussy Trail till you find us. I want to do benching on the re-routed section, so we'll be half way up the trail.

Frame of reference: After the third stream crossing, the long climb up the side of the hill.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

It just dawned on me that there is something missing from this picture. Can you guess what it is?

How are the horses going to get around this obstacle? Not only that, given that this was installed within the last month it tells me that there haven't been any horses using the trail, as well. It appears there is another task for August 23rd: Cutting a path for the horses to get around this obstacle.

Also, think there is the potential for another stunt here. On the right, that rock could either be dropped or rolled. Have to take a closer look at it next weekend.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Trail Gnomes!

First time on the Gussy Trail in a month and I it looks like it's really getting some use, from Mountain Bikers from what I can tell. Lots of improvement to the up and overs, too! Big Thank you to who ever is doing this!

Looks like on this one particular up and over some riders still haven't realized that their outer front chain ring is useless and should be replaced with a good bash guard! It appears that some work was done here making the other side a little more stable.

Twenty yards south of the up-and-over above is this little one that needed a little more attention. I made a few changes and I think they came out really nice!


The ride over this one is much smoother. Not sure if this was the one that Rob told me about earlier this week, however, at this point all the up-and-overs are pretty solid.

This last up-and-over was a complete surprise. It looks like an old, dead tree might have fallen across the trail and the trail gnomes took it upon themselves to build up nice ramps on both sides of the tree.
As you can see, the south side only had one rock and if you were riding up the Gussy, the rock creating the ramp on this side would be very difficult to climb up.


I spent a little time adding a better tranny and widening the ramp with some more rocks.




I really need to get out and finish the benching in a few places, now. Right now I am planning on a TM and Ride day for August 23rd.