Last Tuesday I joined a Lebanon Hills trail crew working on the XX rock gardens and was amazed at what was accomplished in two hours.
I only took one photo that night (right), and that was just half of the 20+ people who showed up to work from 6-8 pm. So this week I went back for round 2 to chronicle the follow-up work with photos.
A MORC mountain bike trail work crew is typically organized by the Dirt Bosses for the trail. One of them announces the date and time in the MORC forum for that trail, inviting others to sign up. When I saw this April 23 invitation by John Lundell, one of the Lebanon Hills Dirt Bosses, I just had to go since I love Leb’s rock gardens:
We will continue our efforts in the XX rock gardens this week. Meet in the parking lot (assume trail will be open) – everyone is welcome! Post up if you can make it. Crew leaves the lot promptly at 6pm so if you are coming late let us know.
First lesson I learned: you don’t ride your bike to the work location on the trail. The Dirt Bosses bring all the tools for the job but you’re expected to help carry them. So everyone walks in. They recommend long pants, gloves, boots, and eye protection. Newbies are given a short safety chat on handling the sharp tools.
The task for the crew on this project was to add some difficulty and options to a couple of Leb’s double X rock garden areas. One of the hallmarks of good mountain bike park is that it’s constantly changing, drawing riders at all levels back for new challenges. Leb excels at this and last year’s addition of a huge advanced beginner’s loop is but one example.
Worker bees like me on last week’s crew spent much of our time digging out boulders from the wooded areas around the XX portion of the trail and rolling them downhill (bowling?) for the ‘architects’ to place. While the Bosses have a general idea of what they’re trying to accomplish, everyone’s input is considered because the terrain and available rocks require creativity. "We’re making this up as we go" is the modus operandi.
The photo on the left shows what was accomplished after this week’s session with one section of the trail. The green arrow indicates where the only option was originally. The red arrows indicate four new options, with varying levels of difficulty.
In the center photo, the green arrow shows the original more difficult line down the rock. The red arrows show two new challenging lines down the rock steps. Previously, that line was quite easy.
For a closer look at the process, see the large slideshow of 40+ photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow: