With a big assist from the City of Northfield Public Works staff, the CROCT MTB skills park in Northfield’s Sechler Park got some improvements this year. Workers brought in several truckloads of dirt to improve six of the seven beginner and intermediate jumps in the main jump line and expand the launch mound. In addition, they moved the giant boulder lurking along the park’s swampy edge and reinstalled the kiosk next to the launch mound. Slideshow:
The skills park is my primary responsibility as one of CROCT’s many volunteer trail workers. My motivation to work on it?
Our in-town Sechler Park MTB Trail is a river bottoms trail and doesn’t have a lot of challenging terrain. So having a skills park in the middle of it is way for local riders to practice their skills and challenge themselves
It’s handy to have a local skills park for instructional clinics. Kids who live in town can ride their bikes to the park via the local network of paved trails
I’m always working on my own riding skills and being able to construct features that are appropriate for my own development is a treat
Last summer, my interest in learning to jump via Ryan Leech’s Jumping with Confidence online course (affiliate link) spurred me to learn how to build beginner and intermediate level table top jumps. I had the full-time use a tractor with a bucket, free street reclamation dirt from the City of Northfield, a budget from CROCT to have it hauled in, and labor from other trail worker volunteers to help me shape, learn, test, and rebuild the jumps until we got them ‘good enough.’
By the end of the season, I’d gotten to where I could consider myself solid at beginner-level tabletops. Here’s a 1-minute video clip of me riding the 7 jumps that we built:
And the jumps proved to be a hit with kids and adventuresome adults, of course.
In addition to the 7 tabletop jumps (6 beginner-level, 1 intermediate-level), the skills park also now has:
This past summer, fellow mountain biker and uber volunteer Bill Nelson used his Ford Tractor to help CROCT, our local mountain bike club, fashion various obstacles in our new skills park area along our Sechler Park mountain bike trail. I soon became his apprentice operator and it inspired me to take on the role of skills park ‘dirt boss’ for the trail. More details and skills park photos in this CROCT blog post.
Over three dozen trail workers (including 15+ kids) showed up at Rice County’s Caron Park on Saturday (National Trails Day) to work on the first segment of a CROCT mountain bike trail there (I’m a board member). The weather was gorgeous and the bugs were non-existent. Under the direction of trail steward and CROCT board prez Marty Larson, the crew worked from 9 am to noon.
We broke for lunch and beverages at noon. Milltown Cycles in Faribault donated and served the hot dogs, brats and pop. Bauers Southside Liquor in Faribault donated and served a great selection of beer:
After lunch, we raffled off some swag donated by Milltown Cycles to CROCT members in attendance. John Ebling and Kevin Keane won helmets and Jeff Kreis won a jersey. Four others got 3-packs of cycling socks:
I’m a member of the CROCT Board here in Rice County MN and after witnessing the speed of vehicle traffic on the recently reopened Sechler Road (it’s closed to vehicles during the winter months), we made a quick decision last week to remove the ditch crossing bridge that we installed recently and reroute the trail directly over the creek prior to the gate at the north entrance to the park, keeping riders completely away from the road/pavement.
The creek crossing required a bigger bridge than the one we used for the ditch so the two bridges that a crew of CROCT volunteers fashioned from the wood of the old Mill Towns Trail bridge were put into service:
Last Tuesday, CROCT member John Ebling used his tractor to transport the bridges to the shoulder of Sechler Road near the creek crossings:
The MORC Board announced its annual awards last month and four young guys (three in the right photo) were recognized for their volunteer work: Chance Glasford for the President’s Award; Adam Buck for Volunteer of the Year; and Colin VanDerHyde and Mike Mullany for Trail Workers of the Year.
This week, we will be starting at the usual location (Bloomington Ferry) and plan on riding to Cedar Bridge and back. As of now there appears to be a 50% chance of rain on Saturday which equals no ride. Keep an eye on the weather and this post for details.
The day after my solo stint at Spirit, I met up with IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson for a ride on the COGGS Piedmont trail over to the new Brewer Park trail under construction. On way, we encountered MNDOT’s reconstruction of Haines Road which was wiped out by last year’s flood. For some reason, MNDOT has take down a huge chunk of the hill/cliff overlooking a section of the road and with it, a large section of the Piedmont trail. If you look closely at the photo of Hansi on the right, you can see how he feels about this.
After making our way around the, um, destruction, we came upon a COGGS trail building crew working on the new Brewer Park trail, led by Adam Harju and Brad Miller, with assistance from Larry Sampson, Duluth Maintenance Supervisor for the Superior Hiking Trail Association. Here’s some background from a COGGS blog post:
Along with the work funded by the Legacy grant, COGGS also has it’s own mechanized trail building crew. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow. To operate this equipment we hired Adam Harju, Brad Miller and Pete Leutgeb.
Their first project was building two reroutes of the existing singletrack on the east side of Amity Creek and have since turned their efforts towards building a portion of the Duluth Traverse Trail through Brewer Park. This section of land is immediately across Haines Rd west of Piedmont and has perfect terrain for mountain bike trails. This section of the DT will connect Piedmont to the State Trail and DWP, which are both off-road, multi-use trails that a rider can take all the way to Beck’s Rd in West Duluth.
Members of the College of Saint Scholastica track team were volunteering, hauling many wheelbarrow loads of dirt to the Brewer Park MTB trail construction site a couple blocks away. Jeesh.
“Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Specialized Bicycles, COGGS was able to purchase a Bobcat 418 mini-excavator and a CanyCom mechanized wheel barrow.”
So far, using white chalk to mark the rocks and flags to mark the entrance and exits has worked to set up the sections. It’s easy to move flags and the chalk marks can be removed by rubbing dirt on them.
I’ve not yet gotten much feedback yet to know if it’s working for riders. And it’s not rained, so I’ve not had to re-chalk.
The six videos all start with photos of the sections marked with red lines to make the alternative lines visible. Then there’s a clip of me riding the section. I recorded the videos using my smartphone mounted on a small tripod, usually placed on the ground. Most of the sections required me to capture video from two or three different vantage points. The upshot of that? You see me cleaning everything but you don’t see a non-stop video of me cleaning entire sections from start to finish. Have I cleaned every section from start to finish? Not yet. The videos also don’t include any of my many failed attempts and crashes.
All the videos are short, varying in length from 12-39 seconds. Attach a comment if you’ve got questions or feedback.