Tag: dirt bosses

As a MORC Board member, I attended the 2nd Annual MORC Trail Steward and Dirt Boss Summit last Saturday at Darby’s Pub and Grill in downtown Minneapolis.  Many riders volunteer to do trail work but the Trail Stewards and Dirt Bosses are the ones responsible for each trail and bike park, leading the crews, assisting with openings and closings, directing maintenance, conducting inspections, developing short and long term plans, etc.  The Summit is one way that the MORC Board thanks them (dinner, drinks, swag, etc) for their leadership and work during the previous year on its twelve trails and bike parks in the Twin Cities Metro area.

Organizations Photo album

Reed Smidt, Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Drew Diller Porter Million,  Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller
To the mountain bikers riding past this group of MORC dirt bosses (Drew Diller, Jeff Leech, Porter Million, Reed Smidt) on Friday night on the far west loop of the Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail, it probably looked like they were discussing the best place for a picnic. Only partially true.

Carver Lake Park, west loop, playground Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller, Porter Million Porter Million, Jeff Leech, Reed Smidt, Drew Diller Future site of picnic area
They were mainly doing planning for an elaborate technical feature in an area called the Playground, using many of the logs that the City of Woodbury graciously piled nearby at their request.  Photo on the right: that’s where they’re planning to eventually put a picnic table.

[Apologies to the young whippersnappers reading this who are all WTF? about the title of the blog post. My geezerly brain sometimes shifts to ancient song lyrics like this one when I have to think of a title.]

Trail work

Porter Million with SWC-TV crew Porter Million with SWC-TV crew Porter Million with SWC-TV crew
Back in June when I blogged the Anatomy of a MORC MTB trail work crew: reshaping corners at Carver Lake Park, I also took a few photos of MORC Dirt Boss Porter Million being interviewed by a film crew from SWC-TV who was working on a show for the City of Woodbury’s magazine-style program called Woodbury Citystyle.

The video of the show is now available online. Intro text:

Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists takes care of several off road bike trails in the Twin Cities area. Every Wednesday evening they meet at Carver Lake Park in Woodbury MN and take care of the Carver Lake Bike Trail.

httpv://vimeo.com/69473349

Media Trail work

Those of us who love to ride have endured a miserable spring here in the upper midwest, with the trails closed due to wet conditions as often as they’ve been open.  The weather has also taken its toll on the trails indirectly because so many of the weekly work crew maintenance sessions have had to be cancelled.

So with the weather cooperating last Wednesday night, I followed a MORC work crew at Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail in Woodbury while they reshaped several corners.

Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak Matt Walkowiak Matt Walkowiak and Porter Million Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak
This section of the trail had become hazardous because it’s at the end of a relatively fast downhill. Riders were often hitting the tree or sliding out trying to go around it on the left. MORC Dirt Boss Porter Million and Matt Walkowiak removed the tree, and then dug up a lot of roots and moved a significant amount of dirt to both make a small berm and provide two places for rain water to flow away from it.

L to R: Ray Schwarz, Jeff Leech, Viv Jones, Aron Braggans Viv Jones and Aron Braggans Aron Braggans Viv Jones
Matt Walkowiak, Zach ?, William Sweasy 11-DSC01314 Zach ? and William Sweasy
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was shoveling, hauling, and hand tamping a lot of dirt to build up three troublesome, off-camber, eroded corners on another section of the trail.

Foreground L to R: Jeff Leech, Viv Jones, Porter Million, Drew Diller, Zach ? Porter Million Foreground: Zach ? and William Sweasy
With a couple of coaching sessions from Porter, the crew reshaped the problematic corners into berms. I later emailed Porter for an explanation and he wrote:

These berms were carefully constructed to avoid puddling in the instance of rain. By taking the slope of the turn into consideration, and by also adding a roller, the crew was able to design the berm to direct any water flow to a specific drainage area off the trail. By adding the properly constructed berms to this section, a rider should be able to carry their speed through the turns, and have less fear of washing out on what use to be a couple of loose, off-camber turns.

Viv Jones, Ray Schwarz, William Sweasy, Drew Diller, Zach ? L to R: Porter Million, Zach ?, Drew Diller, Matt Walkowiak, Aron Braggans, William Sweasy, Viv Jones, Jeff Leech, Ray Schwarz, Joel Hampton
And the crew saw everything that they hath made, and behold, it was very good. Right photo, L to R: Porter Million, Zach ?, Drew Diller, Matt Walkowiak, Aron Braggans, William Sweasy, Viv Jones, Jeff Leech, Ray Schwarz, Joel Hampton

Trail work

Businesses Photo album Trail work

Half of the Lebanon Hills trail crew, April 24, 2012Last Tuesday I joined a MORC / 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.

New lines for a double X section at Lebanon Hills New lines for a double X section at Lebanon Hills Double X section work crew at Lebanon Hills, May 1, 2012
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:

Photo album Trail work