Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012 FWT Leaf Blowing

Once again I helped the Friends of Webster Trails clear the fall leaves from some of the trails using Frank's leaf blower. I cleared all of Whiting Road Nature Preserve, which looks to be about 5-6 miles.  It took me 3 hours.

Last year I was able to also clear the Midnight Trail and a few miles of Webster Park, despite being fatigued after Whiting.  This year I stopped with just Whiting as I was running low on gas, tired, and figured I could come back another day.  Once I was home and sitting around for a while, the sides of my knees and hips were killing me when I walked. My IT bands and hip flexors aren't used to hiking around like that!

I noticed the section Green trail that was built this year was very wet. Last year's section was wet in spots too.  Hopefully time will cure this.

The Friends of Webster Trails had filled some chronic mud pits with "oughts and ones" stone in the spring.  We don't like the look and feel of the stone but it does seem to do the job.  On these sections, I noticed the leaf blower blew off some of the loose surface stones leaving a hard packed surface that looked like gray dirt or worn concrete.  I didn't spend any effort to intentionally remove this stone, but in the future is might be a good idea, though it will probably happen naturally with trail use.

Also, like last year, I noticed in some places the leaves were well packed into a muddy trail surface, or blew off and revealed a wet trail.  This makes me think the leaves fell earlier in some areas and probably should have been removed earlier.  Certainly some trees drop their leaves earlier than others.  Maybe next year I'll see if we can clear the trails twice to prevent water from getting trapped under these early leaves.  I think some people like the leaves on the trails when they hike, so I hate to do it too soon, but maintaining the trails  and avoided problems is important too.

I may head out for some more trail leaf blowing in the next few days.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Parks One Wheel

I hadn't ridden in over three weeks because of the cold and wet weather we've been having.  There were a few days in there that may have been ok but the trails weren't cleared of leaves and I was busy at work.

Today's temperature was unseasonably warm at about 70°F so I had to take advantage.  It felt like I needed to do something bigger than usual.  I have seen ride reports from my mountain biker friends showing how they rode at both Bay Park West and Tryon by riding about 3/4 mile of road.  So I decided to do this.

I started at the Homewood Lane trail head at BPW, rode through in the most direct way possible, all the way to the south end of Tryon.  Pretty much all of the trails have been leaf blown.  Some spots were muddy, as expected.  I saw many people out on the trails: mountain bikers that I know, some I don't, hikers, and joggers.

On my way back I tried to take any reasonable alternative trails to keep things interesting.

I definitely wasn't feeling my strongest, which makes sense since I haven't been riding for weeks.  I didn't make it up many of the hills that take everything I've got.

About a third of my way out of Tryon I pushed hard up a hill and my left calf cramped badly.  I was able to ride within a few minutes, and though I could feel the residual cramping pain, it never came back so intensely.

I worked my way back through BPW but I was running on empty.  My quads started cramping on my last climb up to Homewood.  When I had to walk, I'm sure I looked like an old man.

Overall it was a good outing.  I might want to try it again when I'm feeling stronger.

My cycle computer showed 8.7 miles.  Both parks have tough trails, so this felt more like 15.

Muni at BPW and Tryon - 2012-11-11