Thursday, March 1, 2012

On why maybe I should become a NEMBA trail ambassador at the West Hartford Reservoir

I'm not much of technical rider, anybody can attest to that. Heck, I can't even ride backwards. Though like people better than I am, I enjoy a good cut of singletrack of moderate difficulty to ride. I've been riding at the West Hartford Reservoir since I was 11 and have seen trails evolve and mostly devolve and now I think that I have come to an understand of what happens to the poor trails there.

1) A stretch of cool single track comes into existence. The terrain at the Reservoir lends itself to good trails, so the trail might be pretty good.

2) Trails gets more popular, but it's hard. So, cheater lines and trail braids develop. However, sometimes a section was so difficult that a whole cheater trail develops.

3) Trail has become to decimated that it doesn't really have any good lines left and then people start adding stupid stunts to it. Why am I seeing people with chainsaws at the Reservoir now? I guess it's ok for maintenance, but I get the sense they're doing more than just that. Also, why are all these "jumps" so lumpy and misshapen?

I bring this up because there's newish trail that avoided a big mud pit (legitimately avoided it, it was wasn't one of those trail widening dealies). It had this tight hairpin that had a small ledge at the apex. I liked it, because it was difficult. Well, apparently most people who ride it found it too difficult and made this cheater trail that has become vastly more popular than the original trail. I tried blocking off the cheater line once, but my blocking was moved away.

There is one case where the trail degradation has helped. Someone attempted to make some bike park-esque thing off the the rt. 44 lot. It was terrible, all the "stunts" were really poorly constructed, to the point that they'd fall apart when ridden. The trail avoids them now for the most part. I guess it beats riding on the levee, but just barely.


Mark Lurie said...

So, if you became a NEMBA Trail Ambassador, what you would do differently?

Brendan said...

Maintenance to prevent crazy braiding and cheater lines. Continue to work on water management.

People corduroy stuff terrible there and make these terrible rock dams. I've been dismantling or fixing stick direction. It seems to help. There's a couple of spots that need a total reroute, but that's beyond me.

dougyfresh said...


I thought I was alone. I've gravitated from NOT riding in the res because I get so frustrated every time I go out there with how dumbed down the trails have gotten from fallen trees being removed to cheater lines.

here is one such example in Pennwood.

Really? Come on!

Brendan said...

I know that exact Penwood log you're talking about. It was totally rideable before, why change it? I rode some secret stuff in Colchester yesterday (legal, but secret) and what a difference in fun 12" wide trails are to the mess so much of the res has become.