Winged Deer Mountain Bike Park saw more than 20 volunteers join Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) members to clear a section of trail and place rocks for a new advance skill-level trail.
SORBA Tri-Cities Trail Boss Greg Carr said, “I think the trail that we are currently building is a little bit out of the norm for us. We didn’t really know that we were going to have such enormous technical trail features.”
The new trail will be approximately 1 to 1.5 miles long and have natural rock features. The main focus of last Sunday’s volunteers was to build this section of new trail. Completion is not expected until the spring of 2019. This new trail and a beginner loop being built in January will nearly double the available mileage at Winged Deer Mountain Bike Park.
“We’re going to have, probably, some of the biggest drops that we have ever built at 4 and 5 feet,” Carr said. “It surprised us and we are really excited about the opportunity to build something like this.”
Carr said that the rock features presented themselves as they cleared the downfall.
“Normally, technical trail features like this have to be built with rock that you have to bring in,” explained Carr. “This was probably one of the largest natural rock gardens that we have ever uncovered.”Morale was high amongst the volunteers. Sledgehammers landing upon solid rock echoed like shotgun blasts, as big rock was broken into little rocks. Volunteers used a “rock bar” – imagine a 6 foot tall, 2.5 inch thick nail – to break apart large boulders along fracture lines. Chainsaws screamed as more downfall was cleared to expose the rock and trail underneath.
Carr said, “It will be a trail that will take time to master. It is not going to be something that most riders will be able to ride all the way through the very first time they ride it, myself included.”
Volunteers used a variety of tools to clear leaves, roots and trees to expose a trail that may seem foreign to the untrained eye. Blisters, pizza, refreshments and the prospect of “sending it,” are the reward for the diggers.
Carr hopes the volunteers gain “a sense of pride in the local trails, because they are putting their own time and effort into building them.”
SORBA Tri-Cities will host its next volunteer workday on Dec. 2. This will be the last workday of the year. The club plans to go “full-throttle” in 2019 to complete this trail and a new beginner loop. Check the groups Facebook page – www.facebook.com/SORBATriCities/ – for more details.