SFA Recreational Trails 3 September 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone for a midday ride. It’s been so horrendously hot it’s not been worth it. But with Tropical Storm Lee in the area, we got clouds, wind, and cooler temperatures. I really would have preferred we get some rain along with it, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. I took advantage of the temps and went for a ride.

I had my first burp of air out of my tubeless tires today. An uphill move I have not yet made on Lanana Creek Trail reared its ugly head today. The tire sealed back up fine, but in spite of reinflating, I could not get the bead to seat properly. The sticky sealant inside was messing things up. So I switched over to a tube and got the bead seated. This particular tire is a wobbly PITA, anyway, so I think I’m just going to keep it tubed until it wears out, and then I’ll replace it with a UST tire with a better bead.

I also noticed it’s time to do some drivetrain maintenance. I’ve been on the same XT cassette since 2005 (with untold miles on it), but have been through several chains in that time. Well, my chain today was skipping teeth in a few of my most commonly used gears. In order to avoid it, I either had to push a harder gear than I preferred, or spin an easier one. On the trails, I spun which unfortunately resulted in a slower ride. On the pavement, I pushed. I’ve got a spare chain laying around, but it’s not going to do any good to me without a new cassette, too. I think I’m going to replace my middle chainring, too, since again it’s my most used.

I had recently been told about some work that trashed our trails. Apparently, some folks in the neighborhood adjacent to our trails were nervous about the fire early in the summer. It was a pretty low-intensity fire and our humble singletrack was a sufficient firebreak in a lot of places. But folks were still nervous. So someone at the university decided it would be a good idea to cut fire lines around the perimeter of the property. Nice…some of our trails are not too far from the property line.

Part of my ride today was scouting for a maintenance day next weekend. So I sought out the areas that were “trashed” and found them to not be in bad shape. In fact, they were in good shape. Our rock gardens were completely intact and the trail tread was not trashed. I don’t think we need to do anything. We did lose one small wooden jump that wasn’t really in a great spot, anyway. This is just a good opportunity to move it someplace better.

The biggest loss, in my opinion, is that a lot of the brush helps define the trail, and when that brush is gone, it becomes possible to lose the trail much easier than before. Our forests don’t really reclaim old trails that fast owing to the poor soils, and the brush clearing didn’t help us in that regard. But I think that’ll be an issue that comes up in the future. When the leaves fall this autumn, it could become an issue if the trail isn’t ridden enough to keep the leaves out of the trail. If we get enough moisture by spring, I think the new spring vegetation will start helping us define the tread again.

A geocache of mine was a casualty in the brush clearing. The container was completely shredded and its contents were strewn all over. Thankfully there were no travel bugs inside. It appears as though the contents were all paper. I didn’t see any solid items. The logbook was damaged, but is still usable. I recovered it and will put it in a new container. I’ll be using an ammo can, but I need to camo it up to the standards (maybe better) than the old container. Then I’ll have to update the chirp and everything for a new location because the old one is out in the open now.

I also scouted the work being done to extend Lanana Creek Trail to the north. The extension will use the sidewalk of Austin St. (I hope they widen it a bit) to cross the creek. A ramp has been paved that drops down the hill and goes underneath the bridge. The extension stops there for now. I hope the new trail goes through the woods rather than just going straight in the powerline right-of-way, but it’s not yet apparent which way it’ll go.

Here’s my track for the day. Officially I got just over 15 miles of riding in, but of course since I ride from my house, I edit out the tracks within a mile or so of my house. No pictures or videos today. I just wanted to ride rather than spend a bunch of time taking pictures and videos.

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