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Notice to members – temporary trail closures on Eagle Mountain

March 27, 2017 at 11:28 am

TORCA and RSTBC (Rec Sites and Trails BC) continue to negotiate a land usage agreement on Eagle Mountain. In the interim, RSTBC has closed Manhandler and Three Little Pigs to mitigate liability. TORCA asks its members to respect these closures until such time as the negotiations are complete and the trails have been re-opened. If you would like more information on our Section 56 (trail stewardship) application please contact us at info@torca.ca

Trail day – Blue Line – Sunday, March 26

March 15, 2017 at 11:50 am

We are going to give Blue Line some much needed TLC. This trail day is sponsored by Kinetik Cycles. We have some prizes to give away.

Meet us at the Gravel Lot beside Aspenwood Elementary

When: 9 AM for coffee & snacks, sign waivers
Head out on the trail at 9:15 AM
Lunch time is around 1:30 – 2 PM

Lunch, snacks and coffee will be provided. Please bring some water and a pair of gloves.

No experience necessary! Dogs and children are welcome but please note that we are using some heavy duty tools and pets and kids are your responsibility on the trail.

If you can’t make it to the trail day but still want to help out, consider pitching in with a few bucks and earn some trail karma while you’re at it. Even $5 goes a long way.

Click on the link below to donate funds to TORCA:

http://www.trailforks.com/region/coquitlam/karma/

Trail day – Lower Physiotherapy – Saturday, Feb. 25

February 19, 2017 at 11:35 pm

With the snow mostly gone we are very excited to get back into digging mode. We will be working on the lower part of Physiotherapy.

Meet us at the Gravel Lot beside Aspenwood Elementary – Map

When: 9 AM for coffee & snacks, sign waivers
Head out on the trail at 9:15 AM
Lunch time is around 1:30 – 2 PM

Lunch, snacks and coffee will be provided. Please bring some water and a pair of gloves. Tools will be provided but if you have a favourite tool that you love working with, feel free to bring it!

No experience necessary! Dogs and children are welcome but please note that we are using some heavy duty tools and pets and kids are your responsibility on the trail.

If you can’t make it to the trail day but still want to help out, consider pitching in with a few bucks and earn some trail karma while you’re at it. Even $5 goes a long way.

Click on the link below to donate funds to TORCA:

http://www.trailforks.com/region/coquitlam/karma/

Riding in the wet – a guide to responsible trail selection and usage

February 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

We are fortunate living where we do; mild winters and a lot of different riding destinations to choose from, which means riding is a round the year possibility. This benefit does come with a couple of drawbacks, firstly, and most prominently, it rains here… A lot! Recently, we’ve seen record rainfalls, and the heavy rain events have been frequent enough that adequate drainage has not occurred, leaving the ground totally saturated, the lack of snow also means that trails don’t get a rest period, so they are seeing heavier than normal traffic for this time of year because people aren’t able to ski, two events that can be problematic.

With modern trail building practices that follow the IMBA and Whistler trail standards, the trails are able to withstand bad weather and heavy traffic better than ever, but building to these standards is incredibly labour intensive, not always the most ideal solution for a particular area, in turn, this means that the trail will not necessarily be able to handle high traffic or wet weather, so it’s good to know how to identify trails that will handle the rain, and also to understand what trails are best left for drier days. It’s really difficult to tell someone not to do something, and the aim of this article is to educate so that you can make an informed decision on when and what to ride.

Before You Ride:
Think about what trails you are going to ride:
-Soil Type: Are they typically muddy?
-Trail Grade: How steep are they?
-Special Restrictions: Are there any special restrictions put on by the builder or trail group?
-Plan Your Ride: Do you have a backup plan in case conditions are worse than anticipated?

Soil Type:

The type of soil on the trail bed contributes to how well the trail will drain. In it’s natural state, the forest floor is made up of sticks, pine needles, leaves and other organic debris that is in various stages of decomposition. This material is known as duff, and if you pick it up, it’s loose, doesn’t pack, can hold a lot of water like a sponge, and when worked will break down into a black, sloppy muck that takes a long time to dry out. It’s the trail surface that is typical for ‘loamers’, the primitive trails that when dry are the dirt equivalent to skiing on a powder day, but in the wet, they are greasy, fragile and waterlogged. If you finish a ride and are covered in mud, then that mud has come from the trail, and it’s not going to be replaced without intervention, it’s a good marker for erosion!

The gold soil that has become ubiquitous with modern trail building is the local mineral soil. It’s a mixture of fine gravel, sand, silt and a small amount of clay with minimal organic matter. It is technically called loam (which is often confused with duff as mentioned above). When it’s worked, it will compact down, and the clay and silt will bond everything together forming a hardened layer that can shed water and is very resistant to wear from foot and wheel traffic. Building trail with this is labour intensive, generally consisting of removing the duff, back filling with rock, and crowning with soil to form the trail surface.

Rock is fantastic, it doesn’t really wear (although it can get polished), it doesn’t change, it can handle any amount of weather, but it can also channel water onto the rock-trail boundary, and the end of rock sections will often be rutted because of braking and water erosion.

After a heavy rainfall, it takes time for the trails to dry out to a rideable level. With armoured mineral soil trails, they can sometimes be good through the rain event or up to two or three days after. Organic surfaced trails can take weeks to dry out properly depending on the slope of the hill, sunlight and other factors.

Trail Grade:
Water on a trail is generally bad, but it becomes an erosive force when it’s moving, and as it’s speed picks up, so does it’s potential for damage. A well built, well maintained trail will have out-slopes on the trail bed to sheet water off to the side without it picking up much momentum, as a backup, there will also be grade reversals, small speed bumps or changes in grade from downhill to uphill that force the water off the trail before it can turn into a creek.

Standing water is generally not an issue unless the ground is totally saturated, at which point it will soften and riding through will create channels that could either promote water flow/channeling, or more common, people will choose to ride around the puddle because they don’t want to get wet, which turns that lovely narrow single track into a wide swamp.

If a trail is very steep, the water will pick up momentum quickly, meaning that it’s more likely to channel and erode if the water isn’t managed properly. Not a problem if the trail is down to hardpan, but also, not the most desirable trail surface to ride on. Channeled water is also unpredictable, so the trail surface, when eroded, could be hazardous.

Special Restrictions:
Sometimes, because of conditions, fresh work that needs to bed in and set, or a variety of other reasons, a trail may be temporarily closed. Check with the local builder or organisation to find out if there is any current issues before starting your ride. If you come across something like this mid-ride, please respect the closure, even if it does mean you don’t get the ride you like. Letting trails rest now means that they will be better in the future!

Plan Your Ride:

Before you start your ride, know where you are going, plan some contingencies in case conditions turn bad and your destination is now not suitable for the conditions. If it is wet, tread lightly, don’t ride full speed and skid everywhere, as conditions will be a bit more fragile as well as unpredictable.

Have Fun!
Every day of riding this time of year is a bonus day, since we haven’t really had a traditional winter. If you treat every ride like this following the guide above, then you will be able to have a fantastic ride and save the trails for prime spring conditions!

If it’s really wet, consider going for a hike (although the same problems still exist), or contact your local organisation or builders to see if they need help, digging in the rain is really satisfying.

More Info:
IMBA Trail Standards
Whistler Trail Standards
Here’s a write up from a different area with very different ground, but the message is the same.
Trail Forks has up to date trail info

TORCA: Tri Cities
NSMBA: North Shore
SORCA: Squamish
FVMBA: Fraser Valley
WORCA: Whistler

SORCE: Surrey
PVTA: Pemberton Valley

Steve Sheldon, TORCA Director of Trails

January 2017 Newsletter

January 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Here’s our first newsletter for 2017.