GHORBA Trail Clinic: October 30-31

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Trails Blog on Nov. 26, 2010 - 2:43 pm

S&S Trail Services completed a weekend-long training session in Houston at the request of GHORBA (Greater Houston Off-Road Bicycling Association), and it was a smashing success! Many thanks go to Russell Adams and the other officers and board members of the club who were instrumental in pulling the event together.

The classroom portion of the training was taught at a newly-opened library next to the Anthills trails, where the dirt-training part of the class was held later in the weekend. Our crew leader Chuck was finally able to attend one of our trainings since it was held in Houston, and he said it was great to learn the theory behind the applied work he’d been doing with us for several months.

.Classroom Session

There were over 30 participants in the class on Saturday, and they were very engaged students and asked a lot of thoughtful questions. After a wonderful donated lunch of pizza and pepperoni rolls, we all trooped over to the project site to come up with proposed solutions for the trouble spots in the trail. The students also worked with the partners they had teamed up with in class to practice using the clinometer out in the woods and start laying out a flag line to reroute around some low-lying trail sections that got flooded on a frequent basis.

.HOly Benchcut, Batman!

Sunday morning started bright and early with a tool safety talk and then construction began on the flag line that had been designed on Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly enough for the region, there was some actual side-hill slope to work with that necessitated a true bench cut construction technique. It was nice for people to do some real digging and build something that is fairly rare in the Houston mountain bike scene. Also one area required construction of a crib wall with backfill to protect the root system of a large tree, so our friend and adjunct instructor Jamie Hendrixson oversaw that part of the project. She and her crew did a great job on that section, and it was a nice added feature to the reroute that was completed that day.

The class worked really hard all day but we did run out of time before the whole section was completed, so we decided to ‘cheat’ a little at the end of the day after most of the folks had left. A short section that required a lot of dirt moving was left to connect up to the old trail, so since we had Sam the dozer with us on our way home from Double Lake we decided to cut in the last section with machinery to wrap up the project. A few club members had stayed behind to watch, and it was nice to be able to show them what we could do with our equipment and explain that this was how we had completed all of the Double Lake trail construction.

.HOly Benchcut, Batman!

GHORBA has done a great job over the past several years with trail advocacy and fund-raising for new construction, and they already have a lot of experienced volunteer builders in their fold. They also had several newer trail stewards come on board recently who had never taken a trail building class before, so that’s why this weekend event was organized. We were happy to help out, and look forward to continuing our work with the club in the future.