"It's Wetter Than Yesterday!"

Sunday, 01-Mar 2015 @ 10:32pm

Every day this week we have heard "it's wetter than yesterday" and thought the same thing ourselves. 200+mm of rain fell last week and it was really wet at the time. However, as is normal for Nerang, the trails get wetter and softer in the days after big rain events.

If you think back to the week before Christmas, New Year's morning after 12.30AM, 2 more major rain events in the next 2 weeks, plus Cycone Marcia, plus daily/nightly rain showers for the last month, we have had massive rain fall on the Nerang National Park. In that time we have also seen the opening of around 2km of new trail. It's been a battle of trail against riders and weather. Overall the new trails have done pretty well, considering.

Last week we did our best to stabilise the new Exit Trail to Three Hills Singletrack link, but concentrated on the bit closest to the fire road (QPWS sign #19), a section that is very solid now after receiving a dose of gravel and some contouring. In the first 50m only one spot needed some care this weekend

Before Exit Trail though, so many recent work sites were hammered by the latest rain, it was a bit like a trail trauma triage system working out the order of events. First Doug and Ash cut a tree that had fallen across Casuarina's Optional Loop and did their best to help with the effects of rain on the erosion gullies they repaired last week. They say a lot more needs doing. Sorry no pics of that

Then we worked on the bottom of Three Hills Singletrack. This section of trail is the most vulnerable of all, due to fire road runoff and subsoil water moving along a shallow root system. Fine organic soil lies over roots, over clay, over more roots, over rock too deep to find when building a trail. It has become a bog, where deep wheel ruts and attemps to ride around the mess (why not go home instead?) are increasing the damage.

The section closest to the junction with Casuarina Loop remains a problem. Let's start there

This is such a wet area with water oozing out of the soil almost everywhere and it will remain vulnerable until we get a decent dry spell. Perhaps this picture of the network of fine roots that run through the entire depth of the soil system may help explain part of the water problem. Roots = subsoil water

Until this trail dries a bit and gets properly ridden in (not the same as riding it into a bigger bog while wet), it will not be finished. Knowing that eventually we will have to add some gravel, or even rock armour bits of it, we cleared drains near the intersection with Casuarina Loop and added drainage a bit farther up the trail. It is far from sorted

Sometimes corrals are the only way to protect vulnerable terrain next to vulnerable trail. We had to make a lot of corrals this weekend to stop riders showing QPWS they don't think about the land they are on

Corral or no corrals, it was not pretty today. Time and perhaps added stones (if we can get more down from near Pete's trail on the very damaged North Street Fire Road) will help

One spot needed immediate attention yesterday. A very brisk spring, plus water flowing along the trail, rather than across it necessitated a trench, rock armouring and added gravel. Maintaining a grade reversal to drain surface water as well was important here. These pics are from yesterday

and today

The bigger jumps and rhythm section were fairly sound. Some soft sections were hardened with gravel brought over from North Street Fire Road courtesy of Pete from Trailworx. All these bits were quite sound at lunchtime today

The bit above the bermed turn and the top half of the turn were also very soft with water flowing out of the ground. We had to excavate some slop and add lots of gravel. Today the only bit still looking bad was the clay area before you enter the right hand berm (descending). It will see more love this week

The new Exit Trail to Three Hills link was first task today. It was wetter than yesterday (and the day before)! A combination of added gravel, removal of some sloppy mush, a new drainage space for water to exit a flat bit of trail and corrals to keep people on the trail were used. The trail will be in need of review tomorrow afternoon, but if things go as they have lower down, it should be starting to harden by then. Here are some of the changes today. The flat bit

Off camber drifty corner

Rollers near to the intersection with old Exit Trail

I had to leave at this point, but Doug and Ash went on to work on drainages on Three Hills Singletrack near the old Exit Trail intersection. It will help to have more secure water deviation away from the new trail below and into the creek line.

It looks like the trails are going to be wet for some days yet. If we may offer one message to riders: Please stay on the trail. If the trail is soft, wet or muddy, please do not ride off the trail. Doing so damages the adjacent terrain which is also soft and muddy under a bike wheel. Under many wheels it has no chance and that is one thing our land manager has an issue with MTB.

We can fix churned MTB trail, but we cannot fix churned bushland. Please assist us by limiting your impact to our trails and not damaging the National Park either side of it. Please stay on the trail. If the trail is soft and rutted, perhaps it is time to use the fire roads or head home.  Needing to ride off trail to avoid puddles and nastiness means you don't like riding in poor conditions. The trails don't like it either, especially the new ones. With that, please do a no rain dance so we can all get out there and shred trails in peak condition. Please dream of dust.

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