Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spring Thaw Update #1

We went out to scope trails in Van Peenen this morning (Sunday, March 25th 2018) when temps were around 26 degrees. As you can see, things are still on the fritz when it comes to Spring Thaw conditions.

IPT has a lot of ice cover (to be expected) and it wouldn't be surprising if it were closer to the middle of April until things shape up (considering our current weather pattern.)

Temps are still going down into the freezing temps at night and warming up during the day- this means frost is still coming out of the ground in many areas.

Not too much damage from bike and foot traffic, but you can tell there have been users out in less than ideal conditions. A lot of pock-marks from deer hooves. You'll have a bumpy ride no matter what.

We have an album up on Facebook for Van Peenen (so far.)

We are not going to waste our time with daily checks at this point. With thick ice in spots, it's not going to change an awful lot in a single day.

One of our trail checkers reported that Dunnings was shaping up on a couple trails, but the majority still had some ice and/or were soft in above freezing temps.

Long story short- unless you ride our trails in the morning while temps are still below 34 degrees, please respect them and stay off until they have firmed up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Time Trials Update #3

We're fine-tuning some details and the countdown is on!

Race Director: Ron Moffit
If you have specific questions pertaining to the Time Trials, he's your guy!

Check out the TT event on Facebook!
Don't forget to like the TT page!

Registration starts at 10 a.m.
You pick your start time at registration.

Registration fee for the long course is $25.00
Registration fee for the short course: TBD
Registration fee for the kid race: Free!

Kid Race starts at 11 a.m. and lasts around 25 minutes.

Pre-Race meeting after awards for the Kid Race participants.

Roll Out to start after Pre-Race meeting.

Starting around 11:30(ish)

Short course riders go first.

Five minute gap between last short course rider and first long course rider.

Awards and general celebrating of a job well done will be at T-Bock's from 3-5 p.m.

Remember, don't forget to thank the awesome volunteers who donate their time to help make the race a success! We really appreciate their hard work and dedication to helping make the Decorah Time Trials a success. Also, a great big thank you to Decorah Parks and Recreation for their continued support of DHPT and Time Trials.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Freeze/Thaw Cycle

Trail ruts caused by riding partially thawed trails.
The transition from winter to spring is here and local trails will be experiencing freeze thaw cycles. This means trail conditions will be unsuitable for riding until the ground freezes solid and daytime temperatures stay well below freezing.

What's the big deal with freeze thaw cycles?
Dirt trails are extremely venerable to rut damage during the transition to and from winter because colder temps prevent the soil from drying. When soil freezes the growth of ice crystals push soil particles apart leaving large gaps that can fill with water when the ice melts. In a thawed state this dirt is much like a sponge and will absorb large amounts of water. It is also hyper sensitive to disturbance by foot/bike traffic and flowing water and will form ruts with little effort. Direct sunlight and above freezing daytime temperatures can thaw the top layer of frozen dirt and create an easily rutted, greasy, muddy mess on the surface. Overnight, lower temperatures refreeze the top surface of the trails, ruts included, and the process repeats when conditions allow (hence the name freeze thaw cycle).

Why are ruts bad for trails?
When ruts develop along a trail they channel water, causing erosion of the trail surface, and slow the drying process. Rain is highly erosive to trails when the ground is frozen and ruts greatly increase the chances of erosion by flowing water. When the soil is frozen, water can't soak in like normal and flows along the top in large quantities. Ruts on a trail can intercept these flows and divert them along the length of a trail. As the water flows down the trail and picks up speed it also picks up soil particles and washes them away from the trail. This can leave behind deep ruts tens or hundreds of feet long in extreme circumstances. Come spring time, ruts can also hold pools of water on the trail surface and prevent it from drying as quickly. If these puddles are disturbed by bike tires they can quickly turn into large mud pits. Fixing these areas eats up trail volunteer time that could be better spent on other projects. Wet areas like this also prolong trail closures.

Tips for riding during the winter/spring months where temps fluctuate between freezing/above-
Pay attention to the trail status
Don't ride frozen trails when the temperature is above freezing.
Ride frozen trails early in the morning before they have a chance to warm.
Don't ride if the temps are hovering around freezing and it is sunny. Wait until temps are below 25F and even then there may be thawed areas.
If after following all the above guidelines and the trails are still too soft, turn around and come back another time. A single rider can damage many thousands of feet of trail under these conditions.

Please respect the trails during the transition months in the winter/spring so everyone can maximize their enjoyment come spring time!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Next Meeting & Trail Update

The next meeting for DHPT will be held at T-Bock's on Tuesday, March 6th at 7 p.m. We will be *upstairs* for the meeting. You'll have to plan ahead if you want to eat/drink as there will not be service upstairs. Bus your dishes, tidy up, and please do not move any tables as the floor can be scratched easily.

On the agenda as of 3/1/18
DDTR update
Carlson Property Update
Fundraising Update
Social Media Update

MTB Trail Use Update:
We're experiencing spring thaw conditions at this time. No trail riding is being done by administrators of the Decorah Mountain Bike Trails page. A great read about the affects of riding of soft trails due to thaw conditions can be found here, (it is winter-riding based, but the thaw portion applies!) Trail conditions like this apply to all users, be on 2 wheels or foot.

Please note that Decorah Bicycles will *not* rent out mountain bikes for trail riding while spring thaw conditions apply.

Using the Trails Page as a resource to point folks to curious about if our trails are "closed" is ideal. Once temps stay consistent, updates will happen. Until then, bog down on peanut butter gravels or find some pavement to grind!