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featherweight clydesdale
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local club was recently asked about the possibility of creating a DH specific trail. As a primary contact with local land managers, I thought it might be good to get a better handle on what folks might want for a DH trail, aside from the obvious such as a long DH and the ability to shuttle.

I was talking with a local DH fan, and he was describing what he thinks is a good/ideal DH trail. Essentially it's a 40-50% slope gully trail. He said if you pour a bucket of water out at the top, you'd be sitting in it at the bottom (this assumes it's not absorbed on the way down as opposed to diverted by grade reversal). The ride down is basically a controlled crash.

Unfortunately this isn't something I can take to a land manager. The trail exceeds sustainable slope by 25%+ and it will suffer terribly from erosion....unless it is constructed from stone. The controlled crash part is priceless if you're trying not to get access or lose what you already have.

Does my local DH fanatic suffer from a case on New England verticle trail orientation or is this a common design element sought by everyone? What would your ideal DH trail look like?
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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first off for access rights and ways to work within the sytem look to Falls City or BlackRock in Oregon.....

Type of DH trails I like...flowy, drops, jumps, rockgardens, flowy, steeps, steep rock gardens, corners, berms and more flowy
 

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The North Shore is another excellent example of how bikers have worked with the local authorities to build trails that are a blast while keeping the impact to a minimum. Check out NSMB.com if you haven't already.
 

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Equal opportunity meanie
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2,781 Posts
Yes but the difference between the good riders and the not-so-good ones will be brake use. Besides, if you use your brakes down the thumbreaker drops you're done for.

Ian - Where is pic #5 at? First pic of your second post. Spot looks familiar but it may be a different trail...
 

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Keep in mind not everyone has the big ass rockgardens that SOcal has, if your unfortunate like me, were working on a trail, that is going to have a few 10-20ft doubles at the beginning, and tight singletrack through trees in the middle and some long fast berms at the end, its hard work making a trail flow, just work with what youve got and get lots of buddies to put in imput to make it as good as possible, personaly I like flowy dh trails that dont have any north shore on it, but thats just me. Hope all turns out well and im jellous that your town wants to work with bikers, our stuff aint legal
 

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featherweight clydesdale
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1,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys. I think fast and flowy, with the occassional rock garden, tech section, and burm turns can be done at some place with only a few hundred feet of elevation and building within 10 to 15% grade for the trail. A shallower grade will make the run longer.

If it goes straight down, you don't have burms!
 

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Just roll it......
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Fattirewilly,

Remember, just because it's a DH trail, doesn't mean it can't traverse or even have slight uphill grades in sections. This is a good way to help control speeds after steeper parts and keeps skidding and erosion to a minimum. Other good ways of doing that is to have speed checks in certain areas. That can be a rock garden, a narrow section, etc. As you said something that goes straight down the fall line, while super fun, usually makes for a quick trail and likely will have major drainage issues.

If you haven't contacted Juice here on mtbr, I strongly advise you drop him a PM as he's a weatlh of knowledge on trail building techniques (he's on vaca right now, so it might take him a bit). He rides a fair bit of DH/FR and is very involved with local trail efforts.

Cheers,
EBX
 

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Recovering
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1,483 Posts
Willy- obviously you have some IMBA trailbuilding background. Their guide to building freeride trails is great. All the standard IMBA guidlines apply- keep the grade fairly shallow for length, punctuate with steep rock rollers and rock gardens where you can (to slow people down where necessary and again increase trail length). Incorporate rollable tabletops for the guys who like to jump, optional drops with nice and steep transitions, optional wooden skinny lines (don't overdo these, and keep the trails as natural as possible, but some log skinnies, especially with drops off the end, can be a lot of fun). Linked berm-jump-berm lines are a blast, and all of IMBA's suggestions for trail flow apply- use chokes or grade reversals to slow people down before any flat turns, avoid turns that might force people to grab brakes going into them, etc.

We just built a nice (but relatively short) freeride trail here in NYC with 150 feet of vert. You can have much more fun if you don't run a trail straight down the fall line... ;)
 
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