So I have two questions really. It’s going to start raining here in Northern California soon and since I’ve got about a month before my snowboarding season starts I’d like to keep riding. I asked one of my friends if they planned on riding it the trails got wet and he said no out of respect for the trails. I guess he was concerned about messing the trails up by creating ruts and they like.
Is this a thing? Is it considered disrespectful to ride a wet trail?
The second question is; if riding in wet weather what are some tips for beginners? The trails I ride now are currently hard packed and dusty and loose. What can I expect under wet conditions?
Our bad season is in the spring when the snow is thawing, if we try to ride in that before it dries out (takes a few weeks after becoming bare) it leaves huge ruts that never go away. We can often ride on the trails in the rain at all other times, but now what I do is instead of riding in the rain, I go and work on the trails. It's the best time, since you can see where the water is pooling and remove the damns, build drains, trenches, angle the tread, borrow pits, etc.
It just depends on the trail system. Often times riders will ride around puddles, which tends to dam the puddle even more, which makes it bigger and bigger over time, as well as widening the trail tread, all generally bad things for the trail. Some trail networks have horrible soil that cakes the bike and actually stops the wheels from turning. Some trails rut out easily with some rain. Some trail networks are on relatively hard soil that sheds water well and doesn't care if it's raining or not. Some loamy stuff just absorbs the rain and it doesn't do anything except make the roots slick. It just depends. The rule of thumb is if you are leaving a rut, but a lot of riders seem to sugar coat conditions and they'll tell me it's great or not muddy and I go out there and it's like these people were in some sort of alternate reality, because it's not good, it is muddy.