July Trail Report. 

On a recent trail day, someone said to me, every now and then, a house needs a new coat of paint.  I laughed and loved the comment.  Our trails are constantly changing, but we also want to ensure that we maintain them.  It is often a balancing act of maintaining the original character while working to ensure the trail stays safe and resilient to erosion. So sometimes, we give the trail a fresh coat of paint.  We aim to make that new coat of paint the same as the original (whilst also adding some new trim to ensure the trail stands out!).  

A while back, I asked Dr. Clark Lewis, the original builder of Angry M, if the SORCA trail crew could work on the trail. At times, trail builders are hesitant to let anyone work on artwork they are so proud of.  Dr. Lewis was great; he said, “go for it, trails change, and I look forward to seeing the changes.”  Volunteers (recent Stark Architect sponsored trail day) and SORCA trail crew worked on some corners, amplified some jumps, covered some rocks and roots and re-worked the upper bench cut.  This fresh coat of paint was noticeable at the last SORCA enduro. Also, thanks to Adam Rainmaker, and other key volunteer builders who have maintained Angry M over the years!

The SORCA trail crew keeps an eye on the upcoming events and works to ensure that trails are given an inspection and any needed touch-ups pre-event.  I hope many have noticed the changes when participating in Sorca Events.   Hill climbs are raked and marble-free, the brush is trimmed back, fast sections of the trail have fresh dirt, drainage is improved, and large steps are armoured.  These subtle changes are probably unnoticeable when competing.  But I imagine a few people who use Strava suddenly find they have a bundle of new PR’s on trails they have raced in the past. 

Trail work conducted by your SORCA trail crew over the last month includes: 

  • Fred trail day – armoured the chute and improved the climbs – Thanks to Capra Cycling for sponsoring and volunteering.
  • Another Man’s Gold trail day, Added dirt to the lower section to raise the trail bed. Thanks to Indigenous Women’s Outdoor Group and Squamish Nation Youth Group for volunteering.
  • Angry M trail day – rebuilt XC bench cut at the top, fixed an eroded corner, armoured a large step, and added dirt to fast sections and jumps. Thanks to Stark Architecture for sponsoring and volunteering. 
  • Miki’s Magic and Slippery Salmon – Raked trail bed
  • Upstream Climb –  Removed stump root at the top of the steep section 
  • Hot Tuna – Added dirt to jumps 
  • Rock and Roll hill climb – Raked  (gravel grinders rejoice!!!)
  • Spélhx̱en tl’a Stl’lhalem (Meadow of the Grizzly) – Cleared rocks and drains  
  • Value Added, Entrails, Mashiter, and Treasure Trail – Cleared blowdown  
  • Mike’s loop – Added slats to the boardwalk  
  • Caterpillar connector, Live wire, and Cliff’s Corners – Brush Cut
  • Phil and Cam’s – Added signage, armoured and removed loose rocks in the steep rocky section
  • Word of Mouth – Volunteer and Trail Crew worked on the re-routed section and the ‘dog beach’ climb.
  • Pseudo Tsuga 3 (toilet bowl section) – Contracted DreamWizards to rejuvenate this section of the trail.
  • Pseudo Tsuga 3 (below waterfall bridge), The Trail crew worked on closing some braids that would have led to drainage and erosion issues. 
  • Word of Mouth – building a new bridge, and some dirt work. 

Dave’s wisdom

Bench Cuts!

We often need these to cross steep forest areas or build climbing trails. A good local example is on Stl’lhalem Sintl’ where well over 50% of this climb trail has been made from this technique.  In my opinion, WORCA Trail Crew builds some of the best bench cuts in the Sea to Sky. 

When I was younger, Whistler was often referred to as the “quiet mtb date”  you were breathing too hard on the climbs to talk and charging too fast on the descents to want to talk.  Hmhh…  My wife Petra probably thought I was a quiet man back then.  Nowadays, whenever I ride in Whistler, there are beautiful bench-cut climbing trails (and I talk the whole time while climbing them).  It has dramatically changed riding in Whistler.  

One of the things I admire about Whistler is the time spent stacking rocks on the downhill side of bench cuts to support the trail bed.  A bench cut across steep terrain without supporting rocks will shift downhill over time, resulting in a side slope that is hard to pedal.  If you want to see incredible rock work, ride “Piece of Cake” in Whistler. You will notice that rocks are stacked at an angle to help support the downhill side of the bench cut.  The uphill and downhill sides are angled at the angle of repose (30 to 45 degrees).  The bench cuts are also undulating. A trail that undulates improves drainage and is much more fun to climb or descend than straight sections of trail. 

Our Trail crew recently did a small version of this on Angry M in the xc portion.  If we left it to erode continually, that section would have resulted in an unrideable sidehill.  It is unlikely that you will notice the changes, but I imagine it will make the trail a bit more fun. Happy trails.

More Photos of Recent Work- Mikes Loop – Angry M Trail Day – Fred – WOM