Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh Deer, what a mess!

I took The Goat out for nine slow, sweaty, grimy miles at Shawnee Mission Park. I almost hit this deer. She wandered off the trail, though, completely tame and unafraid of me. I was mere feet from her when I took this photo. I probably could have hiked over and pet her, but you don't want to see what happens when a deer is both afraid of you and close to you. It isn't pretty. I rode off.

Mud pits on the trail are a bit of a paradox. To be earth and trail friendly, you're supposed to avoid riding straight through muddy ruts because it erodes the trail and makes it worse. The paradox? By trying to go around it, your wheel will inevitably wash out, slide into the rut, and either make you very messy if not cause you to lose control of the bike. And you'll still make the rut deeper and erode the trail.

Fortunately, I just got really muddy and didn't eat it. But I further eroded the trail.

These are a bit out of order. This is before I got all messy, at the intersection of the "difficult" loop and the "easy" loop. I rode all parts of the trail once, and sections of both the easy and difficult loops multiple times.

Trying to "capture the trail" again, but my secret is usually to wait until the sun is going down enough to filter the light through the canopy at an angle. It hadn't quite set enough for my liking when I took this.


Random Tunage:
Gravity Kills - Guilty
Ecano - Run


Ray Craighead said...

Like the deer photo.
Backpack etiquette is to walk IN the rut (muddy or not) so as not to expand the erosion. I would think this would apply to mountain bikes as well.

Apertome said...

It really depends who you ask about mud pits. Some people say you should ride straight through them, otherwise you're widening the trail. Others say go around so you don't make the pit deeper. I tend to think the former, but in reality it depends on the situation.

That said, if there are many mud pits like that one, you should really wait until the trail dries to ride on it. But I also know from experience that there can be times when 98% of the trail is fine, and there are a few muddy spots.

Noah said...

There were a total of 4 mud pits, with this one being the most slushy. The rest of the trail was tacky but not wet, and no one was leaving ruts. After the first washout and mudfest, I just forded them straight through, which was not only funner, but faster and cleaner as well.

Any more moist and I would have left the trails alone. The local IMBA affiliate is good about fixing up stuff like this, which is usually the result of water streaming downhill and getting caught on the trail. They usually find these sections and fill them with limestone. That solves that.

MRMacrum said...

As Apertome says, it depends on who you ask. By riding around you help to expand the area of erosion. Here in Maine where mud is an everyday occurence, we base our "through" or "around" on how big the mud hole is. Generally I ride through if I know I can expect a hard surface a few inches down. If it is a sippy hole, one that grabs your bike and sucks it into some muddy existence in another universe, I will usualy walk my bike around.

I favor "through" in most cases though. I have seen the damage "around" does.

Jeff Moser said...

The correct answer is C. Bunny Hop the Mud Pit!

Nice to see a different side of your area. Looks like a great place to ride.

Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog a couple of weeks ago...really love reading your daily adventures and the photos are always awesome.
I live and ride in Columbia MO.

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