I started work as a trail builder today. My usual lifestyle of having a lie in, going on ‘R&D’ rides on weekdays and blagging bike parts to test from the Singletrack office is temporarily on hold. I’m still doing my work as a mountain bike skills trainer and guide, but this is predominantly at weekends with the odd weekday thrown in, particularly at the moment during the winter. Taking on work that is connected to riding bikes fits right in with my plans for living the biking dream at the moment. I recently gave up my previous work to concentrate on running skills courses. The chance to join Rowan Sorrell and his team building trails at Lee Quarry was offered to me was just too good to miss.
So what are we building? At the moment there are several new skills lines being built at Lee Quarry. The existing skills area is being improved with rollers, berms and small jumps which will join up the features that are already there to make a skills development loop. In addition to this there is a pump line, a berm line, a drop off line and a black graded jump line all under construction right now. Then there will be a new section of red trail that will replace a current fire road link section. That’s not all because we’ll be building a cool pump track too. I would say that’s all rather exciting wouldn’t you? Please don’t try riding any of this stuff until it’s open as the trails need finishing and time to bed in. If you do ride on it we will have to make repairs and the trails will take longer to be ready. If you’re up in the quarry and you see folk riding the new stuff, please ask them nicely to stop. When we’ve finished at Lee Quarry we’ll be moving over to nearby Cragg Quarry to build a 4km loop of delight.
Trail builders have a pretty Hollywood lifestyle. Heated seats in the excavators, state of the art earth moving equipment and go anywhere dumpers. Unfortunately myself and my mate Leon don’t get any of this. We are doing the finishing work to the trails. This means shovelling, barrowing, raking and using the whacker plate to get that lovely hardpacked finish and shape to the rollers, booters, berms and suchlike.
Today we had sunshine, snow and hail and as the sun started to go down the ground froze. When I got home I ate ALL THE FOOD and now I am going to bed. Yes it’s hard work and I love it.