Kanab had a big year! The Kanab Cycling Club was officially formed in November 2015 as a subchapter of the DMBTA. In January the IMBA Trail Care Crew came to Kanab and hosted a meeting about how to manage a cycling club and a trail building workshop. Both events were well attended, but the trail workshop day was a major event in Kanab with 55 people in attendance! The ACE (American Conservation Experience) crew also came and helped with trail building instruction during that event. Since then we have completed two short mountain bike trails and have another 15 miles of trails flagged and ready to build as soon as the environmental clearances are completed. In November a pump track was completed as part of a larger project by the city to enlarge the recreation opportunities around the city park.
Other notable club accomplishments and activities are: trail maintenance on the Navajo Lake Loop, the Virgin River Rim Trail and at the Rainbow Rim Trail. We hosted several trail work days, we continue to be active in our local trails committee and the Kane County Healthy Coalition. We attended the Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit, participated in the National Trails Day celebration, and National Public Lands Day.
This year we created a mission statement, a club logo and established a regular group ride date of every 3rd Saturday of the month. In 2017 we hope to continue our work advocating for paved bike paths in town and along highway 89 north out of town from Kanab to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. We will be supporting a Utah State University student project that will be analyzing the connectivity of the surrounding communities and National Parks. We are excited about expanding our network of mountain bike trails and promoting cycling as a part of a healthy life style.
Wire Mesa Construction
After 542 volunteer hours and 1680 hours ACE crew time, the Wire Mesa Loop trail was completed this year. This project started over two years ago and would never have been possible without the dedication of DMBTA volunteers and strong support from the BLM. After the initial surveys of the terrain on Wire Mesa, it was apparent to us that this trail could be something special. Our mesas are already home to amazing trails like Gooseberry, Little Creek, and Guacamole, and so we wanted to create a different trail that would complement the existing opportunities.
We decided to go with a trail that was technically easier, and flowed much faster than the other mesa trails. We also wanted to make it fun to ride both directions, and included three “easier/more-difficult” trail splits to provide fun for riders of all levels. Wire Mesa is a rocky rugged place, and to make it faster we had to put in a lot of time finding the best line and designing the flow. To maintain speed the trail needed sweeping turns, have a good line of sight, and be wide enough for riders to lean into the curves. This made the design and construction a lot more difficult. An expert trail can be designed to go over more difficult obstacles, and experts can ride obstacles without a lot of momentum. A fast intermediate trail requires that technical features are not too difficult, and that riders can maintain speed. The mesa also has archeological sites, and areas of poor soil, that had to be avoided.
To help meet these goals we used local trail experts, and called on experts from Bend Oregon and Park City to help with design. Some of these people are professional trail designers that would normally be well paid, but they donated their time to make this trail happen. The conceptual trail was developed making sure the route met all of these requirements, and because the flow was critical we placed over 5,000 pin flags, and supervised construction, to make sure the ACE crew got the line as perfect as possible. We adjusted many of those flags multiple times to get the best approach to, and exit from, difficult trail features. Rather than simply going around a thick stand of brush or trees, if necessary, we cut the trail through to create the best flow. On a good ten hour work day, our 9-10 person crew completed less than1/2 mile of trail. It was a difficult build.
It was worth the work. Based on feedback so far, this trail is a hit. We’ve heard from quiet a few people how much they love this trail. It hits the sweet spot between the easier Hurricane Cliffs trails and the other more difficult mesa trails. One of our friends nailed it when she said, “If Guacamole and the JEM had a beautiful baby, it would be Wire Mesa.” It is a diverse 7 1/2 mile singletrack loop with some slickrock, fast singletrack, bench trails, and amazing scenery. Details about the trail with turn-by-turn driving direction can be found on MTBproject.com its called the Wire Mesa Loop trail.
A special thanks to the BLM, the ACE crew, and all of the volunteers that made this possible.
Kentucky Lucky Chicken Trail Completed
Kentucky Lucky Chicken, after 15 months of volunteer trail building and a good 2.5 years after conception, is finally finished. The KLC was the first trail the Washington DMBTA has built in conjunction with the City of St. George. It is also the first purpose built mountain bike trail to be built on city property. And yes, 15 months is a long time to build 3.8 miles of trail, but it was built entirely by volunteers.
We originally hoped to be able to add another intermediate or possibly beginner trail to the area, but once we put boots on the ground, it was evident that this hill was not the place for such a trail. Webb Hill is steep and rocky and the trail reflects the terrain. In our opinion, the trail is similar to Zen (the terrain and soil are almost identical) but it is slightly easier. The moves are smaller, but they tend to be stacked a bit closer together.
The trail rides great both directions, but we have found the climb to be quite a bit easier if you ride it clockwise. Where it is a short loop, we’ve found that riding it counter-clockwise and then flipping around to ride it the other direction will give you a 1.5-2 hour ride and you will feel it.
All details can be found here.
Barrel Ride Rehab
In addition to new trail construction, we divided the county into East and West corridors and were able to recruit some maintenance coordinators. The West side coordinators, Jay Bartlett and Mitch Curwen, spearheaded a project with the BLM to rehab the popular Barrel Ride. The BLM’s concern with the area was the ever growing side trails and jumps to nowhere. A plan was agreed upon and the rehab began a few months ago.
The response to the project has been huge. With 17 volunteers amassing 118 hours worked over 4 organized trail days (they didn’t send it in, but I know the coordinators have put in all sorts of other hours, too) they have brought the Barrel Ride back. Not only have they rehabbed many of the jumps that were there, they have constructed table tops and added more intermediate lines for those who are learning to jump.
The project isn’t completed yet, but the stoke for what they have done thus far landed them a spot on World Bike Parks. Check it out.
As the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association has grown, we have added more regions to the association creating strength in numbers and ensure that all of Southwestern Utah has great trails and a great DMBTA chapter to lead the way. As this took place over the past few years, it became apparent that our current structure worked great for one county, but failed to be effective for the newer regions that were joining. This was mostly due to the Washington County focus of the organization.
In July, we sat down and took a hard look at where we were, where we wanted to be and what needed to be done to get us from here to there. We completely restructured the Board to be more inclusive. Each county now has one board member who is responsible for organizing and coordinating the building, maintaining and riding of trails in their county.
These are as follows:
- Washington County – Kevin Christopherson
- Iron County – Aden Sahagun
- Kane County – Chris Hansen
- Garfield County – Richard Brown
In addition the regional board members, the structure calls for a President, Secretary and Treasurer. The three positions will coordinate the overall administration of the DMBTA and are as follows:
- President – Lukas Brinkerhoff
- Secretary – We need one, maybe you?
- Treasurer – Toni Bain
We would like to think the outgoing board members for their dedication and work over the past 7 years. A big thanks to Kenny Jones, Monte Lutz, Bonnie Strawser and Clayton Coleman.
We’ve got a lot more projects in the works for 2017. Come help us make this next year the best one for mountain biking yet.