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Saturday’s trail work day: report and photos.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
9
2013

Saturday was the first scheduled work day for the new Red (advanced) trail at the Mt. Dora Mountain Bike Park. After trying on a few different names for size, such as “26er’s Revenge” and “Fart Church” (don’t ask), the trail was officially christened “Helter Skelter”, which I think is a perfect name for this short, but very challenging, trail.

This trail has an interesting backstory, and that story starts with a guy named Mark Pettengill. Mark is what I would call a “pure” mountain biker: politics-shmolitics, Mark just wants to ride sweet-ass trail, man. One fateful day last year Mark looked at the land adjacent to the existing Mt. Dora trails and saw massive potential for a challenging trail. So Mark did what any of us would do: he put on a suit, grabbed his briefcase, went downtown and started filling out forms. Yeah, right. Actually what Mark grabbed was a bunch of tools, then he immediately started cutting trail. He worked on this trail, by himself, for many, many weeks. It’s pretty amazing how much work he accomplished.

I rode the trail several times before it was sanctioned, and I was really impressed with it. I wasn’t the only one: Mike Simmons and Rob Ern, who are well-versed in the political side of mountain biking, met with city officials, walked the trail with them, and got it approved!

With the city’s approval, the Ocala Mountain Biking Association (OMBA) was now free to schedule sanctioned work days to further improve the new trail. The first of those work days was this past Saturday, and it went extremely well.

After several days of much needed rain, the weather on Saturday was amazing: clear blue skies, a light breeze and a high temperature of just 77° (F). We had a good turn out, around 20 people or so showed up ready to work. Countless wheel barrows full of rock, mulch and clay were transported from near the trailhead to various locations around the trail. It was quite a workout, let me tell you!

Lunch was generously provided by Pizza Amorè, and it was amazing pizza! When it comes to pizza, it takes a really good one to impress me. Pizza Amorè absolutely nailed the crust and sauce, which are the two things most places get wrong. Seriously, this is great pizza. I ate like six pieces, and had to force myself to not have more. If you live around here, pay them a visit. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday–great job!

So here are a few pictures from the work day, along with captions. Click any of the images to enlarge.

Mark Pettengill (blue cap) is the guy who created the "Helter Skelter" trail. He worked on the trail by himself for months! Thanks to the efforts of Mike Simmons (left) and Rob Ern (not pictured here), the trail now has city approval, and can be further improved.

Mark Pettengill (blue cap) is the guy who created the “Helter Skelter” trail. He worked on the trail by himself for months! Thanks to the efforts of Mike Simmons (left) and Rob Ern (not pictured here), the trail now has city approval, and can be further improved.

 

Some sandy sections of trail were improved with mulch and wire mesh. Here Jesse Kegg and Mike Simmons are laying down galvanized hardware cloth. I, along with Abram Pousada and Jesse, transported many loads of mulch to the trail by wheel barrow.

Some sandy sections of trail were improved with mulch and wire mesh. Here Jesse Kegg and Mike Simmons are laying down galvanized hardware cloth. I, along with Abram Pousada and Jesse, transported many loads of mulch to the trail by wheel barrow.

 

(L-R): Bill Brooks, Andrew Tinny and Rob Ern, working hard.

(L-R): Bill Brooks, Andrew Tinny and Rob Ern, working hard.

 

We used a lot of rock on Saturday. Mark Pettengill pictured.

We used a lot of rock on Saturday. Mark Pettengill pictured.

 

One of the completed sections. This picture doesn't do the hill justice, it's pretty steep and technical.

One of the completed sections. This picture doesn’t do the hill justice, it’s pretty steep and technical.

 

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Saturday’s trail work day: report and photos.”
  1. The portion shown in the last photo looks pretty daunting. It reminds me a bit of that awful Ant Hill trail at Santos, although not as dangerous in the event of a fall. Are there any more work days scheduled, or is the red section complete?

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      • Is there any trail work on that segment that would not involve climbing up and down steep slopes? That’s the one thing my hip injury still prevents me from doing. Working on the trail at SC hasn’t caused me any problems because it’s level ground, but I was afraid I’d just get in people’s way at Mt. Dora.

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