The last 3 of my August long weekends were spent racing the Tour de Bowness, and this year, I decided not to partake in the cat 2 sketchfest, instead opting to do some mountain biking around Golden (and NICHOLSON).
I noticed a marked improvement in my descending skills after last weekend at KHMR, so we went back there on the big bikes. However, the lack of rain in the area made the trails extremely dusty.
Although it was the long weekend, with a fire ban we were hopeful that we would be able to snag a campsite after a day of hitting the lifts at KHMR. After driving up a steep gravel road with about 7 corners over 3km, we were more than a little surprised to see what looked like a full campground. Camping was plan A. Plan B was to giv'er. It was about 7:30pm, and we made the game time decision to rip the Canyon Creek trail and peace it back to Canmore.
The trail consisted of about 13km of logging road followed by a super smooth singletrack descent that skirts along the edge of a super narrow canyon. Shear cliffs dropping down about 100m to a narrow ribbon of whitewater. The mosquitoes were bad and I had to keep riding if I wanted to read my map. An hour later, we were back at the car.
Back in Canmore:
I died a little inside when I saw that the classic CNC singletrack of Ziggy's and Killer Bees had been re-routed to make them "more sustainable". They made a new trail that is heavily benched and removed all of the roots. This seems to be a disturbing trend that is happening and soon more CNC classics will fall under the axe. Removing the roots allows the trails to be rideable in wet conditions (as soon as the trail tread compacts), but in a couple of years all that will be left is smooth fast singletrack, not exactly challenging. Add to this a strict adherence to limiting the trail gradient, so descending a slope requires multiple sharp switchbacks, not exactly fun on my long XL bike.
If the gradient of the trail is steep enough, water will drain down the trail which is understandable, but the "rules" seem to strict and will limit the challenge of the trail. If they are concerned about erosion, why would they remove roots from the trail tread? Why do they need to remove the roots from a climb?
-loss of classic singletrack (Killer Bees, Ziggy's, and soon T2)
-tight switchbacks (laundry chutes)
-trails do not look "natural" (trail benching, rock placement, root removal)
-challenge will not come from roots or steeps but from placed obstacles and tight switchbacks
My ideal solution to the initial problem:
-improve signage (done)
-build NEW singletrack that is rideable in poor conditions, and by beginners, instead of wrecking current challenging singletrack