deezler wrote:Jesus, dudes. He blasted his finger on a hidden stump and endo'd. Could have been much worse, like a broken neck. While keeping some obstacles along the trail is key to making MTB'ing challenging and fun, they should never be hidden. This time of year, face-slappers are the norm on many trails, so you just accept that and plow through them. But if a group of leaves is hiding something that can stop you dead and throw you over the bars, that should be corrected, no? I don't understand why you both felt the need to play mr. big tough guy and bash on him repeatedly. Let's find some common ground here, eh?
I rode Hickory Glen for the first time on Saturday, and I have a good deal of experience with building and maintaining similar trail at River Bends. I agree that the trail is tight and that's a defining characteristic of the trail, so changing that should be right out. I was riding along, having quite a good time, and I noticed this stump when I was leaning over following the curved segment as it sweeps to the left. This seems like a fairly fast section for the trail, as I was able to pick up a good bit of speed with minimal effort rolling into it. I was able to waggle around the roots, but had I not seen it would have caught my forearm / elbow area on it.
(Note, this is not a stump in the classic sticking-out-of-the-ground sense, but the decayed root end of a tree which has fallen over. The most prominent part is at roughly handlebar level, not above or below.)
This reminds me of a particular tree that was removed at River Bends in a tighter section that -- for two years -- a few people told me should be removed because it felt out of place and threw off a corner. It was a dead, leaning thing that was on the apex of a corner and required one to jog through there. There was also evidence of people catching their bars on the dead tree, and a small dirt berm forming from riders going past it then quickly correcting their line to avoid a subsequent tree. I didn't agree that it should be removed, because I had no problem riding through there.
After following some others and giving it some more serious thought, it was removed, and I agree that it now does flow better. After this I followed two experienced riders who were new to River Bends through this section specifically to watch their line, and both of them put their shoulders squarely where the dead tree was. Riders experienced with the trail roll through there more smoothly as well, and I received positive feedback on it. Thus, I think that adjusting this corner at River Bends by removing the dead tree was a proper choice.
While I'm not interested in doing anything more than opining on the discussion at hand, I think that this pointy stump end along the trail at Hickory Glen is very similar to the aforementioned dead tree at River Bends. It's something that a LOT of riders are familiar with and have no problem avoiding, it's something that catches other people off guard, and it's something that I think throws off the section. This is nowhere near the tightest part of Hickory Glen, but it was one which really stuck out to me as awkward. I wasn't really looking for it, but after having to do a bit more dodging than normal I thought "Hey, that's the thing from the forum! I should go back and look at it." and did so.
If this were a newly fallen tree hanging across the trail and it was sawed off at this location (left sticking out just as these roots are) I think people would rightfully ask why it wasn't trimmed back further. Were I handling trail design out there, I'd trim it back so one could lean left following the curve of the trail. I personally think that'd be best for this bit.
...and that's hopefully all the overly detailed thinking I'll do on five feet of trail for today.
(What I think would be a greater improvement for the park would be a trailhead map and some marking that makes the route clearer, but from what I've been hearing about vandalism on the trail that sounds like way more than a technical design issue and is thus VERY hard to fix...)