Moving Mountain Biking Forward in Caliente
Twenty four leading trail builders from around Arizona gathered in Prescott April 16 and 17 for an advanced rock armoring training led by Shane Wilson, IMBA Trail Solutions Project Manager and Tyson Swasey, IMBA Trail Specialist. The session was held in Prescott National Forest on the recently adopted Firewater Trail between Thumb Butte and Emmanuel Pines. The steep, rocky hillside provided terrain that was challenging to build on and will be challenging to ride.
Shane and Tyson spent two days in the woods prior to the training to scope the area and plan their session. The weekend started with an indoor presentation on rock armoring before we headed into the forest for two days on site. We started with a thorough discussion on tool and site safety followed by a session on the proper use of a grip hoist, which proved to be of interest to most participants. There is challenging, rocky terrain in this corner of Arizona, where a grip-hoist would be an essential tool.
“It was an honor to be able to teach such an enthusiastic, experienced group of builders. Seeing people get really excited about learning and working a grip hoist; moving tons of rock by hand and with rock bars to build challenging sections of trail was a joyous trail builder moment.” — Tyson Swasey, IMBA Trail Specialist
The site was chosen due to the rugged nature of the hillside where the trail needed to be rerouted, which provided the ideal laboratory to discuss and practice rock armoring techniques. These techniques included flag stoning, pitch stoning and building retaining walls, all of which produced a sustainable trail anchored to a steeper hillside that offers plenty of technical challenge and diversity. This photo montage highlight’s the weekend build project.
The weather was perfect, participants gave a lot of great input, we ate well, socialized on Saturday night and the esprit de corps was strong throughout the weekend among the builders! Big thanks to the following groups for supporting the weekend, especially to Mountain Bike Association of Arizona, Prescott National Forest and Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance for funding the session.
- American Conservation Experience
- Arizona Conservation Corps
- Arizona High School Cycling League
- City of Prescott
- Cochise County Cyclists
- Colorado River Area Trail Alliance*
- Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association*
- Flagstaff Biking Organization/Flagstaff Gravity Riders
- Gravity Riders Organization of Arizona
- Mountain Bike Association of Arizona
- Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance*
- Prescott National Forest
- Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists*
- Tonto National Forest
- Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition*
- West Valley Trail Alliance*
*Denotes an IMBA Chapter