Flow Trail Construction, La Tierra Trails, Apr. 9 – May 3, 2015

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Chris Sheehan and friends check the “flow” during construction at the top of the Flow Trail, near “Junction 6.9″ (Photo by Joey Klein).  Riders of any skill level are strongly encouraged to lower their seat height before heading down the flow.

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Joey Klein of IMBA Trail Solutions (at right), Brent Bonwell, and Henry Lanman of SFFTS survey the lay of the land at the top of the future Flow Trail, on Apr. 9, the first day on site.  After two weeks of work on the Flow Trail, Joey also provided SFFTS and guests with a training on advanced trail building techniques, coupled with 1.5 volunteer work days building an “Enduro” course at Glorieta Camps, Apr. 25-26.

The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (SFFTS) played the lead role in organizing and implementing the construction of a bike-specific, one-way trail in La Tierra Trails, which the SFFTS Board would eventually vote to name the “Hustle and Flow Trail.”  Just over one mile long, this specialized trail was built with the assistance of expert trail builder Joey Klein of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s “Trail Solutions” program, with the assistance of more than 60 volunteers from SFFTS, REI, and the local trail community in general.  By SFFTS’ calculations, more than 60 volunteers contributed nearly 1,000 hours of their time for the construction of the new trail.Flow Trail Map with JCT 6 point 9

Financial assistance for the construction of the Flow Trail was provided by SFFTS, the City of Santa Fe, via the Bicycle and Trails Advisory Committee (BTAC), and a special grant from REI.  Thanks also go to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, the City’s Archaeological Review Committee, and Zia Archaeology for helping to clear the way to make this trail happen in harmony with the City’s stewardship of public open spaces and cultural resources.

Happy local, at the bottom of the new Flow Trail: “Now I don’t have to go to Angel Fire” for this kind of trail.

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust, acting as City Trail Volunteer Coordinator, assisted by coordinating arrangements for archaeological review, protection of significant archaeological sites, logistical assistance from the City Parks Division, publicity and volunteer recruitment for work days, general planning and monitoring for compliance with city requirements around the trail construction.

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Happy visitors: These “Fat Cats” from an IMBA affiliate in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, happened upon the newly finished Flow Trail on their first day of riding in the Santa Fe area, among the first to flow past the new “Technical Trail” sign at the top.

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A proud dirt-shaping artist and his work in progress.

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Groomers, shapers, and tampers follow in the path of the mini-excavator, avoiding a protected archaeological site at upper right.

The Flow Trail is a considered a “technical trail” in that it has rises and banked turns that may require some advanced bicycling skills to get it done with style and speed.  A sign at the top, just west of “Junction 7,” puts users on notice of the “technical trail,” but the fact is that all of these fun features can be rolled over and through at any speed, and so the Flow Trail can be enjoyed by cyclists of any skill level.  So much so, that when cyclists finish the trail at Junction 13, most likely with a big smile on their faces, they may just want to ride up the nearby ridge, through Junctions 5 and 6, and do it all over again.

The development of the Flow Trail as a unique trail resource in our area was a key component in the recent recognition of Santa Fe as an IMBA  “ride center” at the silver level.   The construction of the Flow Trail required complex logistics including ensuring supply of water for shaping and tamping, providing fuel for equipment rented by SFFTS (mini-excavator, mechanized tamping devices, water pump, and work-ATV), and receiving, equipping, and putting to work a steady flow of volunteers over a mile’s length of trail and a three-week period.

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SFFTS President Pat Brown applies the moisture that is essential to packing the features of the Flow Trail.

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Pete Prince mans the tamper, while an assistant looks on, packing down a banked turn while it is not too wet but not too dry.

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City Archaeologist Lisa Roach, City Trails Engineering head Leroy Pacheco, and SFCT director Charlie O’Leary take a rolling look at the newly completed trail.

Smiles are contagious on the Flow Trail!

 

 

SFFTS volunteers are to be recognized for the leadership and dedication to various tasks at hand that they provided to make the Flow Trail possible.  We should also thank the local trail user community for their patience while we used the existing trails to transport water and equipment during construction.  Finally, it should be noted that SFFTS, REI, and other volunteers were able to complete the project with impressive clean-up and touch-up work, including brushing away any motor vehicle, excavator, or work-ATV tracks that remained along La Tierra Trails after construction was completed.

A celebration of the Flow Trail is scheduled for Wed., May 13, including a ribbon-cutting and volunteer recognition.  The trail will remain a work in progress as technical features are maintained and improved over time, and SFFTS has already clearly demonstrated that it is up to the task of keeping the “Hustle and Flow Trail” flowing with happy cyclists.