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Author Topic: Consistant trail ratings  (Read 1748 times)

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Offline Dave In Odessa

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Consistant trail ratings
« on: May 18, 2008, 11:35:44 AM »
After riding at Alafia yesterday, the need for consistent trail ratings is now apparent to me.  We only had a chance to ride North Creek before a friend had chain issues and we called it a day, but I wouldn't consider North Creek a medium trail.  Luckily, I have friends that I ride with that have been to these parks before and were able to show me through the trail and tell me what to expect, but put yourself in the shoes of a newbie:

You go to Morris Bridge for a few months and somebody tells you about this awesome trail called Alafia.  So one morning you head on down and you see North Creek is a medium trail.  You think to yourself "I ride Indian and Heartbreak Ridge and those are extremely difficult trails, so North Creek being a medium should be nothing for me and my 5 year old son".  Do you see what I'm talking about? 

Why can't all of the trails that SWAMP maintains be rated on the same scale?
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Offline Darrinw2001

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2008, 11:52:42 AM »
I can relate to this to some extent. I think the wilderness trails (morris bridge, trout creek, flat woods) would all be considered green trails going by the IMBA rating system, even indian and hearbreak ridge. the "very difficult" ratings they are given at the park is just compared to the other very easy trails there. As far as Alafia vs. Boytte however, I think the Blue (medium) trails at boyette are more like Green trails compared to alafia. The 1st time I rode North creek I felt the same way as I could ride most blue trails in boyette with very little problems, but in my opinion all of alafia's blue trails are much harder than those at boyette. I do think Croom and WTA should be ranked using the IMBA standard though. 

Offline Gregg

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2008, 01:13:12 PM »
Generally speaking, and Garry or Art can correct me if I am wrong, the trails at Boyette use the system set forth in by the IMBA. As far as the signs that you see at Wilderness trail (Morris Bridge/Trout Creek/Flatwoods) are concerned they are posted because there are a great many more people who are just going for a ride around in the woods than those of us who are truly in to the sport of  Mountain biking.
Lots of those folks would be completely caught by surprise with the roots on Heartbreak Ridge etc. 
 
Most of the folks headed out to Alafia or Boyette are going there with the intention of a more authentic mountain biking experience.

Here is the link to the IMBA guidelines.

 http://www.imba.com/resources/trail_building/itn_17_4_trail_difficulty.html

Offline slowfatguy

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2008, 01:25:36 PM »
I may be wrong, but it is rated per trail system also. Otherwise you'd have to have quintuple black diamond trails. If you get a chance go look at some of the hard stuff, and you'll understand why North Creek is rated an intermediate trail. :)
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Offline Gregg

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2008, 01:43:37 PM »
I may be wrong, but it is rated per trail system also. Otherwise you'd have to have quintuple black diamond trails. If you get a chance go look at some of the hard stuff, and you'll understand why North Creek is rated an intermediate trail. :)

I think that is true.

Offline Darrinw2001

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2008, 02:18:55 PM »
using IMBA's ranking system I would think all trails at WTA would be rated White circle except Panter, Indian, Gator Bait, and Heartbreak Ridge which those would be rated Green circle ish... How come the trails at Croom have not been rated using the IMBA standards? Are they like WTA not considered mountain bike trails?

Offline Garry

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2008, 02:42:00 PM »
After riding at Alafia yesterday, the need for consistent trail ratings is now apparent to me.  We only had a chance to ride North Creek before a friend had chain issues and we called it a day, but I wouldn't consider North Creek a medium trail.  Luckily, I have friends that I ride with that have been to these parks before and were able to show me through the trail and tell me what to expect, but put yourself in the shoes of a newbie:

You go to Morris Bridge for a few months and somebody tells you about this awesome trail called Alafia.  So one morning you head on down and you see North Creek is a medium trail.  You think to yourself "I ride Indian and Heartbreak Ridge and those are extremely difficult trails, so North Creek being a medium should be nothing for me and my 5 year old son".  Do you see what I'm talking about? 

Why can't all of the trails that SWAMP maintains be rated on the same scale?

The trails at Boyette and Alafia are IMBA designated trails, but they are two different trail systems.  That meaning what is a blue trail at one may or not be the same level as at the other.  A black diamond trail at Boyette isn't actually a black diamond trail in Georgia or North Carolina for that matter - it is a black diamond trail for Boyette.  You will find the same at Alafia.  A blue trail at Alafia is a bit more difficult - a "high blue" if you will - than what you may find at Boyette or Morris Bridge.  Now, even though SWAMP helps with the trails at Moriis Bridge (Wilderness Trails) it is WTA (Wilderness Trails Association) that maintains the trails there; many of those folks are SWAMP members as well.  The trail signs and colors, etc., are done by WTA.  The trail signs at Alafia, Boyette and Croom are done by SWAMP.  Now Croom is still a different animal.  The color designated trails at Croom were in place and formed in everyones mind before we adopted the IMBA trail designation system that we use at Alafia and Boyette.  So - still with me? - it ends up being the responsibility of the rider to look at trail descriptions posted on the SWAMP web site and information on fliers and kiosks at the trail heads. Mountain biking is an inherently risky sport.  Know your limits and abilities.  Be prepared.
Hope this clears it up a little.
Great rides to all!  Garry

Offline treadlight

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2008, 03:46:17 PM »
Well put Garry, good karma point.


When I first rode Alafia, I was confused why there are armored clad riders (see full face helmet, shin guard, etc.) jeez its only intermediate trails. Until I saw somebody with taco'd wheel, broken helmet and bleeding arms that I signed up at this forum and research extensively on the net on trail reviews and photos.


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Offline eclark

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2008, 06:56:59 PM »
I would never ever bring a little kid on anything other than an easy trail if I have not ridden it myself, but thats just my advice.  Although it would be nice if all trails could be rated the same, it is impossible based on varying topography.  Ski maps generally say that you should get to know trail conditions before moving onto intermediate and advanced trails.  If you would have hit one of the easy trails first, you would see that they are as hard as the expert trails at flat woods.

At least you learned a little of whats ahead of you, northcreek is labeled perfectly as a blue when you consider what else is out there!!  Hopefully, next time you make it to alafia you have a better time and get to see more of the park.   

Offline Gregg

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Re: Consistant trail ratings
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2008, 07:22:30 PM »
using IMBA's ranking system I would think all trails at WTA would be rated White circle except Panter, Indian, Gator Bait, and Heartbreak Ridge which those would be rated Green circle ish... How come the trails at Croom have not been rated using the IMBA standards? Are they like WTA not considered mountain bike trails?


WTA trails are considered mountain bike trails. My statement simply meant, that because of the fact that the trails attract a more varied level of rider, many more inexperienced riders. The signs are there to make those with less experience riding make a decision on if they want to try and tackle the obstacles.

That said, I hope that Dave in Odessa will go back to Alafia, and try North Creek again. It is a fantastic trail!

 

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