Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pumpapalooza: The NW Pump Track Championships

I am throwing the NW Pump Track Championships in my backyard on June 12th, 2010.
1417 NW 103rd Circle, The Couv', 98685

Beer from New Belgium, Food and fun, Alleycat races, and neighborhood time trials.
Probable foot down, and possible Bike Polo.

And of course it all ends up with the NW Pump Track Championships......

Party starts at 2PM or when you get there. Track open for practice and fun all day, with the pump racing starting in the
late afternoon.

A group ride to the venue, led by yours truly, will leave Paul Bunyan at N. Denver and N. Interstate, at 1PM.
This meeting point will also have an optional Alleycat Race, which ends at the venue.

Also, some may choose to drive in order to bring a fun bike to ride on the Pump Track.
If you do drive, please park outside of the cul-de-sac, to leave room for random fun.....

In case some of you do not know what a pump track is all about, here is a video of my track being ridden.
The loop was not complete when this video was shot, so it will be a whole other level of fun by the time you get to ride it.
(For some reason the video doesn't look like it is here, but trust me and push the play button. It will work.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Complete Pump-able Loop!

There is a moment of pride when you come to realize the dream.

I stared at and thought about my yard(too much). I looked at the slight elevation gain along one side, and knew keeping momentum was going to be tough. Then a glance down the long fence line opened my mind up a little.

A 11 foot piece of string confirmed my beliefs.

And then I just started digging at the base of the Fir tree.

While still lacking dirt, I worked up enough of a berm to complete the Super Loop, or Mini Loop, of my pump track.

It is only a little more than a third of the length of the track, but very fun to ride as is. At 14 seconds a lap so far, 3 laps is what I can pull off right now. It is not really shaped yet, so those 14 seconds should be narrowed down to 12 eventually.

I laid it out to be pump-able, then dug it out to be a puzzle. This means that it takes some work, which is how it should be.
Some of the bumps have had dirt added to the sides, making a bigger pump possible. I can now gain more speed than I can carry through the berms.

That means that when I make the berms twice as tall as they are now, it is going to be a slingshot. The kind of berms that the bike whizzes through, making that noise that Mark Weir makes when riding berms.
And when it is a slingshot, I can start adding jumps inline. I think I have made the right decision to wait to build it more jumpy when it is fully pump-able.

This week I am bringing in the dirt for the final berm. Ken in Salmon Creek has many piles of dirt and a tractor. Oh, and a dump truck.... this is good times. I will be able to add double the dirt to every berm.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Like a footprint on Tundra....

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down, and Piglet started bailing..

So, just to make this totally clear.

Pump tracks and rain do not go together.

The rain does help in smoothing and hardening out the pump bumps and berms, but when you are still working on shaping it, all work tends to halt.

The huge Douglas fir that is the centerpiece of my pump track does leave quite a large "dry' area (as in drier) to work in, even during a down pour.

But more damage than good will be done when working in conditions as we have today.

So I am going to start on a new blogject (Yes,I just made up that word), "Pump The Planet".

I hope it will turn out to be a broad view of Pump Tracks and Momentum as I see it, and as others see it.

Tomorrow however leaves some promise for bringing in the dirt for the berms.
And the yard seem to be able to recover from the rain fairly quickly so far.

I do however have a back up plan to deal with drainage if and when needed.
Let's just hope I never have to explain it, which will mean I have to implement it...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pump Track Update: Second week of digging

I have continued work on my backyard pump track, even through the rain. The work paid off though, as the sun stayed around, and I got to dial in some sections.
 For starters I added about 6 more pumps along the fence. This brings the total number of pump bumps along the fence line to 14.

 At the end of all these bumps is going to be one big sweeper berm around a Cherry tree.

 When done, it will be a twelve bump run to a slingshot berm, with a 16 or 17 pump run back  to another big berm.  This berm flows around another Cherry tree, and will roll slightly downhill. then back up hill over two pump bumps.

 The berms are 22 foot radius, and should be more than hip high when done. I know they are going to be damn fast.

 I have started doing runs at speed on the bumps, and have ended up smashing into the fence where the berm will whip you around. This tells me most of the spacing is right, and that I need to build the berm tall to keep the rider inside of it.  

 Some pump tracks, Ok, I will call it most, have small berms for many reasons. 
Lack of dirt is one, but I feel the real culprit is the lack of speed.

 If you don't have the proper flow, the berm will not be ridden high anyway. 

 I was also messing around with my trusty 11 foot length of twine, and found a way to make a mini loop. It seems when the whole track is laid out right, as in measured out, it just fits.

 I now have put in a three way interchange, which may be only doable two ways each direction. Also there are a few random spots where you can make a directional change, or switch to another line in the same direction.

I have also been saving a line for when I get the track complete. If the speed works out like I think it will, I will have two different jump lines by the big Fir tree.

Variety is the spice of life, isn't it?

 Also the new mini loop. A 5 foot gap between pump bumps fell within the constant radius of the berm near it. I filled this space with a berm section taller than the pump bumps on either side of it. Then I backfilled along the fence to make like a low dirt wall ride/ berm? over a pump bump.


Before I started committing to the berm and fence reality, it didn't seem like it was going to work out. Once I got my head past that, it became a faster, ridable line. 
I got it pretty much right the first try. The fact that there are pumps there changes the line a little, as there are two  small gaps in the berm where the pump lines run through. 

 The line is to jump sideways  into the berm, then turn it fast and hold it steady. You whip around a bush that brushes your knuckles, then against the fence, then over the pump. 

 I have made the mini loop happen, though it was wet and not flowy yet.

 The following are random pics of the yard. So far I am the only one to ride it.

 Sure that won't last long.....

Friday, March 05, 2010

Pump Track Update

Video #1 of the back yard pump track. 

 Due to the elevation gain, and the ground not being entirely dry yet, I am riding it in the first video the wrong way. once speed its able to be built up, riding it in the right directional will be a go.

 This shows it run the right direction. The big berm that runs into this is not built yet, so I am riding in from the top. The track certainly has some flow to it already, and it is not even really shaped yet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pump Track Update...

I have now successfully marked out the whole yard with dirt for the Pump Track.

While I have actually dug out more than half of the features, I still have 8 pump bumps and 2 full radius berms to build.

I am going to bring in some dirt for the berms I am certain, which is going to slow down the whole shaping process by weeks. Unless I get lucky and find someone to drop off dirt.

I am sitting here listening to "The Good Life".

Well it is Pandora, so I am sometimes listening to the Good Life.

the sun is out on a supposed to be rainy Wed., so I am going back out to the yard to dig.

Hoping to ride it on Saturday, if anyone wants to come out...

Fresh pics after lunch...

This is a 3 way split pump bump. There is an inside line with a little jump right next to the tree that runs out through a berm. A line down the middle which will have a double jump or tabletop, and a line to the right which will be fast and flowy, but rolling out right next to the fence.
The below few show the next section, with another three way possibility. the main line is over the top to the right, which will throw you around a downhill full sweeper berm. there is also a line down the middle that will jump you into a fast and furious short berm, and straight into a little booter right next to the fruit tree. There is also a change over to run the berm backwards here.

This next section is right after the big sweeper berm. this is going to pump you up a little rise and back inot the three way change over.

This looks like it could turn into a fun but dangerous section, as you flow the berm up against the tree, but at the end of it there is a pump that kicks you from one axis to another, then right into a pump bump.

Here the trail flows together with a jump into the next pump from the little downhill.

8 Pump bumps flow along this 125 foot section of fenceline, ending in another full sweeper berm bringing you right back around to the swingset again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The day after.....

It is Tuesday morning, and here I sit, not only watching 9 month old Charlie, but a constant drizzle outside as well.

Charlie is fussy, I am fussy, and so it appears is mother earth.

Yesterday I went out and dug a couple of more pump bumps along the fence. There are now a total of 8 bumps installed. if Charlie takes a long nap this afternoon I may be able to put in a few more due to the shade of the big Fir.

Just went outside and checked it out. The Douglas Fir really keeps a huge chunk of the track dry in the lighter rain.
I consider this a good sign for the future of the track. Or at least when it comes to waiting for the track to dry to ride it.

She just fell asleep, so I am going out to dig.

More pics later.

The day after.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pump Track Update: Ground breaking, and first ride...

So, I wake up Sunday morning feeling rough. The night before I played in a poker tournament for like 5 hours, finishing of course at the final table.

The plan for Sunday was to go Mt Biking at Post Canyon in Hood River. But when I got the call, and was told the car was full and I would be driving myself, I decided to go riding Monday morning instead. I mean, after all it is Sunday, and I am slowly playing Bike Polo again.

With a few hours to spare, I putz around in the garage for a while, finishing the work on the Redline 24" cruiser.

Still bored, so I finish the Schwinn SS 24" cruiser. it really needs a new rear wheel, but as I have the original wheel set, it means I need to rebuild around the hub. So that s gonna be a while. it rolls good, but the hop makes the braking feel funny.

This morning is dragging on too long, I should have slept in.

I recall saying fuck this, grabbing a shovel and a 11 foot length of twine, and heading into the backyard. I looked at the major obstacle in the yard, a huge Douglas Fir tree, and started envisioning berms around it.

Once I got the radius's laid out for a few berms, I realized that my original plan would not work.

I did however see a new line around the tree, and put the first pile on.

A hour later and I had a full berm up against one side of the tree, and a nice little booter on the other side of it.

I moved west from the booter, and built two pumps. This is a slight downhill, and heads towards the fenceline.

I put the dirt for a third westward pump in place, without shaping it. Ok, here we go.

Time for a test ride. Only problem is that I would have to test ride it backwards. A proper pump track is pumpable either direction, but mine will only be pumpable the right direction when it is done, as it goes up and down the slight hill.

There will be a line of 11 pump bumps south along the fence, which will build enough speed to jump right next to the tree and into a berm.

With rain on the way, I am going to spend this afternoon making pump bumps. By this evening I should be able to ride most of the fence line, maybe the tree, and the two berms.

If anyone wants to to dig and ride some, next weekend is going to be pretty nice...

If my first day digging is any measure, the track should be done within the month.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My kingdom for a dump truck....

So, I have found quite a bit of dirt. it is not too close, but not too far.

I am still holding out for the dirt that can be dumped into a dump truck, then dumped once again in the backyard.

Step 1. Pile dirt.

Step 2.

Step 3. Profit.

As it is simply laid out above in 3 steps, I am virtually fully on top of step 1. While I have no in fact piled any dirt yet, I have located plenty of it.

Let me know if you have a dump truck. I do have the hookup on a dump trailer though..... Might just have to work.

Went to Home depot today for nails. So many different nails. Too many. I went for the shiny yellow labeled ones.

Luckily they were the framing nails, so it was a good choice.

I am building some ladders. First on is so far going to be 38 feet or so. Then probably drop two feet to another ladder.
The house is on a cul-de-sac, so I can set them up in the street or the yard. I am making them in sectional peices that screw together, and easily come apart to store. I don't want to be one of those people with one of those yards..........
So while at home depot I grabbed another 12' 2' x 4',. This matches the one I already have.

When I moved in the landlord was talking about getting rid of this pile of wood. Most of it was useable, and it had this creampuff 12 footer.

Didn't take long to talk him into leaving it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pump Post 3: Proper Spacing.

If there is one thing I have learned about carving pumpable dirt, is that it is a lot like baking, only with shovels.

When baking, exact measurements are what does the trick.
The same is true for making a pump track.

I have spent some hours in Ryan's woods looking at the pumps, then scraping and reshaping the pumps.
Then once again looking at them for a while. Now, maybe a test ride. Oh, go back and move that bump 6 inches forward.
Look at it for a while. Scrape it again.

Now another test ride.
On and on it goes.

You may ask why, if it is like baking, do I have to continually shape and reshape the BOE pump track?

Because we did not start with proper measurements for the get go. The Berms Of Endearment was started as a loop off of another trail, therefore was not laid out as a pump track. We were following a line.

This line turned into a pump track that is really great. Fast, fun, smooth. Berm options, little jumps, 283 feet of fun in 10 seconds.

But the space between two of the berms is a bit long, and it throws the whole flow off. It is about 6 feet too long, which is half the space between pumps.

I have learned that 11 feet is the secret. 22 foot berms, which means a 11 foot constant radius, and pump bumps are 11 feet top to top.

Using this measurement from the get go on the new track will produce a flowy, fast track.
The 11 foot radius berms down on the farm are fast enough to pop you out of them, but this is because we do not have the tops of the berms high enough yet.

I have some helped lined up to move dirt into my yard, so making the berms tall should be no problem.
The real issue down on the farm was moving the dirt. Being older does not speed up the manual labor.

Back to my search for dirt.......

I am thinking a couple signs on telephone poles.
The key is to be responsible and take them down when you are done.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Pump Track Post 2: The Master Plan

So, I have measured the yard, and walked it out.

And this is the master plan.

I actually have more space than needed. That is a good thing as I will be able to adapt as I go.

As you can see the length of the yard is 150 feet, with the width being 85 on one side and 45 on the other.
It will be a long lap. At least twice as long as the "Berms Of Endearment" loop. Which has a lap time of around 10 seconds.

Yesterday I proccured shovels.

Today I search for dirt!!

If anyone out there has a source for good clean dirt let me know...

Soon, it is sunny outside.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My Kingdom for a Pump Track

The title says it all. There is not much that I want more than to go into my backyard and ride my bike. Get in some training (though I recently wonder for what I might be actually training), get sweaty, and have some fun.

Well folks, that dream has arrived. This week I break ground on my own pump track, nestled in good ole Vancouver.

The yard is 150 ft. by 85 ft., by 42 ft. My preliminary walk through, conducted this afternoon, shows room for at least 9 full berms. 3 or 4 of these wood be on the 42 ft section, with a run of 80 to 100ft. of fast pumps towards the other side of the yard, where at least six more berms and many more pumps will whip you around.

The long stretch of berms will be multi directional, allowing for a full circuit of the back yard. I am guessing the pump track will be around 500ft long when done.

The digging?

Well, that starts any day now. Tomorrow I am putting together some agility stunts, long, thin rails couple feet up, teeters, and beggining my search for clean, fill dirt.

Because if there is one thing I have learned, it is that it is easier to dig up than to dig in.

But at least I do know how to earn my turns...

Come on by and dig a few.