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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Introducing Passo Del Stelvio aka Fat Ali's Folly

Well it's been a long time coming, but here we go the official walk-through video of Ali's track.


Ali came to me late last year after a bit of a hiatus following some heart surgery and told me he wants to continue to help out, but he didn't want to help out with the Digger stuff, he wanted to build some hand built stuff. He reckons using the digger is cheating! So I told him about my idea for a climbing friendly track between the two valleys. So off he went in indomitable Ali style. Frustrated with being forced to retire from his job, he likes to fill up his days so since November last year, he's been coming out every Saturday for 5 hours of track-building.

Ali spent a fair bit of time walking through the bush, determined to find a good flat line and flat spot for the corners, as he wanted to build a track that would be a challenge but not to be only for the fit few. I helped out in a couple of places and we challenged each other over what to do and what could be accomplished.

After we had roughed out the "line," Ali sensibly started working on the corners and see if the could be built. Pleasingly we haven't had to change our minds too many times and we've managed to extend our track in the lower sections substantially.

In order to facilitate getting the slaves in to help and to easily get to the corners Ali was working on, I started to quick bench a walking track on the traverses. This is working great as the track is seasoning really well from the foot traffic and general weathering. When the time comes to widen for intermediate level riding, it's going to be super duper!

Ali is doing amazing work on the corners. It's really hard to describe both the level of detail and level of effort that is going into them without actually witnessing it. The video itself doesn't show it off terribly well either.
So Cornering 101 - take a hillside you've already made fresh from the oven, find the flattest bit you can, clear all the bush, vine and trees, dig up the tree roots, map out in your mind the radius, then start clearing, dig a trench and fill with rocks, depending on how steep the corner depends on how many rocks you need, start digging out the top, move all the soil to the bottom, continue until there is enough space to get round and evening up the top and bottom sections of the corner. Voila! Sounds easy doesn't it!

Progress is moving much faster than I ever imagined. The digging is much easier than we expected, the soil s fantastic to work in, with just the right amount of rock to help us out. As it's a gully, the natives have been regenerating quite nicely, which means less bush and scrub to navigate around.

Many of the hand built tracks have been either made by Ali or features made by Ali, especially the rock features. These have been created by tenacity and determination with a chisel and a hammer! Old school. Ali has been coming out for close to six years since he was a whippersnapper of 65, holder of 3 heart by-passess and many interesting bike designs and setups! Thanks Ali - what a legend!

2006 - Ready for Action - One of the First Dig Days!
2009 - Tools of the trade and magical singletrack action
2012 - Ali on Ali Track
2013 - Getting a well deserved Community Service Award

LOL - I just noticed he's wearing the same shorts in all the action photos! Typical boy!

Not too shabby for a 71 year old. What's  your excuse? Give up a few hours of your time once a month to the many trail building opportunities that are out there. It's a great feeling to build track and help put back into a sport that we all enjoy.

Thanks Ali from all of us here at Haven MTB Park
Mr Haven