One Trail, Two Days

Ah Winter, one day it's 73 degrees, the next it's 15. Don't you love it? This little story concerns the SIUE trails, but could just as easily be about any of the other trails in our area.

Day 1. Two weeks ago, a group was out reviewing the location of the proposed new trail at SIUE. It had been very cold for the previous week without any precipitation and the ground was thoroughly frozen. The temperature was around freezing when we started, but the forecast was for temps in the upper 50's that day. Now, several of these people in attendance were some of the most experienced trailbuilders in GORC (I'm not including myself here). Not one brought their mountain bike, thinking that with such warm temperatures, the trails would be thawed by afternoon. Well, to everyone's surprise, by the time we were done, even though it was in the 50's, the trails were firm and dry, perfect riding conditions...

Fast forward to Day 2. Yesterday, Kirby and I headed out to SIUE in the early afternoon. Temperature was 19. To our surprise the top layer of soil was a gooey mess. Apparently, with there being so much moisture in the soil from the recent rains, the ground was completely saturated, and the strong sunlight was enough to melt away the top layer even at that temperature. Also, it had only been below freezing for one night. We walked down the trail a bit and could see where someone who was riding had been sliding across the surface at every curve and riding off the trail to avoid muddy spots.

So, what's the moral of this story? Well, it's that even if you think you understand how trails react to certain weather conditions, in Winter, all bets are off. Here in MO/SW IL we're lucky to be able to do some riding year round. Just be aware that in Winter and early Spring, there are more things to consider before you decide to go out and ride. Sure, it may not be a big deal to leave a few tracks on a trail, but when you multiply that by hundreds, or thousands, it's easy to see how real damage can be done.

It's not GORC's place to tell you when you can or can't ride, only the land manager of a particular trail can do that, but you can use your head and the info that's provided on our website to make decisions that will minimize the impact you have on the trails. We'd all much rather be building new trail, instead of having to fix damage to what's already there.

Happy Trails.

First Aid


Mountain biking is an exciting sport. It is both thrilling and exciting. It can also have some bumps, and bruises. This article is going to give you some tips on what to carry on your person or your pack that will help you make it back to your car.

· An anti-inflammatory or Tylenol
· Triangle bandage or bandanna
· Antiseptic hand wipes
· Large and small band-aids
· Gauze pads or 4x4
· Large non-stick pads
· Self adhering elastic wrap (Coban)
· Ziploc bag

All of these items can be placed in the Ziploc bag for quick visualization of the items that you need. You can get fancy and carry Neosporin with you, butterfly closures, benzoin to get stuff to stick, etc. But the list above is a bare essentials list. Coban is nice to have because it does stick to itself and you don’t have to worry about being too sweaty for tape.
The first on the list is a must have! If you fall down, hit a tree, or are just going really hard, it is nice to have a pain reliever on hand to be taken at a moments notice. An NSAID such as Ibuprofen helps reduce swelling incase of injury as well as a mild – moderate pain reliever. Never exceed 2400mg of Ibuprofen in a 24 hour period of time. Tylenol is known for fever reducing as well as mild to moderate pain reliever, but not known so much as a swelling reducer. Never take more than 4000mg of Tylenol in a 24 hour period of time. Also, a well known fact about Tylenol is that it should never be taken with alcohol.
The triangle bandage or bandanna has many uses. The major use is to immobilize a suspected fracture. If you fall on the trail and you suspect that you have broken a collar bone, the bandage can be tied around the neck, with the sling part on the effected side to carry that arm in. This is done to keep from placing strain on the fractured collar bone. In the case of a fractured limb, the limb will swell almost immediately; there may/may not be obvious deformity, continued severe pain, possible numbness below sight of injury. ICE is the acronym for the immediate care of a fracture. Immobilize, cool, and elevate. On the trail you can use the bandage and a strong stick or bike pump to wrap the limb and immobilize it. Then go to the doctor! Another use for the bandage is to help with the covering of wounds, cleaning, etc.
Antiseptic hand wipes are used to clean your hands before working on your wounds. They can be used to clean wounds as well.
Large and small band-aids are used of course to cover your wounds, after you clean them. Or just to cover them until you get to the car or house to thoroughly clean the wound.
Gauze pads can be used to aid in cleaning the wound, or cover the wound. Covering the wound with gauze can be tricky because it tends to stick to wounds. If this happens, use some warm water to soak the gauze to help remove it.
The large non-stick pads are awesome. They are the gold standard in wound coverage. You can impregnate them with Neosporin and plop right on top of your well cleaned cut or scrape. These can be cut to size.
Coban is used to wrap over the non-stick pad. This works better than tape in the sense that it does not stick to your skin. This wrap can also be reused if not a bloody mess.
This is a small kit that can be easily carried on the trail with you. It can fit in a jersey pocket or in your camelback. It should be seen as essential as your spare tubes. In closing, if there is any doubt in caring for a wound yourself, seek help!

This Is Not a Picture of Dug Having His Picture Taken at the Tour of Missouri...

It's a reminder that this month's regular meeting is at the Schlafly Tap Room at 7 pm on Wed. February 6 in the Eliot Room.