Canadian Cyclist


March 17/03 9:10 am - Trail Erosion Alert for Ontario, Laroche 3rd in Europe

Posted by Editoress on 03/17/03

Trail Erosion Alert for Ontario

After a long cold winter in Ontario many mountain bikers are just itching to ride. Between abundant snow and very cold temperatures, off road enthusiasts have been largely kept off their bikes for weeks. The arrival of warm weather means that many want to head out on to the trails right away.

There is a problem. The frost line went very deep this winter thanks to the cold temperatures. Even though the surface has thawed, the ground is still frozen just below the surface. To make matters worse, the frozen ground prevents the snow melt from sinking in any further. This means the thawed layer at the surface is absolutely saturated with water so it is very intolerant of any disturbance. Come riding along and you'll cut through the thawed layer right down to the frozen ground. The thawed layer will end up with trenches from tire tracks that will persist even when the soil dries out.

The last time that Ontario had a winter like this was back in 1993-94. The erosion was terrible and the environmentalists nearly had mountain biking banished in places like Toronto. It took the efforts of a lot of people to persuade the land managers that we shouldn't be kicked out permanently. The newest generation of mountain bikers haven't seen conditions like this in their riding life. It could be a tough lesson.

If you can be patient please stay off of the trails until the ground thaws. If you just have to ride then stick to where there is still snow because that is an indication that the ground is still frozen. As soon as the soil is visible is when the problems will start. Bare, wet ground needs to be avoided at all costs.The first areas that will be available for riding are those with abundant rock or sandy soil, or those with a gravel surface. Talk to your local land manager and ask when they think the trails will be ready. Or even just go out for a road ride. Remember that a day with a half-assed ride is still better than a day without riding!

Our trails are a precious resource. A little bit of forethought now will mean that they will be in good shape in a few weeks time. This announcement is courtesy of MAMBO Kings MTB Club. For more information please visit

Grand Prix Ruomsois France, March 16

1. Hicham Menad (VC La Pomme Marseille) 2:43:26
2. Dimitar Dimitrov (Martigues SC) s.t.
3. Jean-Francois Laroche (Canada) 1:13
4. Regis Decotte (TGK Hautes Alpes) 1:19
5. Maxime Mederel ( 23) 2:34
6. Vincent Casals (VC Cevenol)
7. Yoni Beauquis (UC Aubenas)
8. Renaud Castiglione (TGK Hautes Alpes)
9. Christophe Perenzin (Martigues SC)
10. Mikhail Andreyev ( 23) all s.t.


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