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Manly Dam Trackwork

mikebl's picture

By mikebl - Posted on 28 June 2014

Here's a quick video of the much discussed trackwork at Manly Dam.

Nothing fancy, just some footage as I was doing laps last Sunday (22 June 2014)

At the end I got a couple of lads doing the "A" line.


BIGnige's picture

Look I'm not in any position to complain...but tell me that's not dumbed down with a straight face!!

mikebl's picture

The steps are dumbed down.

But if you want it to be more technical, then jump off the big rock and try and hit the landing. Both those guys that did it, did not hit the landing correctly.

I'm just going to try and hit the steps a bit quicker, and maybe try the jump....


hawkeye's picture

I saw one halfway down one of the chutes that looks like you can just let the brakes off and let the bike run and you'll be fine. Is that it? Or is it the one at the top/start of the second roll-down?

andyfev's picture

If that's where I think it is I'm selfishly disappointed. Great for the newbie Manly Dam rider but without techy components riding skills won't improve... The rock jump off doesn't really score an "A line" in my view though camera angles can be disceptive.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

I rode the dam today and 1/2 of the track is in really poor condition. This area was one of the better sections so why it was prioritised is beyond me. The new bits seem to be just a little bit meh.

bmar560's picture

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thshs's picture

It's really only a "got you first time problem."

Caught me first time because I was going too slow checking the new track work. If you roll over too slow your front wheel drops down with your rear still yet to hit the rock. If your bike has a low BB, the chainring will catch.

The B line is actually quite nice with a couple of twists. In terms of difficulty I'd say they're about the same. Easy.

hawkeye's picture

Thanks Mario. Perfect timing - I'm off for a ride this morning.

danielschipper's picture

Heading out today to do a couple of laps and planning to session this section a few times at the start. Will write up some thoughts when I get back.

danielschipper's picture

Rode the new section today. It is different but I would't say it's dumbed down. Hitting this section fast before was simply about not losing it on the wooden planks then holding on. Now there's a bit more to think about and more fun to be had when hit fast.

The "steps" aren't steps, they're small drops and need to be taking at speed with a small huck off the top of them. The landing is pretty sketchy off the first as you either get nice landing off to the right but then get pulled wide and stuff up the line for the next buck or take a line to the left which sucks up a lot of front suspension but then you can get a tighter line around the corner and more speed.

For the second huck / drop I didn't take the "Hero Line" but instead launched from the shelf off to the right but landed on the left side ( same as the guys in the video). That hero line looks great but I wasn't feeling in top form today so will leave that to others.

Also the new Green line looks really cool. If the outcome is to make the trail more accessible without dumbing it down for the regulars I'd say they've achieved a good result.

Get out there!

staffe's picture

Good thing for learners to have a B line and the A line is not much easier, maybe the opposite cause there is a chain ring scraping drop off where some more sophisticated technique required to keep the chain ring budget in control. Yet to figure out just what that technique might be.

C3PO's picture

Went round this afternoon and I'm a fan of what they're doing (admittedly I took the intermediate lines). It wasn't long ago that riders were under threat of being barred from the Dam so we should encourage this work as the more the council, etc put into the Dam the more sustainable it will be - there's plenty of other parts of the Dam that needs some work.

hawkeye's picture

I saw their track machines parked surreptitiously on the firetrail that runs parallel to the run into 19th Hole.

So I think that's next. Which I'm pleased about, that section has been a dogs breakfast for ages, and basically a stormwater channel when it rains. Hopefully they'll introduce a bit of "wiggle" into what was previously a straight, flat out "gun it as hard as you can" fall line trail.

The cool kids will probably whinge about dumbing down the final roll-down to the flat at the bottom, but we passed an experienced-looking guy today who had dislocated his shoulder after going OTB there. Not sure if it was from missing that skinny little ramp rock on the final roll down, or the hidden wheel catcher on the left in the middle, so I think some kind of treatment that allows you to see what you're in for before you get there will be a good thing. I see too much of that kind of thing happen there.

Kudos to the guy for walking out. When I did mine 50m further on about 5 years ago, I needed about 30mg of morphine and a bunch of those blue whistle thingies to be able to get up and get to the road.

skibum72's picture

I agree it is great having changes to MD as it needs to suit a variety of rides ( as I witness today.. seeing the 9yr nail the section before the 19th hole). Just need to take the new section with speed which isn't easy when you are learning.
Haven't been around the dam for 4 month and the track has been widened in section especial around the rock garden. The track has also been widen near the sensor which tracks the number of riders which I thought would be hard to do.
Well done on the council putting money into the dam I agree next focus is the section down the bottom before the bridge

hawkeye's picture

Where was that? I missed it completely.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

From my perspective the section into the 19th is in the least need of work. The lines are pretty clear and there's nothing in the "wrong" spot so you can flow through it. I actually thought the fire trail was most in need of attention. It's badly eroded to the point of becoming dangerous. Most of the "single track" sections seem to be the best atm. It would also be nice to see some dollars invested into removing tar sections rather than fixing dirt sections.

hawkeye's picture

Didn't ride the fire trail down from the trig track today. I did the extended loop to the Aquatic Centre and pipeline trail instead.

Unfortunately Council did not take up our suggestion to put in a flow track down to the creek to get riders off the fire trail. The head ranger got it into is head somehow that riders would still choose to use the fire trail in preference to the singletrack, and it would just add to maintenance costs for no benefit to walker safety.

I have no idea why. Puzzled It flies in the face of all the evidence we have about rider behaviour, but there you go. A more realistic scenario is riders coming back *up* the fire trail to session the singletrack.

There are some alternative ideas being floated to circumvent the fire trail down to the creek.

skibum72's picture

The sensor is after the houses on the Allambie side, just after the gate. It has been there since about September. I spoke to the guys setting it up and it has a light sensor and pressure pad. It shoud provide good data on MD traffic.

GarethP's picture

The next section of track work has started, the first bit of single track round the 19th hole was closed this evening

Dicko's picture

Also goto love the work done on the Wakehurst Pkwy Sniggle - the new sections with the tech rolldowns make a nice advanced addition the the already bedded in single track.

Thanks to the trail fairies out there making the most of this underused bit of scrub.

Great work !

MC's picture

Done a few laps now on the new stuff and still not convinced by it. The new A lines aren't really any sort of technical challenge other than a bit of a drop to get down. Hit the ring (on a 29er) on both the new drops first time down going slow. The new B line is a nice addition but doesn't seem any easier to me at all. On a 29er I actually think its harder than the A because you still have a drop to get down followed by a couple of sharp turns to make. Certainly more bike handling involved down the "intermediate" route compared to the advanced.

Like someone said already, I still don't know why they put so much work into that particular section. It seemed fine as it was and the new B line isn't much easier than the old line, if at all.

The rock armoured section after it thru to the moonrock is a big improvement to fix the drainage there for sure so big thumbs up for that.

The section they "fixed" at the top of Bangaroo boggles me too. Didn't seem to be a whole lot wrong with that either. Certainly wasn't the worst drainage around the lap. Don't understand why they don't just shift that section into the bush and avoid the whole Public School section entirely and the potential for carnage along there. Let the trail fairies loose on it!

There was a BIG pile of sandstone slabs up at the 19th Hole this morning so looks like a fair bit of rock armouring is going to go in down that section in the next week or two.

R_M.G's picture

Personally, I think the trail upgrades are fantastic.
The variety is great and I love the work these guys are doing. I won't rant about the people talking about the "Dumbing down" of it other than you should be grateful that we have professional trail builders putting there time and a budget of $110,000 into these trails to make it a better experience for everyone!

More to my point, is the signage.
A system which I found a problem, as my first mountain bike rides at manly were spent wondering around the first single track sections wondering where on earth I was supposed to be going. Obviously most of us here ride around it because we know it, but think for a second the next time you ride a lap and realise the lack of signage? I have spent quite a few rides showing new riders around the trail and feel like small post signs like the ones at OMV are very helpful and completely eliminate the panic moment newbies get from passing a split in the trail (ones which we all have had at some point). A lot of preparation has gone into this and why not just have a few signs signalling a drop off or a A or B line?
Its a simple but effective solution to people who think they can roll down the A line in the section everyone has been arguing about!

I hope someone takes this into account and considers it Smiling

Best regards. Rueben. (The kid who is looking out for newbies!)

hawkeye's picture

Signage is one of the issues that will be addressed.

On that subject, it looks like some prat has removed the small warning signs I put up on the Aquatic Centre track just before the gap jump.

I heard from a riding buddy on the weekend that someone unfamiliar with the track was again caught by surprise and wrecked their bike coming up short on the landing.

Pete B's picture

Gap jump?

thshs's picture

Gave directions to a rider last week and mentioned to him. "Look for the signs and turn left or you'll launch!"
Rode next day and noticed they were gone.
Haven't heard from him since.

crank's picture
I won't rant about the people talking about the "Dumbing down" of it other than you should be grateful that we have professional trail builders putting there time and a budget of $110,000 into these trails to make it a better experience for everyone!

In general, I'm grateful for volunteers and clubs that put their own time, effort and money into looking after trails. Companies that get paid to build something to spec aren't going to be appreciated by everyone because they aren't building trails for everyone, they are building the trails for whoever is paying them.

all74's picture

I love both OMV and Manly but it's the genuineness of the Dam the feeling that much of it has just evolved naturally over time that keeps me going back. I'm yet to ride the new Dam features so not sure yet, but that "Christ what to I do here?" feeling is definitely part of the fun. The new pics of Bantry Bay over at Flow MTB looked a little OMV. With so many riders, drainage issues etc. it is inevitable that cleaning things up a bit will happen but I hope, where possible, they keep some of the crazy crappy trails too. But hey I don't want to complain, so many new trails this year, so little time!

Macdaddy's picture

This will be a ping pong debate for a long time, Simple facts are there is no clean line down the top section now, Putting signs up to say A and B lines is no excuse for building a crap section . Yeah you need speed to hit it but bugger me if you hit that to fast you'll kick the tail up land it that crap trench thats behind the first rock on your front wheel and well, eat some crap.
It only needed a smooth launch pad in one section and a down ramp so the ones who want to take it a bit easier can roll over with out loosing teeth.
Leave the rocks the way they are on left for the Hero's . everyone is catered for.
Everyone needs to remember that this section was used by all riders before so why they ever built the B line is beyond me and a complete waste of my rates.
I have ridden a lot of tracks up and down the coast and haven't seen that sort of crap before. Professional my backside. Have a look at what has been done on the bantry bay rd track, those trail fairies have done a great job.
People seem to be scared to say anything bad because we should be lucky they are working on the track ,but if thats the result , please please leave it alone.
I'm not scared to complain it's my hard earned Rates that are being wasted.

xmas's picture

And the 19th hole was open.

Heaps of work has been done.

Seems like there is going to be an A, B and C line off the rock shelf! Smiling

Simon's picture

Hi all

The intention is to get the original 19th hole ' b' line on far riders left working and control the water and resulting slime from the 'new' fire trail above it. This will be the new 'a' line.

This means armouring the lander where over the years from water we have lost more than a foot if top soil.

The old 'a' line runout is problematic with the 'c' lines to riders right.

The rest of the works is largely implementing IMBA's report. I haven't yet seen the implementation by the trail builder. Unfortunately many of the reroutes off firetrail are not going ahead any time soon.

Council has to balance up the new wave of riders who expect IMBA grading, options and no forced options. IMBA approaches are also recognised as best practice which means they need to be met from insurance and liability aspects. All this is on a legacy track, most of which was never built for riding and some of which is for park drainage.

I'm sure if we all get involved positively at trail maintenance days we can sort a few things out.

In terms of priority things were broken down into items that need to be done by a builder versus volunteer crews. They have money now so the priority will be to spend money on the builder required sections.

pancakes's picture

I don't see what all the brouhahah is about. Rode it today for the first time in ages and the old line's basically still there. The other bits can only be a step forward as now there's more options. Nice job all round I'd say.

Pete B's picture

I'm with Pancakes. The new work is great in my opinion, I don't think it's been dumbed down, merely changed.

Everyone whinges that the dam can't be ridden for ages after the rain and that it's being eroded, but then when something gets done about, people are still whining. Fortunately, there seems to be more for the new work than against it.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

But the area worked on wasn't eroded and was probably one of the sections in the best condition. It also handled water well except for slippery boards. I really have no strong opinions on the new section, I just think they're working on the wrong sections.

MC's picture

There's obviously going to be varying opinions as everyone is riding for different reasons at different speeds on different bikes. Some people do a couple of laps a year, some do hundreds.

But I've gotta agree with Hasbeen - they seemed to fix the sections that weren't particularly broken. Why replace boarded sections with rock armouring when there are untouched sections that could do with some real improvement? It seems like the decision was based more on a political ideology of removing the "unnatural" materials and replacing them with "locally sourced natural materials" as much as it was about actually improving the track.

19th hole section needed some fixing so that's cool but the new A and B lines on the Golf Course section seem like they took up most of the $100K+ budget. Putting in new lines is great but why there? It wasn't a particularly technical section and didn't need a B line.

Build some new lines and get us off the road and footpaths next to two schools!

hawkeye's picture

I sessioned the new sections today.

I reckon the black option on the Golf Course section is actually easier than the blue. You just hit it with a bit of speed and Bob's your mother's brother. The blue option requires more control and better balance, as the right turn has a slippery rock entrance and tight off-camber apex. I keep running wide and having to unclip before I hit one of the corral rocks... although my balance sucks at the moment thanks to sitting on my arse for 12 hours a day during our peak work period.

The 19th Hole A and B lines will be good once completed. However I wonder how long the works on the approach trail will last. There are some nice rollers being implemented at the start that I hope will divert water flow off the trail, but the line is unchanged, straight down the fall line. It becomes a stormwater channel when it rains. If Council had shown some imagination and added some wiggle to the line the outcome would have been much better.

On the upside, the majority of the slippery logs have gone, the landing zones are or will be armoured, and the drops are still a decent height. Not sure how you'd go trying to roll them slowly, but they were great to jump off at speed.

The wheel catcher in the middle roll-down at 19th Hole that caught the guy last week who dislocated his shoulder has been filled in with some decent rocks. The normal line to the right I hope is unfinished, because someone has put a rock there that is way too small. There's a gap between it and the main rock, and it will pretty soon get shifted when a sufficiently heavy rider brakes on it, which will result in a worse noob trap than the original gutter on the left.

The final roll-down for the B line has been shifted to the right, and restores the level of difficulty to what it was say 5 years ago before all the soil was washed out.

Overall, they get a (mostly) thumbs up.

ChopStiR's picture

My 2c after watching the OP video was that the A line did not need any work done as it was all on rock to begin with. It was only the lead up that required attention.

Macdaddy's picture

Rode the dam today and was quite happy with what's been done around the 19th hole .
Double log jump has smooth take off and landing area is clean . Thumbs up
Good news at the other works with the A line, someone packed the back so people can roll over if they want and landing area has been smoothed out.
Still think there might be some close calls there where the two lines A and B meet with someone barrelling down the A line and someone jumping in from the B.
Also the ramp on the first rock south end on the bantry bay sniggle has been removed , Hopefully the trail fairies have plans to rebuild something better.

Simon's picture

IMBA looked at more wiggle to move away from the fall line.

However they concluded it wouldn't really work. We would end up with massive footprint of slow bends on rubbish soil and the water still ends up on the track.

Best to leave it fun and less footprint on a track that's eroded but relatively stable rather than creating a bigger mess.

For a number of reasons a complete reroute onto the rock shelf wasn't good either.

hawkeye's picture

Thanks for the feedback.

Hopefully the rollers will do the job. Good point about the soil quality.

It's a shame the alternate line to the rock platform wasn't a flyer. I imagine there'd have been similarly issues with poor soil and insufficient side slope?

Flying Scotsman's picture

Well I rode MD today after nearly 7 months off the bike completely. I loved it! Much more 'rollable' if that makes sense. I understand how some people are miffed about the updates but we should appreciate this work and as mentioned before "in time it will degrade and wash away".
I like the gravely soil I much prefer sliding around and going OTB on it than slabs of lumpy rock that will put me out of work and in plaster. I like the b line coming up towards the wakehurst I always struggled at that bit. Only thing I think would be great is a trim of those low hanging branches on the single track part. Other than that I think it is still an awesome trail, might have to drag the wife out on it Eye-wink

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