The Flame Trails took some beating this winter so it was time for the spot to get some love. The annual Jam was set early this year (24 March) but that would mean the trails would be back up and running early also. Help finally came in on Saturday morning when Frits, Tobias and Philip also grabbed a shovel and lent a helping hand putting up the tents, flags and Frits' Sound system. The sun came out, we had tunes going and started off the day removing "de zut". Trail diggers know exactly what that is. For those who are not in the know, it's the shit that moves down to the bottom of the jumps and needs to be removed. When removed, you're back to the dry good soil. This is a necessity. If you skip on this process, you will have to deal with De Zut for a long time as it never packs. But removing de zut is a big process. Down the bottom of the starting hill close to 10 cm of zut needed to be removed. Once removed it creates a lower track so in case it rains, the water will stay there. Not ideal either but at least it was possible to ride wherever de zut was removed.
When building trails in The Netherlands you also need to have a plan for the water to go to. Trenches, holes, ditches, draining systems, you can't have enough of it. But for the jam the priority was to get around. The dirt was soggy so it was nice to work with. But when the soil drags the energy and speed out of you, riding isn't the best. Turns were re-shaped, jumps were put back in shape and the riders present gave their everything to clear the gaps and do a few laps. With Jari Roggeveen, Sem Kok and Niels van Maren we had a few riders who could actually do some tricks.
Having something to ride nearby is magic. It might take forever to get a spot or a ramp going, but by showing the city that there is a scene that needs a place to ride, you can get things done. The hard part is not to give up. These plans take longer than you want, always. In the meantime you can gather more riders to get behind you. In a world where more and more kids spend time behind the game consul, TV, ipad or with a phone in their hand, it's time to let them play outside. Thankfully we got a dirt spot in Brandevoort and a concrete park right next to it. If I open the front door I can almost see it, it's that close.
Once you have your spot it needs to be maintained. That falls back in your lap. The concrete park doesn't need much effort. An outdoor dirt spot however does need some love from time to time. Next to that, throwing a jam from time to time is a good idea. It gets people motivated to get the jumps and turns back in shape and it brings the scene back together. For people who have to come from far, they know the trails are in good shape for a nice session that day. Also the local community gets to see what those 'piles of dirt' are actually for.
The annual Flame Trails jam took place on 9 April on the sunniest day of the year. It was an afternoon full of dirt jumping with little goodies for the riders that were supplied by the supporters of the jam (Haro Bikes/TwinAir). Riders were pushed to take it a little further than normal and basically everyone