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Sea Otter DH Changes

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3/16/2011 9:45 PM

If you haven't heard, the Sea Otter DH course is getting a bit of a makeover this year thanks to Truvativ and Momentum Trail Concepts.

Over the past week, several of the changes have been leaked via Sea Otter's facebook page. Here's a condensed list. Note that each change corresponds a time in this video of Troy Brosnan and Fariclough ripping down last year's course:

1) Start House: At 17 seconds: There's already a start that's built every year. An addition of 6 feet of elevation is planned and will do wonders for the look of the start, plus add to the fun and flow of the initial section of track.

2) Initial Jump Section:

--- 2.1) The initial rollers will be shaped just slightly. The major work starts when the rider is at 37 seconds in the video.

--- 2.2) The dirt from first big jump (which the rider is looking at, at the 37 second mark) will be taken away. The hay inside (buried within) creates soft spots, sinkholes and unpredictability.

--- 2.3) The bad dirt will be replaced with 50 cubic yards of new dirt where the old jump was.

--- 2.4) Three (3) 15 foot long, 3 inch diameter flexible, non-perforated pipes will be installed to create drainage in the jump section.

3) First Berm: 45 seconds. This berm is a good starting point, but has eroded over time. 12-20 cubic yards of dirt will used to reshape/renovate the turn. The berm will be renovated and only built up slightly - the shape on the exit, stability and improved drainage the main concerns.

4) Tabletop Jump Before Road Crossing: 49 seconds - COMPLETE REBUILD! Because of the odd shape and decomposing hay bales inside, this tabletop jump needs to be completely scraped away. 18 cubic yards of NEW DIRT will be used to build and shape the new jump. It'll be more fun, more spectator friendly and more rewarding for riders.

5) Small Jumps Just after Road Crossing: 56-59 seconds (this is the lone "time permitting" change): the plan is to re-work these jumps with existing dirt, mostly small modifications like longer backsides. 10 cubic yards will be used for shaping.

6) Upper Traverse: 1:02-1:08 - As short as the time is, this section feels like an eternity. We want to make it more fun. Sustainability and safety are also key goals here. Some small grade reversals (less than one foot in elevation change) and widening the trail to 4 feet will help this section tremendously.

7) Old Log Jump: 1:29: This section is fun, fast, and a spectator favorite. We're going to make it just a little bit more fun (bigger) and at the same time safer for riders and people off trail by adding a bit of dirt to an existing hole and buttressing the existing jump . 6 yards of dirt will be used to repair and shape the lip and landing, plus fill the hole to rider’s left.

8) Fire Road at 1:30. We're gonna create rolling grade reversals to help channel water off the road preventing sandy pile up and erosion.

9) Fast Section after Old Log Jump: 1:33: A fun section where riders are at their fastest - this is always fun. We want to keep all the momentum riders have, but increase the safety. Ruts will be taken out and the grass will be given a haircut to increase visibility.

10) Steep Downhill Section: 1:48-1:52. The natural terrain here is great and we want to keep it slightly rough. In order to keep the water from flowing down the trail, we'll bank the trail left (and water will follow) onto the old road. Using the natural grade at the 1:50 mark will stop the flow of water down the trail and increase the total number of corners on the track.

11) 1:53 - This berm can be a standout feature of the track. It's the last place most riders will hit their brakes and the most important feature to give riders momentum into the last third of the track. We're going to make this berm A LOT bigger. It has eroded over the years and become a safety concern. We'll use 60 yards of dirt for the berm and one 20-foot pipe to drain the inside corner.

12) Jumps after Large Berm @ 1:55 - No extra dirt is needed here. We do want to give these features a facelift making the section slightly more forgiving in order for speeds to be kept up for the upcoming hip jump. We'll also install a pipe for the water seep that exists at the low point in the section.

13) Hip Jump: 2:00 - The take-off for this jump is pretty good - we'll just do a little touch up work to make sure water gets off the trail to the right and doesn't collect in front of the jump. We want to make the landing larger on the left, making the jump more fun (hipped) for top riders and safer for riders at the other end of the skill spectrum. 12 cubic yards of dirt can be placed on the landing seen at 2:00, just before riders come onto the service road. The whole shebang will be shaped with a mini-X.

14) Jump Onto Lower Traverse: 2:06 - The jump here is a good start, but we want to embellish the landing a little bit. Take off is all good. We'll bring the landing slightly closer so beginning riders have a goal that is attainable, and we'll create a small down slope landing to give a reward to pro level riders who jump farther.

That's what we know so far. There are 21 changes total (well, 23 if you count the beer garden and spectator shuttle). I'll add more as they are released!

3/16/2011 9:49 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/16/2011 9:56 PM

Oh yeah, Momentum Trail Concept's Matty Thompson and SRAM's Tyler Morland will be chatting online about the DH changes on Thursday, Mar 17 at 10am MST via the Sea Otter facebook page. Tune in here.


3/17/2011 8:41 AM

I FULLY applaud the time/money/effort that is being put in here....but are there other changes being made to the course besides fixing up the areas that had problems in the past with erosion/water/dust/etc?


Remember the Lumber yard, go balls out.

3/17/2011 10:29 AM

For the most part this looks like course maintainance. Will there be any actual changes to the lay out of the course?


3/17/2011 10:29 AM

Dang. I missed the chat. Is it recorded anywhere?


3/17/2011 11:04 AM


3/17/2011 1:39 PM

There is a lot of maintenance going on, but that is not the only goal. In the past, SOC has put up some $$$ to get the course ready to ride every year. With this project, the SOC should require less maintenance in later years, so if there is a budget it can go to more new improvements instead of just getting the course ready, as it has in the past. This is a better long term plan.

As for 'new sections', the current alignment is pretty good, and most importantly, approved and allowed. There are big issues with moving new dirt, disturbing areas that are 'natural' and re-routs through protected areas. Believe me, I like drifting through salamanders as much as the next guy, but it is off limits here. We would love to put more corners in, but that usually means more pedaling later. Same with rough stuff. More features, turns, speed checks = more pedaling back up to speed.

So to answer a lot of the questions simply: No, there are no totally new sections. However, everyone in the project is looking to make the course the best it can be given the elevation, weather, time and materials.


I'm hungry.

3/17/2011 4:35 PM

TRex wrote:

There is a lot of maintenance going on, but that is not the only goal. In the past, SOC has put up some $$$ to get the course ...more

Cool they are finally letting you remove all that hay from within the jumps!!! When I was the course builder in 2004&2005 that was a MAJOR issue. Chances are it didn't get better in 6 years.


3/17/2011 7:17 PM

sea otter dh has always had potential. glad to see it finally starting to reach it


3/17/2011 8:41 PM

Ill be racing, I am stoked for sure.


3/18/2011 8:06 AM

These are great changes. I can't wait.

Now, do you know if SOC is going to address the other yearly complaints - timing and shuttles?


3/25/2011 2:28 PM

More changes:

14) Lower Traverse: 2:08-2:23. The first part of this traverse needs machine work to smooth out the ruts running down the trail. Some embellishment of bumps going across the trail are OK, they can also act as drainage funneling water off the track in lots of little spots. The worst section of the traverse is from 2:17-2:21 where you can see lots of wet spots. We're going to take out the existing dirt to a depth of 6 inches and add a gravel base. Gravel, then road base on top, and dirt on top of that would aid in drainage and provide a solid, safer surface to ride on. 4 feet wide will do the trick, with the dry top dirt being native, so it will blend in and provide a natural look.

15) Lower Traverse: 2:29-2:33: Most riders are not seeing straight at this point in the track, we need to make it slightly more forgiving for riders here. The trail is very narrow and widening it by a foot or two would do wonders for the flow and safety.

16) Lower Traverse: 2:37: Ruts should be taken out and bumps can be created here to help get water off the trail and increase fun and safety.

3/30/2011 8:45 AM

17) Lower Step Down: 2:41 - The take-off can be slightly wider on this jump, it has been slowly eroding for a few years now. The landing should be at least two feet wider to the left. This can be accomplished with a small wall. Some posts in the ground and treated lumber should last for years here and still not be too expensive or abrasive on the eyes. Dirt for the final shaping can be taken from the old trail, to rider’s left of the wall.


3/30/2011 1:24 PM

think its worth the 60$ to race? i ask my self this question every year.... this year any different?

Might just end up poaching the course...


two wheels, one love.

4/4/2011 10:43 AM

18) Proposed Table Top Jump: 2:47 - 12 cubic yards of dirt will be placed here to install a table top near the bottom of the course. More fun, more speed and some diversity in the trail here will help tons with the flow of the course.

19) Final Berm: 2:50 - This berm is good for getting riders a little more speed up the final rise, but it needs help. A small section of pipe would drain the berm properly. A 10 foot long, 3 inch diameter flexible, non-perforated pipe will be placed. We’ll also be giving the berm a little love.

20) Finish Area: 3:02 - Once riders are onto the grass, ruts and holes start to form. A gravel/road base will be laid out on the bottom of the track where the holes and ruts started.


4/4/2011 11:44 AM

The guys at Momentum are sending over pics as they build. Stay in touch with the course construction here.


4/4/2011 11:46 AM