In my survey do I have to have a repeat count (value in the form) or can I leave it blank?
The second question, I need to have trail width, surface type, and firmness, is there any way to have them remain in the answer so that I do not need to keep adding them if the width, type, and firmness does not change. This question is repeated and I would want it to remain populated after the first set of question out in the field. I would still need to able to make changes and want the changes to remain.
No, you do not need to use repeat count in your survey. If you do not use a repeat count value set as a static value in the xlsx form, or as a calculated value from other questions, the user must select the add repeat button (the + sign) to add a new repeat record manually.
And yes, if you have questions in the repeat that you want to have a default or calculated value, you can use a default or calculation for that question, which when the new repeat record is created or navigated to will display that value, but the user can then overwrite it with their own input.