Friday, August 16, 2013

What's growing on?

It's been awhile since I put my thoughts down on here but that doesn't mean that nothing's been going on just that I'm a lazy ass. One of the things that has surprised me the most is the success of the volunteer mountain bike patrol. I trained a dozen fine individuals back in June to start the program and they hit the trails in force. In the month and a half since I started the patrol we have put in 106.25 hrs on the trails. I now have a consistent feel for what is going on in the park and that has enabled me to respond to conflicts in concerns almost immediately. This response time is crucial because it lets the public and the organization know that we are on top of things, in the past unfortunately some important issues fell through the cracks. Through the amazing support of the local bicycling community I was able to purchase patrol jerseys, pumps, tools to help maintain and fix bikes, first aide kits and nutrition.

 I believe that this program can and should be used in parks around the country. It's my hope that I can progress it at least within the SoCal area, it just makes good common sense. I get that the IMBA has the National Mountain Bike Patrol, and I am one of it's members, but unfortunately I think that this type of program needs the personal touch and the IMBA is just too far removed from the process to be effective in that area. I have pitched the idea to a couple of groups and have had a pretty decent response. Some groups are just too mired in their own politics to see the program for what it really is. Hint, it's a bunch a people that care about trails and riding and want to promote a safe and mutually beneficial progress of it. Enough on that, again thanks to all involved with the program.

The park is also gearing up for a couple big events. The Freedom 50 will be on tap at the end of the month and the Giro Di San Diego in September. Both are great events but we all know how jittery I get before one. If you don't know please refer to my "Herding Cats" post in this blog. I'm sure the promoters will do me right. On top of that we are gearing up for the first ever, at least in the SDRP, Bike Swap Meet on the 28th of September. I'm pretty excited to see how this will turn out. All the proceeds will go to support the SDRP mountain bike patrol and to help out the Sikes Historic Adobe Farm House that is one of the parks cool historic features. Do some garage cleaning, gather up your old, new and in-between bike parts,and join us out in the park for a fun day.

The condition of the trails in the park are stable but only just so. The lack of rain last season has made for a really dry summer and with that the trails can only hold for so long before they start to give. This coupled with the high amount of traffic we receive in the park make it very important for people to take their time and really be mindful on the trail. Ride within your ability, use the trail that is given to you, don't skid. All of these principles seem pretty basic but time after time after time I see trails destroyed by this very behavior. I have seen a staggering number of trails throughout the county in other parks that have been completely altered. Downhills are being reduced to foot deep silt trough's with four or five ruts even deeper causing people to cut the corners or go farther to the outside to avoid the conditions making a once nice single track trail into an eight foot trail builders nightmare. The uphills are not immune, some people think that if an obstacle on a trail is just too tough they'll take it upon themselves to go around or create a bypass. This again causes irreparable damage. Like I said no rain so there's no time for the ground to recover. Once one person goes that way it just makes it easier for others to follow suit.  I know I've said this before but here it goes again, if you cannot ride the trail, suck it up, walk your bike over the obstacle and carry on. How are you going to know your making any progress as a rider if you continue to cut corners. Here is an appropriate picture that has been making the rounds on FB lately.

I could blame this behavior on all kinds of things but I won't. In the end we all have to take responsibility of the land we ride and actually give a shit once and awhile. If we don't then the trails are going to continue to decline and with that the experience and pure joy some of us get by using them. Please enjoy the trails, just do so responsibly.