Have you thanked a trailbuilder today!?

I headed out for solo north park ride tonight.  Only agenda (besides washing off my stressful work day.. biking rules) was to hit up the newest trail on the north ridge side of the park and finally check it out end to end.  I felt a small sense of pride as I had been a part of one of the trail building days and was stoked to get a little one on one time with it.  I parked across from the ice rink and jumped right into the single track climb and did the typical inside loop across the top.  I reached the end approaching the Wisconsin pavilion and took the new right hand turn into the newby singletrack.. teeheehee!  I’m all smiles and totally stoked for my virgin ride!

I am so glad I got to see Michael Rodack, Dave Sopko, et al in action with its creation.  A crazy amount of time and effort put into each and every part of it.  The initial idea is born. Ideas turn into exploratory hikes across the unchartered territory.  Hikes turn into flagging the first decisions on where they think the trail should go.  Multi-colored flags are use differentiating where benching will later need cut into the hills sides.   Foot steps are counted at times to keep the ascending/decending at a fairly equal rate and maintain a continuous flow.  Trouble spots are evaluated.  Occasionally flags get moved or extra time and effort is planned to clear or rearrange an area.  Chain saws are brought in to cut through fallen trees.  Bridges are built, which we all too often sail across and pay little to no attention at how much time, money, manpower, love and effort went into that one precious puzzle piece to keep us moving forward.  That is straight v.i.p. status people!  Know this! 

I work my way through the new trail and genuinely love every new bend, root, rock pile, switchback (including the roller coaster style one that reminds me of hartwood. niiice!), etc.  I knew there must be a decent amount of ground between north ridge and pierce mill road, but I had NO idea how much was ready and waiting for us!  Holy smokes!  I quickly find the famliar spots where I helped clear, hoe, dig, drag, rake, and whatever other word I can use for a few hours of trailbuilding manual labor madness.  It was so, so exhausting.  As I continue on I quickly realize what a SMALL part I had in the trails entirety.  I still hold a small amount of pride, but I am seriously disappointed I did not help more in its creation.  I had no idea!  My bad!  I just cannot imagine the total amount of hours that went into this thing and I really want everyone else to be aware of this too!!  

As you ride the trail take notice to its surroundings.  The thick brush, fallen trees, tall grass and whatever else.  The trail already looks so beautifully maintained and clear its hard to even realize all that crap was right where your riding and so many people just made great efforts to clear the way for us.  I am especially familiar with the madness at the power line.  I walked it with Michael and Dave flagging before the work began and at one point could NOT believe the imagination they had and courage to move forward with the amount of trees, plants, weeds that needed hacked away.   I even ask at one point “the trail is going right there!?” amazed at the amount of work on the horizon.  When you notice any benching realize how much serious effort it takes to cut away a hillside and make an off camber sketchy section another smooth sailing section in our journey.  

On top of all the difficult and physical labor of this task these people are sacrificing their own time to ride, be with family, friends and whatever other obligations are put on hold as they are out there providing us with more awesome and lengthy playground.   We all have busy lives.  The expectations of us these days seem crazier than ever.  We need to say Thanks and show our appreciation every day.  Seriously.   While I’m on the topic I’d also like to add Jeff Wuerthele to my shout out, who graced us with the already infamous Horse Poop Loop at Seven Springs.  It makes me happy!  Sean Brady rocking it at Riverview.  Maurice and the Dirt Rag gang keep Hartwood happening.  Too many names to remember and list (sorry). 

To Michael, Dave, Jeff and everyone one who plays an unpaid and underappreciated role in our home trail systems…

I thank you!

I commend you!

I *high five* you!

I would lite brite all of your names if I had one! 

I seriously appreciate your awesome skills and precious time to provide us with even more fun in our two wheeled adventures.  Much love.  Big hugs!!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Don’t forget all the good people from Siemans who came out to build a trail in honor of their deceased co-worker (Stefan “Pfundi” Pfundstein) . Was great to have you out there. Kind of funny if it wasn’t for your bomb knee and if I hadn’t broken my hand we would have probably been at a race. Glad I had a chance to contribute. Always felt a little guilty for the amount of time I spend on the trails and the very little time I manage to give back.


  2. Posted by MJ on July 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    THATS where the name came from!! Thanks so much for the reminder!! I agree on the juggling riding / racing / training / contributing. A constant balancing act I always seem to suck at. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you around again. 🙂


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