There are a few things that can keep a mountain bike community vibrant. Knowledge. Both old and new. To keep in mind the knowledge gained over years of trail building and also being able to take that historic knowledge and apply it in new ways, adapting it for more modern experiences. Exchange of information is another thing that needs to happen. To have the holders of the knowledge pass it on to willing participants, but also for the the back and forth, the conversation between the folks that know it and the folks that are learning it. That exchange, that back and forth creates new knowledge in places that really need and because of that they can progress, see success and once again add to the knowledge base.
To make sure that those exchanges happen are the job of the advocate. Because of that myself, Reed Smidt, Chance Glasford, IMBA TS and a whole host of others decided to hold the IMBA Upper Midwest Advanced Trail School at Cottage Grove Bike Park this season. Bike Parks are a fast growing segment of our sport and yet they are specific in their construction, care and feeding and use. Thus the topic was timely.
The school went well. We had about 30 folks in attendance. Slightly down from last season, but I would say that is due in part to the general XC riders disconnect with Bike Parks and bike park construction. In reality the school while centered in the bike park was about a pump track and many of the key features and construction principals of a pump track apply to some of the new school single track we are seeing built as well.
Our teachers this year were Jason Wells and Rich Edwards and they threw down. They had some great info to present and they did it for much longer than intened. Mainly because we had a large rain happen during the time we hoped to be outside. The kept the program rolling though and it was cool to see that even while they had been stuck inside for four hours, they were rivited to the class. It always says alot when you have a 30 trailbuilders sitting inside and they are engaged!
The socials were fun too. I mean who does not want to see his buddy rocking a mechanical bull at Coyboy Jacks?
Thanks to all that attended, special thanks to MORC, Chance Glasford, Reed Smidt, Mark Gavin and of course IMBA Trail Solutions for making it happen!