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Creating Community Through Food

The magic word for our most recent Trail Care Crew visit was sharing. Sharing is caring. SORBA-Chattanooga shares the load, so they get a lot of stuff done. If you’ve ever sat in on our Club Care training (training the club’s movers and shakers on community organizing and how to manage a sustainable club), one thing we hope you remembered is that the key to a sustainable club is first finding out what you want, but then sharing the tasks to get there. If one person does it all, that not only does not a community make, but that’s completely unsustainable. Share the load, people!

Now on to the pizza, which absolutely has to do with sustainable clubs and role-sharing. In the Club Care presentation, we mention that there are more roles that contribute to a sustainable mountain biking club than you’d think. “It’s more than just digging in the dirt.” A vital role is that of the food and beverage provider: banana bread, hot dogs, fried tofu, frothy libations, anything that keeps volunteers happy and sated after digging all day. This weekend it was pizza. Not just any pizza. Homemade pies baked in our host Mike Pollock’s backyard pizza oven, which is likely larger than your bathroom. You can pocket the dough you’d spend on a trip to Italy, just stop by Mike’s in Chattanooga (thanks for noticing the pun).

It’s getting muggy in the South, spring is upon us. We spent the day sweating it out, building trail at Five Points/Lookout Mountain on an old mine tailing property managed by the Lula Lake Land Trust, where SORBA-Chattanooga is planning a new trail system in partnership with the land trust. After we brushed the dirt off our faces, Mike and his wife Georgia hosted our entire group at his picturesque mountain top home outside of Chattanooga. He cooked pizza for two hours for us hungry trail builders, literally putting in his sweat equity over the brick-oven. Every four minutes there was a new pie, which disappeared in just as many minutes.

Mike dug deep out on the trail that day. More importantly, though, he fulfilled one of the most important roles of the club, because without his role as pizza tosser and gracious host, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for us to gather.

A sustainable mountain biking club is a community. Providing opportunities for people to relax together after a long day of trail work creates community and a desire to continue one’s involvement toward a greater goal. There’s no better way to create community than around food.

So thanks to Mike and Georgia, as well as the entire SORBA-Chattanooga community for a very successful TCC visit.

On a side note... When asked what our favorite trail around the U.S. is, we reply with a consternated stare and pause. How the heck could we answer that pickle! A fun trail experience isn’t just the sum of the dirt on which you’re riding. Memorable means the people you’re with, the weather and certainly how the stars are aligned on that particular day. In response to the pickle, we usually blurt out the best experience in recent memory, and we’re happy to report that I have a new favorite: Raccoon Mountain (Chattanooga). Granted, during our Sunday ride there we were blessed with bluebird skies, dry dirt and cheery dispositions, but this is a trail worth checking out.

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