If Blogs are like fine wine, I've got a case that is finally ready to sip!
Well I’m not sure where to start with on this inaugural blog because my head is still spinning from working with so many great folks, seeing some absolutely amazing places and learning heaps of new knowledge. In the past year and a half, I have been very fortunate to represent IMBA Trail Solutions on almost 20 projects/site visits in five countries traversing three continents.
Spending thirteen months out of the past eighteen months in the air, or on the road, makes it feel like I have sat in plane or car seats, longer than I have sat on my own couch, but that’s a very good thing. I do however apologize for my big fat carbon footprint, sorry Mother Earth.
With spectacular team mates like Nick Bowman of IMBA Australia, HM Lim of Dirt Traction Singapore, and Larry Wang of Trek China, we have shared our love of “diggin in the dirt” with over 300 students and laborers. We have designed 50 km of sustainable mountain bike trail and constructed almost 40 km of it. These sweet new singletracks came in a variety of flavors, from flowy green runs in eucalyptus bushland to shuttled, black diamond downhill trails in fern covered, boulder fields.
Our passionate IMBA Trail Building School students have ranged from super-amped teens to super-stoked retired seniors. While our local construction crews have been composed of dedicated government employees, farmers, fishermen and of course lots of enthusiastic volunteers, primarily IMBA club members.
From a cultural standpoint it has been a phenomenal experience. Imagine your teaching partner translating trail school into Mandarin and then the crew leader, an old farmer, translating to the crew in a Sichuan dialect. Truthfully just living and working in a 3000+ year-old civilizations was an honor. I’ll never forget that the spiciest foods on the planet are in Chengdu, China. They will literally make your face numb, like a bad trip to the dentist…what a great way to release some endorphins!
Highlights down under ranged from aboriginal rock art to a version of the English language I could barely understand. While Aussies are amongst the most-friendly folks you’ll ever meet their wildlife is somewhat unsettling for a Colorado boy. Natural hazards ranged from highly poisonous, aggressive brown snakes that literally chase you (if you poke them with a stick) to the famous Funnel Web Spider, which may “kill ya mate” in 15 minutes. Like I’m going to make it to a hospital in 15 minutes, the trailhead is further than that. I guess I’m just more comfortable seeing my predators, even if bears and mountain lions are bigger.
Extreme Trail Design in Hong Kong to follow next week! So if you liked the blog, links, pics, or vids for goodness sakes - say something. Please feel free to share it with other riders and builders, otherwise the only comments on it will be from my mom. Cheers!