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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!

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Comments

thanks for the mention

thanks for the mention mate.
It has been a pleasure having you down in Oz and we hope to get you back soon!

take care
Nick Bowman

IMBA AU - Roots in the Dirt Bro!

No worries mate, hope to see you soon! Thank You!

Life Trails

I was lucky enough to have met Tony and Nick in Sydney 2011 on the Old Mans Valley Project. After just 10 minutes my love for trails expanded 100%. The ethusiasm and knowledge passed on to me was unforgettable and can only say to those wondering what people "like us" actually do, is to look at Tony and see where building trails has taken him on his life's path. Experiencing the different wilderness, cultures and fantastic people, this wonderful planet has to offer. I am only at the start of my journey but with people like this leading the way then the future of trails are in good hands and just like riding the perfect trail - there's that feeling of what lies around the bend.
Adrian.

howzgoin?

Thanks Adrian, I feel like I'm the lucky one. Nothing like showin up down under for some flow diggin and end up meeting great friends! Thanks for bustin it hard for our cause and toting me around on all the fabulous rides, BBQ, meetings etc..! Kanoath Mate. Hope your just about ready to get back in the saddle after your horrific crash. Good thing your still a young pup. Hope to see ya in May!

Tony's passion for what he

Tony's passion for what he does was infectious and it got everyone @ YRMTB stoked to build more trails the right way. His attempts at an Aussie accent were pretty poor though :)

Wuhhbadunnn is Ace!

Holy Dooley Mate! My Aussie accent was absolutely not proper, except for pronouncing Wuhhbadunnn, so I reckon I better get on back down there real soon!

Visualize: a nice brekkie at The COG in Wuhhbadunnn, then in the sunny arvo we be throwin heaps of tallies and pav in the esky, puttin on a pair of sunnies, thongs, and budgie smuggler and sinkin some piss out in the Wuhhbadunnn bush. Does that translation work?

Did I mention you Aussies are fair dinkum, in fact your whole country and the Aussie "no worries mate" philosophy is absolutely wonderful and refreshing! Now if I can just learn to abbreviate every long word and add "ey" to every one-syllable word I want need a translator anymore.

Thanks to all ya'll from the Wuhhbadunnn area, between the videoke, ducking from motos, pickin fresh cherries & catchin Sticky Fingers Concert in Melby, it was one memorable time!

Lookin forward to pulling my Wuhhbadunnn blog out of this aging cask of blogs from past 18 months as a migrant farm worker.....more to come.

 

The Boone Dance was a

The Boone Dance was a particular highlight of your time in Wagga Wagga at Livingstone NP. Somehow I think I'd prefer to be surprised by an orb spider than a grizzly - at least you can pluck the wriggling little bugger off your face - how does that work with cougars or bears.

There is so much more for us to learn about the dark art of trail building - thanks for sharing and helping us improve our practice. You know where to come for a good meal. Keep up the blogs - there must be a million stories in there

Ah yes the Boone Dance

Yes, its a good thing I didn't injure my back on those panicked moments of uncontrolled flailing as your entire face is engulfed in the web of the Golden Orb, and thank goodness they are not funnel web spiders. I'm looking forward to gettin back to Wagga Wagga and riding the new stuff at Livingston NP, as well as all the other goodies ya'll have out your back door.

Yes there is always so much more to learn for us all in the art of "diggin in the dirt". Thanks for all the hospitality & enthusiasm, take care of the family & give em a big hug from "that migrant farm worker with an accent". See ya in May hopefully! For sure next winter!

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