Tuesday, October 9, 2012

for the kids.

As I have never fathered a child, I am quite happily not a dad.
Don't get me wrong kids are nice and everything, so long as they are your's or someone else's.

That being said I wholeheartedly support the notion that it is important to act as a role model and provide a unique environment in which they are able to learn and grow as individuals. This was part of the reason that nearly two years ago at a Tuesday night mountain bike club meeting I brought up the notion of hosting our own Take a Kid's Mountain Biking Day, as part of IMBA's nationally sanctioned day.

 As with any structured or organized event, a certain amount of planning and preparation needs to happen for the even to be successful. Generally planning for DirtFest starts the week after. After formal letters for approval where written, reviewed, and sent off to the ACoE (Army Corps of Engineers) planning was underway. With a lack of children to call my own I felt the planning and organization was best left up to those with real kids

Despite my best efforts to be hands off with this mini-event as days drew closer it became obvious that more organization and publicity needed to happen to make the day worth anyone's while. After several phone calls and emails where made, we secured ensure enough Clif bars, water bottles, schwag, and imitation (don't tell the kids) race plates to keep the kids happy. As the last thing I want to here is someone whining.

Well with rain in the forecast and having already fallen that cold morning, we debated cancelling the event, but with no rain date nothing would've happened for the kids. Shortly after 8:20am, keep in mind the schedule start wasn't until 9am, our first participant showed up with his father in tow.

Both where simply excited to be there despite the weather and early rise on what could have very easily have been just another sleep-in late Saturday morning. Shortly thereafter Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day at the Allegrippis got underway with nearly twenty kid's lining up to get race plates, put on their bikes.

Club secretary, father, and retired teacher. Driving force behind TKMTB
" I love my trails " IMBA Sticker application.
Treats and Prizes. Kids apparently love prizes. 

Makings for a derby.
At one point I turned around to see a younger guy geeking out on another ones bike, apparently really impressed by the parts spec and red bell on it. As the fella stood back up, the owner of the bike was standing there wearing an unassuming look. "I really like the color of yours," he said as he pushed his bike up in the race plate line.  The owner smiled an nodded.
this is my only child. 

Sometimes it's easy to forget the simple things. Thanks kids.

Monday, October 1, 2012

falling into autumn

The trails have been chock full of riders for the last several months and volunteers have stayed busy beating down briar bushes and cleaning up after overnight storms. The dust is again beginning to settle on this summer much as it has in past years, with a few slightly browned leaves littering the switchbacks.

As I'm sure many riders have noticed the trails have been maintained far better than in previous years, not to knock previous years work, but only to praise this years that much more. From the several late night sessions prepping the trails for 2,000 riders at DirtFest, to the mid summer evenings spent lopping off ends of briars only with the owls to keep us company summer looks like it will end with some of the best riding trails in the east riding their best.

This year unlike years in the past we have used non-traditional methods to maintain a large work crew in a little community. For those not aware Huntingdon, Pa. is a borough of less than 7,000 with not much or many in the surrounding area. So how do you maintain and continue to build on 33 miles of pristine mountain bike trails. The credit goes largely to a select few who will remain anonymous until told otherwise, that continuously visit the trails week in and week out in search of perfection. Several relatively new to the sport riders paired with a handful of old school traditionalists have helped keep these trails riding great.
Huntingdon High School Students hard at it during a Clean-Up day! 
However, as volunteers do get tired we need to periodically go outside the traditional means of attracting riders and work on growing the volunteer base by attracting non-riders. This means utilizing programs that are set up exclusively to get help to community based organizations that are ineed, such as AmeriCorps, United Way, and Community Work Programs operated by our states Correctional Institutions.
Outdoor Adventure Women of Central Pa helping
out with the finishing touches on VeeCee Trail
This fall be sure to keep an eye out for new faces on the trails. Whether it is Caleb our ever hard working Americorps trail steward or some of our new department of corrections friends, the trails will be in better shape this fall than any previous one. Looking to get involved personally? Check out the annual work weekend happening October 19-21st