Getting soaked and giving back

We’re very lucky to have some wonderful GORC-built and maintained mountain bike trails in the area, including some right in town. We have a fair number of mountain bikers and trail runners in the tri club, and we’re very thankful to have such a wonderful organization providing us with such a variety of playgrounds. Last year the club made a monetary donation to GORC, and the feedback we received was that some sweat equity would be a greater contribution.

We’re nothing if not sweaty, so the club put my friend Jim in charge of coordinating a crew to do some brush clearing. It’s definitely needed; our trails are fantastic in the fall/winter, but they get really overgrown in spring/summer without constant attention. Because I love the trails and had a great time at my first GORC workday, I was glad to volunteer. Unfortunately, the chosen day fell on the same day as J’s only doubleheader this year, and since I’ve skipped a couple soccer games due to races I didn’t want to miss these. I still planned to meet the early crew at 7 a.m. and get in an hour of helping before the first game.

Instead, a full night of rain and a stormy day’s forecast shut down the soccer fields and freed me for rain-or-shine trail work. I’ll admit, as I left my house in the pouring rain I wasn’t positive whether I was heading to the trails or grabbing coffee and heading back home to bed. My car made the decision for me, and I was a little surprised how many cars were there when I pulled up.

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Of course, because I was 10 min late (surprise, surprise), most everyone was already hard at work.

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Jim and Mike go over some details

Jim, Mike, I headed out to the trail along with Steve from GORC, who’d come along to give us pointers on what we should be doing. Since Mike’s retired and did some trail work yesterday as well, once he’d picked Steve’s brain for a little while, he headed home to return in drier conditions. The rest of us set to clearing the ubiquitous honeysuckle and small brush that begins crowding the trail in the spring.

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I definitely should have brought work gloves, because it’s better to pull up honeysuckle by the roots and my hands got sore quickly. I most likely brought home a raging case of poison ivy, so I’m really glad I caught that Zanfel at LBL. Jim was nice enough to let me use his gloves for a while.
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Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it was raining, the work was a lot of fun. The guys were good company, and once you were already soaked the rain was hardly noticeable…except when someone would yank an overhanging branch and send down additional showers. (OK, usually that was self-inflicted…)

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Patrick’s fun face

I was out there for about 3.5 hours, and by the last 40 minutes or so I was pretty much over cutting and my productivity took a hit. Even so, we got a lot done.

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Me, Steve, Pat, Caleb

One great thing about spring and all the undergrowth is the additional cover for bathroom stops, so I was able to do the first field testing for my Go Girl. Review coming soon!

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Heading back to my car along the nice, clear trail
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