Five hours after we put the trail tools back in the truck we finally got back from our trail building volunteer project with COPMOBA. When I was a volunteer manager, I would measure the success of our volunteer leadership team by how late the volunteers hung around afterwards swapping stories and brainstorming new ideas. After fixing a new trail at 18 Road in Fruita we spent at least 1 hour hanging out in the parking lot and then headed into town to grab pizza and a free beer at the Hot Tomato Cafe (a local restaurant owned by mountain bikers). This is a very successful club with a lot to teach us.
For one, this club knows what it is about and they walk their talk. Sustainable singletrack. In their mission statement they are specific, they are about building and maintaining sustainable singletrack. When we got to the parking lot on Saturday they were loading a Bob trailer with trail tools so that we could ride out to the work site. WOAH, I thought, these guys are hard core and resourceful. It sent a great message, as we rode our bikes out to the work site we passed recreational riders who saw the trailer hauling tools and knew what we were about. We got a lot of thank yous during the day and a few questions from riders about how they could get involved. Awesome!
The trail we worked on was a new trail they had built with approval from the BLM (who owns the land). As part of the 18 Road trail system they are building trails with good flow. IMBA refers to this style as flow country trails which are designed specifically to take mountain bikers on a “singletrack joyride”. I love this development in trail building because the trails are not prohibitively technical for beginner riders, but are fun for all levels. We had the opportunity to fix two of the turns which had originally been built with an increasing radius and therefore would force the rider to slow down and turn in too tightly instead of being able to flow from one turn to the next.
The video below shows some of the trails in the 18 Road system:
Being on the trail with COPMOBA, I was reminded of proper trail etiquette. 18 Road is a busy trail system and we encountered a lot of riders. Depending on how much we had torn up the trail, sometimes riders would need to wait till it was all clear and other times they would need to dismount and walk their bike through the section. The COPMOBA members instructed riders to actually pick up their bikes so that they wouldn’t leave tire tracks beside the trail. They also talked about the importance of riders sticking to the center line and not going off trail to pass or for any other reason. It’s about sustainable singletrack. They are going to build a trail that can handle a lot of riders, but the environment can only afford it if you can stay on that trail.
Grand Junction and Fruita are mountain bike towns. COPMOBA sees a lot of community support and we were thanked for our time and effort by free stuff from supportive businesses. Free beer and clothing – what a great way to recognize and retain volunteers! I hope we can do more with COPMOBA in the future.