What turned me off of being a corp member... hope this helps move forward.


August 11, 2013, 10:09 AM

Hello to all I have not talked with in a while, hope all is well and riding is good!!

I just thought I'd offer some input as to why I and a lot of other riders I know and have spoke with personally about have no interest in working with corp.  I'm not trying to say anything bad about the club I'm just going to be honest and hopefully this info is taken and used appropriately, not to get upset about but move forward with.

The club is made up of mostly xc riders who are fast and have really expensive bikes and enjoy a certain type of trail.  I and many others I know felt alienated from this group.  I feel that my outside the box thinking and attitude were shunned.  I have offered numerous times to help with my best ability and write things and only one club member has included me in such and the one grant I did write for got completely changed to a quality that I didn't even want my name associated with.   The reason I was on the corp site was making sure the address is still the same for an article coming out in october in wisconsin natural resources magazine about mountain biking in WI, it sees 100,000 readers state-wide and mentions corp. 

I put much effort into helping out and volunteering with corp and it led to a lot of frustration.  It seemed like what was mentioned in previous post about transparency and inclusion is very true.  It felt like some higher ups had their egos in place and wanted exclusivity and had to do things their own way.  Well I guess were seeing now how well that worked.  I am not saying this as directed toward any individual as I did get along great with a bunch of corp members, but the club's operation (which is a direct subjective of it's members) did not make me feel welcome at all.  I know a handful of extremely talented trail builders that won't build on corp stuff because somebody is going to have a problem with something and it just turns into a headache.  I think it happens because this person says it has to be done this way, and that persons says that, and there's a rule that says this.  Guess what, it's just dirt and it can be moved!  The wood is another issue.  I personally have seen enough money, material, and time wasted to not want to be apart of it as I value my time greatly.

Mtn biking is changing and I think that because I was a different kind of rider I was treated differently.  I live in tallahassee fl now and have been completely embraced by the local club and it's members because of my outside the box thinking and attitude.  I even work on contract as a pr writer and am sponsored to ride in events and races by a shop here.  Some of the most dedicated and hardest working volunteers have done tons of work at middleton and won't go near anything else corp because of the separation.  Honestly some of the best built trail in town is at blackhawk and there was a ridiculous separation there as well. 

I guess to sum it up if your running a volunteer based non profit and you don't appreciate and make feel welcome ALL the people who are trying to help you, then your not going to get a lot of people wanting to help you. It's not about signs or visibility or stickers or brochures, that stuff helps but at the end of the day it's about people and attitudes.  I am currently witnessing and enjoying how easy this mtn bike club stuff can work and don't see why it has to be so hard in corp.

Hope this helps.

Keep riding and building well!

Later,
Tim

P.S.  A good flowy fun beginner trail with little elevation change would help a lot too.  All the stuff corp has you can't go very fast on consistently.




Logged

XXX
imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

August 11, 2013, 11:15 AM

The club is made up of mostly xc riders who are fast and have really expensive bikes and enjoy a certain type of trail.  I and many others I know felt alienated from this group.  I feel that my outside the box thinking and attitude were shunned.

I put much effort into helping out and volunteering with corp and it led to a lot of frustration.  It seemed like what was mentioned in previous post about transparency and inclusion is very true.  It felt like some higher ups had their egos in place and wanted exclusivity and had to do things their own way.  Well I guess were seeing now how well that worked.

Recent data gathered by sources outside of CORP show most users of the trails are recreational riders with modest budgets for their gear if you exclude the single event scenarios like races. This includes new data from a project where interns are placing trail counters and interviewing riders. My own observations have me seeing this - especially with a summer spent supporting the youth cycling efforts and more weed trimming than ever. Those two are slices of seeing everybody and everything.

It's easy to read club management and trail stewards wrong if you have specific interests and forget they are conduits between the public and the land managers. The riders and most enthusiasts are interested in their sport and style of riding. At same time the land managers are considering a 7 and 70 year old at same time they're considering budgets, build costs, maintenance costs, liability, accountability, and an array of specific interests in the public properties. The rider interests are a few dots on the graph, land manager has to see and address every possible dot while again, club leadership and trail stewards are the conduits between them.

Efforts to make it all happen are kind of like pushing and pulling large objects with wet noodles. If it was so fun, great, easy and easy for somebody else to do better you'd think a few people who've done this for more than a decade could retire.

It is the case that new interest in leadership has already happened and tremendous new people are stepping up.

The sport is diverse whether you're looking at one property in one county or from a distance. That means riders have to be a family. A successful and respected family stays intact and works together. That's what I see in this group.

Logged

XXX

August 11, 2013, 08:43 PM

Hi Tim,

Sorry I can't respond to any of the frustrations you have brought to the surface.  I have not seen the issues you are upset with.  I just wanted to address your post script.  CORP is working on a "good flowy fun beginner trail with little elevation change".  The Seminole MTB Trail is very close to fruition.  It just took ten years to get even close to an approval.  We got lucky because of all the incredibly good work the Cam Rock stewards have achieved and the trust we have now have with Dane County.  Hopefully, that will explain why CORP leadership is sometimes viewed as being slow to adopt or has a problem with a new section.  In our zeal to build new trails, we have exceeded our authorized scope and park managers are clamping down and may want to reverse our improvements.  CORP leadership does not communicate this adequately to members.  Everything has to be negotiated and approved.  If you are not hearing directly from City, County or State land managers, you may not appreciate the politics (especially in today's environment).

Hope you can get back to Madison for the inauguration of the Seminole MTB trail.  Keep in touch.


Logged

XXX
Walt Hougas
Trail Steward - Blue Mound SP
To Be A Man...

August 11, 2013, 10:28 PM


Logged

XXX
singletrackminx
Guest

August 13, 2013, 12:19 PM

I have to say as a new member and a new rider I have had none of the same "experiences" you mentioned. I've been nothing but welcomed including helping out with things like grant writing and trail building.  In fact it seems CORP has embraced me and other new members as you describe your new club has for you.

I feel there are trails for all types of riders and ability levels and I certainly understand the red tape involved in getting trails built. Anyone worth their weight in tail building should understand how to legally go about it considering our trails are built on public lands.. Anyone building outside of master plans is going to run into issues. Just ask the guys building without permission in OR ala "Pedal Driven". And for the record it's more than dirt being able to be moved. Sheesh between the planning, mapping and actual building its better to get it right In the first place then redo stuff built willy nilly. Personally I would rather spend time building new trail then constantly rebuilding stuff that was poorly designed or WORSE done without the regulatory approval resulting in massive headaches and possible termination of trail rights. See blue mound state park.

Also after seeing exactly how much time is put in by a small number of people I have nothing but respect for what they do. Anyone who truly wants to help is welcomed into the process just ask! Heck if you don't know what you're doing they will teach you!

I certainly have voiced my dissent with some of the practices of this club but when I do I offer my own time and money to rectify that which I am complaining about. Guess its easier to express displeasure with how things are when you're not around to fix it.

Yes CORP has some issues but to say that new members are unwelcome is just not true in my experience. And the insinuation that expensive bikes and only XC riders are welcome is asinine. most of the people i ride with, who i met through this club, don't  even have XC bikes! Maybe things have changed since you were a member but I have to say this post just isn't the club I know.

Just remember that if you want to see a change for the better you sometimes have to take things into your own hands.

Logged

XXX
Bin
aka Ben

August 13, 2013, 02:05 PM

I think there are a lot of contributing factors here, some that can be helped and some that cannot.  Transparency in planning/decision making could probably be improved.  The speed (or lack of) in project approvals and land agreements probably can't.

I'm not as close to Tim as some folks around here but we did ride together several times and I think another factor is just riding style preference.   Tim likes to go big and scare himself: big doubles, high skinnies, steep drops, etc.  While I admire the guts it takes to try a lot of that and the skill it takes to do them without hurting yourself, I don't know if it is in CORP's best interest to go very far down that path.  Working with public land in most cases means that liability is a really big deal.  There are ways to limit injury risk while still letting you go big but they often take a lot more time and effort (think table tops vs. doubles) than building exclusively for very advanced and adventurous riders.  There is always going to be a compromise there unless you have the land, time, and manpower to build separate trails for every style and ability level.

As a fairly intermediate recreational rider the variety of trails around here is really one of the things I like best about the CORP trail system.  Something even further out on the risk scale than the jump lines at PV or BH would be cool to see but I think the pool of folks who could really ride it around here would be pretty small.

Logged

XXX
TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

August 13, 2013, 02:37 PM

Something even further out on the risk scale than the jump lines at PV or BH would be cool to see but I think the pool of folks who could really ride it around here would be pretty small.
That is definitely one of the factors that come into play. The amount of time and effort to get a big, risky, feature approved to be built is huge. And typically the time and effort to build it as well. And if it does not get used or attract new folks who are eager to ride these types of features it does not make a lot of sense to sink huge resources into it. I am not against it at all, in fact I would love to see it, but it has to make sense and be something members want to do.
We had two big drops built at CamRock off the Cliff Edge trail years ago. I saw a rider hit them once. They are still there but completely grown over now. We had a downhill line with drops at Blue Mound. Same story. And from what I hear there is now a lack riders and upkeep on the jump line at Pleasantview.
This seems to be a recurring theme. Either there are not that type of riders around here. Or not enough of them that want to help build and maintain what they ride. Or somehow the efforts to build things for them are missing the mark.
My guess is it is a combination of the last two. We have traditionally had XC riders, who have historically done the work to build the trails around here, trying to build features that we hear the free-riders want. Until we have a solid group of free-riders willing to step up, become involved in the club, go through the effort to get the proper approvals, secure the resources to make it happen, and generally go through the long precess of making the type of trails they want to get them built right, CORP will keep missing the mark for this group of riders.
I rode with Tim a few times. Nice guy. Lots of energy. As mentioned liked to go big. I don't know his specific issues but I do know he was frustrated he could not "make things happen". I am not sure why the connection was not made. Sometimes the pieces of the puzzle do not fit. I am glad he has found a like-minded place where his energy is being put to good use. Maybe if he ever comes back he will find trails more to his liking.
From a fellow mountain biker. Mainly XC rider who likes to ride technical features. But not too excited to get the wheels very far in the air :)


~ Chuck Hutchens


Logged

XXX

August 13, 2013, 02:53 PM

We had two big drops built at CamRock off the Cliff Edge trail years ago. I saw a rider hit them once. They are still there but completely grown over now. We had a downhill line with drops at Blue Mound. Same story. And from what I hear there is now a lack riders and upkeep on the jump line at Pleasantview.

Same goes for the three sisters at Quarry Ridge.  Could really use that space for something useful :o


~ Burn rubber


Logged

XXX

August 13, 2013, 03:05 PM

We had two big drops built at CamRock off the Cliff Edge trail years ago. I saw a rider hit them once. They are still there but completely grown over now. We had a downhill line with drops at Blue Mound. Same story. And from what I hear there is now a lack riders and upkeep on the jump line at Pleasantview.

Same goes for the three sisters at Quarry Ridge.  Could really use that space for something useful :o

I think you're hitting on a problem that's been in existence for a long time now: lack of progression. How does one get to the ability of riding that stuff? You go from 6" off the ground skinny to 10' drop with nothing in between to learn on. PV is attempting to secure funding, planning, help to make a "skills park" happen to solve this. CamRock recently added some beginner/intermediate flow lines, QR is a bit more free form but improvements to trails have opened more possibilities for these types of things. I think that these improvements will help to build the ridership necessary to sustain cool features.

That said, even at Blackhawk, which is mostly a downhill/freeride oriented place, I've only seen the big features ridden a handful of times. Hopefully the group rides are helping to change this!

Logged

XXX
TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

August 13, 2013, 03:14 PM

We had two big drops built at CamRock off the Cliff Edge trail years ago. I saw a rider hit them once. They are still there but completely grown over now. We had a downhill line with drops at Blue Mound. Same story. And from what I hear there is now a lack riders and upkeep on the jump line at Pleasantview.

Same goes for the three sisters at Quarry Ridge.  Could really use that space for something useful :o

I think you're hitting on a problem that's been in existence for a long time now: lack of progression. How does one get to the ability of riding that stuff? You go from 6" off the ground skinny to 10' drop with nothing in between to learn on. PV is attempting to secure funding, planning, help to make a "skills park" happen to solve this. CamRock recently added some beginner/intermediate flow lines, QR is a bit more free form but improvements to trails have opened more possibilities for these types of things. I think that these improvements will help to build the ridership necessary to sustain cool features.

That said, even at Blackhawk, which is mostly a downhill/freeride oriented place, I've only seen the big features ridden a handful of times. Hopefully the group rides are helping to change this!
I do think you have hit one something here Aaron. Too big a gap needed in the skill set to go from the small stuff to the big features.
So maybe we are on the right track with gradually building progression with more features, flow lines, skills parks, that are already in progress? And let the progression grow naturally?
If so it would be good to know we are on the right track.


~ Chuck Hutchens


Logged

XXX
singletrackminx
Guest

August 13, 2013, 03:24 PM

Maybe all the XC riding has more to do with the fact that we live in WI?  That being said I know about 10 people who have hurt themselves bad on those two drops at CamRock (blue dream) and I know that they pull about one person every couple of weeks out of John Muir. Liability is a concern but not as much as you think IMO. Otherwise im sure none of us would be allowed to ride trails.

Look, I don't know this guy but in my opinion coming onto a open forum to bitch about a club that you are no longer a part of just seems disingenuous and downright catty.

Anyway here's to the future and to all the hard work you guys put in that goes unrecognized. I for one appreciate it.

Logged