Mountain biking in the Madison area would not exist without hundreds of volunteers contributing thousands of hours of labor. Every one of those volunteers and hours is important in creating and maintaining our quality local trails, and every year we like to shine the spotlight on someone who has gone above an beyond. We've asked for nominations, and now you get to vote! The contenders are:
Mike Dobrient and Andrea Dlugos: From their nomination, "I can't think of anyone who has done more for mountain biking at Blackhawk than the husband-wife team of Mike Dobrient and Andrea Dlugos. Mike was the "trail volunteer of the year" last year at Blackhawk, and continues to work out there nearly every day. And Andrea stepped up to the plate and joined the Blackhawk Board of Directors, representing mountain biking and coordinating with the other great people and programs in the Club. Is there a category for 'Dynamic Duo?'"
Katie Kimberling: Katie stepped into the role of Badger Prairie Trail Steward and hit the ground running, organizing an awesome team of volunteers to nearly double the amount of single track at the park. It may not be the most glamorous trail we have, but Badger Prairie is vitally important to the area's growing NICA teams, is a great place to introduce newcomers to the sport, and has some nice improvements thanks to Katie.
Mitch Love: From his nomination, "Pretty hard to ignore the contributions Mitch has made this year. Not just in leading the creation of some world class trail features, but working on community outreach and advocating with the county. Buy this man a crispy boy if you see him!!" If you ride at CamRock you are a beneficiary of his work.
This year our winner will either be the first couple to win, the first female to win, or the first two-time winner. No matter, they are all an inspiration to the rest of us. Thanks to all!
The pump track at Aldo Leopold Park essentially complete; there is just some painting to do in the spring. Please stay off the new sod and freshly seeded areas so that they don't have to be re-done.
In the spring, the permanent skills loop will be installed, and there will be an official grand opening; we'll let you know.
When it's crowded, it can be intimidating to jump in; here's a couple tips to help things go smoothly:
More skilled riders yield to less skilled riders. This is the fundamental rule, and solves most issues. Less skilled riders tend to get 'tunnel-vision' as they concentrate on their riding and not much else. Those of us who are more comfortable are able to look around and accommodate others.
Once there are more than a half-dozen or so riders, it's a good idea for everyone to ride in the same direction and stay on the main circuit, avoiding transitions and shortcuts.
When it is crowded, enjoy the good vibes, cheer on other riders, and kindly encourage others to do the same.
If you want to hit it hard, go at off-peak hours or when the weather is crumby. It rides just as well when it's cold and wet.
Crisp fall weather has made for some great riding the last few weeks, but as it cools off more and we head toward winter, things get less certain.
Throughout the winter, and especially in the early spring and late fall, youâ€™ll often see Freeze/Thaw in the trail conditions. When the temperature is dropping at night, but near or above freezing during the day, the trails can be fabulous, or terrible, so please keep the following in mind. Try to get out early in the day (as in, first thing) or stick to north facing slopes, and youâ€™ll be rewarded with trails that are fast, grippy, and fun. As soon as they start to thaw, which can happen well below freezing on a south-facing slope, they turn into a particularly soupy form of mud. When our local clay soil freezes, the water expands; when it thaws again, and the water contracts, the soil has been aerated, holds more water, and is less cohesive. When it gets ridden through, the tires push this soft mud to the sides of the trail, where it freezes again, thaws the next day, and gets pushed further to the side with deeper ruts. After a few cycles of this, the trail is permanently cupped, holds water all the time, and erodes more with every storm, until it is unrideable, or someone spends valuable time repairing it.
So please, ride when the trails are either frozen or dry, and avoid anywhere you are leaving a rut. Your trail volunteers and fellow riders will thank you!
While there is a great deal of glory in building trail, there is a ton of work that goes on outside the woods, and the BOD is where that starts. The primary requirement for all the positions is a love of mountain biking and a desire to keep improving local opportunities. If you are interested in giving back without getting any bug bites or blisters, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.