|Elias demonstrating berm riding to the trail builders|
|Tim Wegner listens in|
|Rudy, dreams big|
|Tacky stuff, good dirt a mix of clay and sand|
|Raking and more raking|
|Heading to the Thirsty Pagan for a celebration|
|Elias and the media. We had MPR, two TV stations and two papers come to the session.|
|Aaron, laying down the knowledge|
|Good days for riding and for the school|
|A satisfied customer|
|Loads of great questions for IMBA Staff|
|A trail built with care|
Man what a weekend. Not sure where to start this post, it seems like I have endured the tempest and it has just spit me out on the beach.
Last week we broke ground on the first lift served Flow Trail in the upper midwest at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. Aaron Rogers of Trail Solutions and Copper Harbor, came up designed this trail and has been building it with his partner Elias Featherly and it is sick.
As a guy that has spent a decade in the mountains, I can honestly say that I have been seeking an experience like we have just created, back here in MN. The Flow Trail at Spirit has just done that. To ride it, is to fly. It is so inviting and yet challenging and all engaging. I miss that aspect of gravity. To be so focused and so pin point fixed on the next feature and to lose all sense of distraction. I am not thinking about work when I ride this trail, or taxes or chores or my smart phone, I am thinking about shredding the next roller, or hitting off the next hip (yeah even I am airing out these features).
So to have that jaw dropping and game changing experience topped with bringing in 30 highly experienced trail builders from across the country to study it during the IMBA Spirit Mountain Flow Trail School made it a major weekend.
We had folks from Angle Fire NM, South Dakota, IA, MN and WI and MI all at the school to learn from IMBA and from Aaron. Dan Hudson flew in for IMBA from Maryland to help teach, we had Dewayne Burratti from Trek taking the course and of course we had many COGGS, MORC and CAMBA members as well. People were stoked, inspired and challenged to go home and create trails of the quality and progression as the trail that we studied at Spirit. It is my hope that these thirty people, take the experience and the knowledge and go home to their respective trails communities and spread the word about how progressive and fun this type of riding is and also how it can be done in a way that is sustainable and friendly to the environment is interacts with.
Now the very real challenge is to keep people off the trail! We had a huge amount of media doing stories on the school and the trail itself. Because of that we had myriads of people trying to ride the trail. However it is closed until it is completed and signed so that Spirit can practice proper risk management. Also, it should be noted that the dry weather has made it nearly impossible to pack the berms and harden the trail surface, so people riding it now, are impacting it negatively.
Lastly, I have to say how proud this trail made me of my community and my town. It was amazing to have people from across the region and the country, come ride, study and go out in Duluth and just be blown away was very rewarding. We even had Bob Allen, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer (First Bike Mag photographer and incredible shooter) along taking photographs and he was really impressed with our city and our scene. That says a lot as Bob is from Bozeman and has traveled all over the world on assignments including trips with Hans Rey to South America.
So now we are started on our dream of turning Duluth into a trails mecca. It is a small start, but in my mind it is the start we have been waiting for and it will be interesting to see where it takes us from here. Thanks to Aaron and Elias, to Dan Hudson and Bob Allen and Gabe for coming out and making this happen and of course thanks to COGGS and Spirit Mountain (Glen and Renee) as well. Lastly, thanks to all the people that attended the trail school. Admission was not cheap ($300 per) but so far the feedback is that it was worth every penny.
On a final note, if you live in Dtown and have some time to help the builders out this week. Do it. Go grab a rake and get cracking. Or swing up and drop a tribute to them, cookies, beer, you name it, keep them going as they have been at it for 8 days straight and will be going until Sat to see if they can finish it up!