Saturday, March 31, 2012

Into The Light

Trail Building.  A bittersweet experience.

I quite enjoy the therapeutic benefits of using my hands to create a section of trail that is both pleasing to the eye and flows well on a bike. There is something almost primeval about the satisfaction.

At times though I dislike, almost resent, the fact that I am stuck here digging when I could be riding my bike, like everyone else.

What has brought on these thoughts you may ask? Well, they are always bubbling along, under the surface. I am human after all! But more on that later.

This morning was another notch in the belt for the trail builders here on Wallum Froglet. Week 9 in fact. We have only missed two Saturday mornings due to rain since the 21st of January. I am itching for some riding.

Fellow MTBer and sometime radio presenter, Andrew Demack, came along this morning to lend a hand to the build day. He also brought his recording equipment along and thrust a microphone into some of the dedicated builder's faces (in a nice way, of course).

So, as we come toward the end of this massive effort, his questions got me thinking about how I feel about the work we have put in.

I can tell you that I am massively proud of the regular half dozen guys that have been there, virtually every Saturday morning, for the last 11 weeks. There are another twenty or so guys and girls that have contributed to the build when they had a spare Saturday and they are also champions.

The other 10-15 000 mountain bikers here in Brisbane should hang their heads. The amount of whingeing that takes place on MTB forums about the lack of places to ride, at times, is phenomenal. These keyboard warriors are also armchair experts in trail design, with most never having picked up a Rakeho to actually help out. The real flamer for me is when they post on our trail building thread and ask where the trail is located, so that they can come and ride it! My response to come along, help build and learn where the trail is always gets the "sorry mate, too busy riding that day" response from these tactless tools. Don't they realise we would rather be riding as well?

But these people weren't too busy to forego one ride to help create a little slice of heaven......

Yes, even the kids busted their tushes carrying rock, pushing barrows and grabbing tools for the adults. I am sure this young bloke got a blister on his index finger from all of the photos he took today! Sorry to anyone who had 20-odd photos taken of them in quick succession! I got a great laugh as I downloaded from the camera, literally hundreds of photos of this mornings efforts!

Anyway, I was pressed for time this morning, with my wife away in Sydney and soccer duties falling to me, on top of trail building. I was rushing around, trying to help as much as I could, set up the BBQ and keep an eye on the time so we wouldn't miss the round ball kick-off. This is when Andrew found me for a quick chat....Now, there is a good reason my company doesn't let us drivers talk to the media. As interviewees, some of us (me in particular) should just stick to dealing with 80 tonnes of Boeing 737 rather than articulating my feelings on trail building!

I felt a bit like a rabbit in the headlights, couldn't take my eyes off that damn microphone and noticed that I was talking about an octave higher than normal!! I am not looking forward to hearing this short interview played back and I am hoping Andrew can just dub in some cool music to drown me out.

Only a week or so to go now.......then we RIDE.


  1. I can imagine how frustrating it must be to be out there busting your butt and then have the guys who aren't doing it nagging you on the forums for details. Funny the attitudes people have behind the keyboards.

    At least you can be proud of what you have done and are also passing those great work ethics on to your children.

    1. Sad to say it, but if the standard of young person that I work with is any indication, having a good work ethic is going to almost be more beneficial than a good education in making it in life. Good motivation will see my kids do well in life.
      As for my griping....sorry, but this blog is my vent for both good AND bad stuff. Just gloss over the "woe is me" and it will be back to normal programming shortly!

  2. Mate, you shouldn't think like this. The one's who matter do really apprieciate the efforts!! You have stepped up and shown some real character in the face of adversity to which this trail is a testament and legacy. We can go around bitter and twisted because the broader community hasn't been involved, its their loss. These things will be to your solace and return to you tenfold what you have put in. I urge you to put on your riding shoes, clip in and pedal in anger until you have nothing left.

    Good job by the way, the trail is legendary and an icon in these parts now!!

    1. This "lunchbox legend" doesn't care about kudos or what anyone thinks. I guess I just want more hands on assistance in general as I have been smashing myself this year between work, family and trail building and the jobs are piling up around home in the mean time. There are two more trails approved for the forest, but I don't know who is going to build them.
      Definitley not enough therapuetic riding happening lately! That will be fixed very soon though.
      Congrats on the LunarC too.

  3. Awwwww, Flyboy, guess I would class myself as a *taker* of trails.....mind I have not taken to (any)trails since January.... shame I know. I know how you feel, sweat, time, single track....all given up. BUT - You and all the others made it happen.....Single Track will be always yours and others.....(party on the trails - boys and girls)...make it official!

    1. Hi Miff. I hope all is well in your world and you can get out there soon as I am missing your regular posts.

      I know lots of people just can not make it due to genuine committments. Not trying to guilt trip these folks at all.
      I have however, met several people who, when I suggest coming along to help (because they are actually on the trail riding it when I see them!) have replied "nah, can't make it. I have a ride/crits on"! It is this minority that really flames me, because I am pretty sure that they don't ride for a living and could probably miss one race/ride.
      Overall, I am well pleased with what the guys and girls have achieved. They have done magnificent work(which I think is unparalleled by volunteers in SEQ?) and I am definitely not as pessimistic as perhaps the above blog post sounds. It can be hard to get nuances across in text (although I have not listened to Andrew's interview with me and I am not 100% sure what I said as I was a bit stressed and not prepared at all! Perhaps it sounds a bit negative and that is not what I intended. Maybe he should have asked more questions or perhaps I shouldn't have walked into the "bad news sells" area.)

  4. Dave, will you ever talk to me again :,-(

    Great job Dave and crew!!! Someday I might get down there ... Where did I leave that bicycle?

  5. Gaz! Great to hear from you mate!
    Yes, there is time to redeem yourself, if you are still a MTBer that is :) Hope to catch up soon for a ride or even just a chat. Happy to show you around the hills here anytime you like. I think you will be blown away compared to what you saw last time.


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