At the beginning of 2023, as the rest of the world welcomed in a new year, California was struck by a devastating winter storm. Relentless rain and severe wind wreaked havoc on coastal communities, with surrounding areas seeing huge damage to the landscape.
The Work Behind the Trails We Love
There’s a natural connection between the trails and those that ride them, it requires a willingness to give back to the ground you ride on.07 February 2023
After weeks of major impact, the storm began to pass and the rain subsided, and people across California took stock of the damage that was done over the preceding weeks. Riders eager to get back onto the bike were met with trail closure signs across the state. And as mountain bikers continue to wait patiently (and some not so patiently) for their favorite trails to reopen, round-the-clock repair work is going behind the scenes.
Trail Builders like Dillon Osleger, Executive Director of the Sage Trail Alliance, have found themselves staring down a long road of months worth of hard trail labor, hours of volunteer work and the challenge of wrangling enough people to breathe life back into the trails we love.
“Nearly every mountain biker has uttered the words ‘thanks for working on the trail!’. Sometimes the words are earnest, knowing the blood, sweat and tears that go into building and maintaining trails. Often the words are tinged with a sense of guilt, a self-acknowledgement that it’s been a few years since they’ve picked up a shovel or thrown a few bucks at their local trail organization.
From time to time, nature offers a natural event that clearly calls for an opportunity to step up and help rebuild our local trail network. Those events are becoming increasingly more frequent. Forest fires, floods and landslides are all taking their toll.
Each natural disaster comes with an opportunity to find community, to become more ingrained with your local MTB scene, to put sweat equity into the sport beyond the Strava KOM you took last year. As much as cycling seems to revolve around podiums and adventure, its foundation will always rest on a local trail system. Trail work is valuable, and it depends on the willingness of everyone to take time to give back to the ground we ride on.
California just saw major storms impacting hundreds of miles of trail. Sage Trail Alliance cares for the central coast’s 280 miles of trail that surrounds Santa Barbara. The Alliance has an enormous lift ahead to rebuild a world-class trail network, and there’s no doubt it’ll take more than their professional builder crew. Volunteers are essential to the rebuilding process.
Rapha has supported the Sage Trail Alliance by funding three volunteer days for over 150 builders. During this time, volunteers will rebuild retaining walls and clear the large landslides that hit the region. We encourage you to get involved with your local trail organization. Volunteer for a dig day, support a fundraiser, and consider it an investment into the trails we love to ride.”
- Dillon Osleger
Mountain biking has always been synonymous with environmental stewardship. As the new Brain Dead + Rapha collection highlights, there’s a natural connection between the trails and those that ride them, it requires a willingness to give back to the ground you ride on.
Learn more about the Sage Trail Alliance and get involved here.