Sleep.Eat.Dig.Ride.Repeat!

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When I first started becoming active within our club, I really had a tough time ever making it out for Trail Maintenance and Improvement days.  I have a family, work full-time, and have tons of things that fill my time … whether I want them to or not.

When I think about mountain biking, I’d head out for 2 hours a couple times a week, and that is absolutely all the time I had to devote to it. I’d always appreciate the work that others would do, but I couldn’t seem to find the time or motivation to dig.

That all changed one day when I decided to stop and help one of our officers, Nick Maldonado, fix up a part of the trail that I had seen him working on during my many, many laps. After passing him by 6 or 7 times, I decided to stop, put the bike down, and help out. We worked on resurfacing some jumps and then hit them. I was surprised at the amount of work that went into it, to be honest.

I was horrendous at it … it really was a skill. After hitting them a few times, I then went off going about my biking business with a new respect for the work done by those crafting it. At this point I was working for BMBA, doing social media and some new website stuff - even though I had found time to do that I still had a reason every month to skip the Trail Maintenance and Improvement days.

A BMBA group clearing invasive Pepper trees from the West Indies.
A BMBA group clearing invasive Pepper trees from the West Indies.

Since I had this new-found respect and had been avoiding it so long, I finally said “it’s time” and boy I’m glad I did.

Fast forward a couple years, and I find it hard to ever miss a Trail Maintenance and Improvement day, and I even work in between them to keep the trail progressing. What a change.

Shawn Bilslend cleaning up a line at the DJs.
Shawn Bilslend cleaning up a line at the DJs.

If you've ever said to yourself "I'm too busy to help out," or, "I just don't have the skill to really help," I'll be the first to tell you straight up, you are wrong. You have the time, but you just aren't making it a priority … and probably for good reason … you've never experienced it and it sounds like it's not your thing. Maybe you are saying to yourself you're not good with your hands, or you've never worked with a trail, or you're just too young to be a part of it. I get it, I've been there, but you are wrong too. Any age, any skill level, any person can help.

If you are still with me, you know, after I've told you you're wrong 😊, would you consider tabling whatever excuse you've had not to come out to our Trail Maintenance and Improvement days for 1 day? Just 1 day! I know that not only will you feel great after spending time on the trail but the work you put in will be greatly appreciated by anyone and everyone in BMBA.

So … here is what you can expect the first time we see you …

The work day starts at 9am, but it's always nice to get there a little before to get things ready and grab a coffee or donut. We often meet by the main trail sign to sign in and discuss what is going on and what we'll be focusing on that day. Can't make it by then? No worries, you'll find us on the trail or you'll see a tent setup where we have a sign-up sheet and someone around who can point you where best to go.

Once we've discussed the plans for the day, each crew typically disperses to their assigned location. As I've said before, we can use help from any skill level. Actually, even my daughter, who is 3, who has been helping from 2, can do positive work on the trail. And, yes, I mean that. There is something for everyone and absolutely no skill is needed!

BMBA members cleaning up trailside trash.
BMBA members cleaning up trailside trash.
A BMBA crew hangs out to enjoy some food after a Trail Maintenance and Improvement Day.
A BMBA crew hangs out to enjoy some food after a Trail Maintenance and Improvement Day.

While the work is going on, on the trail, there are some BMBA members hard at work preparing some food for when the trail work is complete. Typically, we have something off the grill and water-a-plenty. We tend to hang out and even get in some riding after. It's always a great time to meet and hang with other BMBA members.

After stuffing ourselves and getting a few laps, we pack up and head home. Most of the time the work day ends around 12 and then we head out around 2 or 3. Do you need that much time out there? Absolutely not, but time flies when you're having fun!

Now that you know what it's like to be at a Trail Maintenance and Improvement Day, I expect to see you out there! If you have it, consider bringing a shovel, maybe a wheel barrel, and especially you and your bike! See you on the trail! Sleep.Eat.Dig.Ride.Repeat!

A BMBA crew headed out to work on the West Indies.
A BMBA crew headed out to work on the West Indies.

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