There were dignitaries on hand, including Dakota County Commissioners Willis Branning, Thomas Egan and Nancy Schouweiler. MORC‘s 2012 Land Manager of the Year award went to Dakota County Parks and board member Chris Anderson presented the commissioners with a cool plaque, prior to the official ribbon cutting. And board member Amanda Scholz presented Meghann Fedde with MORC’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year award.
Last Tuesday I joined a MORC / Lebanon Hills trail crew working on the XX rock gardens and was amazed at what was accomplished in two hours.
I only took one photo that night (right), and that was just half of the 20+ people who showed up to work from 6-8 pm. So this week I went back for round 2 to chronicle the follow-up work with photos.
A MORC mountain bike trail work crew is typically organized by the Dirt Bosses for the trail. One of them announces the date and time in the MORC forum for that trail, inviting others to sign up. When I saw this April 23 invitation by John Lundell, one of the Lebanon Hills Dirt Bosses, I just had to go since I love Leb’s rock gardens:
We will continue our efforts in the XX rock gardens this week. Meet in the parking lot (assume trail will be open) – everyone is welcome! Post up if you can make it. Crew leaves the lot promptly at 6pm so if you are coming late let us know.
First lesson I learned: you don’t ride your bike to the work location on the trail. The Dirt Bosses bring all the tools for the job but you’re expected to help carry them. So everyone walks in. They recommend long pants, gloves, boots, and eye protection. Newbies are given a short safety chat on handling the sharp tools.
The task for the crew on this project was to add some difficulty and options to a couple of Leb’s double X rock garden areas. One of the hallmarks of good mountain bike park is that it’s constantly changing, drawing riders at all levels back for new challenges. Leb excels at this and last year’s addition of a huge advanced beginner’s loop is but one example.
Worker bees like me on last week’s crew spent much of our time digging out boulders from the wooded areas around the XX portion of the trail and rolling them downhill (bowling?) for the ‘architects’ to place. While the Bosses have a general idea of what they’re trying to accomplish, everyone’s input is considered because the terrain and available rocks require creativity. “We’re making this up as we go” is the modus operandi.
The photo on the left shows what was accomplished after this week’s session with one section of the trail. The green arrow indicates where the only option was originally. The red arrows indicate four new options, with varying levels of difficulty.
In the center photo, the green arrow shows the original more difficult line down the rock. The red arrows show two new challenging lines down the rock steps. Previously, that line was quite easy.
I attended the Feb. MORC Board meeting on Monday, held at QPB headquarters in Bloomington. I’m interested in getting more involved in the organization, though I’m not sure yet what it might be. I asked about the existence of MORC committees (eg, membership, volunteers, marketing, finance, events, etc.) and evidently some are in the works.
MORC’s About Us page has info about the board and the organization, though it looks like that page needs some updating.
I attend my first MORC board meeting last night at REI in Bloomington. MORC Chair Ryan Lieske (right in the photo) was running the show. I was amazed at all the projects and activities the organization is involved with.
I’m interested in learning more and hope to attend more board meetings.
If you care about bicycling for yourself, your kids or your town, you should know what Gary Sjoquist is up to.
I met Gary over beers in Crosby, MN a month ago (left photo, blog post here). He’s the Director of Advocacy for Bloomington, MN-based QBP (Quality Bicycle Products), one of the largest bicycle parts distributors in the world. He invited me to take a tour of QBP’s headquarters and yesterday I took him up on his offer. (Photo album below.)
Bikes Belong Coalition was formed in 1999 as the national coalition of bicycle retailers and suppliers working to put more people on bikes more often. U.S. bicycle companies recognized that they could accomplish more for bicycling by working together than by working independently. From helping create safe places to ride to promoting bicycling, we carefully select projects and partnerships that have the capacity to make a difference… Additionally, we operate the Bikes Belong Foundation to focus on children’s programs and bicycle safety.
As you’ll see in my photo album, QBP’s headquarters and distribution center is not only huge, but spectacular. And it’s got a reputation as a great place to work. Their Career and benefits page has the details on why.