As with every TCC weekend, we usually do some research (otherwise known as ‘Google Stalking’) about the area we plan to visit. When I found the info regarding the trails in the Arcata Community Forest, I laughed when I discovered it was described as “MTBing into a huge salad bowl”. I couldn’t have described it better myself. The salad starts with ferns, features ancient redwoods, and rounds out with some fun singletrack.
Working with Bigfoot Bicycle Club and the City of Arcata, our project focused on the bottom part of trail number #6. The City has a group of very talented trail builders so we enjoyed viewing some of their fine work. They definitely understand the concept of trail flow, something that is more art than science. After we had a grasp of what they wanted to accomplish, Chris and I went to work designing a reroute and developing a plan to reclaim the old trail. It’s the type of project we like since it applies the most amount information that we teach in the Trailbuilding School.
The evening was spent with the Bigfoot Crew, discussing the finer points of successful clubs. Often times we talk so much about sustainable trails. Sustainable clubs are just as important. As we like to say in Club Care “Great Trails Build Community, Communities Build Great Trails”. The Bigfoot Bicycle Club has a lot of opportunities ahead and they’re getting themselves positioned to move forward in the right direction.
The Saturday group was impressive – some great questions led us to believe that they we actually paying attention:) Maybe it was just the coffee served in handmade mugs! Since public land adjacent to town is a luxury, the group was especially interested in how to engage and build partnerships with the private forest land companies.
The afternoon field session built on the morning’s knowledge; Chris and I were definitely blown away by the level of effort to build and reclaim 400 feet of trail. It may not sound like much, but keep in mind that the existing route was hard-packed to the point of concrete. By the time we finished (almost an hour early) you would have been hard pressed to see the old line. When are they going to start a show called Extreme Trail Makeover, anyway?
Sunday was once again dedicated to the group ride. We rallied in the parking lot of Wild Berries before driving west on Hwy 299. Our destination was Tish Tang, a trail that is best ridden with those who know the route. And with our luck, we were privileged to ride it with a local legend. For him, the weekend was part of a journey back the mountain biking scene in Arcata. As the original champion of the Tish Tang route, our legend reminisced about the early days when the trails hosted a popular race, and looked forward to future when the area might become popular again. We wish him well.
The ride was awesome – steady climb followed by an exciting, swoopy descent. With leaf litter covering the ground and poison oak guarding the trail, we focused closely on the terrain ahead. Every once in a while we captured a glimpse of the high peaks in the Trinity Wilderness before winding our way through another forest of oak, fir, and manzanita. Chris’ brakes were singing (more like screaming) all the way down the last descent. I didn’t mind – I was just happy to be finishing with the group on another stellar Sunday.
Special thanks to: Days Inn Arcata, Wild Berries, Bigfoot Bicycle Club, and everyone else who helped over the weekend!
Check out the Bigfoot Bicycle Club’s recap of the weekend: http://bigfootbicycleclub.wordpress.com/
More Photos of the Weekend: