Where Does My Bike Come From?

Maybe Santa left you something shiny with 2 wheels under the tree? Ever wonder where it came from? I knew in general terms that most frames, if not complete bikes, along with everything else these days, seem to come from the Far East. This article breaks it down by company.
The article where the link came from (an ad may appear on the Salon site) also provides some interesting food for thought about bikes and society in general. It would be interesting to see how much of Trek's $2 million spent on bike-friendly infrastructure advocacy goes toward mountain biking.

Upcoming Events - December

Coming up this month:

December 3- Wednesday, 7 pm- Regular monthly meeting at the Schlafly Tap Room.

December 6- Saturday, 9 am- Lost Valley Maintenance Day. Almost everyone in the world goes to LV 2-3 times a year, because this place is just plain ol' fun. So, please put this date on your schedule and come out and help perform some much needed maintenance on this beloved trail.

December 12- Friday, 7 pm- Night Ride at Bangert Island. We will be gathering in downtown St. Chuck, near the "boathouse" for a night ride at Bangert. There might be a surprise or two in store for the ride, so charge up your lights and come on out and have some fun. We also have a room reserved at Trailhead for post-ride discussions on the economy and such.

December 20- Saturday, 9 am- SIUE Workday. We are going to complete Trail 5 and make it a true loop. We will also finish up some maintenance activities on Trail 1 if we get a good turn out.

The Inaugural 2008 Berryman Epic Tour/Race:

The Inaugural 2008 Berryman Epic Tour/Race:
A Brief Report
by Matt Hayes

In early 2008 it was announced on the Internet that some race-minded folk were going to be staging their own epic-length bike race in Missouri. Their goal, it stated, was to bring a race like Syllamo's Revenge or the Ouachita Challenge to the Ozark hills. The btepic.com website started taking orders in early April for those that dared. The race payout was substantial and schwag giveaways promised to be huge.

Too soon, summer came to a close and the Burnin' at the Bluff V 12-hour came and went - in a ball of flame, of course. As the weekend of October 24-25th approached I grew anxious. Lisa even wondered what it would be like.

Will the course be marked or will get lost and resort to eating crawdads and katydids?
Would the weather cooperate or would we find mud bogs and frosty handlebars?
Would the trails be sweet or just plain suck?

The weekend before the race I went down by myself and checked out the Courtois sections at the start and below Highway 8 to get a feel for the trail and see how well it was marked. I came back and explained to Lisa that there wasn't anything to worry about - the trail was well-marked and in perfect condition. No downed trees or bad sections.

On Tour day Lisa, along with Jim and Wendy Davis, set off with 40+ riders and everyone stayed in high spirits. I drove around to each crossing with directions, a pump and water handy. I think many appreciated seeing a road, wheels and a face towards the end of the 56 mile ride. No one got injured and no one got (permanently) lost.

That evening Scott, the promoter, raffled off a ton of prizes. Several high-dollar items included 4 Redline Monocog complete bikes, a cargo trailer, a Garmin Edge 305, an LED light kit, a wheelset and a bunch of other things. Lisa and I didn't win anything but it looked as though over half the people present got a schwag prize.

That night Scott Piepert and Bryan Adams arrived to get the lowdown on the course. I told them it would be a blast. The next day would come too soon.

On race day over 92 bikers lined up in the parking lot of the Bass River Resort. At 8:30 everyone took off and it only got faster in the coming minutes. The super fast geared guys were off the front - and Matt Keeven on his single speed. Bryan, Scott and I all rode single speeds along with Jim Krewet and a couple of other folks.

The organizers had placed a temporary bridge across Brazil Creek which was a blessing. The creek is over 4 feet deep now and 15 feet wide from the equestrian traffic. All the racers ran down the switchbacks (they are nearly unrideable now), across the bridge and received their first checkpoint zip tie. I was the second ss guy through with Jim, Scott and Bryan right behind me.

Next, we jammed over the Berryman trail over to the Berryman campground. I passed several guys and felt quite good. My left knee has been giving me trouble and I had hoped a new pair of shoes, a lower bike fit, new cleats and some insole shims would do the trick. So far, so good.

Lisa met me again at the second checkpoint at the Berryman campground. Again, I was the second SS guy in but was already 5-8 minutes behind Matt "morale crusher" Keeven. I set off down the lower Courtois and tried to make up for lost time. Jim Krewet passed me at the campground checkpoint but I kept him in sight almost the whole time heading for the 3rd stop at the end of the Courtois. The trail followed several creek drainages and whenever it had to gain some elevation it shot up the hillside. I was forced to walk many of these tall climbs in order to conserve energy.

After getting to the third checkpoint I finally caught up to Jim on the gravel road back to the Berryman campground. We agreed the pace was fast and I admitted I was feeling slightly blown. My knee started hurting and I knew things didn't feel just right.

At the fourth checkpoint back at the Berryman campground I had to sit down. Lisa cheered me on but deep down I knew Jim had me. He set off on the remaining leg of the Berryman back to Bass Resort while I composed myself.

Once I hit the singletrack I knew I was in trouble. My hands were beginning to sting and blister from the rigid fork and my 32:19 sissy gearing felt hard. And then the unthinkable happened.

I really hate leg cramps but boy they sure loved me. I had to stop 7-10 times over the remaining 15 miles to keep me from losing my mind. The agony was obscene and it hurt to see people passing me. Scott Piepert passed me at the running spring and that's when I tried to pull it together and finish it off.

Limping back around 7 miles an hour and ruining my chances for a good overall placing I kept my legs turning but applied no pressure to prevent the hell cramps from popping in to say hi. At the last checkpoing Jim and Wendy cheered me on. I mentioned the cramps, the pain, the possible bonking and they wanted to know if I wanted some gum! They're pretty damn funny even when you're feeling down. I got to pedaling back to Bass and promptly got passed by 10 more racers on the gravel road back to base.

I pulled into Bass not a moment too soon and had the best ride of my summer in Missouri. The Lynskey rocked out even if I couldn't keep up and I promise to tighten my bottom bracket before starting the race next time around.

Overall, Chris Ploch got 1st overall, Matt Keeven got 1st Single Speeder (4th overall wtf?!!), Jim Krewet got 2nd SS, Scott Piepert 3rd SS, Me (Matt) 4th and Bryan Adams 5th.

Many thanks to Scott at Springfield Bicycle Co. for organizing the event and chopping out over 70 downed trees to make for a memorable (and sickly fast) race.

See you next year at the GORCtoberfest when GORC merges mayhem with the Berryman Epic. It's in the works, see you then.

Greensfelder/Klondike Workdays, Sat. Nov. 8th

Another weekend with double workdays, this time at Greensfelder and Klondike Park. Both begin at the usual time- 9 am. More info on the Greensfelder Workday can be found here, and on the Klondike one here.

The Greensfelder workday is particularly important since we lost a workday 2 weeks ago to a St. Louis County Parks scheduling conflict. Those of you who have ridden there recently have seen how good a shape the trails can be in when we have some dry weather. Remember what Dogwood looked like before GORC started working on it?

We've spent some time looking at the existing trails, and have identified areas that are especially prone to damage, mostly due to drainage issues. We think that by fixing the most troublesome spots, it will go a long way to making the Dogwood and DeClue trails much better places to ride. We're going to try to get to as many of these areas as we can, but it's a very large project and isn't going to be able to be finished in one workday. We've also looked at the DeClue extension, and are considering reroutes for several areas. These should be ready to build in the Spring if all goes well.

Creve Coeur Park/ICCP Workdays Oct. 25th

We will be working on a continuation of the trail built at Creve Coeur Park in the Spring, as shown marked in pink on the lower map. When this is complete, hopefully after the next workday scheduled for November 22nd, there will be approximately 3.5 miles of singletrack. Not bad, a 7 mile out-and-back, right in the center of the STL Metro area with more to come.

There's also a workday scheduled at Indian Camp Creek Park, so if you live out in St. Charles County, please consider helping out there.

Fall 2008 Workday Schedule Posted

Bryan posted this on StlBiking:

The following is GORC's upcoming workdays for this fall. We would appreciate your help at a workday or two. If you ride a mountain bike, you've probably ridden at one of these parks. So, come on out and help make them better. Go to GORC to find out the details. The calendar on the home page lists more specifics and go HERE to find out what to expect at a workday. Keep an eye on GORC's forum for details as the workdays draw closer.

Some tidbits...
Klondike is getting a new boardwalk over the sandpit leading to Powerline. This will be 80-100 feet long with some skinny off shoots. Construction of the Ewok village on Donkey Kong will begin next spring. We're always looking for people with freeriding experience to come give us a hand at Klondike. We want to do more there and the park is making baby steps, but most of us are XC geeks, so we need some expertise.

SIUE has added an extension to Trail 2. We'll be working on finishing up a small lollypop near there.

Greensfelder will see continued work on the Declue Extension that links up to the Scenic Loop. We've seen what a wet season can do to a new trail and have plans to nurture this trail along. Mainly, I think everyone has seen how good the Dogwood trail can be when more people go out and ride it. The Declue trail can benefit in the same way.

Creve Coeur Park
has 1 mile of new trail. We plan on tripling that this fall with your help. This park could have up to 6 miles of trail when we're done. Go check out it out, very fun.

That's just some of what's going on. So, you can see we could use your help. Pick your favorite trail and give us 4 hours of your time. It will be well worth it. Also, GORC's forum now has a Trail Reports & Conditions section for most of the local trails. Go check it out if you want to know what the latest conditions are or post up the condition if you have been there recently. You can also use this forum to list any trees down so that it gets back to the Land Manager.

Ride Report- Brown County State Park

You may have heard some of the hype for the trails at Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana. Well, I'm here to tell you it's all true. Last month a few of us made the trip up there and spent the weekend riding. Currently, there are about 15 miles of trail. Due to their layout as a combination of loops and bi-directional trails, you can end up doing a ride of 23 miles with minimal riding of sections in both directions. Fortunately, these sections turn out to be some of the best parts!

BCSP is an interesting study in that the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association built them using a hybrid method with both paid and volunteer labor. A lot of the trails appear to have been cut with a machine, and the hardest bits, including some major benchcutting and rockwork-- of which there was a lot of, were done by hand.

If you've never been to this part of Indiana, you might be surprised by the terrain. While not having anything really high, it was in many ways similar to Matson Hill. In fact, we got some ideas that we hope can be incorporated into the new trails that will be built at Matson in the coming years.

Probably the most interesting things for me were the way the designers made use of the constantly undulating terrain, and how they used rock work to armor areas that were potential spots for sustainability problems, which at the same time also enhanced the fun factor of the trail. There were several curves through drainages that were armored with flat rocks tilted at angles which created berms that allowed a rider to just rail through it with minimal, if any braking. Several bermed climbing turns were so well done you hardly slowed down for climbing, and barely needed your brakes going down them.

Another highlight was the 2.1 mile climb up to Hesitation Point. Spreading around 300' of elevation gain over this distance made for a really enjoyable climb, in which you never really were at a flat spot, but constantly going up the whole time, but at such a grade that it almost never violated IMBA guidelines. There were several rock gardens on this climb, and they added some major fun to it, as well. It was even better going down!

The newest stuff there is more technical, and consists of fast, curvy trail interspersed with a lot of technical parts. They've constructed a lot of ramps and jumps out of rock along alternate lines on the main trail, so you've got your choice of what you can ride. The last mile or so of current trail is just fantastic. You just roll along a ridgeline, hardly having to pedal, swooping through drainages, hitting as many jumps as you can, until you reach the campground. It's enough to keep a smile on your face the whole day.

There's more construction going on, including a beginner loop near the North Trailhead, and an expert loop near the Southern one, so there's plenty of trail for everyone to ride. I would have included more pictures, but I hardly took any on this trip. I just didn't want to take the time to stop for any! Paraphrasing something Bob Crow said while we were there: "If you don't have fun on these trails, you probably ought to give up mountain biking."

Creve Coeur/Bangert Island Mini Epic

After driving all the way to Durango and back, I was looking for a ride that didn't involve much driving. The closest trail to me turns out to be at Creve Coeur Park, and I hadn't been there since the workday in the Spring. Now that Bangert Island is above water, and clear, I figured, why not ride both of them?

We started at Creve Coeur and rode that. Brian, Glenn and others have done a nice job getting the rest of the section open to ride after the small turnout at the workday. What's there now is about a mile of twisty, fun singletrack with lots of switchbacks, turns and drainage crossings. After the Fall workdays, there will be around 3.5 miles of singletrack there!

Next, we headed down the steep gravel road by the Corporate Picnic site, and rode down to the lake. Went around the lake, over to the bike path that leads across the Page Avenue Extension to the Katy, and took the Katy to Bangert Island.

This was my first time at Bangert. Knowing only that it was an island that is sometimes underwater, or cut off from the mainland, I didn't really know what to expect. Surprisingly, there was more variation in the terrain than I expected. Don't get me wrong, it was only a few feet here and there, but it's enough to have allowed the designers to give the trail some flow throughout most of its length, rather than just being a flat ribbon as in the picture. Evidence of being underwater is also everywhere, with driftwood, and a layer of dried mud covering most things. Hats off to the GORC St. Charles County Crew for the fine addition of another 2.5 miles of singletrack to our area.

Then it was back on to the Katy to retrace our route. The ride ended up being about 25 miles; a mixture of dirt singletrack, pavement and the Katy. It was a different kind of ride than using the Katy to link Lost Valley, Matson, and Klondike, and a nice change of pace. I rode it on a cyclocross bike and pulled my son in a trailer except on the singletrack, when we traded off riding and babysitting, so you could pretty much ride these trails on any kind of bike you like, when they're dry.

No Monthly Meeting for August

There will not be a monthly meeting in August. Kirby the Grand Poobah, says you can still go to the Tap Room and drink beer with your friends if you like.

Monthly Meeting- Wed. June 4th 7pm

The regular monthly meeting will be at the Schlafly Tap Room. We'll probably discuss the new trail at Creve Coeur Park and other recent projects.

All Trails at Greensfelder Now Multi-Use

As of Monday, May 26th all trails at Greensfelder County Park are multi-use. It's more important than ever now to make sure you're up to speed on IMBA's Rules of the Trail, and practice good trail etiquette when encountering equestrians out there.
IMBA's website has an interesting article about bike/equestrian interaction.

I Am Spartacus

Tom Erb designed Spartacus several years ago to help with much of the rockwork at Klondike, but since we've been using it quite a bit as of late, I thought I'd mention it again.
This is a very clever device, made out of chains arranged in concentric circles, that lets you move heavy objects, usually rocks, when you don't have the luxury of bringing in heavy equipment. The rock is maneuvered onto Spartacus, and then up to 8 handles allow for a number of people, strong of back, weak of mind, to carry or drag it to the desired position.
The plans for building your own have been released under the Creative Commons license, or you can pay Tom to build one for you.

New Trail at Bangert Island

Mike Dunston and rest of the St. Charles County GORC Crew have been busy as usual. May 20th is the scheduled grand opening of a new 2.5 mile trail located near the intersection of I-70 and 5th Street. Here's a preliminary map to give you an idea of the location. We'll keep you updated as we get more details.

Creve Coeur Park Trail Update

Due to a very light turnout for the workday 2 weeks ago we were unable to open as much of the trail as hoped. Brian and Glenn, along with Drew Black, Aaron Coburn, and Eric Walter then went on their own time during the week and grubbed and raked the corridor connecting the 2 largest sections which had been cut. While only a relatively small section of trail is ridable, hopefully it will give you a taste of what's to come at this park. There may be another workday there this Spring, scheduled on short notice, so keep your eyes on the GORC Calendar.

This is going to be a fun place to ride. It's been described elsewhere as being like SIUE with climbing, so if that appeals to you, then please try to make an effort to come out, if not this Spring, then in the Fall.

Castlewood Maintenance Day- April 26th

As most of you probably know, the river bottom trails at Castlewood were under water for quite awhile. As a result Sam's plan for the maintenance day has changed:

The flooding has changed our plan from a half dozen small projects, to two small projects and a new one, clearing the river trails of the logs that floated in.

The plan:

1) One crew to do benching on the rollercoaster and armor one ditch.

2) One crew to modify the uppermost bridge on the 3%LoveMtRidge Trail.

3) I am hoping for four crews to do chain saw work on the river trails. I am putting out a call for Certified Sawyers to lead crews, and we need helpers to clear the logs.

Saturday, April 26th, 9am at the Rangers Office.
Lunch will be served.

As for the rest of it, I'm not quite sure. It sounded like Sam had been drinking a lot of wine, because he was sort of raving. Something about him, Kirby, and MikeD riding endless loops on a Pugsley to flatten everything back into place...

Midwest MTB Festival May 2-4 Reminder

This is a quick post to excite / ignite the upcoming 2wheeled fun-fest. I didn't make it last year but I'm looking forward to the '08 edition.

This is all taken from the official website...

Friday May 2nd, 2008
IMBA Advocacy Summit

8 am – 10 am – Registration open @ Five Points (pre-registrants only)
9 a.m. - 10:30 - Club Care with IMBA TCC
10:30 to 12pm - Plainfield Bike Park presentation
12pm to 1 pm - Lunch
1 p.m - 2:30 - Leadership Roundtable with Ryan Schutz from IMBA
3:30 - Group Ride at Farmdale
4 - 6pm - Registration booth open at Farmdale
7:30 pm - IMBA TCC night ride!!

Saturday May 3rd, 2008
8 am – 12pm – Registration OPEN – Farmdale Reservoir
9 am - vendors open
10 am - Group Rides!! Jubilee & Black Partridge Park
noon - beer sales open!
1 pm - live music!
1 pm - family hash hike
2 pm - Mud Maids Ladies Ride
3 pm - GAMES! stage area
4 pm - Raffle!
7:30 - Night Rides!
9:30 - Movies! - Radical Films - Kackle Factor!!

Sunday May 4th, 2008
10 am - Epic Ride!! Independence Park & Dirksen Park
5 pm - campground closes! Make sure you don’t get locked in!!

Farmdale Reservoir is the host site of this year's festival. It will be the main site of all the festivities, and camping is available. This park offers over 20 miles of tasty singletrack with a balanced mix between multi-use and hike/bike specific trails. It features tight twisty sections, fast open stretches, up-downs, creek crossings, a downhill course, stunt loop, and new mountain-X/dirt jump area.

Jubilee houses the largest single trail system in the area. Most of it is "doubletrack", and the park is frequented by both mountain bikers and equestrians. There is a area on the south side of the park with plenty of singletrack dedicated to hikers & bikers only. This park offers a bit of everything, from blazing fast downhills, gut wrenching climbs, easy flowing sections. Most of the trails are non-technical, but there is plenty for the intermediate rider on the singletrack.

Independence Trail offers 12+ miles of 100% sweet singletrack! It also offers some of the most challenging terrain in the area. Plenty of logs, creek crossings, up downs, and hill climbs. The system is one long loop, but has several outs for the meek of heart.

Creve Coeur County Park Workday- Saturday, April 19th 9 a.m.

The new trail is in blue at the bottom right.

Come and help build the first section of brand new singletrack at Creve Coeur County Park. There is currently 2-3 miles of trail flagged, approved, and ready to build, with more to come. The trail is rollercoaster-like dirt singletrack with a few climbs thrown in for good measure. The first phase consists of a loop connecting to an out-n-back. We'll begin building the out-n-back, and depending on turnout, attack the loop.

Momentum Cycles is supplying coffee and bagels in the
morning, and we'll have schwag from Sunset Cycles and O'Fallon Brewery.

Enter the Park on Streetcar Drive (off Dorsett Rd), follow the road past
the first baseball field and tennis courts, park in the large gravel
parking lot just past the tennis courts on the right. St. Louis County
Parks is providing lunch afterwards - bring gloves, water, work shoes,
and weather permitting, your bike.

GORC Bike Patrol

Over the years GORC has done a number of things to help spread the
word and educate people as to the consequences of their actions on
the trails:

1) Developed a page on the GORC website listing IMBA's Rules of the Trail
which advocates adhering to certain principles while riding.
2) Created Trail Conditions forum on website where users can describe
the current state of each trail.
3) Published blog and newsletter with educational articles intended to
explain how natural phenomena, and riding in certain conditions affect trails.
4) Erected kiosks with signs at SIUE asking that users respect the
rights of others when using the trail.

Taking the next step, we're going to try to reach users more directly, on the trails.
IMBA has created a program modeled after the National Ski Patrol, called the National Mountain Bike Patrol. Although the name sounds a little serious, the intent of the Patrol is summed up by its motto "Assist, Educate, Inform." There is no enforcement component whatsoever to the Patrol. Patrollers will be doing pretty much what most GORC members already do anyway: riding the local trails, offering to help anyone with mechanical or medical problems, and just trying to be goodwill ambassadors for the sport. The difference is that we now have formal approval from the landmanagers to do so officially. To date, we have approval to Patrol SIUE, all St. Charles County Parks, and Lost Valley & the Hamburg Trail.

If you're interested in joining, or have more questions about the NMBP, post your questions on the GORC Forum, or get in touch with Rockboy aka Rob Horn, the program's coordinator.

Diabetes Mellitus, Nutrition & Exercise

It is very important that as a diabetic you get plenty of exercise. Along with exercise there is nutrition. Most of us non-diabetics out there think nothing of hopping on our bike and tool around the park. A person with diabetes needs to have more forethought in the activity. Those with diabetes should carry with them, at all times, a quick sugar(hard candy, raisins, glucose tablets, cliff shot, gatorade) and a longer lasting sugar with protein (package of peanut butter & crackers for example). A medic alert necklace or bracelet could be a life saver as well.
Before performing exercise it is a good idea to take your blood glucose level. Check it at least 30 minutes prior to exercising. If your glucose level is between 100-250mg/dl, then it is safe to exercise. If it is below 100mg/dl then you need to bump up your level before exercising. A snack like cheese and crackers would be good.
If you are planning a long vigorous bike ride you should intake 15g to 30g of carbohydrate every 30-60 minutes. If you are just getting back into shape, it would be a good idea to ingest at least 15 g every 30 to 60 minutes. It is also recommended, until you know how your body is going to react to exercise, to take your blood glucose level during exercise. As always, speak to a physician before partaking of a new exercise program. We are getting to the hotter months in St. Louis and your body starts to react to the heat and humidity.
During exercise if you become nervous, shaky, confused, or just don’t feel right stop! You may be experiencing hypoglycemia. Stop, take off your helmet, eat, drink, rest. It may also be helpful to put your head between your knees or raise your feet above the level of your heart. Do not perform any sudden movements as you may be unstable and could fall.

These are just a few tips, nothing replaces what your physician tells you.

Broemmelsiek, SIUE Make-Up Workdays this Weekend

Due to the wet weather this Winter and Spring, a number of workdays have had to be cancelled. They will be rescheduled if possible. The first of these make-up days will be this weekend with ones at Broemmelsiek on Saturday, and a rare Sunday workday at SIUE. As usual, there will be food provided, and weather permitting, you can ride the trail you were working on that day.

Greensfelder Workday - Sat. April 5th, 9 a.m.

Ok, let's try this again. After being cancelled last week, we're going to try again with another workday at Greensfelder. At this point, the weather looks much better.

The current plan is to try to complete most of the trail that's already been worked on since last Spring. With a large enough turnout, we'll be able to do this and begin working on the next phase of the extension, which will eventually make a loop back to the Roundhouse parking lot.

We'll meet at 9 a.m. at the Radio Tower Parking lot off of Allenton Rd. Weather permitting, we'll ride afteward, and as usual, there will be a meal and schwag provided.

Cancelled -Greensfelder Workday - Sat. March 22nd, 9 a.m.

Due to the precipitation that Mother Nature has dropped on us recently, and the fact that I-44 may not be passable tomorrow, St. Louis County Parks has cancelled the workday.

If you've ridden the section of the new DeClue extension that was built last Spring and Fall, you probably noticed that it wasn't quite ready for prime time. This workday aims to address some unfinished business, and hopefully will allow for the completion of the A & B sections of this extension. If that happens, you will be able to ride the trail out, follow a small lollipop and then retrace your way back up to the old DeClue. This will be slightly better than the current out-and-back, plus the trail should be completely rideable.

After this, work will continue on the extension which will cross the Scenic Loop road and eventually connect back to the Roundhouse parking lot. There's lots of work to be done on this, and it's going to take some time, so come on out and help! We'll be meeting at the radio tower parking lot off of Allenton Rd. at 9 a.m.

A strategy for the future.

To satisfy a wicked fishing jones, I found myself paying to fish a privately owned spring creek on a weekday at the end of a crappy February. I might have been soured by the intermittent freezing rain or still harboring resentment from the distasteful experience of trying to find true "public" salmonid fishing in the UK, but either way I was pretty cold and getting crabby. I spent quite a bit of time sliding around in the deep mud with my felt-soled boots as more unwelcome precipitation continued to drown the prospects of getting to ride my mountain bike anytime soon. I sat (sank) streamside, tied on a new fly, and kicked around a decidedly jaded idea of mine that frequently rears its head when I'm in a foul mood...

One of the first synonyms of the word "mining" is the word "excavation". "Excavation" is any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface formed by earth removal. So, as trailbuilders, it seems that GORCsters do quite a bit of "mining" when given the opportunity, right? Those opportunities have created some sweet riding and earned GORC accolades with land managers and land users. Stick with me now, I'm fin'na drop some convoluted logic...

Even with a good reputation, access is the ubiquitous issue for our particular user group. So, let's play some dirty pool and steal a trick from the playbook of the mining industry. Let's just grab some land and do some "mining" of our own. I'm not sure what kind of liquid cash our treasurer has kicking around in the GORC coffers, but utilizing the 1872 General Mining Law (still in place) it seems that we can stake a claim to federal lands at, get this, $2.50 an acre. According to the USDA FS rules, "non-competitive" sales can be made to governmental agencies and non-profit groups (that's us, right?). Apparently, the number of claims we can hold is unlimited and the duration of the claim is indefinite. Hmmm... the MTNF alone is 1.5 million acres, I'm sure we could find something we like for a couple hundred bucks.

Okay, here's the curmudgeonly part that you've been anticipating... not that we'd ever consider doing this, but, following the mining industry's track record, not only can we purchase our federal land at 1872 prices, but we can apparently completely freaking trash it, then declare bankruptcy, and leave it for our fellow taxpayers to clean up... then, we can just start a new club and do the same thing again someplace else.

Obviously, I'm sure there's some prohibition buried in some legalese out there to prevent people who might be good stewards of the land from selfishly snatching up public lands and responsibly providing recreational opportunities for the public (on their own land) ... but no such prohibition exists for some jerkweed mining corporation to come in and screw everything up, take their money and run, and leave the mess for us.

It seems that access and usage of public land are only a "privilege" for some of us, and a "right" for those whose intention is exploitation.

I wonder if REI will let me redeem my dividend check for some acreage?

One Trail, Two Days

Ah Winter, one day it's 73 degrees, the next it's 15. Don't you love it? This little story concerns the SIUE trails, but could just as easily be about any of the other trails in our area.

Day 1. Two weeks ago, a group was out reviewing the location of the proposed new trail at SIUE. It had been very cold for the previous week without any precipitation and the ground was thoroughly frozen. The temperature was around freezing when we started, but the forecast was for temps in the upper 50's that day. Now, several of these people in attendance were some of the most experienced trailbuilders in GORC (I'm not including myself here). Not one brought their mountain bike, thinking that with such warm temperatures, the trails would be thawed by afternoon. Well, to everyone's surprise, by the time we were done, even though it was in the 50's, the trails were firm and dry, perfect riding conditions...

Fast forward to Day 2. Yesterday, Kirby and I headed out to SIUE in the early afternoon. Temperature was 19. To our surprise the top layer of soil was a gooey mess. Apparently, with there being so much moisture in the soil from the recent rains, the ground was completely saturated, and the strong sunlight was enough to melt away the top layer even at that temperature. Also, it had only been below freezing for one night. We walked down the trail a bit and could see where someone who was riding had been sliding across the surface at every curve and riding off the trail to avoid muddy spots.

So, what's the moral of this story? Well, it's that even if you think you understand how trails react to certain weather conditions, in Winter, all bets are off. Here in MO/SW IL we're lucky to be able to do some riding year round. Just be aware that in Winter and early Spring, there are more things to consider before you decide to go out and ride. Sure, it may not be a big deal to leave a few tracks on a trail, but when you multiply that by hundreds, or thousands, it's easy to see how real damage can be done.

It's not GORC's place to tell you when you can or can't ride, only the land manager of a particular trail can do that, but you can use your head and the info that's provided on our website to make decisions that will minimize the impact you have on the trails. We'd all much rather be building new trail, instead of having to fix damage to what's already there.

Happy Trails.

First Aid


Mountain biking is an exciting sport. It is both thrilling and exciting. It can also have some bumps, and bruises. This article is going to give you some tips on what to carry on your person or your pack that will help you make it back to your car.

· An anti-inflammatory or Tylenol
· Triangle bandage or bandanna
· Antiseptic hand wipes
· Large and small band-aids
· Gauze pads or 4x4
· Large non-stick pads
· Self adhering elastic wrap (Coban)
· Ziploc bag

All of these items can be placed in the Ziploc bag for quick visualization of the items that you need. You can get fancy and carry Neosporin with you, butterfly closures, benzoin to get stuff to stick, etc. But the list above is a bare essentials list. Coban is nice to have because it does stick to itself and you don’t have to worry about being too sweaty for tape.
The first on the list is a must have! If you fall down, hit a tree, or are just going really hard, it is nice to have a pain reliever on hand to be taken at a moments notice. An NSAID such as Ibuprofen helps reduce swelling incase of injury as well as a mild – moderate pain reliever. Never exceed 2400mg of Ibuprofen in a 24 hour period of time. Tylenol is known for fever reducing as well as mild to moderate pain reliever, but not known so much as a swelling reducer. Never take more than 4000mg of Tylenol in a 24 hour period of time. Also, a well known fact about Tylenol is that it should never be taken with alcohol.
The triangle bandage or bandanna has many uses. The major use is to immobilize a suspected fracture. If you fall on the trail and you suspect that you have broken a collar bone, the bandage can be tied around the neck, with the sling part on the effected side to carry that arm in. This is done to keep from placing strain on the fractured collar bone. In the case of a fractured limb, the limb will swell almost immediately; there may/may not be obvious deformity, continued severe pain, possible numbness below sight of injury. ICE is the acronym for the immediate care of a fracture. Immobilize, cool, and elevate. On the trail you can use the bandage and a strong stick or bike pump to wrap the limb and immobilize it. Then go to the doctor! Another use for the bandage is to help with the covering of wounds, cleaning, etc.
Antiseptic hand wipes are used to clean your hands before working on your wounds. They can be used to clean wounds as well.
Large and small band-aids are used of course to cover your wounds, after you clean them. Or just to cover them until you get to the car or house to thoroughly clean the wound.
Gauze pads can be used to aid in cleaning the wound, or cover the wound. Covering the wound with gauze can be tricky because it tends to stick to wounds. If this happens, use some warm water to soak the gauze to help remove it.
The large non-stick pads are awesome. They are the gold standard in wound coverage. You can impregnate them with Neosporin and plop right on top of your well cleaned cut or scrape. These can be cut to size.
Coban is used to wrap over the non-stick pad. This works better than tape in the sense that it does not stick to your skin. This wrap can also be reused if not a bloody mess.
This is a small kit that can be easily carried on the trail with you. It can fit in a jersey pocket or in your camelback. It should be seen as essential as your spare tubes. In closing, if there is any doubt in caring for a wound yourself, seek help!

This Is Not a Picture of Dug Having His Picture Taken at the Tour of Missouri...

It's a reminder that this month's regular meeting is at the Schlafly Tap Room at 7 pm on Wed. February 6 in the Eliot Room.

St. Charles County Parks Guided Rides - 2008

Once again, the great partnership between GORC and St. Charles County Parks leads to some great biking opportunities. There are now over 30 miles of trails open to mountain bikes, many of which GORC helped to build, spread throughout 6 different SCCP Parks. Everyone has to learn how to ride somewhere, so GORC will lead beginner rides to help introduce new people to the sport. Hot off the press:

For the third straight year, Saint Charles County Parks (SCCP) and GORC are teaming up to offer Guided Mountain Bike Rides. It's a low key way to introduce someone to off-road riding, and GORC will have experienced riders on hand to offer advice and riding tips.

The Guided Rides are conducted at a casual, exploratory pace, with the slowest rider setting the speed. We will try to use trails that are within the skill level of everyone who shows up, so some days may be more challenging than others. Plan on 1 to 1.5 hours riding, with available daylight and the group's enthusiasm being the deciding factors. Trails this year include Quail Ridge and the new trail at Bangert Island near I-70 and 5th St.

Single Speed World Championships - Napa, CA

Well, none of the GORC guys got into the 2008 Single Speed Championships held in Napa, California this year. Registration opened at midnight on Jan. 1 but we were all denied. Apparently, it sold out in record time - something like 7 minutes - somewhere between Hannah Montana and Michael Jackson's nose going solo.

But whatever, who cares. Like we paid for the first attendance in State College, PA right?

We'd have to fly and be sure to take your shitty SS because the airlines / ips / dhl / moonmen are going to drop-kick the box all the way to the x-ray machine. Scratch and dent sale.

For those who were there and (can) remember - we all know it's not about the race itself - it's about the party all weekend.

Only bummer is we run the risk of missing the flight back due to blackout.

Start training now.

Ozark Trail Trip Planner and Shuttle

There has been some mention on the GORC message board of the new Ozark Trail Shuttle operated by the OTA, and how convenient and useful it is for doing point-to-point rides which had previously required you to go through the hassle of arranging vehicles for drop-offs and pickups.

What hasn't been talked about much is a new way for you to explore the Ozark Trail, and perhaps ride some sections that you may have never thought about riding, or even heard about before, for that matter. This is the trip planner. Here are a few screenshots which show how you can choose the type and length of ride you wish to do from a particular trailhead. It then gives you the options available which meet your criteria and gives you links to the relevant topographic and GORC-style area maps, as well as very detailed directions which will make it very difficult to get lost. You can then see if a shuttle is available for the date you wish to go, and if not, perhaps arrange for a custom shuttle.

This is a fantastic service that is the result of the settlement by AmerenUE over the Taum Sauk Reservoir incident. It's also a great way to find out more about the gem of a trail that we've got in our own backyard.