Walking out is lame.

I've been riding with some Backcountry Research gear instead of a hydration pack for a while now. My Osprey pack still gets put to use for longer trips out on the Ozark Trail or similar backcountry rides, and my big CamelBak comes out for Patrol gigs, but for shorter local rides I've enjoyed shedding the monkey on my back. I thought it might be useful to share my (non-comprehensive!) hydration pack-free set up for newer riders interested in ditching their packs but still having the appropriate complement of tools and supplies necessary to preclude a crappy, long, hot/cold/humid/mosquito-y/lame walk off of the trail in the event of a mishap. I like this 3-piece set up... Genuine Innovations "Mountain Pipe"
Plus a Backcountry Research "Awesome Strap Race II"
Plus a Backcountry Research "Tulbag"
I like the redundancy principle with the Mountain Pipe. It's a CO2 inflator, which is absolutely necessary for re-seating your tire bead if you're running tubeless, plus a (crappy) pump as a back up. The barrel is hollow so you can stash a few tube patches and a few tire patches in there.
The Awesome Strap will hold a tube, a 16g or 20g CO2 cartridge, plus a pair of tire levers securely under your seat. A few wraps of good old duct tape around that CO2 cartridge might come in handy as a tire boot or as an improvised repair for your shorts, or your shins or your bike. Craig has admonished me of the virtues of always having duct tape at your disposal on more than one occasion. The Tulbag (or other similar small container... like an old sock or whatever) has the rest of the junk you'll need to prevent a walk-out safely tucked away in a jersey pocket. Here's what I like to bring: -a shifter cable (you might add brake cable if you're running bb7s or similar) -cleat bolt (you might add an entire cleat if you're cautious) -a valve stem -a valve core -a schrader adapter -a quick-link for your chain -a tube of vulcanizer for your patches (helps if it's not dried out) -a chain pin -Park tire boots -a few more tube and tire patches -a multi-tool with an integrated chain breaker plus Torx head for rotor bolts -spare derailleur hanger -a zip-tie or 2 -an alcohol or antiseptic wipe packet or 2
Steve Smith once mentioned a bandana or cravat as an valuable addition and I've since included it. It comes in handy for cleaning sealant from the inside of a tire that you plan to patch or boot, suspends a busted arm/clavicle, mops sweat, makes for dire emergency TP, etc. A shortcoming of this pack-free setup is not being able to easily carry spare spokes and nipples. You're more limited on how much water you can carry as well. Obviously this doesn't cover your first aid, lighting, or seasonal clothing needs but it's a decent base kit for most of your close-to-home rides and it's been working fairly well for me so far. I usually forgot to check the contents of my hydration pack before rides anyway which left me hoofing it with a big bag full of empty patch wrappers, a quintuple-snakebit tube covered in old sealant boogers, dried patch cement, and a rock-hard fossil of a Clif bar.

2012 Volunteer Appreciation Party Recap

GORC hosted the Volunteer Appreciation Party at Greensfelder Park in St. Louis county. Over 40+ people showed up to celebrate each other's hard work in 2012. With many more miles cumulatively built all around the region, each year mountain bikers have better and longer singletrack options.

This year featured a stellar raflle with prizes provided by REI, E-Trailer, Maplewood Bicycle, Mesa Cycles and by a fellow who donated a $25 Quicktrip gas card to the booty pile. Dogfish donated a large portion of our brand new Trail Builder T-shirts which he handed out all day!

Join us on the trail to make our region the best place to get that magical singletrack fix. Here's how the day went down told through images.

All great parties involve cake, right? GORC doesn't skimp on cake and we ended up with a custom-built full sheet from Federhofer's Bakery.

To kick the day off right, a 10am poker run got everyone on the trails and guessing where the next obstacle course / deck card would appear. 

Matt and Lisa's poker run station involved consuming insulation biscuits that double as food stuffs. We are using the leftovers to fashion key ring floaters and selling them at Osage Beach.

Again, no proper GORC gathering can be without fire. The Glassberg shelter at Greensfelder offered a great outdoor fireplace.

Bad poker run hand? Step on up and earn your bonus card the fun, er, hard way...

The pogo stick was a hit.

JohnF brought his jump bike which was used successfully at times. Other times it sorta just made grinding noises sliding on its side.

Raffle winner taking the prize

Meats on the grill (and circular pressed vegetables) for the hard-working trail volunteers who have made a difference in 2012 by attending our numerous trail building days.

Kirby keeping the hungry crowd satisfied.

Raffle callouts lasted about a half hour with an intermission thrown in.

Ron accepting his swag

Tom won the Mesa Cycles Rockshox Recon 29er fork. Sweet! This photo highlights the inverted fork design.

GORC fed the fire well into the evening

JimB brought a bean bag game that was a crowd hit. Of course, he schooled us all! 

No caption needed

A great event that wound down in front of the fire. GORC cannot say it enough:

Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day - Saturday, Oct. 6th

Saturday October 6, 2012

10:00am til 2:00pm
Broemmelsiek Park, O Fallon, Mo

Gateway Off Road Cyclists ( GORC ) with St Charles County Parks invites children (8-14) and parents to celebrate International Mountain Bike Association ( IMBA ) sponsored “National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day”. Free bicycle/helmet safety inspection (required prior to riding the skills course), instructions on riding techniques, a skills practice area, and guided trail rides tailored to different age groups and skill levels. Participants should bring a bike and an approved helmet. Limited Number of Demo Bikes/ Helmets from local bike shops will be available.

When: Saturday, October 6th, 2012 ( 10am – 2pm )
Where: Broemmelsiek Park in St Charles County

So come out and bring a kid with you for some good, clean fun in the dirt. Bring plenty of water and an adventurous spirit.

Schedule of Events
10am – 11am Registration
10am – 11:30am Helmet Fit / Bike Safety Inspection
10am – Noon Skills Building Area available
11am – 1pm Trail Etiquette and Guided Trail Rides
1pm – 2pm Drinks, Snacks - Prize Drawings
Advanced Registration is recommended, but not required.
For More Information or to register:
Call St Charles County Parks at 636-949-7535

Directions To Broemmelsiek Park 

From US 40/61
Bear Right (North)onto Ramp Winghaven Blvd

Bear Left (North-West) onto Local road

Turn Left (south-West) onto Mo-DD

Keep straight on Mo-DD for 3.9 miles

Turn Right (West) onto Schwede Rd

Go approx. ½ mile, Parking for Park is on the left side of road.

From Bryan Road / Winghaven Blvd in Ofallon, Mo.
(Bryan Road/Winghaven Blvd changes to Hwy Mo-DD after crossing US-61)

Keep straight on Mo-DD for 3.9 miles

Turn Right (West) onto Schwede Rd
Go approx. ½ mile, Parking for Park is on the left side of road.

About the Event
The St. Charles County Parks Department encourages children ages 8 to 14 to get outside and celebrate the 8th annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 6th at Broemmelsiek Park, 1615 Schwede Road, south of O’Fallon. This fun, free, family event is sponsored by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC), and offers skills clinics, guided trail rides, safety inspections and demo bike use. More than 150 riders are expected to participate in the event.

“This is a great opportunity for us to pass our passion for peddling on to children,” said Parks Director Bettie Yahn-Kramer. 

For more information or to pre-register, please contact St. Charles County Parks at 636-949-7535 or visit www.stccparks.org. Early registration is recommended and the first 100 will receive a free goodie bag.

NOTICE: In case of bad weather, please call the St. Charles County Parks (SCCP's) Trail Hotline (636-949-7475, option #2). SCCP's will only leave a message about the event if it's cancelled.

GORC Volunteers Needed
What we need: LOTS of GORC people to show up and help out. There are two primary areas where we need assistance during the event, (but help setting up/tearing down will be appreciated as well). The two areas where we require help are:
  • The GORC Table – Introduce people to GORC, hand out goodie bags, help with registration, etc.
  • Skillz Area: Explain the skills needed at that station, and be as big of a cheerleader as possible!. (Guidelines and Materials needed for each skill will be provided.)

NOTICE: In case of bad weather, please call the St. Charles County Parks (SCCP's) Trail Hotline (636-949-7475, option #2). SCCP's will only leave a message about the event if it's cancelled.

GORC Vacation 2012 - Crested Butte - Last Day

Day 7 

On the last day, several groups split up and did their own thing. Some hit Mount Crested Butte, others did another backcountry ride and a few did both! Matt and Lisa ended up taking the day off the bikes and checking out Judd Falls just above the tiny town of Gothic.

The falls are named after the last local to live in Gothic until his death.
He never gave up and moved back down to town when the mining boom ended.

Judd Falls are beautiful and never stop flowing.

To get to the Falls, you come within 100 feet of the Maroon Bells Wilderness. Fun looking gravel road. Um, yeah, no bikes.

And what's a vacation recap without any lodging photos?
Here is our view from the deck. Not Missouri. Definitely not Illinois.

The post-ride recovery room. Olympics on TV, food, beer,
Ipads, Iphones, hammocks, hot tubs, BBQ pits, and foam rollers.
Don't forget the foam rollers... We're all gettin' a wee bit older.

Our bikes made friends with the homeowner's bikes.
Except theirs were heavier. And they had 5 or something.

Tune up shed. Ride, clean, Repeat. 

GORC Vacation 2012 - Crested Butte - Hartman Rocks


On the second to last day, GORC piled into our respective vehicles and arrived in Gunnison, Colorado about forty minutes later. Today was a treat... Hartman Rocks!

This stacked trail network has been on many GORCers must-ride list for years and now they were getting to finally ride it. And it didn't let anyone down! While the individual trails are short, they are all inter-connected totaling over 40 miles in length. A popular race, Rage in the Sage, is held here in the high-desert wonderland - an anomaly surrounded by alpine mountain tops.

The group getting set up. Sunscreen? Grease 'em up.

Per Colorado trail code, all great rides begin with a climb
from where the cars are parked. Ugh! Get it!

These are most likely some of the rocks that
put the Rocks in Hartman Rocks ... what?

Panel of the terrain. 

Climbing up mid-way through the ride to hit more Awesome trail.

Steve and Lisa steadily climbing the loose and sandy desert grit.

Rob beefing up the climb.

Everyone playing on the Rocks. Several people attempted the clean
a particularly tricky section. The grippy rock is not like
what we have back in Missouri.
I'd have to give us a 93% success rating as Bryan Adams
and Jason Orin Boyd came closest to cleaning the feature.

More map reading and rock stunts. With so many intersections and
having only one ride to hit the best stuff, the pressure was on to string the
A-Trails into one heavenly ride. 

Team Seagal on the drop in

And sealing the deal.

Kirby on the groove

Frank preparing for the next plunge

Lisa threading the features

The impending storm of doom forced us down the
Rattlesnake trail at a breakneck pace. As the local gal said while passing,
"Lightning is on its way and ya don't wanna be where you're at"
(that would be the high point of Hartman Rocks - go figure - timing!)

I don't have any photos of the last day - Downhilling at Mount Crested Butte but I'm sure they are floating on the Internet somewhere.

Frank Schuman has some photos uploaded here

GORC Vacation 2012 - Crested Butte - Rest Day? Nah, RACE DAY!


On what was the traditional GORC rest day - Wednesday - someone came up with the idea of attending the free Pinnacle Race Series held at Mount Crested Butte. Featuring both a cross-country and downhill event, costing no money, and get this, free beer and food at the finish, it was a no-brainer for the race kids....

Rest? Why? Let's Race.

But first, some half-rest-day photos from around Marble, Colorado.

The geological formation known as the Dyke.
This is where the Dyke Trail gets it name from.
Trillions of years ago lava flowed up and out of a volcano
here down the mountainside.
The much harder minerals in the lava flow
eroded much slower than the surrounding mountains and
therefore is the lasting feature - a thin rocky outcropping
that is immense once you get up close to it.

The town of Marble gets its name from the rock mined here.
You can see the white marble cast-offs behind an original
1880's miner's cabin - that just so happens to be for sale.
I'm sure it's only a couple million.

Resting on the Rest Day... just before the RACE.
We are all in the Sport category of the Cross-country event.

The 7.5 mile course climbed 1,100+ feet before briefly
leveling off and then descending all the way back to the ski lodge.
The massive berms were killer. The amount of little groms killing
it was refreshing. There's was a 12-14 year old holding his own
in front of me most of the way up the climb. He wasn't
even breathing. He was kind enough to not show off and text at the same time.

The spectators were treated to a concert while
the participants scraped lung juice off their bars and stems.

Damn, how you do so good, man?
Proper eyewear, sukka. Meow nah

Photo finish - John D, Jason Z, Jens, Jon A, Matt H, and Bryan A.

The informative sign letting us all know why we
couldn't breathe very deeply