Factory Racing Spring Cleaning

April 17 — 2019 | Santa Cruz, CA

We believe that without trails and access to them nobody’s having fun, so we support organizations and individuals that are doing the hard work as stewards of singletrack. This is the first of a series of dig day updates from the Santa Cruz Factory Racing crew. 

With winter lingering, the trails are too wet to ride and the 2019 National Enduro Series still not rolling so there has been a lot of pent up energy at the Factory. It was more than obvious what to do with all that energy, time to lend a hand and get the trails in our slice of the world ready for another full summer of riding.

img_1994.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sam Randazzo

We reached out to our friends to the North at Ashland Mountain Adventures in Ashland, Oregon and to the South at Art’s Cyclery, our dealer in San Luis Obispo, California. Both are locations we love to ride and were in need of some post winter clean up as well as some fresh cut trails. Once the plans were set, the sign-up sheets were filled up and we were set to unleash that cabin fever into the wild.

The first week of March we headed to Ashland, Oregon where the weather that time of year can be anything from 60 degrees and sunny to 20 degrees and snowing, mother nature welcomed us with perfect weather for digging. The temp was about 38 degrees, the ground soft and damp with a light dusting of snow. The air was fresh like an intercooler to a big block V8 to the 50+ people that came out to dig, we were able to cut a half mile of fresh bench cut trail in about four hours, all by hand. Granted the dirt was more like brown gold just asking to be placed into fresh berms and jumps, it was like a perfect ribbon of brown carpet winding its way down the mountain. It was proof of what could be done with numbers and motivated people, big thanks to Wild Bill at AMA and Marty’s our local dealer for rallying the troops and facilitating the Dig Day.


Once the work was done we headed back to the AMA headquarters to clean up all the tools and have a feast for all the day's volunteers. Nothing eases the pain from manual labor on the trail like a warm meal and some cold beers. While at the after party, I was speaking with Casey Botts, the Treasurer for the local advocacy group the Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association.

img_2103.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sam Randazzo

Here is what Casey had to say about our visit, “We love seeing our members come out for trail days because a great turnout of volunteers is a sign of a sustainable and thriving trail system. RVMBA represents a community, and to see it in the form of a successful project that goes from idea to build in the course of a day shows the caliber and work ethic of the volunteers we have here. Having the Factory Racing crew come out with the support from SCB is huge, like a shot in the arm to the riding community and everyone gets a bit more motivated to come out and lay down the work."


"RVMBA has a lot of irons in the fire in terms of future projects - building a Time Warp Trail reroute, a new trail system in Grants Pass and a bike park in Ashland are the main focus right now. We also plan on holding group rides and events to continue fundraising for our work while engaging the community. It is a great time to be a mountain biker in the Rogue Valley!” Sounds like the Factory Racing crew have a few more trips north in our future.

img_2513.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sam Randazzo

What do you do after building a new trail? You go shred it, duh. The day after we were up on Mt. Ashland digging we had to get our wheels on the perfect conditions and fresh trail. Every professional checks their work...right? Wild Bill is the man, he was able to get the 12 Factory Racing volunteers four shuttle runs on some of the fastest and most pristine trails I have ever ridden, following the King himself Nathan Riddle. The stoke was high, to say the least, enough to keep our tired sore bodies awake the eight-hour drive back to Santa Cruz.

img_2621.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sam Randazzo

After a couple of weeks at home, we made our next move down to San Luis Obispo to the El Chorro Regional Park to help the CCCMB repair and prep their trails after a big winter.

Leading up to the dig day in SLO it looked like the weather was going to be an issue with lots of rain in the forecast, but we were booked and the Factory Racing crew were ready to get back out and dig trails - rain or shine.

Mother nature blessed us once again, as we got closer to the day the weather cleared up and we were set with perfect conditions for the trip.

Nothing but blue skies, green rolling hills and smiles for miles, the guys from Art’s Cyclery brought out the red carpet for us letting us base out of the shop and organizing with the local Parks Department as well as the CCCMB to put on a great dig day. Many thanks to them for helping make it happen, the 13 Factory Racing members that made the trip could not have been more taken care of.

It was another four hour sprint once we got to the trails and tools in the dirt, we were able to clean up and dial in all the damaged drainage on one of the busiest miles of trails in the area, build a few new berms and jumps in the skills park as well dig out a few less than ideally placed rocks. It’s hard work down in SLO, a far cry from the brown gold of Ashland but with effort and sweat from all the volunteers that came out, we were able to make a huge difference.


Big thanks to Art's Cyclery for the hospitality and our neighbors in Santa Cruz, Humble Sea Brewing Co. for fueling the weekend. 

Once we were done digging we all took our first sunburns of the year back to Art’s Cyclery for a parking lot party full of food, beers and good vibes. 

AC feeding the masses. 

During the party, I got the chance to talk with Neil Grether, one of the managers out at the El Chorro Park, here is a bit of our conversation.

Neil keeping tabs on our work. 

What does it mean to the Parks District, trail network and you personally to have this many stoked people come out for a dig day?

“It was awesome to have such a good crew out working with us! You all were a really hardworking bunch, it was a struggle to get people to put down their tools even for a water break! It was really good to have people who know bikes and bike trails. It’s really difficult to explain how to build bike features to your average volunteer so it was great to have riders who knew what they were doing, and it really shows in the finished product. Thank you!!!”

For you what is the most rewarding part of your job working out in the hills on the trails?

“I think the most important thing in life is being happy and having fun. And that’s what my job is: to provide trails for people to enjoy. I certainly can’t complain about the people I work with or worksite conditions either.”

What kind of bike do you ride and what is your favorite all-time trail?

“My work bike is a Santa Cruz Tallboy. The trails on Cerro San Luis are hard to beat, there are enough trails and variety that you can put together a different ride every time you go. Also, the mountain is right in the middle of town; you can pretty much get there from anywhere in the city in about 5 minutes. That being said, Hazard Peak trail in Montaña de Oro is one of the all-around best trails in SLO County.”

img_801184.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Campbell Steers

The next day there was no way we were going to head North back to Santa Cruz without getting our tires dirty, Trevor and Brandon showed us all the SLO highlights. The views, trails and people out on the trails made it an amazing day on the bike, not to mention the fresh trail we had thanks to all the hard work the day before.


The hardest part about these trips is having to let the dream of digging, riding, eating and high fiving life away come to an end when we have to head home. It’s a part of the trip that is a little bittersweet but the same feeling that gets the gears in our brains grinding to figure out where we will go next. The sadness of the weekend ending always fades by the time we make it back to the SC Factory, by then we have 10 plans for future trips and the stoke for the next one is already starting to build. These trips are always so motivating, its proof of what can get accomplished when like-minded people get out and work towards a common goal.

img_80114.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Campbell Steers

img_8043.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Campbell Steers

Radish

There are a lot of life lessons to be learned out on the trail whether digging or riding, the most obvious is that if you want something you have to work for it and just how satisfying and fun that can be when the motivation and reasons for working hard are genuine and true. It’s simple really, we want to ride, we need trails to ride so we go build them. Contact your local Parks and Recreation organization or trail advocacy group to see what you can do to preserve, cultivate and protect your local trails, it just might end up being the most rewarding thing you do all year.

Until next time, AC

Want to get involved with RVMBA? Click here > 

or

CCCMB? Click here > 

 

Previous Next Post Links

Related Posts