Re: Hawk 50 - post race trail conditions

May 26, 2010 by Ben Bolin

Thanks for the feedback guys. I hope you don't take this as a bikers vs. runner issue either. Not trying to do that at all. I trail run in the fall and winter to mix it up. I raised the questions post race as a sustainable trails issue. I just happen to be the EarthRiders president right now so I'm representing the biker questions about the race. There was some disappointment and surprise by the conditions by some riders that went to Clinton to ride post race and I just wanted to get the full story from all sides.

We have such a great system of sustainable single track in the KC Metro area. That is very important to me. The thing we all need to avoid, in my opinion is, is different stances on correct conditions for usage of our trail systems so that people aren't confused about when it is and is not OK to use the single track. I would hate to have a metro area trail system volunteer group saying it's fine to do whatever and then people that use that system the most go to a different trail in poor conditions and wonder why people are upset about them using it. Consistency is key.

I agree that rogue users not connected with any of the groups in the area cause lots of issues when conditions are poor. I don't know that there is a golden solution for education. It's all just grass roots getting to know people and spreading the word. Gates and cables stop the uneducated, but they don't stop those that are going to go no matter what or just don't care.

I also think that racing of any pursuit puts race directors in positions that force them to make go no go decisions on trail conditions that they might not make if they were just going for a ride or run. The money on the line, participants, course prep, volunteers all put a lot of stress on race decisions. The amount of traffic from a race isn't like normal daily traffic. Traffic is multiplied and can make border line trail conditions quite corrosive to the system. That being said, racing is a part of the trail equation and needs to happen to draw in the people that are motivated by racing. I race myself so I'm not anti-racing. I am in favor of sustainable racing.

I have probably rambled on long enough to bore everyone. Thanks for the professional interactions. Here is to all of us providing and managing sustainable trails and voicing a consistent message to the trail users.

Ben :-)

Trail Hawks Ridgeline aid station at Heartland100, 2018