The Athens Area Mountain Bike Team (ATHMTB) woke up extra early on Saturday, Oct. 14 to have a special practice before their big race. Instead of practicing drills or screaming team chants, the coaches and youth worked together in a different team building exercise. Their focus?… Trail preservation.
The Executive Director of the Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League, Dan Brooks, was very appreciative of the ATHMTB’s volunteer service to clean up the Heritage park trail.
“The Athens team has been wonderful to work with,” said Brooks. “They have an active group of volunteers that come out and take great care of this trail system.”
The Athens youth team used rock rakes and other hand tools provided by the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA). The President of the SORBA-Athens division, Michael Day, loaned a trailer full of tools to the youth team to help with their cleanup.
“We think it’s important that the kids know trails need to be properly maintained,” said Day. “It helps the kids see what the issues are, and how much work goes into building and maintaining trails.”
Team coach, Rusty Wallace, is also a member of SORBA-Athens where he helps do the “grown-up” version of trail maintenance. According to Day, members of the volunteer team get trained to acquire land from public and private landowners for new trail development. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) provides all interested volunteers with the knowledge to do the “grown-up” trail maintenance.
“We learned how to properly build a trail so it doesn’t erode and so it can be used for hiking and biking,” said Day. “Building a trail straight downhill is about the worst thing you can do, because of rainwater erosion. So our training helps us distinguish the slope to build the trail properly.”
Building and preserving trails is all a part of the cyclist mentality according to coach Rusty Wallace. Wallace said that the Athens Area Mountain Bike Team that he coaches is all about character development.
“We’re a mental organization so we talk to the kids about decision making and how that effects them on the bike and in life,” said Wallace.
After the success of their trail maintenance day, the Athens Area Mountain Bike Team plans to finish off their season right with one last race in November.
Nicholas Cordts- Grady News