Saturday, May 25, 2019

Minus Ten Review 2009-23

One of my favorite bikes I ever had.
Ten years ago here on the blog I was talking "Gravel Grinder News" stuff. Mostly covering the races that I knew about at that time. There weren't many either. Think about that for a minute. Just ten years ago, there were maybe 20 races. Now there are close to 600. That is some amazing growth.

Part of that was the running of the third Dirty Kanza 200 which was going to happen in a couple of weeks back then. Those early years of that race were crazy.

Then I was also yakking about Memorial Day weekend, which, ironically, was a bit earlier than it is this year. I also was talking about riding on the North Side of Camp Ingawanis. This was back when there was "two sided camp" riding going on. The best trails were on the North side, by far. They were tougher, had more elevation changes, and the system was one that covered more ground than that of even today's South side trail system. Another big difference, in my view, was the experience you got riding the North vs. the South side. The South side trails fold in on themselves to maximize trail distance in a smaller space while the North side had about the same mileage as today's South side, but you had the distinct feeling that you had gone over a LOT more ground. You weren't just folding in around the same hillside. You were going somewhere. It's just different. I happened to enjoy the North side trails before several things happened.

First there was the logging. That happened at about this time ten years ago. They eventually went and logged the South side a year or so after this. Both time periods were ones of massive upheaval. The trails were disrupted, and while the South side recovered, the North side trails never were quite the same again. Then came the horses. The horse owners had a LOT more money, so they had a LOT more influence over what went down out there. Basically, the Camp stewards would look the other way when complaints about horse caused damage was lodged with them. They were getting big bucks for group rides, and other equestrian oriented activities which took place out there. The Boy Scouts were severely cash strapped, and poor mountain bikers lost their voice with the stewards of the land, despite mountain bikers being the ones that did all the trail maintenance. Over the next several years, mountain biking activities were severely curtailed and it was decided that in order to settle disputes between mountain bikers and equestrian interests that the North side would be for horses and the South would be for human powered activities. Anyway, the point being that 2009 was the end of the salad days of mountain biking on the North side trails.

I sure am glad I got to experience those days.

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