Trail Work Day Pt 1: Winnick Woods

Winnick Woods Trail Day, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

There’s something thrilling about riding a trail that you helped build or maintain.  The trail feels smoother and faster.  The descents are more fun.  The climbs, more ridable.  The root-sections, suddenly, less dangerous.  And, as you ride over that rock-fortified, erosion-resistant section, you can feel each stone that your hands placed as your tires roll over it.  The elation you feel when you ride that trail is pride.  It comes from long mornings of hauling wheelbarrows full of gravel and chopping out hidden, tire-eating stumps from the edge of the trail.  It comes from wiping gritty sweat out of your eyes with the back of a work glove.  It’s pride of a job well done (even if it’s a work in progress.)  You begin to take ownership of it.  This is my trail.

John swings at a stump, Winnick Woods trail day, CE, Maine

I’ve been able to experience that thrill several times while riding the “Holy Cross” trail outside of Grand Junction, Colorado, after working with COPMOBA.  If you’re in the Grand Junction area, go ride it.  It’s the masterpiece of theTabeguache (Lunch Loop) trails system.  Every time I ride it, I experience that pride.  Now, I get to experience that sense of pride here in Maine.
I volunteered time working on the Winnick Woods trail system in Cape Elizabeth for Greater Portland NEMBA and had a blast.  Winnick Woods, already one of the area’s best trail systems, is now better than ever.  The trails will be more fun for me to ride, not just because of the improvements we made to them, but because of the effort I put in.
Some ways you can find out about trail work days going on in your area is to search for local trail organizations or look through IMBA’s trail organization database.  Keep in mind, also, that a large presence of volunteers doesn’t just make the work of keeping trails up easier, it also shows land managers that mountain bikers care about the trails.  Providing free labor to cash-strapped land agencies (public and private) helps ensure a good relationship when it comes time to decide what “multi-use” really means.  Mountain biking, like all trail-based activities, has an impact.  Make sure you give more than you take by volunteering.

Matador TV Internship

I spent the last three hours trawling the internet for interesting travel videos, seeing new places and getting stoked to explore the world. Can this really be my new job?
It is. A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to take my travel media career to a new level. I applied for an internship with Matador TV. The hard work of becoming a frequent contributor to the Matador Network paid off and I got the position! Now it’s my job to ensure that Matador TV lives up to its tag line, “Filtering the Best Travel Video on the Web.” I do this by wandering around the web, watching travel videos from various filmmakers (something I’d be doing anyway) and looking for great work to feature on the Matador TV site.

Photo by: Julian Cohen

The first video I posted, called “Diving with Great White Sharks,” is up and ready to watch. I thought a video of people experiencing the business end of a twenty-foot-long eating machine was the ultimate “encounter.” Their accounts, in the back of the tour boat afterward, really bring home the feeling of the event.

I have been lucky enough to work with the Matador Network editors for the last three years and am excited to continue in this new, more involved role. I am also lucky enough to get to work with fellow travel video producer Lindsay Clark, my co-intern (see her excellent pick for “animal encounter” here). Being selected along-side her is an honor. Her website Nomadderwhere chronicles her living the dream of getting out there and seeing the world. I hope to learn from Lindsay and my editor Josh Johnson in the months to come and add some fantastic video content to Matador TV.