Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grooming the 'Nut: Meet Your Trail Steward Trent List

I have previously professed my deep and abiding love for the mountain bike trails at Chestnut Ridge.  It is my go-to trail.  I learned how to ride there, and I'm teaching my kids how to ride there.

Did you know that the mountain bike trails at Chestnut Ridge did not spring, fully formed from the head of Zeus?  Nope.  They were built and are maintained by COMBO.

As my friend Andy Williamson puts it, "there are no trail fairies."  Except Trent.

Sorry Trent, I couldn't resist
This year, Trent stepped up as Trail Steward of Chestnut Ridge.  This is the first "official" trail steward we've had and I wanted to ask him about the job.  Trent obliged, and we talked all about the trails, Sasquatches, and why Trent hates squirrels.

UD: How did you get into mountain biking?
TL: Four years ago I was on a road ride by Africa Road [where the Alum Creek trails are].  A rider came flying out of the woods and about scared me to death.  But I thought it looked like fun, so I bought a cheap mountain bike from Performance.  Since then, the road bike has had cobwebs.

UD: What's your favorite trail?
TL: Mohican - although that may change after my first ride at Lake Hope this Sunday.

The gnomes at Mohican always make me smile
UD: How did you learn aboout trail building?
TL: Just from doing trail days with COMBO.  I gained confidence from working with Ed [Braunbeck], [Bryan] Pack, and Gregg [Soster].  I learned from them until I felt confident to do it on my own.  

UD: What motivated you to serve the mountain biking community?
TL: When I first learned about COMBO and started going to trail work days, I learned about trail building.  I thought the group was friendly and inclusive.  I wanted to help.  I appreciate the inclusiveness of COMBO.  Personalities are very positive and it's easy to get involved.

Trent made this gate and sign for the wet weather cut-off
UD: Why Chestnut Ridge?
TR: I really got involved a year prior.  I spoke a lot with Gregg [Soster - former COMBO president] and learned how to become more involved.  Most of the guys lived near the Alum Creek trails, and that's where everyone was spending their time [for trail maintenance], so I thought I could have a bigger impact working at Chestnut Ridge. I just went out and started taking care of the trail. I grew up using the trails in the Circleville area, and wanted to help out here.

Another one of Trent's handmade signs

UD: So you're from Circleville?
TL: Yeah, I now live about 25-26 miles away from Chestnut Ridge.  I work midnight to 8 am and then I go ride and do trail work in the afternoons.  Sometimes it's tough to find people to ride with in the afternoons!

Trent shreds in Brown County, IN
 UD: You are sort of setting the standard for the Trail Steward position.  What makes a good Trail Steward?
TL: You have a responsibility to facilitate.  You need to ask for help.  I had a problem with that early in the year.  This year, it was like a jungle and sometimes I would spend six hours just cutting and was tired by the evening.  We're all riders, and we want to ride. I needed more help sometimes.  But there were folks who helped every time I asked.  I couldn't have done it this year without Larry [Marcusic], Eric [Norris], and Megan [dials]. 

Some of Trent's handiwork - armoring a wet spot
UD: Who have been your mentors?
TL: BA [Brian Adams] and [Bryan] pack have been incredibly generous with their time.  They took time off riding just to help or if I had a question about a section [of trail].

UD: Okay, the really important question: are there Sasquatch at Chestnut Ridge?
TL: More than one.  There's a whole family of them, that all kind of look like Ed.  But I won't talk publicly about my encounters.

Seen at the Apple Barn

UD: What do you see in the future for Chestnut Ridge and COMBO?
TL: I would like to see a couple more trails in the area.  Maybe a little extra length added to Chestnut Ridge.  We could expand the downhills and create long, alternative hills.  It's hard, because this summer's "rainforest" changed my plans.  I was cutting, mowing and raking every three weeks this summer, cutting two to three sections at a time.   Also, this year, I hit a squirrel on Chestnut Ridge and it knocked me out of action for a while.  I was beat up pretty bad.

This may or may not be the squirrel that took Trent down

UD: What's the strangest things you've seen on the trail?
TL: Plenty of snakes.  And something that looked like a small skunk or a squirrel, but jet black.  We found sunglasses and two sets of keys this year.  Ed gave one person a ride home and the other one was picked up by AAA.

UD: Any advice for riders at Chestnut Ridge?
TL: Stop short cutting!  The trails are not for your Strava rides!

What do you think?  Has Trent inspired you?  COMBO needs help!  Like COMBO on facebook and join us for trail days!  How else can you contribute?  Just be brave!

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