If you are regular reader of my blog, you will notice that my most recent entries are gone. Apparently I really did hurt some people with my words. Maybe my comments towards the overweight crowd were a bit much. Instead of trying to edit those entries, I took them down. Consider it a form of an apology. I’m sorry I offended some people.
I have always had difficulty expressing myself in regards to the issues of obesity. Living in El Paso hasn’t helped. Being a graduate student under a “fat racist” (one who is discriminatory towards obese people) didn’t help much either. I should be more sympathetic, especially after watching a season of Biggest Loser a few years back. Jillian would pry and pry until she made a contestant crack. By crack, I mean that she would continue either antagonizing or interrogating the person until some horrible life experience came pouring out of the person. After the moment of clarity from the contestant, the pounds melted away. 15 pounds the next week, 11 the week after, 13 another week. Ridiculous. One little instance of childhood misunderstanding, one poorly communicated issue, one accident….usually something related to a really bad episode in that person’s life (a death of a relative, sexual abuse, getting dumped, loss of a job) was the cause for obesity. Not genetics. Not laziness. Not even a lack of education. I truly hope that the reason for most of the obese people I come into contact on a daily basis is not something like that. Horrible. And by hoping that, I go back to my standard thinking of…well, those people’s lifestyles suck ass and they need to get off their gigantic ass, stop eating junk food, get out of their four wheel coffin, and ride a damn bike! While that could solve the problem, it takes a lot more than just thinking that way hoping that telepathically that person is going to hear me and actually do something. It requires education, motivation, a little bit of money (bikes aren’t cheap and the cheap ones ain’t gonna cut it under a 350 pounder), and a lot of support from friends and family.
My attitude may be similar in regards to mountain biking. I sometimes forget that I’ve been riding mountain bikes for 31 years. I was in my early 20’s when I got into mountain bike advocacy. Mountain biking at a high level (at least technically) came early. After moving west from the technical slime stone, roots, logs, and boulders of the Appalachians, I sought out more gnar. Out west this was either provided via massive increases in speed or through insane trails in locations in southern Utah, Arizona, or Colorado. A trip to Whistler definitely didn’t do anything to satiate my desire for more gnar. Singletrack that demands skill, strength, and endurance to enjoy is what I thrive on. But not everyone is into that kind of stuff. My inability (or reluctance) to accept that hasn’t helped me in the past couple of years in regards to moving forward with the scene here in El Paso.
Six years at the helm of the BMBA. That’s a long time. Why anyone would want to be the president of anything for that long? I think my timing was off. Brent Sanders and I brought out of the ashes a club that had turned into a Thursday night social club…..ride then drink. We turned it into an advocacy group at the right time. I don’t really think anybody in the group knew what the hell we were doing and I know that we all felt like we were maneuvering in waist deep mud when it came to getting things done. Puzzler…..piece of cake. Kind of. A bit of stress and race weekend event management left us more exhausted than racing the 50. Guaranteed. I raced it this year. I know. New trails…..thanks to Robert Newman and a bit of money from Stanley Jobe….piece of cake. Well….maybe a bunch of callouses and a few sore backs, but pretty cut and dry. Get your ass out to the trail with a trail tool and a buddy, work your ass off and don’t quit until it’s finished. Parking lot/trailhead. Whoa. Did any of us do any hard labor out there? I think we had someone else do everything including installation of the kiosk. The hard part was dealing with the city and finding people willing to do all the other crap. Without Dr. Rick Bonart, that thing would have never happened. Would it be a big loss if it hadn’t happened? Hell no. We’d still be parking on the street somewhere, cutting new trail through whatever new development, and continue bitching about all the houses that get built out there. That project was a pain in the ass. Lots of frustrating email exchanges, lots of trips to city offices by Steve Ainsa and others, and finally, it was completed. I don’t want to know how Dr. Bonart got it done, it just seemed like too much of a pain in the ass to me…..and I don’t like driving to the trails when I’m perfectly capable of riding there.
I personally think that we made a mistake putting in that trailhead. I think that by doing so, we set a precedence for our city planners/doers that they don’t have to do anything since we’ll do it for them. We need trailheads more than anything else….well….except maybe signage at Redd Rd.
My vision was mostly for better trails. The Lower Sunset reroute and the northern pass to Hitt Canyon are just slight scratches to the surface of my big ideas. I was super stoked about those routes coming to fruition and I think most mountain bikers (at least those capable of riding that far) feel the same way. They are incredible routes. And this is where my bad timing comes in.
I now see that maybe we need to focus on the other riders. Those just getting into the sport. Those who don’t know how to read a map, load a gps or smartphone with a route, or are willing to risk doubling their outing time due to a wrong turn. Maybe it’s time we focus on them more. I can’t say it’s never been in the club’s master plan. I can’t say that I’ve never mentioned those things a million times…..well maybe only a thousand times. I think that my timing isn’t right. I think that maybe in 10 years, if I’m still living here and all those other things get done, then it will be time to move forward on my vision of mountain biking in El Paso.
So you may be asking yourself, “What’s the problem Big Dave? Why aren’t you willing to guide the club in that direction? Why aren’t you willing to push for those things that are less visionary?” I could care less about trail signs and parking lots. To me, that takes away from what I like about mountain biking. “But Big Dave, you even said that we need those things…trailheads, signage, skills park, etc. Why don’t you continue forward with those plans?”
My question for you is, “Why don’t YOU move forward and do that?” I had a guy tell me recently, “We need a Saturday race series here.” I said, “Hell yeah we do! Why don’t you start one?” He didn’t like that response. Lots of people have lots of really good ideas. When it comes down to it, only a few have the time, or are willing to make the time to do the things that make our community a better place. I probably could squeeze in the time to keep this club rolling. Hell, I’ve done very little in regards to anything club related in the last couple of years anyway, so why get out now? That’s just it. I’ve done very little and I know so much more can be done. I need out for a while. We need someone else to motivate the mountain bikers of El Paso to go to city council meetings (with a 90% chance that you will totally be wasting your time), show up for trail building and maintenance, lead ride clinics, volunteer for races, draw up plans for parking lots, apply for city permits, manage emails, communicate with IMBA, and so on. I feel like I’m not doing it effectively and with my attitude over the past few months, I need to step out for an undetermined amount of time.
Hopefully someone will step in. I’m hoping that someone shows up to our club meeting Tuesday night at 6 at Ardovino’s on Sean Haggerty. FYI, for all you Redd Rd. riders out there, that’s in the Northeast. Even if you aren’t a paid member, if you love mountain biking half as much as I do, please come to the meeting. It might motivate you to do more.