Anneke Beerten, Lea Davison, Curtis Keene, Christoph Sauser and Todd Wells among Specialized pros pitching in on a special volunteer work day on the flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest
By Michele Lamelin
Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) and Specialized Bicycles are teaming up for a special Volunteer Trail Work Day on the flow trail at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) on Tuesday April 14. Ten of the world’s top Specialized pro riders – in town for the Santa Cruz Cruz Mountain Bike Festival and Sea Otter Classic – will be helping out on the home stretch of this innovative trail project built in partnership between MBoSC and land manager SDSF California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
Specialized pros slated to join MBoSC volunteer crews include Anneke Beerten, Lea Davison, Matt Hunter, Curtis Keene, Christoph Sauser, and Todd Wells. Specialized Advocacy Manager Lucy August-Perna says, “We’re thrilled so many of our athletes from all over the world could join us in this effort. As riders, we all want to enjoy and help grow the sport of mountain biking. A critical piece of that is taking good care of the places we love to ride. Specialized is proud to partner with MBoSC on this event and we extend a huge thank you to the volunteers who dedicate much of their time and energy to build and maintain trails.”
MBoSC President Mark Davidson applauds Specialized Bicycles’ commitment to advocacy efforts, noting that Specialized has been a long time supporter of mountain biking advocacy in Northern California. “Back in early 2006, Specialized provided the funding to hire IMBA’s first California staff member, Tom Ward.” Davidson adds, “MBoSC greatly appreciates Specialized’s support of our events and projects. We’re excited about their pro riders helping out with the berms and features on the flow trail, and we’re looking forward to riding the results of their hard work and creativity!”
Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome to pitch in for the April 14 trail work event; trail building experience is NOT required. MBoSC’s supportive, experienced crew leaders and trail builders are happy to teach trail work technique, and there’s a wide array of tasks to help with. Plus, volunteers get to test ride and dial in the final section of the flow trail before it opens. Registration is required; learn more and sign up here.
The pros on trail building
Lea Davison’s career highlights include 11th place in the 2012 Olympics, World Cup podiums, and 2013 National Champion. She also took 1st place last year at the Santa Cruz Super Enduro (her first enduro!) which ran at Soquel Demonstration State Forest. With her sister, Davison founded Little Bellas, a non-profit mentoring program designed to get more girls involved with mountain bike racing. She acknowledges the importance of trail building and says, “Trail building is the very foundation of what I do. Without the the hours of hard work from trail builders and volunteers, I simply wouldn’t be able to ride and race my mountain bike. For that, I am incredibly grateful.”
Curtis Keene is a world-renowned downhill mountain bike racer who found his true passion racing Enduro. Downhill wins include Sea Otter, Crankworx, USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals; with Enduro putting him on NAET and EWS top steps. Keene is glad to pitch in with this project. He says, “I personally am a big fan of trail building. I do a lot of it in the off season on my local trails for various reasons. Safety, enjoyment and to see others enjoy themselves out there. It’s a win/win for everyone.”
Christoph Sauser is a UCI Marathon World Champion, a World Cup overall winner, four times World Champion and Olympic medalist. Sauser reflects, “Without trails, no riding! A good trail is the heart of mountain biking. Nothing adds a bigger smile on my face then a ride in nature discovering new soil under my tires. That’s why it is important that we help to maintain the existing trails or building new ones in balance with the nature and communities.”
Todd Wells has represented the USA in mountain biking at three Olympics and has won nine National Championship titles across four disciplines in addition to many other notable wins. He also helped secure a grant for the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bike Association for $50,000, and is a proud Dad. Trail building and maintenance is important to Wells for a number of reasons. He explains, “Trail building/maintenance is important to me for a number of reasons: First, it is where I love to ride and get outside. It gives a sense of freedom and remoteness in an ever urbanizing world. It is also where I compete and do my job. Without trails I wouldn’t have a job or a place to train. Trails make it possible to expose people that maybe wouldn’t get out and explore our forests and parks an avenue and reason to do so. I’m looking forward to our trail day in Santa Cruz because it’s a chance to connect with other people that love trails and riding bikes.”
Read our article about the flow trail at SDSF: Digging the Flow by Matt De Young with photos by Bogdan Marian.