Knobby tires on natural surface trails: that's the heart of what we do. Picking lines through roots at P1, your first successful pass on any of the 'hero routes' at P2, the switch-back climb up Apple Barn Hill at CR. These are some of the defining moments that riders have on the trails built & maintained by COMBO. Remember back to those first few rides or first few seasons when you really got into mountain biking & think of how your progressions developed and your passion grew.
Those are the moments that sustain us. And they're defined by the ride. But as we continue to develop and grow mountain biking in Central Ohio, there's an opportunity to move beyond the trail. "Beyond the Trail" is about supporting the mountain biking community in ways that add to the overall experience. Many of my most memorable experiences related to mountain biking were those that happened just beyond the trail.
I've stayed up too late the night before the Brown County Epic talking with Paul from HMBA about their efforts in mobilizing volunteers to make sure their voices were heard at public forums. There was that magical morning waking up on the shores of Lake Michigan before the Lumberjack 100 in Manistee. And I think we all can relate to those times hanging out at the trailhead with good friends either before or after a ride. These 'off-bike' experiences are just as important, just as enjoyable as the ride itself.
We realize the importance of supporting not just a dirt path through the woods, but spending just as much time & effort supporting the riders themselves. We need to have great trails. That is & will continue to be the most important part of COMBO's service to the community. Without those trails, none of the rest of this makes much sense. But beyond the commodity level of getting the trails right & making sure that they're properly maintained, I'm excited to see our community of engaged, passionate mountain bikers moving beyond the trail. Here are some great examples of what I'm getting at.
Performance Bicycle Night, Wednesday April 22, 7:30pm
Because of efforts to build better relationships with the bikes shops, we have an opportunity to attend a private COMBO event hosted by our friends at Performance Bicycle. Although some will ride there, it's definitely a social event. It's nowhere near a mountain bike trail... moving beyond the trail. Performance Bicycle has generously offered an extra 10% discount on sale & clearance prices on parts, accessories & clothing. There's a raffle for a Pro G3 bike stand and extra special swag for the Bike Patrollers who donate so much time to help monitor the local trails. More importantly, it's an opportunity to meet & support some amazing people that are doing some really cool things to help grow mountain biking in Central Ohio.
Many of us COMBO volunteers are excited to see events like this come to life. Hopefully you'll take some time to stop by & say hi because it's only through your support that events like this are possible.
Insomnium, May 16th & 17th, Alum Creek Beach & Rockmill Brewery
Here's another great event right around the corner that helps move us beyond the trail. Insomnium is a really cool partnership between some awesome shops coming together in a way that isn't typically done. Spearheaded by roll:, Paradise Garage & BikeSource, this weekend promises to deliver a bike-festival atmosphere you won't soon forget. Food & drinks, music, bike demos, great riding opportunities & amazing people.
Imagine what happens when companies typically seen as competitors pool their talents & resources to create a whole weekend dedicated to serving the cycling community in a festival-type atmosphere. These are the types of events that many folks travel out of the area to attend and we're thrilled to see these sorts of things happening in our back yard!
Another great example of "Moving Beyond the Trail" is Dirt School. Part of the mission of COMBO is rider education and we're constantly reminding ourselves that not everyone has 20 pounds of carbon or 5 bikes in the garage. In order to grow the sport, we've got an opportunity to help introduce mountain biking to a huge population of casual riders who don't quite know how to get started. If you see a large group of people performing skills & drills at the Chestnut Ridge Trailhead this summer, it's probably Dirt School!
Dirt School is a series of rider workshops to help riders get to the next level in their riding skills. The workshops include a FREE Intro to Mountain Biking session & also a 'Shred School' course for the intermediate rider who wants to learn more advanced skills. Both courses are taught by COMBO Volunteers who became Certified Ride Instructors in order to help with this important part of the mission.
There are more events happening this year than ever before for riders in Central Ohio & not just races. Summer Solstice, Comboween, BikeFest, Insomnium, Dirt School, and on & on. In a future post we'll feature some of the trips that COMBO sponsors. In the meantime, get on your bike & make riding these great trails the core of your mountain biking experience. But understand there's a lot more going on that you should really check out. We'll continue to build & maintain awesome trails to ride. That will always be at the core of what we do. Hopefully you're just as excited to check out some of these events that move us "Beyond the Trail".
In the comments section below, feel free to let us know what other types of events you'd like to see in your own backyard. We're always excited to hear what you've got to say.
See you "Beyond the Trails".