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  1. #1
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    CO MSC series anti trail maintenance? (xpost to Passion)

    I just got this email from Bicycle Colorado. Interesting debate. I guess racing is more important than advocacy for some folks. So much for "giving back."
    ************************************************** ********************************
    Dear mountain bike friends and advocates,

    I have been receiving several questions about Bicycle Colorado’s PayDirt for this season. So, I’ll take this opportunity to bring you up to speed on the status of the program.

    As you know, Colorado PayDirt was inactive last year at the request of Mountain States Cup (MSC), the Colorado mountain bike racing championship series.

    Local trail advocacy groups have reported a subsequent drop in volunteer participation. More alarming, Colorado is now among the top 5 Most Threatened states per IMBA’s 2003 report card.

    We have been working with MSC to resurrect the program for 2004. As in years past, we asked MSC to provide first-place equivalent bonus points as incentive for racers to do trail work.

    Mountain States Cup has declined.

    Bicycle Colorado has devoted its own resources to operate PayDirt. We maintain all records of hours worked and bonus points earned, verify validity of hours, answer all participant questions, and host the Colorado PayDirt website. This year we slated improvements to encourage more participation by including additional race series, providing more incentive to racers and non-racers alike, and additional efforts to raise awareness of PayDirt and its supporters.

    Bicycle Colorado does all this free of charge to race promoters, trail groups, or the industry. In other PayDirt states race promoters run the program themselves, and even donate a portion of entry fees to advocacy. They understand PayDirt is important to sustaining their business and the sport.

    PayDirt encourages mountain bike racers to donate 5 hours per year toward maintaining trails, by rewarding them with points in the racing series. In two years alone, Colorado’s trails enjoyed the benefits of over 1800 volunteer hours of trail work. Racers are supportive of PayDirt too; over 70% of those competing for the series title participated in 2001.

    Bicycle Colorado still plans to provide the official Colorado Mountain Bike Trail Work Calendar and will continue to work with the state’s other trail care groups. We are looking for a replacement program, yet recognize the difficulty of a start-up program to replicate the 900+ volunteer-hours PayDirt yields per year.

    Bicycle Colorado is still willing to operate PayDirt if MSC comes on board. In the mean time, you are welcome to let the promoters know how important PayDirt is to the MTB community. Their contact info can found by following the event links on: http://www.handlebarandgrill.com/htm/comp/schedule.htm

    If you have additional questions about PayDirt, the negotiations between Bicycle Colorado and MSC, or would like offer support for PayDirt, reply to this email or call mw at 303.417.1544. If you would like to post a trail project on the calendar, complete a listing at http://bicyclecolo.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=387.

    I’ll keep you posted when we know more.

    www.bicyclecolorado.org

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    Redstone Cyclery
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  2. #2
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    Interesting...

    Being stuck out here in Socali hell for the past two years, I had no Idea the program was suspended, but I'm not surprized. When I used to organize Traildays for TCS you would get racers all showing up in mass in August and Early September to get their Paydirt points. Most had good attitudes but there was always the underlying *****ing about how other competitors that they had beaten in the series finished ahead of them due to the Paydirt points in previous years.

    These were the racers that made in effort to show up for trail work. I'm certain there were many others that didn't and put some serious pressure on the series to kill this program.

    Too bad, let's face it. 5 hours of trail work in a years time is the minimum these people who are probably out using the trail systems more than most users to train should be putting back. It's a shame the series gave in to this pressure.

  3. #3
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    Those numbers are misleading, to say the least. "PayDirt" points could be accumulated tow ways, by doing trail maintenance or volunteering at the races. Many racers opted to volunteer at the races as a course marshall or other low-labor task. Not only were PayDirt (or "Crew For A Day") points awarded for the series, but often the volunteer was comped an entry for the race. "Trail Maintenance" was also dubious... more often than not PayDirt points were awarded to racers that helped to dig DH courses, XC courses, and Dual Slalom or 4X courses for the series. Hardly what I would call trail maintenance.

    And to be completely honest, I myself benefitted from the PayDirt program by helping to build several 4X courses in my day. Actually, I worked so much at last year's races, both as crew and digging, that I could have won the Expert points chase on PayDirt hours alone, had the program still been in place.

    It IS sad that the program was suspended from the MSC, and subsequently the participation has fallen off, but the writing was on the wall. All the racer's complained about having to do the trail work, or getting beaten by someone that had, or whatever. It was also seen as only benefitting the race promoters in the end, and not the mtn biking community as a whole when all was said and done. If the program were to be re-instated, I would hope that more stringent rules concerning the TYPE of trail work eligible could be imposed. All though it was a pain in the ass at times, at the heart of it was a good idea.

  4. #4
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    Why should these activities be linked?

    Guys -

    Racing is (in my opinion) a worthwhile activity. Trail maintenance is (in my opinion) a worthwhile activity. Does that mean that participation in one should mandate a participation in the other?

    These are disparate things. Just because trail maintenance "gives back to the sport" does not mean it should be mandatory if you participate in the sport. Rather, it should be left to individual decisions about contributing and volunteering as pertains to one's and personal values.

    Lastly, I want the race winner to be the fastest, not the best volunteer.

  5. #5
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    Not neccessarily ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker
    Those numbers are misleading, to say the least. "PayDirt" points could be accumulated tow ways, by doing trail maintenance or volunteering at the races. Many racers opted to volunteer at the races as a course marshall or other low-labor task. Not only were PayDirt (or "Crew For A Day") points awarded for the series, but often the volunteer was comped an entry for the race. "Trail Maintenance" was also dubious... more often than not PayDirt points were awarded to racers that helped to dig DH courses, XC courses, and Dual Slalom or 4X courses for the series. Hardly what I would call trail maintenance.

    And to be completely honest, I myself benefitted from the PayDirt program by helping to build several 4X courses in my day. Actually, I worked so much at last year's races, both as crew and digging, that I could have won the Expert points chase on PayDirt hours alone, had the program still been in place.

    It IS sad that the program was suspended from the MSC, and subsequently the participation has fallen off, but the writing was on the wall. All the racer's complained about having to do the trail work, or getting beaten by someone that had, or whatever. It was also seen as only benefitting the race promoters in the end, and not the mtn biking community as a whole when all was said and done. If the program were to be re-instated, I would hope that more stringent rules concerning the TYPE of trail work eligible could be imposed. All though it was a pain in the ass at times, at the heart of it was a good idea.
    I have some friends in Medicine Wheel, in Colorado Springs that do lots of trail
    work, for example in Palmer Park, Ute Valley Park, etc.

    They are quite disappointed that this program has ended. They had perhaps
    20 races come and join them to work on trails. This year, they expect far fewer
    (approaching zero) racers.

    No offense to races (as I am one), but many aren't going to do trail work unless they
    are pushed into it.

    The program might benefit from an overhaul, but scrapping it is the wrong approach.
    I know my friend, who has also been an avid MSC racer int he past (took 2nd in
    has age/class last year) is boycotting MSC this year.
    The Lee-Man

    A witty saying proves nothing. -- Voltaire

  6. #6
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    You're the exception though

    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom
    Guys -

    Racing is (in my opinion) a worthwhile activity. Trail maintenance is (in my opinion) a worthwhile activity. Does that mean that participation in one should mandate a participation in the other?

    These are disparate things. Just because trail maintenance "gives back to the sport" does not mean it should be mandatory if you participate in the sport. Rather, it should be left to individual decisions about contributing and volunteering as pertains to one's and personal values.

    Lastly, I want the race winner to be the fastest, not the best volunteer.
    You are the exception, though (as I guess I am) if you race and work on trails.

    It's one thing to say "Yeah, I believe in giving back", and it's evidently another
    to actually make the time to work on the trails.

    And, BTW, it's not about the best volunteer -- you don't get more points for volunteering
    lots of times.

    Personally, I'd like to see the program extended to give points for bike patrolling,
    since I'm recruiting for the bike patrol in Boulder. Again, lots of folks say they
    believe in the bike patrol, but many have something else to do when it comes time
    to actually give back.

    Okay, I feel like a preacher, so I'll get off my soap box and get ready to get
    blasted.
    The Lee-Man

    A witty saying proves nothing. -- Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeMan
    They are quite disappointed that this program has ended. They had perhaps 20 races come and join them to work on trails. This year, they expect far fewer (approaching zero) racers.
    It IS dissappointing the program has, for the time being, ended. As I stated in my post, at the root of the program was a good idea. It is unfortunate that more riders (racers and non-racers alike) cannot find more time to maintain the trails and areas in which they ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeMan
    The program might benefit from an overhaul, but scrapping it is the wrong approach. I know my friend, who has also been an avid MSC racer int he past (took 2nd in has age/class last year) is boycotting MSC this year.
    Is your friend boycotting the MSC due to the dropping of the PayDirt program, or because of the quality of race events that are being put on? I personally feel that we are darn fortunate to have the caliber of events taht we have here in the Rocky Mtn region, many top pros that have raced events in the MSC have gone on record saying they are some of the most well put-on events in the country, including the NORBA national series.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeMan
    Okay, I feel like a preacher, so I'll get off my soap box and get ready to get blasted.
    No blasting from me, I promise! Public Forum=Public debate, super cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeMan
    And, BTW, it's not about the best volunteer -- you don't get more points for volunteering lots of times.
    This is is very true, a racer could only get a certain amount of points no matter how much trailwork they did, or Crew For A Day, or whatever. It IS true, however, that overall podium postitions for the series titles were made and lost on PayDirt points in 2002, the last year of the program. In fact, I remember more than one racer SCRAMBLING at the last minute (at the Keystone finals, actually) to get in some Crew For A Day hours so they wouldn't lose their #1 series position. Is this the type of attitude that we want to instill in our volunteers, that of "having" to do volunteer work to make the cut? Garbage in, Garbage out, right?

    However, I also see a DESPERATE NEED to get people, racers, riders, everyone off of their collective butts and out there working on some trails. In that case, going to the race community for labor is a GREAT idea. As for pulling in the racers for PayDirt, I don't believe I ever once saw a BicycleCO tent or booth up at a race, advocating trail maintenance and driving to sign up rides/racers to help with the general cause. It was aways just "Do this and get first place points!" Also, there are FAR more riders than there are racers, and what is BicycleCO doing to pull those people in for trail maintanence? I see no brochures at my LBS. Do they run ads in VeloNews or Rocky Mountain Sports? Keep in mind, I am not pointing fingers, just brain-dumping on other possible ways to get people out and digging for a day.

    I don't think the MSC is ANTI-trail maintenance, in fact, some of the promoters of the races in the series have spent more time behind a shovel than most people spend riding. It's just that the overall concensus of the race population was to do away with the program. Was it the wisest of choices? In some ways yes, in some ways no. It does put it on BicycleCO to find new and improved ways of filling it's volunteer slots, certainly.

  9. #9
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    He's mad at MSC

    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker
    Is your friend boycotting the MSC due to the dropping of the PayDirt program, or because of the quality of race events that are being put on? I personally feel that we are darn fortunate to have the caliber of events taht we have here in the Rocky Mtn region, many top pros that have raced events in the MSC have gone on record saying they are some of the most well put-on events in the country, including the NORBA national series.
    Hi FT:

    He is boycotting because he thinks MSC was irresponsible for dropping the program,
    since the program helped get trail work done in Colorado Springs.

    He's been managing trail work, particularly in Palmer Park, for perhaps 5 or more
    years. (He lives a few blocks from the park.) He was there when Medicine Wheel
    started (which predates IMBA, I belive).
    The Lee-Man

    A witty saying proves nothing. -- Voltaire

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