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  1. #1
    Delirious Tuck
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    Burning Out... Help!

    Not of building but dealing with the shenanigans associated with one of the parks we do TM in. Effectively being viewed like we (mt bikers) are kids at the table and only have MTB related solutions... No matter that none of the other folks have trail training or seem to be interested in it.

    Don't like the competing priorities backed by uneducated and uncompromising attitude.

    Park is fine for MTB and our contributions are acknowledged/view is very positive of us so taking a break wouldn't be worst thing...

    Thoughts on managing burn out? Take a break, adjust approach? I really just wanna ride my bike(s) without worrying...

  2. #2
    I build my own.
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    I've been at this for almost 50 years. I could dig all day every day but I regularly get burned out on the advocacy end of things. I've definitely done more than my share & don't feel the least bit bad about taking a break. I was forced into a 2 year break just recently (cancer) & it was probably the best thing for me. I'm starting out fresh & raring to go.

    Sometimes you just need to back away from a project. It really helps if you can find something else (a private trail or even something not trail related) to work on. I'm fortunate that there are so many places I can build that if I don't want to deal with the bureaucracy I don't have to.

    So yes, I suggest a break.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  3. #3
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    Burnout. That is a hard one. Try taking a break from the politics and PR. Try doing a small, short project where you KNOW you will be appreciated.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  4. #4
    Unpredictable
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    At least we can air our fears here - A different kind of Burnout

    Hi tf. It is such a hard thing being involved at the start of negotiations. By start I mean in what has been agreed to, rather than when negotiations started. We are ahead of you by one step. Our LM is onside with MTB, but they have high expectations of our volunteer group. After 10 years of failed negotiations, we have been given the green light to prove our competence, but key to that is being able to keep proving it. Our LM is National Parks (Qld Australia).

    After months of working our guts out, we are up against 2 big problems. First is persistent heavy rain and subsoil water movement. Second is that local riders are out destroying trails too wet to ride and we seem incapable of stopping them. Without going into detail (or you can check this link Qld- Nerang trail status - Page 2 ), we now face months of extra work to catch up to where we were.

    It's really hard taking this on the chin when you rely on a small number of volunteers. We all find it hard to keep emotion out of it.

    You want to do the right thing and you want to ride as well. You may even want to stop hearing your family complaining about the time you take from them and devote to something that makes you upset at home as well.

    All I can suggest mate is to go for the controlled burn. This thread could be our communal psychologist. Wish you well from Oz.

    One more thing - can anyone help with methods to stabilise newly-constructed and open trail instantly after 250mm of rain in 36 hours (which is what we will have had by midday tomorrow) on top of 500mm in the previous 2 months? We are hurting right now.

  5. #5
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    I wish I had a good solution for you. The only burnout prevention I know is something I/we weren't able to do, and that is to bring volunteers up behind you into the organization. Show them what you know and do, so that the work load is spread out, and they can step in when you step out. I burned out big time, and wasn't able to hardly even ride my mountain bike for 1-1/2 years.

  6. #6
    I build my own.
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    Ridn, I'm in the wettest part of Canada and 25cm of rain in 2 days is considered a natural disaster. I don't think there's a trail builder alive that has a solution for that amount of rain. I know you will have built the trails properly for normal run-off, it's all you could do.
    Hopefully your LM realizes that this is beyond your control.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  7. #7
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    I'm helping getting the ball rolling on making one of our trails systems legit(community college that unoffically was ok with us riding in their woods). I really didn't want to do the advocacy part, because I know it requires alot of work and may be painfully slow but I knew nobody else would step up. There's 2 of us that are kinda co-leaders and there's probably 3 more guys I can rely on to help. Maybe if you're getting frustrated see if anybody else can help carry the load. Good luck
    Misfit diSSent 1x10
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  8. #8
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    Burning Out... Help!

    Ugh...the uneducated "peanut gallery" competing priorities are killer. It's one thing when they come from other user groups but when they come from other riders is what drives me out of my mind.

    Sometimes those priorities come out in planning meetings where they belong (and appropriate explanations can be given) but sometimes they come up on the trail during a work day where they're second guessing every part of an established plan. Sometimes they come via e-mail or forum post from people who feel entitled to input on the process even though they attend neither planning meetings nor work days, and may not even pay club dues. Then they throw a fit when you tell them to come to the next meeting.

  9. #9
    Delirious Tuck
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    Appreciate the support everyone! Many thanks.

    Spent a ton of time this weekend building and thinking about the Burn-out and what to do.

    A good day in the dirt really lets you focus. I love building, its as much a hobby/passion as riding itself. The burn-out is really coming from the organisational and advocacy side of things, happy to work with folks/organizations that appreciate the expertise, skill, and quality of work & influence we bring to the table, the ones that second guess at every step...

    So, will re-prioritize a few things, ask a couple folks to fill in, and then give myself a year or so to re-charge before this makes me bitter to building and riding.

  10. #10
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Ugh...the uneducated "peanut gallery" competing priorities are killer. It's one thing when they come from other user groups but when they come from other riders is what drives me out of my mind.

    Sometimes those priorities come out in planning meetings where they belong (and appropriate explanations can be given) but sometimes they come up on the trail during a work day where they're second guessing every part of an established plan. Sometimes they come via e-mail or forum post from people who feel entitled to input on the process even though they attend neither planning meetings nor work days, and may not even pay club dues. Then they throw a fit when you tell them to come to the next meeting.

    I am very grateful for the wisdom I was given early on, to tune out those people. I would just say silently to them, "show up or shut up". The slightly more polite version is, "when you show up for a work day, a meeting, or write us a check, then we'll be happy to listen to your input".

  11. #11
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    I am very grateful for the wisdom I was given early on, to tune out those people. I would just say silently to them, "show up or shut up". The slightly more polite version is, "when you show up for a work day, a meeting, or write us a check, then we'll be happy to listen to your input".
    Mine is similar. i have it printed on a shirt.
    "If you want to talk to me about the condition of the trails, you'd better have a shovel in your hands."
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefriar View Post
    Appreciate the support everyone! Many thanks.

    Spent a ton of time this weekend building and thinking about the Burn-out and what to do.

    A good day in the dirt really lets you focus. I love building, its as much a hobby/passion as riding itself. The burn-out is really coming from the organisational and advocacy side of things, happy to work with folks/organizations that appreciate the expertise, skill, and quality of work & influence we bring to the table, the ones that second guess at every step...

    So, will re-prioritize a few things, ask a couple folks to fill in, and then give myself a year or so to re-charge before this makes me bitter to building and riding.
    Good choice. Take care of yourself, nothing is going to get done if your enthusiasm dries up.

    Walt

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    Mine is similar. i have it printed on a shirt.
    "If you want to talk to me about the condition of the trails, you'd better have a shovel in your hands."
    Thank you for this one TN. One of the things that wears me down is this. It seems every person who wants to talk to me has an agenda they are pushing.

    I don't expect every single rider to buy my vision, but it becomes painfully obvious after a while that people are just nodding along, not really listening, and waiting for the right moment to plug their brainstorm. Can't you know, just change everything to my liking. Me? No, I have wayyy to much going on in my life to work a whole 4 hours with you. Had no idea you even had volunteer work days. Really? That sign at the trail head has your club website on it? I had no idea. Huh. You guys should really get your message out so people like me can get involved.

    I love working outdoors, making trail. Starting to hate to discuss it with anyone who isn't doing it.

    Walt

  14. #14
    I build my own.
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    I know builders all over the world. They are the ones I discuss trail building with.

    I've done the "these trails have always been here", "if enough people ride on it, it doesn't need maintenance", "I work real hard at my job & my family takes the rest of my time so the 4 or 6 hours I get to ride each week means I have no time for trail work" dance so many times I just don't bother anymore.

    When I ride with groups, I know who builds and who doesn't. As soon as I hear "Somebody should..." I just tune out.

    Works for me.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  15. #15
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    The two worst encounters I had while working on a local project were similar in that individuals cornered me in a non biking situation to berate me about a thing our group had done. We had decommissioned a trail on private property adjacent to a park, at the request of the landowner who overall supported the concept of the public/private partnership. Why did she ask us to to decommission it? It had been built right through her meditation spot and just appeared one day. I don't blame her for being pissed, especially when she was a main supporter. But so much for our education efforts. I was cornered, and lectured about "why the f*** did you have to close that trail down, it was a fun one to ride". Stupid me, I was so floored by being confronted like that in totally out of context situations that I was speechless. I didn't have my "put up or show up" attitude prepared. The worst part about is is one of the guys has property in Moab - how do you think he would like a trail to just show up one day.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pascale27 View Post
    I'm helping getting the ball rolling on making one of our trails systems legit(community college that unoffically was ok with us riding in their woods). I really didn't want to do the advocacy part, because I know it requires alot of work and may be painfully slow but I knew nobody else would step up. There's 2 of us that are kinda co-leaders and there's probably 3 more guys I can rely on to help.
    Much more than three.....we got your back.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    The two worst encounters I had while working on a local project were similar in that individuals cornered me in a non biking situation to berate me about a thing our group had done. We had decommissioned a trail on private property adjacent to a park, at the request of the landowner who overall supported the concept of the public/private partnership. Why did she ask us to to decommission it? It had been built right through her meditation spot and just appeared one day. I don't blame her for being pissed, especially when she was a main supporter. But so much for our education efforts. I was cornered, and lectured about "why the f*** did you have to close that trail down, it was a fun one to ride". Stupid me, I was so floored by being confronted like that in totally out of context situations that I was speechless. I didn't have my "put up or show up" attitude prepared. The worst part about is is one of the guys has property in Moab - how do you think he would like a trail to just show up one day.
    That's over the line IMO. Inexcusable. They would be off my Christmas card list!

    One deal I have trouble with is a friend, who is a pretty good guy otherwise (actually contributes labor among other good qualities), is weirdly attached to an eroded section of trail I want to close. Eventually.

    He (I'm fairly sure) recruited a noob to approach me and beg me not to close it and has spread talk about forming a "joke, ha ha not really" "Save the xxxxx-trail club". Let me back up a step and say that I'm not bothered that someone else might hold a different opinion about a potential trail closure. What makes this case not just simple annoyance is 1) This individual never bothered to inquire why I thought the trail was beyond saving (it's built on top of and downslope from some pretty active seeps) 2) he recruited people who, IMO had no real interest in the matter to join "his side". 3) There's a fairly good alternative route available nearby.

    Not bothering to understand my position, and stirring up opposition is not acceptable behavior in my book. This person now joins the ranks of people I avoid talking trail business with.

    Walt

  18. #18
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    One suggestion I can make to help reduce burnout is to occasionally attend a volunteer trail event and simply swing a tool for the day. If you are well known locally, you may have to drive a fair ways before you reach an event where they don't know you (which is necessary to prevent them from trying to rope you in for greater responsibilities. A trail event with no responsibilities is fun again and seeing how other organizations do things is educational. If you feel the need to lead something, volunteer to focus on a really hard section of construction and gather a mini-crew.

    If you have the option of working for different land managers, I would suggest finding a different one to work with. Find someone who knows what you are bringing to the table and will appreciate your efforts. It is surprising how often a couple of years will turnover the difficult staff members and let you start back up with with new land managers. Once you are gone the existing land managers may have a new appreciation of your contributions and try to lure you back.

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