Some of my best times as a mountain biker have occurred when I wasn’t on a bike.
I started at Growlers when there were no trails. We’ve been responsible for building every foot of single-track in the system.
Back then, it quickly became apparent that one or two people couldn’t get much done, so we began getting small groups together to work on trail projects. During the 2000’s, Growlers started gaining a bit of notoriety. Our work party numbers grew as a result. Instead of 8 to 12 people, we were getting 25 to 40.
I dreamed of organizing a work party of 100 or more, but it was so far from reality that I didn’t think it would ever happen.The 2010 build of Legacy got us close, with 92 people on hand. I suppose it didn’t help our numbers that we were building in a clear cut in 34 degree weather with intermittent snow. You know how it is at Growlers – nothing comes easily.
Century builds with GGR inolvement –
- 2014 Coldwater – 105
- 2014 Growlers (Trust Me) – 130
- 2015 Growlers (ABV and other projects) – 110
- 2016 SHIFT (Marble Mountain) – 115
- 2017 Growlers (Creek Trail, Road Trails, Big Wow) – 116
None of this happens without a lot of history. As I mentioned in the article I wrote about work party organization, you have to know people. When you get to be my age and have been a mountain biker for 20+ years, you tend to have connections.
And what fantastic connections they are.
Despite the loss of so many great people over the years, we always seem to reload and come back better than ever.
I want to make it clear that none of this happens without help from everyone who has been dedicated to Growlers. I can send out messages and make sure everyone is informed, but it’s the people who come out for one work party after another – despite the weather and the difficulty level – and even drag friends along to lend a hand that make us who we are.
It’s possible we may have a few more century builds in the future, but even if we don’t I will always look back on these work parties as highlights of my biking career.