One of the biggest problems that we face as a club of volunteers, is dissemination of information to our members. While our website serves us well, especially in the forums, it seems that we come up short when trying to update our membership with club news. And there is a lot of news to share…
To begin with, you may know that we are in the midst of our yearly membership drive. In January and February, we encourage club members to renew their membership. This way, we can budget our funds for the upcoming year. And it simplifies the process of when a member is due to renew.
The executive board recently added new membership giving levels. We did not raise the basic rates of membership, instead we have added to them and are offering an enticement to raise your contribution. The 2009 membership structure:
Basic Membership $20
Fat Tire Family $25
Middle Ring Supporter $40
Big Ring Supporter $100
Corporate Singletrack $200
Corporate Big Air $500
Corporate Mojo Sponsor $1,000
Contributions at or above Middle Ring ($40) will receive a voucher for a Trailblazer t-shirt. You can register on-line from our homepage or mail in your registration, also available online.
As in all things voluntary, we sometimes have a bit of a lag in getting updates and / or upgrades to our website. There may be a few issues with online contributions at certain levels, but our membership director, Emily Sardonas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emily can help you through the process.
That said, what happens to our raised funds? Well, recently we have rebuilt our Ditch Witch track machine, purchased two trailers to move our heavy equipment (which includes the aforementioned Ditch Witch, a BobCat, and a Volvo mini-excavator. In addition we have an enclosed trailer that houses our Suzuki 4 wheeler, dump trailers, chainsaws and countless trail tools). Just keeping our fleet of mechanized machinery up and running can be a task in and of itself.
Recently (at our December meeting) the club voted to approve the spending of $10K to hire Trail Dynamics (www.traildynamics.com) to punch the trail corridor of Phase IVa at
This is the first time (other than the point trail at the USNWC) that the club has paid to get trail on the ground. But we feel it is the wave of the future for the Trailblazers.
So much so, that Jeff Archer has submitted a Recreational Trail Program grant application to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for $75,000 for Phase V at LNSP. 255 acres and upwards of 11.5 miles of additional trail awaits us in this Phase. Once again, the Trailblazers would hire a trail construction company to blast the corridor and then rely on the Trailblazer faithful to groom and apply the finishing touches to the trail. It’s a scene that will become more familiar to club members in the future.
The Trailblazers have received grants totaling $10K (a $5K, NCDENR, Adopt-A-Trail grant and a $5K grant from REI) to construct the trail corridor, once again through a trail construction company. Then we’ll rely on the Trailblazer faithful to finish the trail. Sound familiar? The work Brian and other members have already provided to lay out the trail easily exceeds 200 hours total to date.
The Lakewood Community and TFK’s were recently awarded a grant through REI that will amount to $12.5K to construct a trail in this community. This is the feel good project of the year! Once again, the Trailblazers will oversee the construction of the trail corridor by a trail construction firm and then rely on you, our faithful membership to groom the trail. Sounds like a broken record, I know, but it’s the wave of the future for trail construction in our area. The community sits on the edge of a proposed CMP&R Greenway and will provide connectivity that the community hasn’t enjoyed in ages. And we’re all a part of it, each and every member of our club…
Edward Autry has recently submitted an application for an Adopt-A-Trail grant to NCDENR for the construction of a trail corridor at
We have recently been contacted by
So in closing, I would like to thank you, our members for your hard work, dedication, donations of time and money as we together are making a difference, a HUGE difference in our community. Our economic times our tough, what better way to help us through it than to contribute to the betterment of the Metro-Charlotte community.
It’s membership time.
Think about it.
After serving 2 years on the executive board, vice president Jerry Adams and I are stepping down at the end of our collective terms, effective December 31, 2007...However, as many of you already know, former executive board members never really go away, we just kinda lurk in the shadows...I know that I still have several irons in the fire that I want / need to accomplish, and Jerry is always looking for that next parcel of land to build on...
I must admit that I have had many sleepless nights, worrying about who would pick up the baton and run with it in 2008. I was more than relieved and greatly excited to learn that Jim Grover, our resident legal expert, was interested in accepting the nomination of club president...Jim is a man of great integrity and has a deep passion for our sport...His leadership will chart a new course for the club, and I look forward to a host of interesting projects and innovative programs...
Paul Bellin, the club's volunteer coordinator for the past several years and an individual that always steps up and becomes involved for the betterment of our club has agreed to his nomination as club vice president...Paul's attention to detail and his keen relationships throughout the sport will assist Jim and the executive board in continuing to steer the club forward...
Leah Mitcham has agreed to return for a second year as club secretary...Leah has been prompt and efficient in her duties and is always ready to voice her opinion...Her dual membership with the Dirt Divas provides us a liaison between the clubs...
Frankie Pietras, former two term club president and trail coordinator has agreed to continue on in his role as club treasurer...As treasurer, Frankie has helped turn the club from money strapped to one that operates comfortably in the black...His conservative financial nature has helped the club grow financially and has us on stable ground...
Along with a multitude of role players, I am pleased to introduce these individuals as our executive nominees for the 2008 Trailblazer season...The election will be held at our next club meeting, November 1st...
Your continued support and dedication to the club will result in an ever expanding trail system, one that will elevate the Metro-Charlotte area to new heights, and to continue to be a model volunteer organization for generations to come...
Tom Mathews, President
But for now, I’m back! And there is so much to celebrate!
To celebrate the completion of Sherman Branch, the Trailblazers invite you to attend the grand opening celebration, as we kick off BIKE!
The big news in the
At the USNWC, the completion of the “Figure 8” marks the final piece of the re-connect of our beloved “Catawba”.
And while we’re discussing celebrations, what better way to celebrate than uniting two of our most loyal and dedicated mountain bikers, Dirt Diva/Trailblazer
It’s hard to believe that we’re preparing to celebrate yet another Thanksgiving. This is always a time for reflection on exactly what it is that we are thankful for. And this year has been one of many blessings.
I’m thankful for this club, the Tarheel Trailblazers, and the individuals that continue to step up to the plate, tirelessly giving of their precious time to make the mountain bike community in the Metro Charlotte area stronger and offering riding options to all riding styles…
I’m thankful for our executive board, VP, Jerry Adams, the ying to my yang, to Frankie Pietras, who holds the purse strings and keeps us financially secure, and to outgoing secretary, Jennifer Dilworth, who I look upon as a sister. I appreciate all of her hard work and dedication. Now take some quality time Jen, plan that wedding (congrats
I’m thankful for all the individuals that gave of their time to attend the Sherman Branch neighborhood meetings, to show their support and to make the approval of a trail system at the “Branch”, a reality. Thanks to Jerry Adams and unsung hero, Steve Kiker, as they built a solid 7.5 miles of trail in under 6 months. And there’s more to come. I’m thankful for the volunteers and Boy Scouts (thanks Wes) that have provided the much needed bridges on the property.
I’m thankful for the individuals that stood strong during the closing of Catawba, those that have worked behind the scenes to keep the trail cleared during the closing. Frankie P. for his vision and trail design skills in getting the trails back in order (with more to come).
I’m thankful for former club president, Jeff Smith, grant writer/trail builder Bryan Hines for their efforts to make the
I’m thankful for our local cycling promoter, Neal Boyd, who selflessly gives of himself to provide the entire cycling community top quality events that many of us take for granted. Neal has his finger on the pulse of the cycling community and is a friend and confidant to the president. Thanks Neal…
I’m thankful for our sister club, the Dirt Divas, to Cynthia Lipski, a good friend and wonderful person that has never failed to give her time, whenever I asked. I’ll miss her as my counterpart but we’ll remain close friends and associates. Thanks to Anna Hernstein who worked with me to put on the Bike!
I’m thankful for Dan Burns and Ivan Konerman, two individuals that have stepped up to provide us with incredible maps of our parks. Look for them (maps) in the first quarter of 2007.
I’m thankful for the relationship that Jacob Burns and I have fostered, as we work together to provide advanced skill opportunities to the cycling community. The PASA constructed pump track at
I’m thankful for Pel Deal, who has wrapped his arms around the club membership and organized it into a usable form, for working hard to welcome new members in a timely fashion and to provide the executive board with interesting demographics.
Thanks to all of you that purchased more than 300 Trailblazer emblazoned garments over the past year. The logo is out there, front and center and the community are now aware of us and we are considered to be THE volunteer organization in the
I’m thankful for all of my brothers and sisters that continue to work toward expanding riding opportunities in the Metro-Charlotte region. To Doug Satterwhite, Paul Belin, Kim Rodden, Joe Recore, Scott Trotter, Mark Sullivan, Brian Malec, Chris Nixon, Edward Autry, Scott Hubbs, Eric Troutman, Cathi and Rod Mowery, David Rodden, Bart Stetler, Jack Crouch, Tom Waldron and the Ranks, Rick Hoffarth, bOb Karriker, Jeff Archer, all the supportive bike shops, Turner Bikes, Cathy Turpin, Travis and Lyndsay, my mom, my employer that gives me a little extra rope, and to all of you that continue to work behind the scenes to make the Trailblazer vision come true.
Our RED jerseys are in! Jerry Adams is currently sorting through them and will have them for distribution at the meeting on Thursday night! They are smokin' hot!
On Saturday, the USNWC will hold its White Water Festival, and the Trailblazers and Dirt Divas will be on hand to sell jerseys, memberships and to lead trail rides around the facility...We're always looking for volunteers, please stop by between 10:00 and 2:00 and lend a hand!
The Dirt Divas/Trailblazers End of Year Party will be held at the Field Trail Barn at Anne Springs Greenway in Fort Mill, SC on Sunday, November 5th, from 1:00 - 6:00 PM.Group rides start at 1:30 and food will be served at 4:00.Please RSVP to email@example.com to make your reservation. Trailblazer members are requested to make a $5 donation to cover costs. We'll be selling jerseys and I'm sure there will be some available as raffle prizes! It'll be a blast!
Last, but certainly not lease, the Big Stampede rolls into Lowes Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov 12th. This is a huge swap meet, and the Trailblazers will be hosting 30 and 50 miles fully supported road rides, The Southside Spanker on the Northside! I believe the ride time is 11:00 am, but please check for details on our website at www.tarheeltrailblazers.com. We are in need of volunteers to man rest stops and registration, serve food and tear down following the event. We also needs assistance to mark the course on Sat the 11th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As we enter the fall of the season, baseball’s playoffs are in full swing. Players are stepping up to the plate, in an attempt to deliver for their club. A season that stretches for the better part of nine months is getting down to the nitty gritty. Who will step up and come through for their team?
I’m often asked about what benefit an individual will receive from joining the Trailblazers. To me, the answer is simple, but their question is somewhat backwards. What would joining our club do for us - The Trailblazer faithful? That answer can only come from our devoted members, many of whom give so much to the cycling community and seemingly get little in return.
But that return on investment is big for our volunteers. People like club Vice President Jerry Adams, who along with unsung hero Steve Kiker have built 6.5 miles of trail in 5 months time. Suddenly folks in the
Frankie Pietras, a long time Trailblazer member, current club Treasurer, club Trail Coordinator, and former two term club President, continues to plow forward on the trail reconnect at the USNWC. Tireless volunteers like Kim Rodden, Joe Recore and Scott Trotter (to name a few), have invested countless hours in their efforts to rebuild and replace what may have been lost during the construction phase of the park. Some like to sit back and criticize the Trailblazers for the loss of trails, while others, like these volunteers, see the glass is half full and drive themselves “full steam ahead” to make the trail better than ever.
Over the past couple of months, we have received donations from participants in our local races. Individuals that come out to race their friends week in and week out, to test themselves on Trailblazer built and maintained trails. Then taking their prize money and donating their winnings back to the club in an effort to say “Thank You” for what the club has provided for them. Within the past week, a loyal Trailblazer dropped us a check for $2,500, and apologized for not being able to donate his time. But money always helps. And we sincerely appreciate the gift!.
We enter the fall season looking for members to step up and volunteer for the executive board of the club. Unfortunately, no one at this time has seen fit to throw their hat into the ring. As President, I told the membership that I would accept the position for one year. That time is coming to a close and it looks as if I will remain as club president by default. I am however fortunate to have a board of directions that stands behind me and will return for a second year. In addition to Jerry and Frankie, already mentioned above, Jennifer Dilworth, our “Girl Friday” and secretary will also return.
To those that can’t seem to find the time to get involved on any level, I challenge you to look at your life and your schedule and see where it is that you can indeed fit in to the inner workings of the Trailblazers. I am a single dad, raising an 18 year old son on my own, trying to prepare him for college and the future beyond. I have a 21 year old daughter that graduates college in the spring and needs help in preparing for grad school. I have recently taken on more responsibility on my job. A 50 hour work week is getting to be the norm. I try to maintain a 120 mile relationship. My ride time is slowly dwindling. But you know what? For the love and belief in the friends that I have made in this community, and the Tarheel Trailblazers and Dirt Divas, it’s worth all the effort. All the juggling of my time and my life, to help in some small way to provide our community with a trail system we can all be proud of.
In the weeks ahead, we have several big events that need our attention.
Race promoter extraordinaire,
On Saturday, November 5th, the USNWC will celebrate their Grand Opening and have invited the Trailblazers and their sisters at the Dirt Divas to man (woman) a tent and to lead some small group rides around the trails. Volunteers are needed! Contact
On Sunday November 6th, the Dirt Divas and Trailblazers host their second annual “End of Season” party at Anne Spring Greenway in
Then on Sunday, November 12th, the Trailblazers host the second annual “Southside Spanker on the Northside” (it’s a long story, don’t ask) a 30 and 50 mile supported road ride, leaving the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the “Big Stampede”. This is a huge fundraiser for our club and once again, volunteers are needed! Contact Neal at: email@example.com
We will be starting efforts to construct a new trail at Please, take a long, hard, look at YOUR club, see in it the fun it has given you, and step up to the plate. Volunteer, support YOUR club. We’re only as good as our membership.
Please, take a long, hard, look at YOUR club, see in it the fun it has given you, and step up to the plate. Volunteer, support YOUR club. We’re only as good as our membership.
Paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your club can do for you, ask what you can do for your club”.
President, Tarheel Trailblazers
For starters, I just wanted to remind EVERYONE that there is NO August meeting tonight. I have caught a little grief over the cancellation, but there are many conflicting activities scheduled for this evening and our summer attendance has been a little off. Suffice it to say that I will use today’s Blog to discuss the various ongoing activities.
The Cane Creek Cup Series makes it annual stop at the USNWC (Catawba) on Sunday, August 20th. We are in need of volunteers for everything from registration to timing and scoring, course marshals, you name it. Our resident cycling promoter,
To volunteer for the upcoming race, please contact Neal at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a workday at Catawba, scheduled for this coming Sunday, August 6th. Mike Kafsky of the USNWC is spearheading the project along with the Trailblazer faithful. Efforts to complete and open the park continue and I’m certain the White Water faithful are every bit as excited to get in there as we are. Additional scheduling information can be found, here.
Jerry Adams and Steve Kiker continue to lead the trail building effort at
No news is good news concerning our grant application for construction of a trail network in
Fall is just around the corner and with the fall of leaves will come the layout of a new trail at
And while we’re discussing
We continue to mourn the death of Bill Austin at
The latest and greatest, Special Edition Tarheel Trailblazer jersey is now on sale. This jersey features a red to black fade. The garment is the popular short sleeve jersey with mesh shoulder/side panels and full zipper. The jersey is offered to members of the Trailblazers and Dirt Divas for a paltry $50 (MSRP $85) and for $65 to non-members. The non-member fee will include the club membership at a $5 discount. Savings abound! For more details, go here.
Well, I know that there are about a hundred other items that I have missed, please join us at our September meeting (September 7) at 7:30 PM at Jacks on
On Sunday, we were graced by 34 volunteers from REI, who along with 11 Trailblazers, descended upon the trails at the USNWC…The plan was simple: utilize the provided workforce to rough in a new (albeit temporary) access trail to join into the base of the “Trail of Joy”. A quick drop into that area had been constructed last year to accommodate races at Catawba. The trail was by no means sustainable and has been a thorn in our side since its inception. Half of the work crew descended on that section and in less than 3 hours time, had constructed a ¼ mile of trail! Unbelievable…The trail will be much more sustainable and at the same time, significantly safer than the previous attempt.
While that effort was under underway, the other half of the crew attacked a new trail that will be necessary to connect the south end of the park to the two miles of sweet single track on the north end of the park.
We estimate an effort of +/- 150 man/woman hours. A big thank you to the REI crew and to the Trailblazer faithful, who gave up their Sunday afternoon and flocked to the park on (very) short notice!
Our excitement was somewhat tempered as news of the death of Bill Austin percolated through in bits and pieces. Bill was involved in an accident at Renaissance Park on Sunday morning. Bill had recently joined the Trailblazers, and after reading his obituary, it seems that my life would have been a touch more complete had I known this caring individual. His wife Susan has requested riding partners though our sisters in the Dirt Divas, as this would be a significant part of her healing process. The family was kind to name the Trailblazers as beneficiaries of donations in Bill’s name. We will work with the family to develop a community service project in Bill’s name.
I was also saddened to learn of the passing of Adam vonOlhausen’s wife Linda, also on Sunday. Adam is an employee of Joe Gibbs Racing and we’ve been friends for upwards of 10 years now. Adam competes on occasion in the SuperSport division of the Summer Race Series and is a lover of two wheels.
Two painful losses in such a short period of time.
The Charlotte cycling community is one of a tight knit group that rises to the occasion when one of our own is in need. The “Ride for Recovery” to benefit Vance Price who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and “Cycle Charlotte” in memory of Todd Weaver, killed when struck by a city bus, are just two examples of the strength, love and care that local cyclists have for their own. Let’s keep the families of Bill and Linda in our thoughts and prayers and not forget the healing process takes time. Let’s not forget Susan and Adam after the dust settles. Take some time, contact them, let them know that you and our entire cycling community care.
We own and maintain many tools (as a matter of fact, we recently purchased 12 new McCleods). We own and continue to purchase items such as chainsaws, bus hogs, and the club recently received a Bobcat through a donation from Ingersol Rand. That piece of equipment will not be cheap to maintain. We are looking into the purchase of a used trailer to transport the Bobcat and are pursuing an articulating blade for the unit. If you've ever attempted to bench cut without one, you'll understand the need. We also have a covered trailer that hauls our tools and ATV (with dump trailer(s); lots of landscape types of hand tools, enough to be able distribute to various trail crews and help do large projects that require a lot of bodies; chainsaws, leaf blower etc. We rely on a lot of volunteer or in-kind efforts to fix and maintain some things but it takes money too. We also have some promotional materials we need and use (flyers, forms, banners etc). Not to mention the social things we do to try to increase awareness of the mtn bike community as a whole (cookouts, Bike Summit pizza nights, etc). No, your membership doesn't get any more access to the trails than if you were just some random rider, but it does help build those trails, maintain them, repair things like broken bridges or downed trees, and continually improve things out there for all riders. Not to mention all the new additions. Every time you see a new little section of trail open up, it's because of the above and the volunteers. The club officers and steering committees spend a lot of time together planning where we're going and what we want to take on.
Which brings us to the best part. Most of all, we rely on you, the volunteers and members, to support the club and what we do, to show up and put in some hours on any of the above and our special events, help find sponsors or donors (some leftover lumber or bags of concrete mix can go a long way), and hopefully help the club function forever. Somewhere we're keeping track of most of the volunteer hours and it's a big number, but we want to see it get bigger. Look at all the new trails on the horizon; we'll need all the help we can get. We'd love it if everyone who rides would just put a few hours into their favorite trail, and sign up so our numbers and voice keep growing.
Our 2006 budget (prior to the gift of the Bobcat) can be found here:
In Neal’s absence, tireless volunteers Paul Bellin and Doug Satterwhite took the reins of last night’s first stop at
Good things are happening at the USNWC (Catawba) as we are on the verge of starting to move dirt and get the re-connect started. Trail Coordinator Frankie Pietras has spent countless hours and has the blessing of
Jerry Adams has been spending time at our newest park, Sherman Branch in southeastern
Our Recreation Trails Program (RTP) grant for construction of trails at
The Meck Co P&R Committee will be voting on a proposed trail system at
In closing, I encourage any of you readers that may be on the fence to join the Trailblazers, Dirt Divas or PASA, as together as clubs we are much stronger and can continue to request access for additional parks land for our favorite sport. Each member is vital to the cause, your support is appreciated!