Friday, April 30, 2010

Digging the earth

Since the weather's taken a turn for the awesome, Wisconsin has made its annual mass migration to outdoor activities. And since this year I am the master of my schedule, I've been making a point to really enjoy the sunshine as much as possible.

That's still not super easy, as the work that actually makes me money (albeit still very little) tends to be a fairly solitary and indoor activity. And I am, by nature, neither of those things. But what can I say?

Oh writing, I just can't quit you.

Still, one of my other passions pulls me into the woods and countryside of our fair state fairly often: mountain biking. I know I've babbled on about how awesome the sport is before, but as I intend to keep at it until such time as my limbs fall off or something, you'll have to accept that I will be babbling about it more in the future.

I even had the opportunity to write my first mountain bike-centric article for Isthmus, to be published in the not-so distant future. As part of the research for the piece, and because it made for a good excuse to get out and do/see things I've been meaning to do/see for awhile anyway, me and the fella recently joined the Capital Off-Road Pathfinders (CORP for more easier) for an early-morning trail work session out at Cam-Rock.

Turns out the Cam-Rock III trail system, just outside of the quaint village of Cambridge and not so far from Madison, is really very nice. Lots of great, flowing singletrack and some seriously beautiful scenery. CORP and the park folk have done a great job of building and expanding the trails, and they continue to work on them every season.

On the day we went out to pitch in, we ended up assigned to a group that was building berms along the more advanced section of trail. Basically, it became a morning of digging and hauling (gorgeous black) dirt. But we also met some very friendly people and learned a thing or two about good trail construction. We also assisted in the creation of something like seven berms, which was no small feat. Perhaps, after all that work, I'll actually be able to rail said berms in an appropriately sweet and/or gnarly fashion.

I also need to work on my biker slang, apparently.

Anyway, it was good times and I was glad to finally do a bit more to earn my saddle time. See, a big component of mountain biking is the stewardship thing. Good riders are also good about chipping in to help keep the landscape ship-shape.

In addition to wanting to become a better rider for my own personal reasons there's also a professional goal behind that drive. This mountain biking article for Isthmus will be, I'm hoping, just the first of many. I'd like to parlay my love of the sport, my writing abilities (such as they are), and the fact that I'm a lady (omg you didn't know?!) into a bit of a career niche. That is, lady riders who write aren't exactly a dime a dozen (yet!) so maybe I can use that to my advantage. Because it'd be fulfilling for me, and because I'd like to do whatever small thing I can to help encourage more women to take up the sport, which I think would be great. So there's that.
The Lost Albatross