I’ve been building mountain bike trails for about a year now and I pretty much only started to build because I love riding my bike so much. I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 years trying to figure out how to ride as much as I can, how I can go to different places, work as far away from fluorescent bulbs as possible, and put all my efforts into an industry that honors the classic “work hard, play harder” code. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked by a mile, and just as I’d hoped it’s also the most I’ve ever been free to play. There just isn't anything like grinding for 8+ hours digging and smashing the earth in all sorts of ways, pushing your every limit, and then getting to clock out, flow check, and knock back a beer with your crew. Then, in a sick cycle of just the right amount of punishment and reward, you wake up the next day and do it all over again, and again the day after that!
My favorite part is when all your priorities realign I get to spend 90% of my time outside in a part of the world that isn't “home”. Home becomes where you park it. All of us in our built-out trucks, vans, and campers are just like a herd of turtles traveling from place to place with our homes on our backs. The people I work with become family and everything becomes extremely simple; live to dig, dig to ride. And do it all with a passion.
There’s a lot of love involved in what we do, the process, the product, and the people. I wish more people knew that about building. I wish more women knew that it isn’t just about how much you can lift or how much you know about building a trail. All that knowledge and strength comes with time. But wanting to be a part of a family, building something together, riding with each other - you don’t have to be a guy or a trail genius to be able to do that. You very simply just have to genuinely try and boom, you’re in. In my experience trail building is much more about passion and perseverance than knowledge and strength. It’s been an honor to gain so many brothers, but I’m very much looking forward to gaining some sisters in the future.
Story by Morgan Barkley all images courtesy of Morgan Barkley and Patty Valencia Photography.