WHEN we formed California Alps Cycling in 2017 the reason for doing so was a simple one: how do we share the beauty, diversity and amazing outdoor opportunities this area has to offer?
I had always enjoyed writing. I’ve practiced it since elementary school, thanks to Mom; and got another dose of “scrivinerspiration” a bit later in life, in junior high, thanks to Mrs. Giacomazzi. Working in the legal field my entire adult life also helped stoke the bug. I still chuckle today at the memory of one particular teacher at Lincoln Law School (I only did a year), Judge James Ware, who in our first class together urged us to write like normal people, without too many heretofores and whereafters. LOL.
SO that monkey had been on my back for awhile, and I had been wanting to start a blog, so the idea of this blog came to mind.
THAT idea further coalesced when my wife and I had a conversation on our way to Gardnerville (Nevada) for a doctor’s appointment.
While she was in that appointment I took the first step and reserved the California Alps Cycling URL.
SINCE then I’ve ridden thousands of miles here in our beloved Alpine county and written thousands of words here in the CAC blog.
WE’VE done many days of adoptin‘ and many weekend clean-ups. I’ve spent many weeknights and weekends volunteering (and the associated off-line hours that comes with that) on various boards and committees while at the same time not really understanding the direction I was truly headed.
I guess you could say I was conflicted, or rudderless perhaps is a better description. Not seeing the sign(s), maybe, not paying attention to what the universe was trying to tell me; thinking at one point that I might open a shop, or run tours. Wait, still willing to do that. Now or when I retire. 😉
EARLY on I also had dreams of perhaps making a living selling really cool, Alps-branded gear. I still sell the gear but I’ve come to realize it’s about the brand, it’s been about the brand, and not necessarly the CAC brand, but the alps brand, the alpine brand, the Sierra Nevada brand, the giving-back-to-the-community-and-surrounds brand.
I’M fortunate enough to have a great employer that among other things, promotes work-life balance. It’s because of my job, I often remind myself, that I can continue to give back to this place that has such a special aura.
LIKE I wrote in my last post, this place needs our help and that help comes from many sources.
BTW, when I write “this place” I’m referring to the Sierra Nevada, and not just to the east slope of the Sierra, but the west slope too. And the foothills, which run for hundreds of miles on that west slope, the portion of which just west of us here coincidentally, is known as the “Motherlode.”
Motherlode Bicycle Coaltion
IT was my recent interactions with Rob Williams, Ben Cook and Todd Berg, board members of MLBC, that truly got those turbines to turn, if you will. Rob (Motherlode’s founder) and I have worked together on the District 10 Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) this past year and we’ve had many conversations around events like the Deathride, Mr. Frog’s Wilde Ride and the Ride & Walk 4 Art. Riding bikes, grandkids (his), cats (mine), Markleeville, e-Bikes, gravel riding, and other subjects have been bantied about, too.
AND so it was I found myself talking to Ben and Todd a couple weeks ago while I was in San Jose on a business trip. “Rob said you may be interested in joining our board”, said Ben. That took me a bit by surprise because I had told Rob I’d be willing to get involved. But hey, when you raise your hand and volunteer…
WE three (Ben, Todd and I) hit it off, though, and an invite to Motherlode’s Vision Session would be forthcoming. They held that “vision quest”, as I called it, just last Tuesday. I’d just come from another community meeting, after an arduous workday, and was a bit worn out. I joined virtually, as did a few others, but the majority of the group went to Carl’s house in Columbia. It didn’t take long for the energy in the room to consume me, and the rest of the group.
PART of the meeting outcome was the concept of combining forces, as it were, by bringing Alpine County and the central Sierra into what Motherlode had already begun. Joining the “foothill fold” made so much sense and I was stoked to be able to be a part of something that we all hoped would have some serious legs.
NOW it’s not quite that simple. IT never is. It’s going to take some work (including my assigned homework). It always does.
IN my mind, though, I just saw THE SIGN.
WE (California Alps Cycling) needed to focus our energy differently. We needed to be, not just act like, a coalition. We needed to continue to build on what we had started even though until then we didn’t realize what that was. We needed to be that advocacy-focused, community-oriented, education-friendly organization that our Prana was telling us to be.
SO, as we continue to navigate away from that original retail model to something more like (maybe exactly like) a non-profit model, we’ll be changing things around a bit. A new look for our website, edits to some of our pages; an updated mission. All of these I suspect, and more.
MAYBE even a – gasp! – board of directors.
WHAT started as a getting-to-know-each-other conversation between my wife and I, at the home of two skeptical individuals who both later became friends, Fritz and Nancy Thornburg, has years later come into laser-focus. Now it’s up to us to execute.
WE’LL look to you dear readers, and local riders, and upstanding friends, and friendly advisors, and especially you conscientious contributers, to remind us of that from time to time.
We’ll try not to be patronizing or preachy, and if we already have, for that we apologize. We also promise to continue writing about the groovy things that happen around here (and the not so groovy), as well as things to do, see and hear while you’re here, because without you we’d run out of volunteers. 😉
Lastly, just because “cycling” is in our name, that doesn’t mean we’re only about bikes. We promise to advocate for all responsible outdoor recreationists, especially you friendly OHVers who often look at Chris and me in confusion, yet frequently ask if we need anything, when you see us riding our gravel bikes where you drive your toys. Drive on, drivers!