By Ambassador Kyla Forsberg

As the New Year approached I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish for 2022. These aren’t New Year’s resolutions. That concept has always seemed unattainable to me. If you mess up once it’s over. But goals…those allow for some wiggle room. If I don’t hit my goal by the end of the year, I still have time to get there. Goals are accomplished when they’re accomplished. There’s no timeline unless you make one. 

I have three goals this year (and it’s no surprise that two of them have to do with bikes).  

I have spontaneously joined trail work parties before, but I had never really done anything other than rake some branches and rocks off trails. This year I want more. I want to learn how trails are built, I want to see how berms are repaired, how to set up features, and most of all I want to get to know the awesome trail stewards. 

I decided to join at least 12 dig days this year. One per month. If I miss a month, I’ll double up the next. Hopefully, I can join more than 12 but I want to be realistic. I am still a wife and mom, and this is my last year with my kid before she goes off to college. 

 The first trailwork party I went to was at Tiger Mountain in Washington State, one of my favorite places to ride. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance along with Sturdy Bitch Racing hosted the dig day. 

I started clearing out drains and raking branches, twigs, and debris left by one of our recent windstorms. I came upon a dead stump that seemed to be disintegrating. I raked around it trying to remove all the dead stuff and clear the drain below it. Another person stepped on the soil and noticed it was really soft. This is where I learned we needed to get down to the “good stuff.” But how do you know how much to remove? I was told the “good stuff” actually looks much different than the not-so-good stuff. Is that the technical word for this? No. Do I actually know what the technical word for this is? Also no. But now I know what it looks like. 

That person who stepped on the soil and noticed we needed to dig down to the good stuff? That was fellow Kona Ambassador Delia Massey. SUPER RAD. 

The following weekend some of my close friends and I headed out to Port Gamble to join Evergreen West work on the brand new skills park that hasn’t yet opened. Let me tell you, it was a party! We raked, we packed, we dug out huge rocks and roots, we laughed, we drank and we even did the Beyonce Drop It Challenge and posted it on TikTok. If you don’t know what that is, check it out. We looked ridiculous but who really cares.

 It was so rad to see how much you can accomplish with many hands and good direction. 

 Both of these experiences were awesome. The trail-building community is welcoming, and I enjoyed the camaraderie of working with these trail heroes. Plus, there’s nothing like a rip down a freshly cleaned up trail. 

If you haven’t joined a trail party, you’re missing out. I challenge everyone to give back this year. In my opinion, it is just as rewarding as a podium spot. If you can’t make it to a dig day, I encourage you to donate to your local trail building organization. I’ll post a link below to Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance! 

For inquiring minds, my other two goals are to donate blood every 12 weeks and to bike pack the entire Palouse to Cascades trail: a 250-mile ride that runs from North Bend, Washington to the Washington/Idaho border. 

More on that to come!