Spotlight: Casa Grande HS Mountain Bike Team + Subaru / IMBA Trail Crew
It all started with the vision of four young men: Nick Tribble, Josh Marical, Emmett Schrader and Dave Schyberg of the Casa Grande High School Mountain Bike Team. As part of the Norcal League, these four had the desire to restore their home trails, where they spent so much of their time, and to expand upon them for their enjoyment and others’.
For their senior project, NorCal League Director Vanessa Hauswald had the idea of involving NICA supporter IMBA. The Subaru/IMBA Trail Crew picked a spot in NorCal and Vanessa, along with her student-athletes, gathered a group of other NorCal racers who were willing to get their hands dirty.
As background, the Subaru/IMBA Trail Crew has been at work since 1997 as part of IMBA’s grassroots educational program. It features a traveling team of two as well as eight regional members, and offers everything from sustainable trail-building schools to high-level land manager training and organizational support for chapters and clubs.
The Trail Care Crew program has inspired volunteer work across the U.S. and abroad, serving as a huge help to government agencies and land managers who have limited funding for trail construction and upkeep. Needless to say, when the IMBA Trail Crew offered to partner with them, the crew at Casa Grande High was delighted to have their expertise and help toward making their project a reality.
Half of the time was spent educating the kids on how to build trails. Lani Bruntz and Jordan Carr of the IMBA Trail Crew stressed the importance and value of working with local mountain bike organizations and land managers to have projects approved.
According to student-athlete Josh Marical, “There was an abundance of information during the class portion of the Trail Day. They basically taught us how to build each type of trail and what each trail requires. When the four of us (Dave, Nick, Emmett, and I) met up with the TCC before the date to scout out our trail, we learned about slope and gradient and how we would cut into the side of the hill to reroute our destroyed trail.”
Josh also shared, “When I joined the Casa Grande Mountain Bike team in Junior year, it changed my life. My self confidence improved, I became more fit and I began to lead a healthier lifestyle. The environment that a NICA race provides is unparalleled in terms of friendliness and joy. NICA is doing a GREAT thing by getting high schoolers to ride their bikes, stay out of trouble — and by doing that, they’re changing lives.”
Marical also had advice for anyone looking to build a trail, including doing your due diligence. “Make sure the trail is sustainable. Give the water a place to go. If it is a multi-user trail, be sure that anyone can have the ability to use it. Make sure the gradient is not steeper than 15%; otherwise, it will be too steep.”
As Jeff Taylor of Sonoma County Regional Parks said, “It’s one thing to have the initiative and muscle to pick up a shovel and start digging a hole. It’s another thing to know how deep that hole needs to be, where it needs to go, etc.” The students took what they learned during their time spent with the IMBA Trail Crew and applied it hands-on, out on the trail, ensuring their work met certain standards of what they were trying to accomplish. The result? Sweet singletrack for all to enjoy.