Young Cariboo mountain bikers clear trails then clear a road gap

Michael Wijma, from left, Kalan Vath, Tobias Baumann, Tom Schoen, Rhys Vath, Caleb Engle, Charlie Gash and Olen Grady were all smiles after some trail work and trail riding at Soda Creek on July 25. (Dena Baumann photo)Michael Wijma, from left, Kalan Vath, Tobias Baumann, Tom Schoen, Rhys Vath, Caleb Engle, Charlie Gash and Olen Grady were all smiles after some trail work and trail riding at Soda Creek on July 25. (Dena Baumann photo)
Two young enthusiastic trail riders and builders from Whitehorse joined the crew after coming across the workers. Kieran Horton, front left, and Mallory Horton spent some time pitching in. (Dena Baumann photo)Two young enthusiastic trail riders and builders from Whitehorse joined the crew after coming across the workers. Kieran Horton, front left, and Mallory Horton spent some time pitching in. (Dena Baumann photo)
Tom Schoen of First Journey Trails, left, shows the group some tools and talks trail building before the work got underway. (Dena Baumann photo)Tom Schoen of First Journey Trails, left, shows the group some tools and talks trail building before the work got underway. (Dena Baumann photo)
Caleb Engle, top, and Tobias Baumann clearing the gap jump at the end of Hipsta on the Soda Creek trail network on July 25. (Tom Schoen photo)Caleb Engle, top, and Tobias Baumann clearing the gap jump at the end of Hipsta on the Soda Creek trail network on July 25. (Tom Schoen photo)

Five young mountain bikers helped build some trails and some community on July 25.

Prompted by mom and mountain biker Dena Baumann, the group of 14 to 15 year-old young men went out to lend a hand, learn some skills and then enjoy the results of their hard work on some local trails.

Baumann arranged with trail builder Tom Schoen of First Journey Trails to bring the teens to the Soda Creek Trail Network for a work and play day.

Tobias Baumann, Rhys Vath, Charlie Gash, Caleb Engle and Olen Grady are all dedicated mountain bikers and three of the group even compete in the BC Cup Downhill racing.

Their passion for the sport includes wanting to help build and maintain trails, so learning more from an experienced builder like Schoen seemed like a great opportunity.

Schoen took the group out to help do some clearing of Deep Blue Soda, the longer cross-country trail on the network in need of maintenance.

He started out with some explanation of the history of the trails, trail planning and design, tools used for building and maintenance as well as some safety. The young trainees even were able to learn about and use the MacLeod tool, a trail building tool fabricated by local mountain biker Chris Masters.

Then the group got to work on a steep section, cleaning out lines of site, raking and clearing cut trees or branches Schoen and Michael Wijma had cut.

While the crew was working, a 12-year-old mountain biker from Whitehorse, Yukon came across them and asked if he could join in and help out.

The biker, Kieran Horton, was then joined by his father Brian Horton, his younger sister Mallory, and their mom Krysti. They also build trails in Whitehorse and were keen to lend a hand and get to know some locals. The family had been riding the trails as part of a long road trip they were taking through the province, riding trails along the way.

Baumann made the whole group a grilled lunch and they were joined by fellow mom Brandi Vath and Vath’s younger son Kalan the two moms then shuttled the whole crew up to ride the trail the group had just cleared.

The group rode a couple more times down the DH trail Hipsta and then finished up with a swim in Blue Lake to cool off.

“It was definitely a good day,” said Baumann. She said the crew got a lot done and she hopes to organize more days like it.

“They’re so involved in the riding and the racing, and they enjoy all of these awesome trails. It is neat for them to see where does it come from and how much time it takes to build one of these trails by hand.”

She thinks it will help the young men invest in their mountain bike community in a different way. She even envisions a possible project where youth could plan, design and build their own trail project as a part of the local network.

Read more: Soda Creek mountain bike network gets needed maintenance

Read more: Mountain bike trail grand opening event draws a crowd to Williams Lake



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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