Not sure what I've got myself into but hear we go....
Hoping to use this as a means of venting or just plain blabbing about the cycling community in Muskoka.
A little about me. I'm a married father of four daughters, soon to be five. Not sure of the sex at this point but that's for another day. I work at The Bike Shop In Gravenhurst. I wrench there and am a huge fan of the owners Kristi MacDonald and Matt Todd. I've been involved in one way or another with cycling since the first time my dad let go of the seat and quietly said your on your own.
The freedom my two wheeled machine entitled me was a love affair of sorts that has never dwindled. That was 32 years ago. It started with a Blue Canadian Tire Banana Bike! Soon after Bicycle Moto-Cross and the movie RAD changed my life. Track 2000 in New Market was soon a place to race. And the freedom of Freestyle let me spend countless hours on numerous different bikes. Ryan, Jay and I would spend every free moment jumping and riding all over Gravenhurst and Bracebridge.
In high school a Schwinn 10 speed was my mode of transportation all over Muskoka. My Haro Master freestyle bike was still my escape though. I have always counted on my cycling addiction to offer an escape whenever life through it's unexpected at me. All through high school and early work life, the bike was my chosen mode of transportation.
Then came the Mountain Bike. Well what can I say big wheels, lots of gears go any wear do anything bikes. Love is an understatement. And it just gets better every year.
On July 28th, 1991 I entered my first Mountain Bike Race in Bracebridge Ont. It was a bushwhacking affair with event helpers in the bush pointing you in the direction as there was areas with no real trails. A far cry from today's wide almost paved tracks. I can't remember the distance but it was a long ride through trails, roads and just plain bush. My time was 2 hrs 24min. 36 sec. I finished in the middle of the 80 some competitors. I was hooked next came local weekly events and later some Ontario Cup races for fun.
A local cyclist Jeff Hill had been racing for some time and had started Promoting Races around Ont. and Muskoka I jumped on board to help and get into making trails and setting up courses and events. Another love I would find in Trail Building. The hydro line in Bracebridge was the site of our first weekly race series. I believe we started with around six or so kids from around town. It grew over the next few years into The Muskoka Mud Slinger Series and was taken over by another promoter in later years. We built some of the first lines at Santa's Village, now better known as Porcupine Ridge. The very technical trails were a little much for racing and it was evident we needed a new venue.
The KOA in Gravenhurst was a venue we had skied at growing up. The double track would be great for racing. We approached Mike McLaughlin about using the trails for the race series. It didn't take long for Mike to see the constantly growing cast of racers to allow us to make a couple pieces of single track. What a hit and the rest as they say is history.
Buckwallow was born. Mike took a chance on building trails and now his work has lead to some of the best trails in Ontario. People from all over travel to ride, race and just have fun riding these crazy fun bikes we now ride. I am proud to say I have been part of Buckwallow in one way or another since the beginning. Mike is such a great ambassador for Mountain Biking and trail systems as a land owner. My good friend Mike is one of a kind....
Well that was easier than I thought it would be...
Thanks for letting me rant and hope to do it again soon.