Guest post written by: Austin McInerny, @coach_bobo_rides
After twenty-five years of utilizing minimal course markings, we decided to step it up for the first event of the 2023 Grasshopper Adventure Series and use legitimate signs mounted to small wood stakes along the nearly 50-mile Low Gap mixed terrain course starting and finish in Ukiah, California. With nearly 600 riders registered, we wanted to ensure everyone stayed on course and were properly warned about the dangerous metal bridge crossings and super-fast off camber loose dirt descents.
However, we had a problem as hauling all the signs, wood stakes, chainsaw, rake, and small tools was not going to be possible on our bikes. So, we contacted Burley and proposed that we use their Nomad coupled with a Specialized Turbo Levo e-mountain bike to assist our efforts and BOOM we received a trailer just in time to get to work!
With nearly 30 wood stakes, signs and assorted tools, the bike/trailer was heavy, but the electric bike helped get us from the van, through the vineyards, and up the 2,500’ hill climb to begin our work. The Hopper founder, Mig Crawford, was impressed with how stable the trailer felt as he powered up the hill and even passed a group of cyclists who were heading out to pre-ride the course! With the assistance of the Burley trailer, we were able to quickly stop and place directional and warning signs along the course and keep moving quickly. However, what we didn’t know was that the recent brutal winter storms had resulted in nearly a dozen large trees falling across the route.
Using the electric chainsaw that was packed safely in the trailer, we were kept busy cutting and hauling wood off the route in more locations than we had anticipated. Having gotten a later start than hoped for, we found ourselves pushing hard to complete the necessary work before sunset and before the battery on both the chainsaw and the mountain bikes died! And, as feared, the sun dropped, and the bikes ran out of juice with another 10+ miles of rutted descent back to the car. So, while the sunset was beautiful from the top of the hill, we were a bit stressed riding in the pitch black without lights downhill knowing that we had just felled many trees crossing the road above us.
Navigating off the light from the moon and stars, we were thrilled to make it back to the van in one piece! In the end, the Nomad trailer got muddy, but did its job and made the long-day possible. We are thrilled to continue to rely on the Burley trailer for more efficient and safer course marking for the remainder of the Hoppers this season and we will remember to pack lights and more food in the ample storage space in the Nomad!