More than Just a Race…

31 May, 2011

l-r-paul-thomasberg-and-roy-rivers.jpg Joey Peterson keeping it real : Photo courtesy Bike Monkey Magazine

Once in a while we need to get the band together to help the sport we love so much. Our good friends over at Bike Monkey Magazine just sent us this email and we are paying it forward to you. So dig deep, dust off your bike and come race the Annadel XC on Saturday June 25th.

"...Our beloved state park just got shot right up the ranks of a pretty notorious list. It seems that, in an effort to save about $22 million in revenue, the good folks in Sacramento are planning to shutter Annadel State Park (along with 69 others, some right next door) and all its 45 miles of tasty singletrack. Our already on-the-ropes public lands just got a kick in the teeth, one that threatens to keep us from enjoying them for an as-yet-undetermined duration.

"Laughable, you say. How does one lock and shutter 5,000 acres of prime NorCal gorgeousness? How does an agency with no money control access to lands they can’t even maintain? According to State Parks staff and managers, there will be patrols and strict enforcement of the closure, with some hefty penalties for those caught trespassing on what used to be their Saturday ride route. Closing 70 parks (as opposed to say, 40) saves enough money to pay for rangers to patrol these parks while they’re closed. Park closures don’t mean open season on trails. It’s precisely the opposite.

"Our Annadel XC race, which started out as merely a good idea, has now become a necessity. What was going to be merely a great day of racing has now become the first volley in a campaign to keep Annadel free, easy, and open, just like it should be. For those of you far from this particular park’s bounds, consider that California’s same sad budget story is playing out to varying degrees state by state and at the federal level. We’re all in this together, regardless of zip code. Bike Monkey has begun working closely with Parks staff on a fundraising effort over the next year, one that will leverage local resources to preserve access to these places despite budget shortfalls.

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"By now you all know the story of the Annadel XC: Those who participate in this race will be part of a legendary venue, closed to racing for 25 years, with a seminal role in shaping the sport of mountain biking, featuring a downtown start, cash prizes and swag from Gu, WTB, Camelbak, REI, beer from Lagunitas, three closed courses, and so on. As of right now, we’re adding the most important detail yet to that list: keeping the outdoors free and open. Anyone racing in the Annadel XC event will be part of a movement to take our lands out of the realm of politically loaded budget figures and put them back where they belong: in the hearts and minds (and legs) of those who love them..."

And there you have it folks, a special shout to our friends at Bike Monkey for fighting the good fight and bringing back a classic race at our darkest hour.

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