Friday evening, dozens of people sat in their warm homes under a heavy rainfall. They repetitively checked the forecast for the next day’s wavering rain prediction, with a 40 percent chance of rain to 60 percent, then 70 percent to 50 percent and high and low it went. They had committed to helping the TMTA clean and build trails on Saturday and wondered if the work day would be canceled due to rain.
Saturday morning came with the chances of rain still fluttering from 40 percent to 60 percent, but the work day was not canceled. With dark storm clouds billowing up like angry bulls around the mountains, Rob Podratz, a coordinator, questioned if anyone would show up.
Startled upon arrival, it was clear to him that the hearts of our community were strong. Dozens of kids from the Tehachapi mountain bike team, their families and TMTA members stood armed with shovels, rakes and big smiles. They were dressed head to toe in rain gear and ready to take on whatever Tehachapi’s weather gave them. In total there were more than 40 volunteers.
More than17 miles of trails weave in and out of the Tehachapi scenic mountains. Because of the muddy roads, the group had to hike up into the trails. Mike Mc Cool, a member of TMTA and a master trail builder, broke the workers up and assigned them to specific areas in need. The group carved new trails, cleaned and widened the existing trails and removed any large hazardous debris.
While working the winds howled and the dark clouds hung all around the crew, but this only served as a cooling relief as they shoveled, picked and raked along the eroding trails. The rain forecast was correct. Rain started to fall heavily around the mountains, but not one drop fell on the trail workers that day. In fact the clouds opened up above them and the sun shined for hours.
With endless beauty around, gorgeous mountaintop views and dozens of serving hearts, many said, the work day was a success and could not have been any better. While hiking off the mountains one could hear the sense of accomplishment through unity. This is what makes a small town great. This is what makes our small town great.
These trails are a backyard playground for the local bike and hiker enthusiasts. They also host hundreds of visitors a year and one of the largest mountain bike leagues in the country will use them in April for their state championship races.
The land was graciously donated for use by Lehigh Cement. The trails are built and run by TMTA workers and volunteers. To visit the trails, there is an annual fee of $35 for your whole household. The fees cover yearly insurance, trail maintenance and other operating costs.
TMTA and Lehigh Cement would like to invite you to grab your bike and enjoy a day of memorable scenery and time outdoors. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who braved the weather and came out to make our town and it’s mountains a special place.
April Wood is a parent and coach with the team.