Here I sit, tired, maybe even a little sore, but content and smiling with the thought that this past weekend I had the honor to be part of another successful mountain bike Festival in Ontario.   That’s right, the 2nd Annual Trailblazing Festival celebrated Ontario’s mountain bike community alongside the chosen venue for this year – Hardwood Ski and Bike and the surrounding area of beautiful Simcoe County.

The Festival’s main goal is to highlight Ontario’s diverse and unparalled mountain biking opportunities, while sharing in the support of local MTB clubs and trail builders, in a format that will suit any rider.

To start off the momentum for the weekend, the IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew (TCC) hosted a trail building workshop for the public on Friday Aug. 17.  The morning session began with a focus on sustainable trail design and theory in a classroom format at Hardwood Ski and Bike (HSB). Please see additional info on the TCC blog here

Later in the afternoon, the participants put their newly taught skills to practical use, rerouting a section of trail in the Simcoe County Forests that was eroding due to its steep alignment.

All this was accomplished through collaboration with the local land manager (Simcoe County), local trail builders, and a new agreement with a local cycling club (more details to follow in a forthcoming blog entry).  It’s truly impressive what can be accomplished through a unified effort, and the TCC is proud to have been part of this pivotal event.

During the week leading up to the Festival, the IMBA Canada crew was kept busy constructing another legacy piece – the Hardwood Ski and Bike pumptrack!   An intrinsic component of the Festival celebrations is leaving a permanent reminder of a successful event, and this year it was decided that additional programming at Hardwood would be in order.  The pumptrack was built in collaboration with the HSB staff, IMBA Canada, Ontario Bike Park Construction and a small group of eager volunteers.  What’s really impressive is that the pumptrack was built in 4 days…that’s right, 4 days!

In the planning stages of the pumptrack layout

Hard at work: IMBA Canada’s Trail Care Crew and Festival volunteers

The pumptrack, a closed loop circuit that can be ridden solely by using a pumping motion on your bike as you negotiate the rollers and insloped turns, was a huge hit.  Over the course of the weekend, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of riders, some who had never seen a pumptrack before, was extremely rewarding.  A pumptrack brings out the ‘fun’ in riding, no matter what your age or skill level.

Getting ready for the Pumptrack Pursuit Challenge

Saturday’s official kickoff of the Festival encompassed a myriad of activities, including the vendor village, skills clinics, competitions, a bbq and beer garden, live band and a movie to round off the day.

Skills Clinics in the morning and afternoon provided the opportunity to improve the skills of even the most advanced riders.  Clinics were hosted and taught by professional instructors from the Hardwood Ski and Bike, Guelph Off Road Bicycling Association (GORBA), and Silent/Norco Racing.

GORBA and Hardwood Ski and Bike’s Skills sessions were well attended

Getting ready for the Silent/Norco DH Skills Clinics