Tuesday, April 08, 2008

From the ashes...

Of my "Swanson Insanity" post rises the pheonix. Did I overeact? To an extent, yes. Did others overeact? To an extent, yes. My post was a failed attempt to raise awareness of a safety concern. If I stepped on some toes, I apologize.

The important thing here is THOR. We are lucky to have a group of enthusiastic trail stewards that are passionate about our trails. I applaud you all for the time and support you give at maintaining our trails. Conservation along with low impact trail design should always be our concern, and I believe for the most part they are.

With that I give you the complete contact list to voice your concerns, comments and praise regarding our beloved trail system.


In addition, let me say that MTB Omaha was designed with the intention of bringing the Omaha mountain biking community together. There are strength in numbers. Maybe this is your first time, or maybe you visit regularly. If you have an interest in becoming involved with THOR and want to give back to the community. Please contact chairperson@trailshaveourrespect.org. But most importantly, become a member and be the change you wish to see.



Legs said...

Nicely done

Flanders said...

Hey Mark nice job ! Can we link the new THOR Blog to MTB omaha so riders can click on that and get quick news and trail days ? Put it right above FFL ? That way if your going out working throw a post up and you'll get a few helpers.
I think we all know everyone has helped at some time or another and in some way with the trails.

BTW the links didn't work last week for THOR when I tried them so I'll give them another shot today.

pd said...

here, here...

dale said...

It's easy to post to a blog and think one's responsibility to notify or make aware a situation or suggestion is done.

Getting info to the right person is very important.

In the bible, matthew 18:15 talks about how to respond to a person who has wronged you. I think that model works well for constructive criticism, suggestions, etc. concerning trails and many other things.

First, communicate privately with the responsible person. Face to face is best, phone or email is next best.

Second, if you don't get satisfaction from your first step, bring one or two people and discuss the situation with the responsible person again. This is not to gang up on the person but to get different perspectives and try to come to some agreement.

Third, if you didn't get satisfaction from the second step, take your issue(s) before the community. Some may suggest the THOR president or board before going public.

Thus, putting your issue before the public on a blog as the first step is bass-ackwards.

Not to pick on flanders, but concerning your problem with THOR links not working. Your concern should be sent to the THOR webmaster with the specifics - which links - so he can troubleshoot. Your nonspecific sentence left me confused as to where the problem is (mtbomaha blog or THOR blog) and thus who is responsible to troubleshoot it.

Blogs can be great places to share experiences and info about the cycling scene. But I suggest constructive criticism, etc. should follow the above protocol. That is how businesses work, talk with the responsible person first and usually privately.

/preaching mode off

Flanders said...

Dale, the links I refer to were reported to THOR. I tried to contact a trail leader and it was sent back as undeliverable. (I believe that was your first step in your process) I then contacted another one by personal email. But it was more to let Mod know they may not be working yet.

I thought my post was very positive and I was trying to help with a solution for getting info to the right person faster with the link to the new THOR blog.

"Picking on Flanders" : Following your guidelines should you have not contacted me first before posting ? See how easy it is to post and not realize how it is interpreted ? I took no offense to it but it would be easy to since you didn't know what I had done.

Please don't take any of this as THOR bashing. I am a member and have worked on many trails in the area over the last 20 years. I was a founding member of the Wabash when it still had rails on it and we sold them for scrap to help pay for materials. Our team also put on the first Mt bike races at L&C, Prospect Park, and the River Trails back in the day. So I do know what it's like to be out there working on trails. ( a lot of times by yourself )
What I'm trying to say is (I think ? )is everyone has helped in there own way at times and to be called out on riding while others are working is bass- ackwards. ;-) see that's a joke and with out the smiley face you would be upset. ;-)

I think we have a great cycling community and with out the past generation of trail builders, the current one and hopefully the future the area has a lot to look forward too.

Please feel free to contact me at jmaaske@cox.net

jc4300 said...

I know I don't have any standing in the Omaha MTB scene except that I have a bike, can post on a blog and I've slept next to Lumpy on a lonely trail in IA, but can I just say that from my perspective this is all over the matter of bringing up a safety issue to the biking community? I know there was other stuff thrown in about slowness, etc., but a safety concern was at the root of the original post.

I don't think the model Dale brings up really applies in this situation. Bringing up a safety issue so others are aware of it isn't insulting someone (or at least it should not be, seriously), nor is it just a matter of personal suggestion. For all that some knew that day (myself included), it was a prank by some paint-ballers who've been in the area shooting markers or something.

As someone who is still working on bike handling skills, I appreciate heads-up on potential safety concerns. Please don't implement a policy of 'secrecy/thin skin' on these things, so that others can benefit and stay safe.

And please continue to have fun on your posts, because it lets even us noobs feel like we're on the inside of the joke and standing close to the greatness the rest of you all are (obligatory gratuitous complimenting to offset any self-esteem impacted reactions). :)

dale said...

Flanders, tou-che, You are right that I assumed you came to the blog first. I didn't follow my own advice. 8-(

jc4300, safety issues should still start with an email to the trail leader, imo. Posting it to a blog is no guarrentee the trail leader will see it and respond.

I am thinned skinned and easily frustrated right now. The original prairie hill design in TP lasted only two years before needing to be retired because of erosion. We put in some erosion control work on an older section Sunday but I don't know if it's saveable or worth the increased maintenance. Ideally, the trail should be designed without the need for later high maintenance erosion control.

Hopefully, Doug's new design will fare better.

We do need to publically talk about the trails. Still need constructive criticism. The trail leader and his work are two different things, yet when we are criticized for our work, its sometimes hard not to take it personally. Also need to remember that we can't please everyone.

ok, enough introspection. let's move on to something else - hey, what about those royals, omaha and kc both in first place!

jc4300 said...


I'm sure that is very frustrating to pour so much time and heart into building a great trail, and then have the elements wash it away. I'd just like encourage you and say don't go too far down the Ecclesiastes path, and keep your chin up. TP was the first trail I cut my mtb teeth on, and the same for the handle-full of co-workers I've introduced to the scene as well over the last year. It's still a regular for us (as much as we are 'regular' - especially this year), so your hard work and thought is definitely appreciated, used and part of growing the community.

My comment was not in regards to how a trail owner should be notified, but just that I think the community should be able to handle letting each other know about safety issues, etc.

Comments, reviews, suggestions - I can see where if you really want to see something done, it's best to go to the trail leader, but please don't loose sight of the part of the community who's only really tie-in are these blogs. Reviews and such may not always be positive, but it's part of the large draw to sites like Amazon and MTBR. Part of the reason I like where I work is that they understand freedom of speech/ideas fosters innovation, and some good thoughts/ideas come from grass-roots working it out and then bringing them forward for formal change.

Basically you guys do great work, and it's appreciated that it's *work*. I'd just like to humbly ask that the community still be able to talk to each other as well - in tandem. These blogs are the only way some of us are able to stay tied-in to what's going on - good or not-so-good. That's all.

Back to looking out the window and watching the rain fall... who do I contact about that anyway?? :)

Don Kuhns said...

I agree with what jc4300 wrote. One important function of blogs like this is to quickly disseminate info on dangerous trail conditions and other immediate concerns to the MTB community. Of course with this kind of immediacy there is always the risk that folks will post something while their emotions are running too high. It's the nature of the bloggy beast, I'm afraid.

We've all probably been guilty of this at some time, and feelings do get hurt. Let's be aware of that and try to think before we post.

Flanders said...

OK, so we have all had a good group hug ;-) so lets get out there and work on some trails and do some biking and have a summer of fun !...............

T-bone said...

Dale, I emailed the swanson trail leader at Swanson@TrailsHaveOurRespect.org on Tuesday and as of Friday afternoon I have yet to hear back from them. Three days without a reply seems a little slow to me.

Can I get a hug?