What happens with 60+ women hit the trails with shovels, smiles, rakes, and McLeods? A whole lot of work, that’s what! We at Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC), Santa Cruz’s local trail advocacy group, were stoked to partner with Juliana to host the first ever Ladies Dig Day. Dig Days are MBOSC’s awesome trail work events, where volunteers donate their time to build and maintain our favorite trails. It’s a great opportunity to give back to your trails while enjoying a fun-filled day with a great community.
In fact, MBOSC gets so many volunteers that we have to cap Dig Days at 60 people, but we’ve always wished more women would join the good times. So, we decided to partner with Juliana to host our first Ladies Dig Day. When registration opened, we weren’t sure if it would reach capacity, but the sign-ups came flooding in, and 66 women showed up eager to get work done. It was amazing to see so many strong, energetic, and fun ladies putting in sweat equity to improve our local trails! The best part was that everybody had such a great time and said that they'll be back for more digging at future MBOSC Dig Days. What a community to be a part of!
We spent the day working on Emma McCrary Trail, which was designed and built by MBOSC in 2013. Our amazing volunteer community rallied together to make it possible, with 300+ volunteers putting in over 3,500 of work to complete the trail over the course of a year. During the Ladies Dig Day, our task was to clear and maintain 150+ drains on the trail to improve water flow and keep the trail sustainable for years to come.
MBOSC provided all the tools and knowledge necessary to get the work done. 40 of the women had never done trailwork before, but after some quick instruction and guidance along the way, everybody became accomplished diggers by the end of the day.
This is me, Amanda Schaper! I’m a proud Juliana rider, MBOSC staff member, and Trail Crew Leader. MBOSC Trail Crew Leaders guide and manage volunteers in trail work projects after completing a training series that covers trail design, trail construction techniques, and management. I’m one of twelve women who have completed MBOSC’s Trail Crew Leader training, and it was great having so many knowledgeable gals leading crews during the Ladies Dig Dig.
Juliana’s own Michae Musick was out for double duty. After setting up Juliana’s tent (with lovely flower bouquets, no less!) and hanging out in the booth, she hopped on the trails to spend a few hours digging. I was stoked to have her in my crew because it was fun to watch her have such a great time while doing some serious work. This was her first Dig Day, and she had this to say about the experience: “Thanks to the expertise and guidance of our Trail Crew Leaders, I got a new appreciation for the creativity required to build a trail and the effort it takes to maintain it. And I'll never take drainage for granted!”
When you see Juliana rider Jenny Robinson on the trails, you know work is going to get done, whether she’s riding a bike or pushing a shovel. After a day of trail work with her, Jenny’s Trail Crew Leader simply said, “Jenny’s a badass.” During the pre-work briefing, it was explained that quality work is more important than completing every task, to which she declared “we will leave no work undone!” Aside from Jenny’s can-do attitude, she’s also one of the most fun people to work with, telling jokes the whole time and keeping people stoked.
Andrea Turner and Alli McClain spent the day teamed up working together on drain maintenance, which is a three step process: 1) rake off the top layer of leaves and organic material; 2) dig out the drain, and 3) renaturalize with leaves to make it look like we were never there. This process made it easy for people to work in teams, which added to the sense of fun and camaraderie as we tackled the project with good friends and plenty of laughter.
After a day of digging, it was awesome to look at Emma McCrary Trail and be proud of a job well done. What’s even better is riding a trail that you’ve worked on! When you spend a day focused on trail maintenance, you learn so much about why design decisions were made, which makes you see the trail in a new way. Then everytime you ride that trail, you appreciate it even more, especially with your new sense of pride and ownership knowing that you helped make that trail great for everybody to ride!
One of the best parts about a Dig Day is the after party. It’s so fun to soak in the good vibes after an awesome day of giving back to the trails. The smiles are big and spirits are high! Speaking of spirits… We were extra lucky to have post-work cocktails provided by Venus Spirits, our local distillery. They were delish!
Cheers to everybody who came out and joined us for the first ever Ladies Dig Day! We’ll see you at the next one!