Archive for December, 2005

12/26/05 Warrior’s Society News

In this last issue of our Warrior’s Society News for 2005:

1. Our first Trail Work Event of 2006 – Saturday, January 7th

2. Positions left in the 2006 Vision Quest and Counting Coup

1. OUR FIRST TRAIL WORK EVENT OF 2006 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 7TH

We will be having our first Trail Work Event on Saturday, January 7th brushing and doing some earthwork on the trails in Trabuco Canyon – Holy Jim, Trabuco and West Horse Thief.

We’ll be starting work at 8:00 a.m. staging out of the Holy Jim Parking lot which is located 4 miles up Trabuco Creek Road (the dirt road next to the creek east of O’Neill Park) from Trabuco Canyon Road.

You supply gloves, water and snacks for during the work (and a beach chair for afterward) and we’ll provide the tools, as well as food and drink for when the work quits at 2:00 p.m.

Please RSVP to help insure there is enough food for everyone.

2. POSITIONS LEFT IN THE 2006 VISION QUEST AND COUNTING COUP

To help those considering participating in the 2006 Vision Quest and Counting Coup (the 2006 Mountain Bike Pow Wow Events) we are going to be doing weekly updates on the positions left in each of the events:

Vision Quest – 46 spots left (150 total)

Counting Coup – 31 spots left (100 total)

We are getting on average about 15 to 20 applications a week and hope to sell out the events by mid-January. Bike Magazine will be doing a story on the Vision Quest in their March issue that will be coming out in late January or early February; if there are any spots left this article will probably fill us up.

If you earned a free entry for either the Vision Quest or Counting Coup via your finish in the Sunset Sprints Series, or as a qualifying Warrior’s Society Club Member, we must receive your application before we sell out or the comp will not be honored.

In addition to downloading the Vision Quest and Counting Coup apps off our web site, or registering through Acive.com, you can also register for the Pow Wow Events at Switchback Cyclery in Orange. Switchback Cyclery is located in Orange at 8530 E. Chapman (at Prospect Avenue on the southeast corner about a mile and a half east of the 55 Freeway). Their phone number is (714) 628-3913.

We are in the process of negotiating with two other bike shops in Orange County to be the named sponsors of our other 2006 Events. We will be negotiating with those shops to also allow registration at their shop locations for the events they sponsor.

Here’s the info to download apps and to register on Active.com:

To download an app for the Vision Quest go to:

http://tinyurl.com/b8brg

To register for the Vision Quest on Active.com go to:

http://tinyurl.com/cgso9

To download an app for the Counting Coup go to:

http://tinyurl.com/b8brg

To register for the Counting Coup on Active.com go to:

http://tinyurl.com/ajmrb

Your event confirmation will have additional event information including a course description.

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Warrior’s Society End of the Year Message

END OF THE YEAR MESSAGE

By Chris Vargas Executive Director of the Warrior’s Society

To read the message with pictures go to:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/News/EndOfYear05.html

My Friends,

This year has been one of great highs and great lows. I will never forget the lowest point I reached at this year’s Vision Quest and Counting Coup; the difficulties presented by the record rains of 2004-2005 truly made me question my commitment to continue with these events – and my commitment to put myself and my family through the stress that begins months before them. I am truly grateful for the support of Warrior’s Society members who carried me through this time of temporary despair as well as the love and support of my wife and son.

Although the Vision Quest and Counting Coup were indeed a trial for me; I was heartened by the support of those that did finish these events and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to do so. Because of what Mother Nature dealt us this year the Counting Coup and Vision Quest were indeed events that tried the endurance of the participants – and all those that supported the events as well.

I was also heartened this year by the willingness and passion of club members to step forward with Visions of their own. One example of this was Tim and Sherry Panttaja’s creation, organizing and running of the Switchback 6-Hours of Orange County. This was the most successful new event we’ve ever promoted – and Tim and Sherry deserve all the credit for their Vision that resulted in its success.

In hindsight I have learned a lot in the past year and can now truly see God’s grace in putting me through it all. It was a year of reflection of not only the future of the Warrior’s Society, but my future as well. It is not only our events that have presented a challenge for me, but also the weight of responsibility to protect the mountain bike community against the extreme anti-access wilderness and forest plan proposals of the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and their allies in the environmental movement.

I beg your patience with my unyielding aggressiveness in defending our access against the anti-access fanatics in the environmental movement – and ask that you also look to the future…

I often question my commitment to continue, and at times have considered stepping down; but I am driven to seek a Vision, and what better Vision than to encourage others to achieve, through our events and through leadership in the Warrior’s Society – accomplishments they never thought possible.

I am constantly reminded that on my shoulders lay the survival of the Warrior’s Society; and by default the defense of mountain bike access in the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest. I expect no thanks for my involvement because it is in my nature to fight any access policy – not based in reason – but based instead on fanaticism. For now, with your support and advocacy, we have won the battle against the extreme anti-access policies of the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and their allies in the environmental movement.

Many people over the years have thanked me for our events and advocacy, and I remind them; none of it would be possible without my fellow club members and our passionate volunteers. Fate places me as the leader of the Warrior’s Society – and at times it has been both a blessing and a curse – but as this year has proven I have found purpose and acceptance in both the good times and bad.

All I ask is that those of you who support the Warrior’s Society understand the accountability that comes with this acceptance. I must not only address the present, but the future as well.

And this accountability does not only apply to the Warrior’s Society, but to my responsibilities to my family and my self-preservation as well. It is indeed a delicate balance, and I have come to realize that it is not only by fate I am able to accomplish it, but also by grace and the shared Vision off all those who by their sacrifice of time have fought passionately beside me – and not behind me.

But I am tired; like Chief Joseph I have paid a mental price for fighting over the last 5 years to protect our freedom from the radical anti-access wilderness bills and forest plans advocated by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity that would have banned us from our four National Forests in Southern California. I wish I could say “I will fight no more forever” but I know this not to be true; but for now – I will enjoy the respite.

I have come to realize there comes a time when a Chief must stand upon a hill and watch others Count Coup; that is not to say I will not lead, but I will not deny the opportunity for others to lead and “count coup,” nor deny them recognition for what they have accomplished by their passion and Vision.

But I warn the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and their radical anti-access allies in the environmental movement; my lance, arrows, bow and war paint are not far away…

In the totality of our trail and riding events I have attempted to achieve two Visions; to challenge others to achieve goals that they never thought possible and to protect our freedom to responsibly access our public lands.

I have no quarrel with this responsibility, for I have chosen it by my own free will. But as I previously stated I am tired of this fighting; I must find Warrior’s committed to shore up our defenses as the enemies of our freedom to responsibly access our public lands regroup. Our events and trail work are the key to the future protection of our access as well as the future of mountain bike culture.

Starting this year I have delegated a lot of what I do to others and will promote them as being responsible for whatever success the Warrior’s Society accomplishes in 2006.

Sherry Panttaja has stepped up co-lead the Society as Event Director allowing me to focus on trail work and advocacy. She has the passion, Vision and drive to do so. James Sladeck has also stepped up and will be director of our Down Hill Course Construction and Events. In 2006 Our Adult Race team will be captained by Brian Blair and Eric Williams and our Jr. Race team will be captained by Matthew Nourmohamadian. Keith Eckstein will continue serving in his capacity as our Trabuco District Trails Manager with the assistance of Ken Rands and Lare-Dog; and Joe Lopez continues his reign as our event support Communications Guru.

And I am very grateful to have Barry Wood as our dedicated web master and chief graphic designer. Many others have stepped forward to lead our trail construction at the Flying B as well as our trail work. It is my hope to temper my involvement with the involvement of those helping to lead the Society – for they will truly be the forces that lead the Warrior’s Society to success in 2006.

We have also initiated a new requirement of volunteer hours for nomination into the Warrior’s Society and to retain membership. For a person to be considered a nominee they must contribute a minimum of 64 hours of volunteer time at our trail work or riding events. Existing members must contribute a minimum of 32 hours a year to retain membership. Some have questioned these requirements as being exclusive; but as I explained to them – I beg to differ…

The Warrior’s Society of the plains Indians, on which we are based, demanded more than the time of their members; they demanded they be willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the tribe – and it was an honor to due so.

In deference to the advancement of civilized society – I have not demanded anyone give up their lives to live up to the standard set by the sacrifices of the Warrior’s Societies of old; all I have asked for is the commitment of a set amount of time to be considered members and to retain membership.

To be a Warrior demands sacrifice; to expect anything other than that diminishes the sacrifice of those that came before us. To expect nominees to sacrifice 64 hours of service to the public to be considered for membership does not express exclusion, but commitment; those that lead this club volunteer at the minimum 3 times that amount of time.

Those on the club council have all committed far more time to advance mountain bike culture and advocacy than most club members, it would be much easier to defer leadership and accept the minimum demands of membership – yet they are willing to go far beyond the minimum; they accept the additional sacrifice and responsibility of leadership. They not only stand beside me, they are willing to go beyond me to advance our goals of protecting our access and the culture of mountain biking in Orange County.

The club council sacrifices a lot to maintain our trails and also protect our freedom to ride them; it is their sacrifice of time that determines the base level of commitment of new club members and existing members.

It is not a question of exclusion or elitism; it is a question of commitment to protect and maintain our public trails for the greater good.

A standard must be set; I understand that mountain biking is bliss to many – a path to escape from the mundane life we often lead. But unless we have those Warrior’s willing to sacrifice their time to defend our access and mountain bike culture this bliss will be but a memory. To expect a minimum of 64 hours a year of sacrifice to be considered a member of the Warrior’s Society and 32 hours of sacrifice to remain a member is not too much to ask of a Warrior.

Ignorance is bliss and the majority of mountain bikers seek escape in the sport of mountain biking as well as bliss from the demands of life; but this ignorance and bliss will be our downfall. Ultimately the reality of life and the policies that control our access will catch up with us – unless there are those willing to sacrifice their time for the protection of the “tribe.”

That is why the Warrior’s Society exists, and if it were not so, I would find my leadership in the Warrior’s Society nothing but an exercise in futility and not of purpose and Vision.

And I find no greater inspiration than that set by the example of Jesus, the reason many celebrate Christmas, who sacrificed not his time – but his life – for the salvation of mankind. I also find inspiration in the hero’s in our armed forces who are putting their lives on the line fighting for the freedom of the citizens of Iraq; what we do in maintaining the trails pales when compared to their sacrifices.

I have come to realize that in all things I am bound by Gods Grace and not by my frailty of faith – that often times leads me to the depths of despair; I find this my greatest solace.

I am truly grateful for your support and I wish you all the best in 2006. It is my hope that both fate and the grace of God combine to make your year one of learning, discovery and accomplishment.

It is also my hope that in 2006 you experience the bliss of sacrifice for the betterment of mankind; for that is the true and honorable purpose of a Warrior.

Ya Ta Hey

-Chris Vargas
AKA “Dances With Hornets”

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12/18/05 Warrior’s Society News

In this issue:

1. Christmas / Thanks Ride Write up and photos

2. Robin and Jane Lemonds “retire” from the SHARE Mountain Bike Club

3. Saddleback Church Bike Harvest – Putting used bikes to good use

4. Positions left in the Vision Quest and Counting Coup

5. Bell Ridge Trail Work Photos

1. CHRISTMAS / THANKS RIDE WRITE UP AND PHOTOS

We all had a great time at our annual Christmas / Thanks ride on December 10th. Here’s the write up:

http://www.warriorssociety.org/News/ChristmasRide05.html

Many thanks to all our 2004-2005 Trail Work Season Volunteers; the record rains of this year really worked us – and the trails.

In 2006 we are really beefing up our powered trail work equipment. We have purchased two gas powered hedge trimmers and intend to purchase two more, which combined with the two we now own will give us a total of six. A gas powered hedge trimmer, in the proper hands, can do the brushing work of 20 volunteers.

We also intend to purchase 4 additional gas powered weed wackers (with Teflon blades) to cut back the low lying poison oak. Over the years we’ve really cut back the biggest poison oak plants encroaching on the trail, but the low lying “feelers” are always a problem – and the weed wackers make short work of them.

The additional gas powered equipment will save us tons of time on brushing the front country trails such as Holy Jim, Trabuco and West Horse Thief. The time saved on the front country trails will allow us to focus on our back country trails, such as Los Pinos, Joplin and Bell Ridge. The back country trails are in dire need of brushing and we hope to completely brush all of them in 2006.

Ned “Lone Wolf” Reynolds has already completed two brushing projects on Los Pinos and it’s now passable. The Warrior’s Society may go back in late May to give a final “spring brushing” to cut back the addition spring growth before summer. John “Keeps What Happened” Early has already been brushing the lower sections of Bell Ridge. We will be brushing that trail in early spring.

We truly appreciate all you our supporters; we’ve accomplished a lot in the past year and with your help we will accomplish much more in 2006.

Chris
AKA “Dances With Hornets

2. ROBIN AND JANE LEMONDS “RETIRE” FROM THE SHARE MOUNTAIN BIKE CLUB

Robin and Jane Lemonds, who resurrected the SHARE Mountain Bike Club a few years ago, are “retiring” from SHARE. Through their leadership of SHARE (and Robin’s status as a Director and Elder in the Warrior’s Society) Robin and Jane have worked tirelessly to advance the sport of mountain biking in the State and County park system; many thanks to them both.

Here are a few heartfelt words from Robin (which the Warrior’s Society fully supports):

I have heard it said recently that SHARE, under my leadership has not done enough to curtail the use of illegal trails in local State and County Parks. Personally, I guess I don’t know what “enough” means.

This club has made huge steps toward improving the reputation of the great sport of mountain biking and promoting responsible trail use in Orange County. We have formed productive relationships with the rangers and land managers of local State and County parks.

Our members have given thousands of hours of their time to trail maintenance and stewardship projects. We facilitated changes in the laws regarding rain closures. We have served on the boards of interpretive associations, community service organizations and other advocacy groups like the Warrior’s Society, Trails4All and IMBA.

We fixed fences, and built new trails including some specifically for equestrians. We also closed some short cut trails that were damaging the habitat. We built kiosks and fixed broken signs. We organized awareness events and setup educational information booths in the parks. We repaired and donated bikes to child advocacy programs.

We gave presentations on responsible trail use at local colleges in their naturalist classes. We created the rider identification and the helmet discount programs. We offered trail crew supervision training, CPR and First Aid. We organized three trail patrol programs with a total of over 50 patrollers.

These things involved hours upon hours of paperwork, grants, permits, a gaggle of meetings and literally thousands of emails, postal mailings, and you know what, we did it all with VOLUNTEERS!!! No body got paid for it unless you consider the great feeling of gratification as payment. Fortunately many of us do and that’s why I am so proud to have been a part of this club. Not enough? – Bull! We did plenty and we will keep doing it.

“Put me back on my bike”
Tom Simpson (last words)

See you in the dirt!

Robin Lemonds, President
SHARE Mountain Bike Club

SHARE’s new officers are Keith Eckstein as president, Paul Miller as Vice-President, Ken Rands as Treasurer and Sheryl Condon as Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator.

3. SADDLEBACK CHURCH BIKE HARVEST – PUTTING USED BIKES TO GOOD USE

Did Santa Bring you a new bike? Got a spare in your garage?

Donate it to the Saddleback Church Bike Harvest. We’re collecting bikes you don’t need…to give to people in need.

BIKES:

* Must be rideable (We’ll fix flats, but that’s about it. This is not a bike disposal service!)

* Two-wheel bikes only (No trikes or unicycles please!)

* All sizes are OK (adult or child), all types OK (mountain, road or
BMX)

OTHER STUFF WE CAN USE IF YOU HAVE IT:

Bike helmets, tubes, tires, spare parts

DATE AND TIME:

Saturday, January 21st from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

LOCATION:

Saddleback Church – 1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA. – To get there enter off Portola Pkwy (between El Toro Road and the 241 Toll Road). Turn onto Saddleback Pkwy, then turn right at the 1st drive into the Ministry Center. Look for the banner on our collection truck.

Donated bikes will be given to several organizations including: the Orange County Rescue Mission, KidWorks Santa Ana and the OC Sheriff Community Service Program.

Saddleback Mountain Bike Fellowship is a sports ministry of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, CA. For more information or to volunteer to help in our Bike Harvest, contact Gregg Howard at:

thehowardteam@cox.net

Thank you for your support!

Gregg Howard

4. POSITIONS LEFT IN THE 2006 VISION QUEST AND COUNTING COUP

To help those considering participating in the 2006 Vision Quest and Counting Coup (the 2006 Mountain Bike Pow Wow Events) we are going to be doing weekly updates on the positions left in each of the events:

Vision Quest – 62 spots left (150 total)

Counting Coup – 39 spots left (100 total)

We are getting on average about 15 to 20 applications a week and hope to sell out the events by mid-January. Bike Magazine will be doing a story on the Vision Quest in their March issue that will be coming out in late January or early February; if there are any spots left this article will probably fill us up.

In addition to downloading the Vision Quest and Counting Coup apps off our web site, or registering through Acive.com, you can also register for the Pow Wow Events at Switchback Cyclery in Orange. Switchback Cyclery is located in Orange at 8530 E. Chapman (at Prospect Avenue on the southeast corner about a mile and a half east of the 55 Freeway). Their phone number is (714) 628-3913.

We are in the process of negotiating with two other bike shops in Orange County to be the named sponsors of our other 2006 Events. We will be negotiating with those shops to also allow registration at their shop locations for the events they sponsor.

Here’s the info to download apps and to register on Active.com:

To download an app for the Vision Quest go to:

http://tinyurl.com/b8brg

To register for the Vision Quest on Active.com go to:

http://tinyurl.com/cgso9

To download an app for the Counting Coup go to:

http://tinyurl.com/b8brg

To register for the Counting Coup on Active.com go to:

http://tinyurl.com/ajmrb

Your event confirmation will have additional event information including a course description.

5. BELL RIDGE TRAIL WORK PHOTOS

Club member John Early started working on the part lower Bell Ridge Trail. He started at the last big lookout hill before you drop into Robinson Ranch and worked uphill. He only used loppers since He rode in from his house. He worked for a little over two hours on the trail with about two hours ingress/egress time. The bypass trail at this lookout point was completely overgrown at the western end so he started there. He cleared it and some other sections on the next big hill.

There is a big washout (that drops down about 3 feet) down lower at the start of the trail that needs re-working but he needed more equipment for that.

John took some shots and posted them here:

http://homepage.mac.com/john_early/PhotoAlbum13.html

The Dog Soldiers will be continuing the brushing, repairing and rehabilitation of the Bell Ridge Trail in 2006.

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