A Sad Day in the Hood. Rest in Peace, President Matt Klee.

We here in Hood River are so sad. The president of HRATS, our beloved Matt Klee, passed away in a mountain biking crash at Whistler on 5/30/2014. A memorial service will be held at the Gorge Room at the Hood River Inn at 5pm on 6/7/2014. The family has asked that donations be made to HRATS in lieu of flowers. Thank you for your support, kind words, and patience while we grieve Matt’s death.

MattJen

Words can’t convey how awesome Matt was. He was kind. Caring. Thoughtful. Funny. Passionate, Driven. A good listener. Level-headed. He had ideas, and he executed them. At our meetings, he listened to our always passionate, sometimes unruly board members share their ideas, and he kept them focused on the task at hand. He stayed calm. He kept the meetings on track. He was the force keeping HRATS moving forward, and he did it by being the kindest, most level-headed, sweetest, most genuine and driven person to ever work in mountain bike advocacy.

You can see Matt’s work on the features in Family Man and in the new set of training jumps just below Family Man. Matt didn’t build those for himself. He built them so his wife and everyone else would have a safe place to learn to jump. You’ll find Matt’s spirit in Lolipop Lane, the kids’ loop in Family Man. Matt and Jen didn’t have kids, but Matt gave countless hours to build a trail so your little ones would have a safe place to ride. That’s the kind of guy he was. Incredibly giving. Always moving forward on another project that would make our trails better for everyone, not just for him. We miss him terribly. He is irreplaceable. There is nobody else like him.

Matt was riding at Whistler on 5/30/2014, having the time of his life, when he crashed. His last Facebook post conveys his happiness: “Whistler Bike Park update = amazeballs. Perfect dirt, no one here, and the trails are early season buffness. #winning.” We could say we’re glad he left us while riding. But there’s no relief in saying that. Matt should have ridden bikes for decades longer. We’re devastated, heartbroken, baffled and sad. And we’re doubly sad because Matt’s wife, Jen Klee, is our new treasurer, elected just weeks ago. Our souls ache for her.

There are no words that can lift the pain from the hearts of the HRATS, Hood River’s biking community and the Klee Family. But your stories and photos can bring some smiles. You can share a note or a story with Matt’s family at Anderson’s Tribute Center. You can also share photos via Dropbox. The Dropbox space is limited, so please keep it to your 3 or 4 best Matt Klee photos.

HRATS will continue, and yes, we’ll be naming a trail after Matt. Oh, yes we will. It’ll take a bit of time, but you’re going to love it. The Kleeway. Stay tuned for details on that and other things we’ll do to memorialize this just-plain-awesome guy. Thank you for your support of HRATS and the Klee Family in these tough times.

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Whoopdee Party Breaks Through

Many hands make quick work

Many hands make quick work

Steve’s been pushing to get the new Whoopdee climb done so he can spend the summer riding and sailing like a normal Hood Riverite.  Today’s work party got him one big step closer.  A great Sunday morning turnout and ideal weather conditions made quick work of the last uncut stretch between the old climb and the new trailhead.

Another day at the office

Another day at the office

This new climbing route opened for business officially at 1PM, in time for Blossom Festival week riders to enjoy the great vistas and fields of balsam root in full bloom.

Workers this week included:  Jeff Blackman, Don Wiley, Sam Wiley, Connor Dunn, Amy Dunn, Mark Chamley, Stephen Ford, Kani Rowland, Tom Cook, JJ Olsson, Andy Olsson, Jim Mudry, Dave Veenstra, Arthur Babitz, Steve Dunn, Sadie, Cooper, Ringo and Mojo.

This new section starts about a third of the way up the old road climb on the left (south) side.  Try it soon while the balsam root and Indian paintbrush are in bloom for full effect.  Steve and friends are still working on the bottom section of the climb, which will be north of the old road.

Andy and Ringo confer on the trail route

Andy and Ringo discuss the route

This project is supported by your contributions to HRATS, which have been helping Steve by covering some of his fuel and materials costs.  If you like the new route click the “donate” badge to buy Steve some gas.

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‘RATS in the Woods

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Sun? Dry soil? New GP!

Last weekend I counted six separate trail projects in the woods.  The dry period this February/March has been a tremendous bonus for trail stewards.  The big news is that Jason was able to rebuild Middle GP, and it was riding great all week.  But also Steve was working on the Whoopdee, building a new route up and out.  Douglas completed a nice reroute on Spaghetti Factory.  Jim’s working on an 8-Track reroute which will be the subject of a major work party this spring.  Gary’s up working near Extended Play.  Kay and the CAMBA crew are continuing the work over on the Syncline.  And that’s just one week.

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Mid-week mid-winter Whoopdee work

If you’re available to help with impromptu work parties, drop a note to admin@hrats.org.  We’re keeping a special distribution list which trail builders can use to grab a few extra hands when the sun pops out and they want to take advantage of it.

I’m trying to keep the map up-to-date.  I’ve posted the new Post Canyon Trail Map as of March 16, 2013.  Remember, new trails take longer to dry out after the rain.  Respect the effort that went into building them and don’t ride if your tires are reshaping the route.

To download the large version of the map you must join our mailing list, please click on the map below to subscribe and download. We will also email you when there are updates to the map.  If you are already on the list, you should have received an email with the magic direct link to the map.

If you are moved to thank me for my efforts making this map, you can make a donation to HRATS, click here.

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Post Canyon Map Updated– yet again…

I’ve updated the Post Canyon Trail Map as of February 24, 2013.  It’s been a long, difficult year but most trails are now open.  Seven Streams, Spaghetti Factory, and Charlie’s Trail are open, 8-Track has a great reroute up top and is open.  GP and Mobius are still closed.  Logging is mostly complete, but you may run into cleanup operations in the woods– steer clear if you see them.

To download the large version of the map you must join our mailing list, please click on the map below to subscribe and download. We will also email you when there are updates to the map.  If you are already on the list, you should have received an email with the magic direct link to the map, so you just wasted your time reading this post.

If you are moved to thank me for my efforts making this map, you can make a donation to HRATS, click here.

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Whoopdee Trail Work Party – rerouting the climb out… (no, it’s not done yet)

Whoopdee
This dry weather we’ve been having is driving the ski bums crazy, but the dirt-worshiping mountain bikers are going crazy with dirt lust. So are the trail builders. Whoopdee steward Steve Dunn grabbed 12 of our trail fairies for a sunny Saturday work party.

Tired of climbing that old road out of Whoopdee? Well, soon, that old road will be history! Steve’s latest project, funded by the kind donations of local riders, is to reroute the road climb into a super-rad climbing trail.

Here’s the work party report from our favorite trail fairy, Mayor Arthur Babitz: “We had a fine February day for a work party building the new climb out for the Whoopdee Trail. We were able accomplish our mission of de-berming and cleaning up all the machine tread Steve cut earlier this week, and even had time to scratch in a new section which loops out to a beautiful lookout point around a huge pine tree. While today’s segment doesn’t yet connect to anything, it is now mostly rideable down to the pine tree if you want to check it out. I wouldn’t be surprised if this segment becomes a popular hiking route in wildflower season, as it is thick with balsam root and ends at a fine lunch spot.

When completed this new climbing trail will substitute for the climb on the logging road. It will be a much more fun climb due to milder grade and more attractive routing. The logging road is also poorly drained so after a few heavy snow seasons it will likely revert to the badly rutted route we all hated from a few years back.”

We logged 40 hours of work today with the following participants:

Matt Klee
Andy Olsen
J.J. Olsen
Christy Richards
Jon Richards
Forrest Rae
Madeline Rae
Stephen Ford
Marc Igolen
Jay Sherrerd
Arthur Babitz
Steve Dunn
Rocky
Sadie
Bear
Jay’s dog

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SDS Land / Hospital Hill Closure

***HOSPITAL HILL CLOSURE***** Due to an active Timber Harvest, All SDS Lands in the Jewett Creek and Hospital Hill area are closed as of 1/29/2013. There will be tree felling and cable yarding operation hardware that may occur far outside the actual timber harvest boundary. Anyone trespassing in this area is exposing themselves to possible injury or death, and will be cited for Trespassing if caught. If you see users violating this Closure, please call Jeremy Grose at 509 493 2155. The area is expected to re-open approximately June 1, 2013 depending on weather and how smoothly operations go. Click on the Recreation and ‘Mtn Biking and Hiking’ tabs on this page for a map.

http://stevensonlandcompany.com/recreation-opportunities/hiking-and-mountain-biking/

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Upcoming Work Parties – We need you!!!

As you might have heard, we have a lot of work parties coming up. Some of these are on bike trails, but Hood River County is starting a weekly Saturday work party on motorized trails, and it’s important we get a good showing for these moto trail work days. The first is November 3rd, at 8:30am, meeting at the Binn’s Hill staging area. Why, you ask, should you work on moto trails?

If you’ve ridden 140, 160, Borderline, 130, Dirt Surfer, or Kitchen Sink (along with other trails) you’ve ridden a motorized trail, which was likely built by the County with grant money funded in part by OHV tags and gas tax. In order to spend grant money, HRC needs to show in-kind labor for about 25% of the value of the grant. Your labor counts for $18ish/hour. Hood River County is lacking in grant hours for this year. If we, HRATS, don’t get up there and do some labor, the County won’t reach that in-kind requirement, and will have to cut back on spending on moto trails. They might be motorized trails, but you ride them on your bike, so make plans to help. Every Saturday. And if you have time during the week, you may be able to volunteer then. And… if you’re a dirt biker or ATV rider and you’d like to be part of HRATS, we’d love to have you! Just shoot us an email at admin@hrats.org.

Now, on to mountain bike trails:

November 10th is the first big fall work party in Post Canyon. Salvage logging is done (but not large-sale logging on Seven Streams), so we want to fix the trails that were damaged by skidding. Included in this work party are 8-Track, Upper 8-Track, The Boot, Middle School, and possibly Mitchell Ridge, GP and 140. We’ll be meeting at Dirty Fingers around 8:30 for a carpool up to the Family Man area.

On November 11th, WTA hosts a work party on Syncline to decomission the old Maui Falls trail – the new one is pretty much awesome – along with finishing the gravel on the reroute up top near the Burns Property. Also on the docket for the 11th is work on Jeff’s Trail. This will be an all-day work party with a half-day option. There will be additional Syncline parties on November 18th, and December 1st, 9th, and 15th.

Stay tuned for a possible mid-November work party on the 44 Road (snow dependent, of course), hosted by your local ranger, Jimmy T.

That’s it. Thanks for your help!

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