Mountain Cog

060 - Be Nice. Say Hi. Mountain bike advocacy w/ SDMBA - San Diego Mountain Biking Association (Susie Murphy)

November 28, 2023 Mountain Cog - Joshua Anderson & Mike Festerling Episode 60
Mountain Cog
060 - Be Nice. Say Hi. Mountain bike advocacy w/ SDMBA - San Diego Mountain Biking Association (Susie Murphy)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we engage in a compelling conversation with Susie Murphy, the Executive Director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA.com), a non-profit organization committed to preserving and enhancing sustainable trail access for mountain biking in San Diego County. Established in 1994, SDMBA boasts a volunteer-driven force and stands as one of the largest regional trail advocacy groups in the US with 1,800 members.

Susie shares her journey in the mountain biking community, discussing the challenges and triumphs she has encountered along the way. From trail advocacy to fostering a sense of community, she sheds light on the vital role the association plays in promoting responsible trail use and creating a welcoming environment for riders of all levels. Join us as we explore the exciting trails of San Diego through Susie's eyes, gaining insights into the vibrant mountain biking culture and the impactful work being done by the San Diego Mountain Biking Association under her leadership.

San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA): www.sdmba.com

California Mountain Biking Coalition (CAMTB): www.camtb.org

Support the trails you love: https://luvtrails.com/

SDMBA Trail News Podcast: https://sdmba.libsyn.com/


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Mike:

Josh, I hope you have the. Can we dig it cute up here for this episode? I do. Do you know what you're doing? Well done, josh sometimes forgets which button.

Susie Murphy:

It does what.

Mike:

And our guest today is all about. We're going to dig into some of what they like to do and do best, which is digging trails. So, yeah, that's good Can?

Josh:

you dig it, can you dig it. So we got, we've got. Is it Susan or Susie? What do you prefer?

Susie Murphy:

Susie.

Josh:

Susie. Susie Murphy, she's executive director of the SDMBA San Diego Mountain Bike Association. Thank you so much, susie. How are you today?

Susie Murphy:

I'm good, yeah, thanks you guys for having me.

Mike:

Thanks for making time. We really appreciate it. Would you mind kind of giving us a brief overview, a little introduction of yourself?

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, Um well, I live in San Diego. I'm a native San Diego, which is a rare breed.

Mike:

San Diego.

Susie Murphy:

San Diego. I live in Chula Vista, which is almost down by the border, so lots of good tacos.

Mike:

Right.

Susie Murphy:

And um, I have been the executive director of uh, we say SDMBA or STIMBA for short. I'm not to be confused with your Sonoran Desert Mountbikes Association in Arizona. Uh, so STIMBA. Um, I've been in this job as executive director for going for eight years.

Josh:

Yeah, 2015,. Right yeah.

Susie Murphy:

Mm, hmm, I was the first ever staff person, and before that I've always, um uh, been mountain biking for 30 plus years.

Josh:

So you're OG from the beginning. I am an old G, is that old grandma? I'm not a grandma yet I think it stands for original gangster.

Susie Murphy:

Original gangster, but yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, og, whatever. Um, I have been riding that long raced for some time. We can talk, that's another thing, but, um, I was volunteering with some various organizations that were involved in some, you know, state parks and different things and kind of got involved that way. Um, uh have always been a camper and a was a backpacker back in the day and, uh, different kinds of cycling and different outdoor activities and um, yeah, Susie, have you done the Pacific Coast Trail or parts of it? Pacific Crest Trail on foot. Yes, I have uh small parts of it. I've never been a through hiker. That's too much Too much. I've never been a through hiker. That's too long to be outside.

Mike:

Yeah.

Susie Murphy:

Well, we have a lot of no, go ahead. I don't want to cut you off from your uh, yeah, so I uh have done other things in my life. Uh, you know, I have done a lot of volunteering. I uh taught elementary school for 10 years. No right on, I'm an art, I'm an art history major, so that really comes in handy for trail advocacy and, you know, erosion control and hydrology.

Josh:

It's useful. I can't tell if you're joking or not this moment. Are you being sarcastic? Okay?

Mike:

So our history?

Josh:

I'm like there must be something I don't know about this.

Susie Murphy:

Did you major in core history? No.

Mike:

Art, art history. Okay so.

Susie Murphy:

I've done a lot of things in my life but that kind of lends itself to uh managing, uh, you know, quickly moving, evolving nonprofit.

Mike:

I suppose you know so, yeah, wearing a lot of hats.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, wearing a lot of hats, being, um you know, involved in in a lot of different aspects of nonprofit management and fundraising and all that stuff. I think it's good to be kind of a jack of all trades you know and planning all that stuff.

Josh:

So, yeah, I'm just amazed. You know, I spent some time perusing, perusing the website and um, which actually is like one of the most misused words in the English language. You know what? What is it Cause? Peruse like? I think that, like the, the accepted understanding is it like to briefly look through, but it actually means to read in depth.

Mike:

Oh, I didn't know that I'm not kidding, it's actually huh. Okay, well, it's good.

Josh:

Yeah, maybe we taught something here.

Mike:

Yeah.

Josh:

Susie, do you have a nickname?

Susie Murphy:

I don't know nothing. I don't really. I mean, you know the usual everybody. You know I have a few people that might call me Susie Q, but that's pretty cute.

Josh:

No one calls you Murph or anything like that.

Susie Murphy:

For the Murph, murph, I know not so much.

Mike:

I have a friend back in Wisconsin named Dave Murphy and that was his nickname Murph, yeah, oh, the Murph. Yeah.

Susie Murphy:

And then I, actually my husband, I mean I married in, I married into the Murphy clan, I married into the Murph. You know, my husband and his brothers have all those Murph nicknames.

Mike:

Yeah, sure, yeah.

Josh:

Living here in, living here in the Sonoran desert. You know San Diego is kind of like our summertime retreat, right? I'm sure you guys get sick of all the Arizona's. I am, I am aware so much so that we actually did an episode on Mission Beach and talked about why you should vacation and Mission Beach, drive there, park your car and never ride. Never, you know, never. Take your car out again, because you can ride your bike everywhere.

Susie Murphy:

Because everybody will razz you if you have zoner plates.

Mike:

Oh yeah, Well, I've never thought about that but, that is probably part, but no, the whole thing was really cool because literally they parked their car and didn't have to worry about parking the whole time.

Josh:

And you guys got around everywhere on a bike. That's great and they could see.

Mike:

Yeah, the perspective is so much better on two wheels right, the air blowing through your hair under your helmet, whatever.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah Well, you have to worry about trying to park your car down there. Yeah, I mean, if you want to go to a restaurant or a bar or whatever, like much easier.

Mike:

Speaking of bars, I don't know if you heard the the the polar bear that walked into the bar and he he said to the bartender he says he says can, can, can I have a rum and coke? And the bartender says why the pause? And the polar bear says I was born with them. I was born with them, sorry.

Josh:

Dad jokes are one of our things on this podcast and Mike Mike's like the dad joke guy. So if you haven't even want to throw in at any time, you don't, you don't need to let us know.

Mike:

But, Josh, you already knew that one, josh you were just talking about, you were very impressed about when you were perusing the website, and then we went down a rabbit hole. Yeah, no, yeah, absolutely yeah.

Josh:

No, I was. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of of Stimba and everything that you guys are involved in, in how small your staff is and how you're able to manage all that and I got to imagine that's crazy and I want to get all. I want to learn all about Stimba. But before we get there, maybe for our listeners who are from all over the world, you can give us a little bit of a overview on, like, what's mountain biking like, what are the trails like in your in San Diego?

Susie Murphy:

Oh, okay. Well, San Diego is a really unique place. Obviously, we're, you know, Southwest corner of the United States. We always tease, but it's true we live in a desert. Yep, you know, it's pretty, pretty arid here. We had a very wet winter last winter, but you know things, it never seems to just rain the right amount, right.

Josh:

It's either way too much or way too little, not enough or way too much all at the same time.

Susie Murphy:

So but it is, you know, for just like a summary of the area, it is the desert, and I just was. I spent the night out in Anzabarago Desert last night and it was beautiful beginning of the desert season, gorgeous, and rode our bikes around a little bit checking out some things, but our obviously we have the beach and then different ecosystems that go up to, you know, into the inland valleys and then the foothills and then eventually, even just an hour from my house, I can reach trailhead up in the Cleveland National Forest which has pine trees and meadows and nice campgrounds and nice single track, including the Noble Canyon Trail, which is kind of our premier trail, which is within the forest and a lot of people shuttle it. It's about a 10 and a half mile downhill.

Josh:

Yeah, we had. We had Joanna Yates on who is. I don't know if you know that name, but she's like a pretty familiar.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah.

Josh:

So she's out of Sedona, arizona. We had her and her husband on and we asked them what their top 10 trails in the whole United States. They travel all over the US and Canada and Noble was was in the top five for sure.

Susie Murphy:

Nice, yeah, it's, it's, it's rugged and it goes from the pine forest and you feel like you go through. I technically I don't know how many, it's probably like a three or four distinct, you know, kind of ecosystems that does vegetation and yeah, it's super, it's super great, it's very popular.

Josh:

How long does it, how long does Noble take to get through?

Susie Murphy:

Well, the fast guys probably do it, and they do it in under two hours for sure.

Josh:

What about like average Joe's, like like an?

Susie Murphy:

average Joe. Yeah, I three to three and a half hours. I would say Cool, especially if you stop. There's some nice shady places with some water going through and you know, stop to take pictures, or whatever.

Mike:

Sounds like a bucket list ride, for sure.

Susie Murphy:

Some people do that I hear. So anyway, that's kind of our premier big, you know, downhill trail in the forest and we have trails of all different kinds that are managed by federal agencies, state agencies and then local jurisdictions and other agencies. So it's, it's a San Diego County is a big place.

Mike:

Yep.

Susie Murphy:

Right From North County to you know, the middle of the county, down to South County, where I live, and then East County, all the way out to the desert, out towards, you know like. Yuma all the way ends at the river Right.

Josh:

So is San Diego County go that far? Does it go all the way out past Alpine and Imperial.

Susie Murphy:

Imperial County is our county to the east and so, yeah, as you're driving east towards you guys, towards Arizona, you run across the border out there near Yuma. So, yeah, it is a big place. It's very diverse in a lot of different ways Just habitat, vegetation, terrain, yeah, and and then all the people who manage those lands in between, and another thing, that's we. This will lead to other conversations. We have all these different agencies and land managers. We also have the most Indian reservations for any county in the country.

Mike:

Oh wow, no idea.

Susie Murphy:

Most designated Indian reservations and we also have and I haven't checked this lately, but I've always heard I don't know how these things change, how quickly these change but we also have the most federally listed endangered species.

Josh:

Oh, wow.

Susie Murphy:

Both plants and animals of any county in the country.

Josh:

Oh gosh, so that's that's fine.

Mike:

I can't imagine. Yeah, and and.

Susie Murphy:

So the ramifications of those things are fairly predictable when it comes to trying to build new trails.

Mike:

Yeah, that's where your art history major comes in.

Susie Murphy:

Right For trail advocacy yeah. Federally listed endangered species yes.

Josh:

And they're growing through the 26 projects they have. I kept scrolling.

Mike:

So I was like how many are there?

Josh:

In there you list out all the different land managers and I'm like, oh my God, that is crazy. How many different organizations. It's a lot.

Susie Murphy:

I mean, you've talked to some other advocacy organizations and there's some that may work with two or three different jurisdictions, like a county in a city or, you know, maybe State Park or something or a regional park or something. Or maybe there's some that just work with the Forest Service, like in our area. That's it, and we have over 20.

Josh:

So yeah, I mean in Tucson, like in Southern Arizona anyways, the way we have it kind of broken up is there's like one organization, Torica, that works with the Forest Service and one organization that kind of works with the county and everything else, and they specialize in that and maintain that relationship. I can't imagine the job of dealing with all the different land. How do you even keep it all straight?

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, it's a lot just keeping track of where you are in advocating and talking about future plans. You know short term plans, long term plans, keeping track of staff changes, which is always an issue at any anywhere.

Josh:

Yeah, because relationships, relationships matter.

Susie Murphy:

And yeah, yeah, as people change out.

Josh:

You got to develop new relationships and that's then you're starting over a lot of times and that's tough.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, yeah. So so yeah, does that kind of give you guys an overview?

Josh:

No, that helps a lot, yeah before you go to this question, I just I've got some buddies that I stole from San Diego, pulled them to Tucson and we've got a. We've got a major employer here and I was able to keep them in the desert, like the Sonoran Desert, for a couple years. But then they eventually want to migrate back to the beach. But they tell me, and we got them infected with the mountain bike bug and they tell me that the trails are like real steep, like a lot of up, a lot of down. Is that fair? Is that a fair assessment?

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, we have a lot of topography here, like it's just the terrain Once you get it away from the beach and get it Pretty much immediately, I mean even just along the five corridor, right. So the interstate five goes north and south. Just getting out of Pacific Beach and then heading into the canyons, the finger canyons that lead up into Claremont, for people litter, yep Heading. Most of the canyons are are facing East to west, right. So all these finger canyons and that's really the what makes the character of San Diego neighborhoods what they are, and communities is these finger canyons everywhere. And so there's, you know, there's, formal parks that are Open space, parks that are, you know, these canyons are made up of and there's been, you know, decades of different sorts of uses, over a hundred hundreds of years or land uses 150 years, land uses, rain, you know cattle range agriculture, sand mining. You know awful things that have happened in these canyons, and some of them have Gotten preserved, thank goodness. And so we have this east to west connectivity. So, yeah, just literally east of Pacific Beach, across on the east side of the five, you start seeing these canyons and, and there's trails there that people Use for recreation, for all you know for, but most all, the trails are multi-use right. So biking, hiking, dog walking, trail running, equestrian use here and there, not everywhere, but Some places have equestrian use allowable as well, and so we are a lot of the time working in these, these urban canyons, when we're working close to town urban canyons.

Mike:

That's very because, we are when we're driving, you know, as a tourist, right, we're driving through and I didn't put my finger on Not pun intended the on the finger canyons, but I was trying to figure out like what those were. And that's what they are they're finger canyons in the urban setting, and so what you're saying is there's actually trails up in there that I just didn't see at times and I'm driving along I5 most likely.

Susie Murphy:

I mean, you know, when I, when I go to a new town and I'm a passenger and my husband's driving, I just turn on trail forks and I look I'm like, oh, there's trails over there, there's trails over there, and then sometimes we'll stop if we have time.

Mike:

Yeah.

Susie Murphy:

So in San Diego if you drive up and you know north to south on well, on any highway really they 805 or the five and you would turn on trail forks. I mean you can see where the trails are and they are. Some are connected through. I Mean obviously the canyons are formed. Again my art history major comes in handy. They're usually watersheds. Right there's a stream or or a river, san Diego River or the. San Diego River or Penisquitos Creek or whatever it is that Ota river that are that form these, these Watershed valleys or canyons, even Mission Valley, the middle of San Diego. Mission Valley is a San Diego River, right, you know, it's watershed, sure? So so the canyons that aren't developed? Mission Valley is developed because there's, you know, an Ikea and a snapdragon stadium and you, you mentioned one thing and we've got a pretty healthy.

Josh:

I don't know why, but I do know why we have a pretty healthy listeners crew of like BMX listeners, and you mentioned Claremont and so I just want to give a shout out to the Claremont YMCA with their skater cross. If you Haven't been there, if you're a BMX rider, you should go check it out. It's pretty amazing.

Susie Murphy:

I'm Kearney, kearney BMX, tyler Brown he's, he kills it. Tyler Brown runs the Kearney BMX, then chelivista BMX as well, and he's amazing.

Josh:

Oh, that's awesome. And then and then also like the OB skate park, I think there's a, there's like I don't know. There's a ton of skate parks in San Diego. You guys are it's pretty amazing.

Susie Murphy:

Your skate park is seen.

Josh:

Tony Hawk, yeah, but OB is great, actually went in our last trip there scanner was my son, was Ryan's BMX bike and that's a great. They get some great bulls there and then the skater is a super unique.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, we can talk about bike parks too, because we have a lot of BMXers that hang out at the bike parks that we yes, I've been to one of your bike parks down south.

Josh:

Sweetwater I think so, yeah, and it's kind of like built on a hill and you kind of climb up and then go down and yeah, it was a blast.

Mike:

Yeah, so are there trails like you manage, like do you have any like number, like how many miles of trail, do you guys?

Susie Murphy:

I would love for somebody to take on that project. And it's just, there's so many jurisdictions and they all have their own numbers. Like the county, I'll give a number. But the problem we always have, like if the county says we have x hundred miles of trail, or a regional park says we have X number miles of trail, the problem is we don't. They count old ranch roads, double track, fire roads, energy easement roads and we're like we don't, that's not a trail.

Josh:

We're talking about a single track.

Mike:

Mmm yeah, so there's two different questions, right, yeah, for sure, so yeah on your website you have it says over 1800 members have joined the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. So I mean, that is quite a force multiplier there of all those folks. And I and you mentioned like the short-term and long-term projects. So are you? Are you guys? You're building new trails all the time, but you're also Maintaining what's already there.

Susie Murphy:

So so actually, when we do every couple of years will do like a member survey and a put would you like a member survey? And then we'll put the same questions out to the public. Yeah so we have kind of two. You know two separate perspectives data. Yeah, and Always, people really want us to maintain the trails we already have because they've been neglected. I mean, they're neglected by the agencies, by the cities that don't value them for the amenity that they are, and so it's always a high priority that people want us to help maintain the things that already exist and make them better, and every once in a while. I mean, obviously we'd all like new trails and we'd love to, you know, be building new trail all the time, but it's very. Building new trails here is difficult. The plans take a long time. We're in the middle of many, you know, several different multi-year plans that are you know six, seven, eight, ten years in, yeah, and one of one of these days like and they come like a small connector. This past year, the beginning of the beginning of this year, we built a small connector which had been in the plans for Eight or nine years and, because of development and different things, this is in pennies, kitos and one of the canyons and it's just, it's nothing glamorous, it's nothing sexy like, it's just a small connector that allows people to make a different loop than they were able to do legally before.

Josh:

That's a big deal.

Susie Murphy:

And it is a big deal but it's not like it's some you know, jump line in the middle of it's just to connect. It's a connector trail. Yeah, that's important for the people who live in those neighborhoods, who want to get up there to wherever they're going.

Josh:

Yeah, I mean we hear this time and time again from the trail builders, trail maintainers, trail developers you know land, you know folks that work with land managers that maintaining the existing infrastructure is like such a huge priority Because it, I mean, they can get out of, they can get, like you know, out of shape really, really quickly. And it's it's, it's a mountain of work just to keep them, you know, in good shape it is, and we have a lot of our Areas that have these.

Susie Murphy:

We're the bane of our existence. Is these old ranch roads right that the county or the city or whoever wants to call them trails? And they're on awful alignments that were dug into the ground by probably a Old truck or something a hundred years ago. Yep and and they're terrible. Yeah, they shouldn't be there, they shouldn't be trails, they should be shut down and then a reroute made, somehow like a Nice alignment, to go up or down the terrain. That would be enjoyable instead of a straight up and down scar on the land, right. So we have that problem in a lot of areas and we're we try, mmm. The other problem is sometimes those roads are energy. They're like SDG knee, which is our, you know.

Josh:

You energy company.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, yeah, san Diego, gas and electric, like those, are their access roads, so they have to be a road because the trucks have to get to the power lines.

Mike:

Yep sir.

Susie Murphy:

So those are unavoidable, but sometimes they let us have the connectors to ride. You know the easement to ride on those roads, but yeah, so maintenance is super important and for us we're making some inroads, especially with the city of San Diego, on some things that have been neglected for a very long time, um, alignments that are bad. So we're big, we're, we're starting to be able to do some reroutes in certain places and Make things more enjoyable and safer and even a little more fun for everybody, like you know, for everybody that's using the trails also level.

Josh:

Susie, you've used the word a couple times. You've used a realignment. Can you define that for us? I haven't heard that before.

Susie Murphy:

So if you're planning a new trail or you're planning a reroute or just talking about an existing trail, the alignment is just the corridor of the trail on the ground okay. So if it's a single track, you're only talking like it's. You know, 24 to 36 inches wide, hopefully, and it's just the alignment that it takes through the topography and the plants and you know how it gets where it's going.

Josh:

So I think that's an art history, that's an art history term.

Mike:

I think that's a.

Josh:

Applied our history to trail? I think it is.

Susie Murphy:

It transfers a lot. Um so, but in planning a new trail, if you've ever been out on a project where, where trail planners and builders are marking a new trail or a reroute, they'll use the little pin flags. You know the little colored flags and you know they'll. They'll mark it out. They'll use a Clonometer, which is a little a thing. You have to have two people and you're measuring the grade to make sure the grade isn't too steep. Make sure you have for one like yeah, not more than a six or seven percent grade over a certain stretch. I'm going up and down. So yeah, it's, it's technical and and but building a new trail. If you've written in places that are able to big build, you know larger expanses of new trail, like you know.

Josh:

Then For the record. For the record in their face.

Susie Murphy:

It's super fun.

Josh:

I haven't been there yet is worth it.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, it's very fun, I was.

Josh:

I was planning on taking the summer and and moving my family to Bentonville for six weeks.

Susie Murphy:

There you go.

Josh:

Just to go check it out, and but I think we were a lot to do I think we're gonna get a dog, and if we get a dog, I'm a little worried about bringing a puppy across the country so.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, that's cool We'll see Um, anyway, it's fun. But if you ride any trail and there may be some in Arizona I'd have to kind of look for one. But Uh, a trail that's built with modern sort of specifications and attention to the grade reversals and the erosion and the drainage, it shouldn't really require a lot of maintenance over time. Yeah right, that's the whole goal.

Mike:

If you build right the first time right.

Susie Murphy:

If you build it right the first time, it doesn't require a lot of maintenance and we have a couple of examples here in town. There's a trail up in our Cuyamaca State Park. That's about it's probably it's close to three miles long and it was built a collaboration with some SDNBA people and state park people and that trail was built using, you know, really good planning and good alignments and good grade reversals and Drainage and it has one bridge in it and it doesn't really work except for trimming.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah, brushing, brushing.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, except for trimming and brushing, it really doesn't need a lot of tread work.

Josh:

Yeah, we're lucky, We've got, we've got both. We've got a lot of great trails that have been designed and built according to all the standards that you just mentioned. That don't require a lot. You know, you can talk about them in Kinsey a lot of us out there doing things on the trail, everything they're doing on Tucson Mountain. Park, that stuff like it just built really well. But then we've got the trails that for the most part, started out as what we call social trails. I don't know if you guys use the same term, but, like you know, guys that didn't know how to build trail went and built trails and, like Fantasy Island is an example.

Mike:

It's a hot mess. It's a hot mess.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah for maintenance.

Mike:

It can almost be dangerous as well.

Josh:

You know you show up one time after a big rain.

Mike:

Yeah, you can get hurt.

Josh:

Susan, you've got 26 projects listed on your site. Are there a couple that you're excited about? Maybe could cherry pick and tell us a little bit about one or two.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, I mean some of those. Everything we do, things can be really short term. Yep, like just planning for this winter season, which is starting right now with our. We have a two person full time paid trail crew, right, so we have a trails coordinator and a trail specialist. So that is great because they're working on projects. You know they plan a year ago for projects that are now going to happen this winter, right? So they're always working on these and those, for us, are fairly short term, right. If you know, if we're in the spring and we're like what are we going to work on when the rain comes, right, those have to be planned months out so we can schedule everything.

Josh:

So you get more rain, like in the fall time and the winter time. Yeah, and so you guys want to do you want to do trail maintenance or trail any kind of trail work at that time, because it's easier to work with the land than when it's dry.

Susie Murphy:

Okay, and we have to worry about bird nesting season and all kinds of fun things.

Josh:

So yeah, so talk me through that. What do you mean by that bird nesting?

Susie Murphy:

season. So the biologists, if we're working on a project where we're building you know, building a new trail or even building a bridge or doing a reroute or whatever we have to, you know everything has to go through the city specialists, right. So the biologists or the archeologists or the public works or the hydrologists or whatever, so they come in. You know they all look at the project. And if it's February 15th for us these days is when bird nesting season starts, oh wow. And it's not to say that you can't do a project during that season, but you have to have a bird monitor checking.

Mike:

Like a person watching for the birds.

Susie Murphy:

A person checking to see if it Make sure you're not disturbing the nesting birds, basically, and that can stop the work if the bird decides to be in the wrong or to make its home.

Josh:

Well, that's something we've never heard on this podcast Bird nesting interrupting.

Mike:

But yeah, Interruptions. We haven't heard that Interesting. Yeah, Okay. The collaboration is incredible, which you have to pull together.

Susie Murphy:

It's yeah. When you you know people speaking of social trails, we call them unsanctioned.

Josh:

Okay.

Susie Murphy:

We try to use the word unsanctioned because we hope that someday they may be sanctioned.

Josh:

Yes.

Susie Murphy:

Because that's kind of a push sometimes to say like, look, these trails have been here for 35 years. They're before all these rules and regulations and everything came up, and so sometimes that can work. It's working in other parts of California to say, like you know this, if we're gonna do a trails inventory or trails plan, trails master plan, like these trails should be considered the sanction. So that's why we use the term unsanctioned.

Josh:

Unsanctioned okay.

Susie Murphy:

So we do have that here in San Diego and yeah, like you said, sometimes they're they're well well done and sometimes they're not well done.

Mike:

So Susie, who is writing your? You know, forgive my ignorance, but when we go to to San Diego, it's it's because we're in a real I mean a desert. Desert, right. No, no water around, right. So we go. It's like we want to go to the beach. You're making fun of her desert.

Josh:

Now I know I'm not, I'm sorry. I mean, it's like a real desert, disparaging her desert, that's not cool.

Mike:

I mean, it's a come on like that.

Josh:

Yeah, like like we're trying to get out of the desert. I was just last night in our Anthem Barago State Park desert. That's a swing up desert. That's a real desert. It's like 30 miles east of the beach. You're in the desert, right. So it's not that hard. It doesn't have saguaro.

Susie Murphy:

It doesn't have saguaro cactus, it has lots of cholla and acotios.

Mike:

Yeah, All that so but we go, we visit to San Diego.

Josh:

We're trying to get out of the desert. We go to San Diego, yeah.

Mike:

And so who is riding your trails? I mean, it's a local community of mountain bikers. There are a lot of people tourists, yeah, from around the world that know about your awesome bike scene, or everybody.

Susie Murphy:

It's a little bit of everything. I mean I don't you know, I don't know everybody, but I mean you were saying we have about 1800 members but it's estimated there's 50,000 mountain bikers in San Diego County.

Josh:

So all those people who are in San Diego. How many people are in San Diego? How big is that population?

Susie Murphy:

Three and a half million.

Josh:

Three and a half million 50,000. That is a huge population.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah. So all you guys out there that aren't guys and girls that aren't members yet that live in San Diego, sign up.

Josh:

Hey, so, so, so, so by the way, there's all kinds of perks. It's $49 a year, so do I have that right? And then also, if you're under 18, it's $15 a year, and there's a whole bunch of VIP packages that you can get that have like, like, like scaling level of like awesomeness that come along with them.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, and we do fun things with our regular members and special offers and benefits and discounts, and and then fun things with our VIP members as well through the year as we as we can. So that's fun. So, yeah, I mean we have lots of great support, but I we we could always use more. So membership is one of the ways that we raise money to pay for things. But as far as who's writing, I mean, we have a lot of all different kinds of writers, lots of new people into the sport for the obvious reasons I'm sure you've talked about it on other episodes with COVID like lots of new people out on the trails, yep, and lots of people like me who have been writing for over 30 years. So we have quite a combination. We have more than several. You know Nica or youth cycling high school teams in town as well.

Josh:

That's awesome, isn't it? That's an awesome, like recent up, like that's come on.

Susie Murphy:

My husband and I coached for a bit, a bit a few years ago, even though we didn't have our kids were older. We didn't have kids on the team.

Josh:

We both. We both coached as well, it's so fun.

Susie Murphy:

So we have, you know, those families and kids, students, athletes getting involved. And we have. We have a big women's scene, women's group with a group called girls gone writing Okay, which is a has eight chapters around the West and the one in Kingman Arizona as well. So, but just that women's group. We have a private Facebook group page for our San Diego chapter and it's 1500 women and that's all. Mountain biking, no road biking, no other things, that's all mountain biking, 1500 women. So, and then we have lots of smaller, you know, smaller, you know just riding groups in town that organize their rides through their own Facebook groups or their own meetup pages or whatever. So you know, and I try to stay in touch with those leaders, like people who are, you know, influencers and have a big following on their Facebook pages, like I stay in touch with those guys and if they have questions I try to answer them. And you know there's a lot of stuff going on that we don't plan necessarily SDMDA, but there's always lots going on. We have a kids group, another nonprofit, called Sprott Kids here in San Diego, and they do. They're kind of catering to the kids that are not quite old enough to be in the high school leagues yet.

Josh:

Okay, so elementary school and middle school age.

Susie Murphy:

Right. So they're doing, you know, family rides, guided rides, clinics. We do a thing called Shred Fest and we kind of share equipment, like we have some things that we share back and forth, and so that's awesome because they're really expanding. And the exciting thing is they're expanding in the neighborhoods through some grants that we've worked on together to get their program. They have a big trailer full of bikes right so they can go to a park in other parts of San Diego that maybe don't have access. And so getting some kids on bikes, it's really great.

Mike:

Yeah, very inclusive. And like you mentioned before, trying to keep the different levels like this, was it skill levels from beginning up to advanced?

Susie Murphy:

Like our guided rides or things like that.

Mike:

No like just your trails that you have set up from, even like the bike parks. You know pretty advanced.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, I mean, san Diego has a little bit of something for everybody. There's super easy trails for beginners in various parts of the county. There's beginner trails, there's intermediate stuff. There's plenty of stuff to work up to that's rugged and more chunky In some of the city parks. Black Mountain is probably an area that's known as being a little more solid, intermediate or advanced. Just depends on. You know, people have their own opinions about what's black and what's blue.

Mike:

Yeah right. We know that, so you mentioned some of your experiences as an OG rider from racing up to now, what's your thing, camp Bikepacking, bikepacking.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, I just barely dabble. I really just admire the people who bikepack. I think it's just so great.

Mike:

What was so? How was your racing experience Like? How far did you get Any good stories from that?

Susie Murphy:

Well, my husband in the mid 90s we were on vacation and he had just been riding so much when our daughter was little and we had just been riding our local trails and meeting people and we had a friend who ran the local bike shop. His family ran the bike shop and we started kind of hanging out down there a lot. And we were going on vacation and we were coming back through Utah and there was this race at Brian Head and I signed my husband up and paid for it and I'm like, oh, I paid for it, so we have to be there on a race day.

Josh:

Josh loves Brian. I love Brian Head. That's like my snowboard destination.

Susie Murphy:

The altitude is the altitude.

Josh:

I get altitude sickness every time I go there.

Susie Murphy:

Oh it's so high. So anyway, he did the race, signed up a beginner, you know whatever age category he was. Signed him up beginner and he won the race by like 10 minutes Sandbagger.

Mike:

Sandbagger.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, no, all these local guys, all these local Utah guys are like Sandbagger. He was this guy from Chula Vista.

Mike:

And so he's like no, I never really raced.

Susie Murphy:

He used to race some road, but anyway, he did really great and he won some prizes and we were all excited. Well, right after the race, he says I'm never doing that again. And then, 10 years later, we were still. You know still racing. So he he's a cross country guy. We were both cross country guys and I started racing in about 95 and did some really easy races to start, and then we started with the bike shop. We started racing down in Baja. Baja has the whole Campinato series and so we were. Those were once a month and they were super fun and really cheap. Like for 10 bucks you got you got your race entry, you got a t-shirt, you got tacos, you got beer, wow.

Mike:

Tacos and beer and a t-shirt say no more. They had some amazing trophies.

Susie Murphy:

Like the clubs, each club would have a, like the Tijuana clubs and the Ensenada clubs in Tocati. They would, they would try to, they would compete on who could have the best race course and the best tacos and the best you know t-shirts.

Mike:

It sounds like a fun environment.

Susie Murphy:

The trophies were all handmade. No, kidding.

Josh:

I'm like there's two people, Are they?

Susie Murphy:

still doing these. Yeah, interesting, okay. So it's very grassroots, it's very fun, and my husband grew up in TJ when he was little and so he speaks Spanish and we would just had a ball. We would all take caravans of people down to go race down there. Now, racing and racing there when I kind of cut my teeth down there, the courses are rugged, they are rough, usually cut in by a motorcycle, and they're not groomed in anything.

Mike:

So it's gnarly.

Susie Murphy:

They are. They are rugged, old ranch somewhere, you know. And so when I came up here and then I started racing more in like Big Bear or different places I was, I felt like, oh, these are like, they removed all the rocks, these are groomed, you know groomed trails, so that kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up and but I never really, I mean I, got up to the sport category. I never went far beyond that. My husband raced for the like community grassroots team of Cannondale and so we got to go around, went to Sea Otter every year. We still go to Sea Otter every year. See, everybody is super fun. And I got pulled into doing a little bit of downhill. And then this is, and how old I am, they invented this thing called Super D, shouldn't you guys have?

Josh:

heard of Super D For sure.

Susie Murphy:

So Super D was kind of the precursor to Enduro. Yeah, and I realized I could do a downhill race and be done in like you know three or four minutes, or a super D race and be done in like seven or eight or nine minutes and across country race. You're out there for like two and a half hours. I'm like, oh, just yeah. So super D was great, it was right up my alley because it's a little bit of pedaling, but mostly down and I. That was really perfect for me, like I can, I could do that.

Josh:

And you did some 24 racing as well. Is that right?

Susie Murphy:

And 24 hours. Yeah, we used to do 24 hour races as well, and those are always just a. They're a hoot like so much fun.

Josh:

Did you ever do the 24 hours in the old Pueblo, here in two centers you?

Susie Murphy:

know what we never did, and I know I just had lunch recently with Todd Sado. Todd Sado, yeah, he lives here in San Diego now, so we had lunch a month ago or so.

Josh:

Yeah.

Susie Murphy:

Talking about event planning and things. But he, yeah, no, we have had friends. I don't know why we just this is one we never hit.

Josh:

I don't know why, Cause it's great, you gotta come out. It's in February. You guys should come out and do it. Yeah, that's amazing.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, that would be fun, that would be fun. So anyway, that was kind of my race thing and I just had a good time that. Lots of friends that we still ride and we're still friends. Women that were just amazing racers, some who went on to be pro downhillers and dual solemn racers and things and still see them, you know, and people that I idolized back in the day Lee Donovan, and these people that now I get to, you know. I, I can talk to her and she helps me with things and we kind of collaborate on things. Like people like that that you know, you think that you know 20 years ago or 25 years ago you look up to them like, oh, there's such amazing women, you know female role models doing these things. And now they're working in the industry or they're coaching or they're doing these different things and we run across each other and it's just so. It's just so fun to be around such a great group of people for so long.

Josh:

That's awesome. That's one of the questions that I had for you was do you do any? And it sounds like you do, but maybe, maybe there's more. You talked about Todd and some of the other amazing women in the sport that you've worked with. I was curious, like how much benchmarking partnership you know, like experience sharing, do you do with, like other folks from other areas that are in your same kind of role?

Susie Murphy:

Loads, loads, loads of work, and there's even some people in Arizona that I talked to about different things, including e-bikes. But don't, let's not go down that rabbit hole right now we don't want to talk about e-bikes. I had that question, but it was like, it was like way at the bottom.

Josh:

If I ran out of questions, e-bikes was going to be the question. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll just leave it alone.

Susie Murphy:

Bikes are bikes, bikes are bikes. Let's just talk about trails, but yeah, but yeah. Even I talked to some people in Arizona that are working on different things and go to, you know, seattle and see a lot of advocates and industry people go to. Like, we have a conference every year in California that's put on by state parks, that's called the California Trails and Greenways Conference, and so a lot of trail organizations and people, advocates go there and we, you know all the important conversations happen when we're, you know, having lunch or having a beer, yeah.

Josh:

Over a beer, yeah. Do you miss interbike?

Susie Murphy:

Do I miss interbike? No, not really. See you out, this runner.

Josh:

Oh see I mean we've got that, we were going to go this year. We didn't go, we'll go. Oh, you have to go.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, I mean, I went to interbike. I didn't go in the early days, I went the last three years. That was in Vegas and I went to the one they had in Reno.

Josh:

Was the one I didn't go to, the one in Reno. Was that any good?

Susie Murphy:

We went to a good party. We went to a good party, it was 100%. It was really great, it was weird. Everybody thought it was weird, so yeah, Interesting.

Josh:

But, you partner a lot with other advocacy groups and share notes and figure out what's working and what's not working.

Susie Murphy:

Yep, and then a thing that happened during COVID, when we were, all you know, thinking of things that we were going to work on, since we couldn't really, you know, go anywhere, we, a lot of us that would run across each other and knew of each other working you know, groups that work in LA or work in Santa Cruz or work in the Bay Area or whatever. We would talk and we kind of knew each other. We're friends on Facebook and we're like we would go to the conference every year and we would for like two or three years leading up to before COVID. We were like, you know, california Inba's really not covering California. They never have, they don't seem to have the capacity to take on California, because California is just a beast for many reasons. And so we're, you know. We would sit around and be like, well, California should just have its own, you know, state level advocacy group. And then we were like, well, I guess we're the ones that have to do that.

Josh:

So in 2020,.

Susie Murphy:

we formed another nonprofit called the California Mountbiking Coalition, and so we're going on our fourth year on that, and CAMTBorg. Yep, camtborg, and it is. We have 30 member organizations, so 30 trail organizations, mountain biking organizations from around the state that are now chapters of CMTB. We've worked closely with Inba on really planning this thing and it's based on models. I mean Washington State has evergreen. That's a statewide advocacy organization. Sorba is in the Southeast right. And they have multiple chapters. In the Southeast there's NEMBA, which is New England Mountain Bike Association, and we're all all of those regional organizations or statewide organizations most of them, not all, are in some ways still working collaboratively with Inba. Right, inba is focusing on federal legislation on really high level things that affect the entire country, and some funding and grant programs and things like that. But California, we've been really excited at the that people are really excited about having a louder voice for mountain biking and for trails in Sacramento. Right, I'm going having we have an executive director, paid executive director for California, having him be able to go around and meet all the different organizations, find out their needs, help them, help these organizations which are, you know, small, medium and large, with their just organizational questions when do we get insurance?

Mike:

Right, If we want to hire?

Susie Murphy:

if we want to hire an executive director, what do we have to work towards? Like? What do we have to do? But besides that, just advocating for more and better trails for California, working on legislation that that will help provide more funding, or just work through some of the red tape, especially with state parks? California state parks needs to get their act together and we're trying to light a fire under their butt to to make that happen. And we have some initiatives working on with the local, the local organizations, on some big things in state parks, things like bringing unsanctioned trails into the system. Right, if, if, if there's a trail that's been used for 35 years, like, let's put it into a plan and and make sure that people are riding it anyways, you might as well sanction it. Exactly, exactly. So CMTB has been really great and it really energizes me to talk to all these different people from around the state and learn what they're doing and tell them what we're doing and we can share all kinds of information. So it's just raising everybody up and we kind of talk about it like CMTB. It's not really like an umbrella. We don't want to talk about us like an umbrella. We're more like trying to provide the foundation for for these organizations to do the work in their neighborhood, like me and San Diego, but then work with state parks and the Forest Service at a really high level at the state level right. Yeah, and work in Sacramento, talk to the elected officials, talk to the assemblymen and the congressman about why trails are important, why they should invest, and there's a lot of money coming in. There's a lot of money coming in for trail stuff.

Josh:

So you're, so you're, you're basically helping them with the playbook to set up their kind of grassroots local place, but then also amplifying their voice, you know, in a bigger way to represent a bigger part of the community which we know just in in California, just in San Diego, is 50,000 throughout California. Who knows?

Susie Murphy:

Oh yeah, it's millions of people, millions of people.

Mike:

I love how you worded that. You want to raise everybody up. You know which benefits the community, yeah, and you know riders and everybody involved with super cool, so love that.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, it's good, we just had a. We just had a retreat up in Santa Cruz. There's a famous that sounds rough.

Josh:

It was pretty rough.

Susie Murphy:

There's in the mountains.

Josh:

I love Santa Cruz. It's like. I I well, so I was a. I was a linguist in the Air Force, and so I I went to school in Monterey, california, at the Presidio of Monterey, and learned foreign languages, and so I spent a lot of time in Monterey, santa Cruz, that whole area.

Susie Murphy:

Well up in the mountains out of Santa Cruz, there's a place called the Soquel demonstration forest, and so it's managed by Cal Fire and the mountain beggars of Santa Cruz, the group there which is now known as the trail stewardship of Santa or Santa Cruz mountain trail stewardship.

Josh:

They got to work on their name there. They need something to do Anyway they.

Susie Murphy:

they are a great group, very well funded, highly functioning, and they built these trails in the demo forest. Usually people just call it the demo forest, but these super purpose built directional big giant berms is redwoods Like. It's just amazing.

Josh:

Oh, it sounds awesome.

Susie Murphy:

So, anyway, we just had a retreat up there and we had about 15 or so of our California you know organizations there and we had forest service staff there. We had one of our lobbyist friends there to talk about legislation and it was great. It was very productive and fun time.

Mike:

That sounds awesome. You mentioned partnerships and the collaborative approach to this, which is awesome. On your website, you, you mentioned something that was really kind of a cool concept and I don't know if maybe a member of like your group that does this, so if you can't speak to that, don't put you in the spot. But the love trails LUV trails website yeah, can you, can you talk a little bit about what that is?

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, they're great. You can find them on Facebook or Instagram. It's LUV right, love trails, and they they're a group that it's a fundraising mechanism where you can sign up and if you ride anywhere like if I say I went to Sedona and I rode Sedona and I had a really great day I can go into Love Trails and I can make a donation to the local group. so Verdi Valley or whoever- you know, Sedona is, and I can make a donation through Love Trails and say, hey, I was visiting Sedona, I rode this, it was great. Here's 20 bucks, like whatever, and so people can do that here for San Diego too, and they have a couple of different mechanisms that they use for you to be able to make these micro donations.

Josh:

I saw that you could actually say hey, listen, I'm going to do a dollar a mile and I can link it to my Strava, and when I go ride it'll add it up, just like some of the bowling things we've done, or whatever.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, it's super fun. I'm sure that some of your Arizona groups I know they are for a fact, verdi Valley for sure, and probably your Sonoran Desert folks they're hooked in with Love Trails. If they're not, they should be, because it's you get a little bit of money every month. You know it just comes in, it's super easy.

Josh:

So, speaking of money, let's talk about some things for Stimba that you do, so like you have, obviously, your membership we've talked about that already and then you run different things, and right now you're running a donation, fundraiser, fundraiser. But it's not just you're giving your money away. You have a chance to win one of two TurboLevo carbon specialized e-bikes which, by the way, I actually went on and put 40 bucks to the TTIS.

Susie Murphy:

So we're really honored when a company like specialized or any of the other you know companies bigger, small appreciate the work that the advocacy groups do, and so these bike giveaways are awesome, and so I've been talking with Specialized for a while and, yeah, they gave us two TurboLevo carbon bikes, a medium and a large, so when you make your donation you can pick if you want to pick one of the two medium or the large.

Josh:

Yep, and I picked the medium for my wife because I'm an extra large. But I was like, hey, yeah, my wife is an ab in my son.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, so anyway, yeah, that runs through December 20th and it's five bucks, you get one entry and if you put in, every $20 donation gets you five entries.

Mike:

Good luck.

Josh:

Josh, yeah, thanks, we're gonna, we're gonna.

Susie Murphy:

It's on the front page of our website. It's pinned on our Facebook and Instagram pages, so people.

Josh:

And what's your, what's your website? Again?

Susie Murphy:

It's SDMBAcom.

Josh:

SDMBAcom.

Susie Murphy:

Anybody. Anybody can enter that in the United States, so it doesn't have to be somebody to win from San Diego.

Mike:

Awesome. Right on, Josh and I did an episode about being prepared I don't know if we crashed once or something, so like being prepared out in the desert or whatever trail you're on in bike maintenance and stuff like that. And we mentioned resources on your website that that are there. One of them is just outstanding and that is your trail preparedness list, and so I don't I don't care who you are, wherever you ride like that is such a thorough list. And then you've got like wet trail ratings.

Josh:

Yeah, and just which is something that's totally foreign to us in the real desert, yeah, we have to.

Susie Murphy:

We just have certain trails here in San Diego that dry better than others and if it rains any significant amount, even sometimes just a quarter of an inch or a half an inch in some of the soils where it's more clay, full of clay, they just don't dry out as fast and there, but there are places that are more like decomposed granite like you know, kind of like you guys have in the desert, that drains much better. So we just want people to know, like if you need, if you just absolutely have to go ride after it rains go right on the granite trail. Go to these other places and don't go to these places.

Mike:

That's really smart and that's really for the new people.

Susie Murphy:

You know the new people because we don't messes up the trails and it messes up your bike and like, yeah, don't do that. But yeah the preparedness thing was is something very important to me and that was another COVID we were. I have a couple of members, a couple of gals, that helped me one who's a doctor and one who's was a PA and so they helped me kind of with that whole thing and we did a couple of podcasts and talked about preparedness and what's your podcast?

Josh:

What's your podcast called?

Susie Murphy:

It's just called Trail News.

Josh:

Trail News and it's linked.

Susie Murphy:

It's linked on our website as well, and one of the tabs the communications.

Josh:

Is it? Is it is it out like where, anywhere, like Spotify, yeah it's on Apple and all the different places. Yeah, so check out Trail News. We'll put links. We'll put links. All this in the show notes, for sure.

Susie Murphy:

Oh, thank you so much yeah. So yeah the preparedness thing is important because I'm sure, like you guys, hear stories of people who get out and they don't have enough water or they get lost or they yeah.

Mike:

But they're done that, we've all done that.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah with it, with a few simple things and just knowing. If you're not you know, if you've never been an outdoor person or you're new to being out in you know a place that's even if it's the canyon by your house, you still still should let somebody know where you are and have the things you need to help yourself.

Josh:

That's all, yeah for sure, and where I thought you were going with the Be Prepared was the Trail courtesy pledge.

Mike:

It's my favorite, I would right, it's on there.

Josh:

It's on there. It's on there. So it's because Be Prepared is one of them, but there's there's six or five things on there. The first one Be Nice, Say Hi, I freaking love that. That's awesome.

Mike:

Last time we rode, josh, I don't know if you knew this, but we uh someone, we pulled over for somebody and I said good morning, hi, you know, and no response. That's so annoying and I I didn't, you know not a big deal right, but just like you said, smile, say hi, be nice, go a long ways Be Nice, say Hi, leave no trace.

Josh:

Love that Like like leave the trail the way that you entered the trail yeah. Share, share and be aware. Okay, what is it Share? So so multi-use trails, so you gotta you gotta be, you know, you gotta be aware Like. We've learned a lot. We have a lot of equestrian out here in Arizona, and so there's a certain way that you should deal with the question With horses. You can spook them on your bike very easily, so how you approach them, how you do with that Stop and just listen to the rider.

Susie Murphy:

Let the rider give you instructions about what they want you to do.

Josh:

That is exactly Sometimes they'll wave.

Susie Murphy:

sometimes they'll wave you on, they don't care. They're like well, where's this? Fine, go Sometimes, but sometimes not. So it's better to give them a wide berth.

Josh:

Yeah.

Susie Murphy:

But, yeah, share and be aware. It's also, you know, we tried to write those not only for mountain bikers but for other people who are out on the trail, like you know, people who tend to wear both earbuds for some reason when they're outside in nature. That can't hear anything.

Josh:

We did a whole episode on this. Should you listen? Should you play it out loud? How should you have?

Susie Murphy:

your music. A little situational awareness goes a long way.

Mike:

Yeah, it sure does. All right. So, from the folks coming from our side of the country to your beautiful side of the country, one of my favorite things is driving over, is it? I five at that point over Alpine. Yeah, it's.

Josh:

I eight.

Mike:

Thank you, I aka eight, and one of your 26 projects is if you could reprioritize it, it'd be awesome to be number one. But Anderson truck trail, that sounds very exciting. Can you kind of walk us through? Like, what does it take to do like a trail like that?

Susie Murphy:

Well, Anderson truck trail is an area that's been around for a long, long time and the main part of the land is part of the Cleveland National Forest. Okay, and the trails there have always been fairly advanced, Like it's not an easy place to ride number one because you have to climb up there in the first place, but then when you turn around and come back down the trails are they're advanced. I mean, to me I would call them black for the most part.

Mike:

Okay.

Josh:

Black trails.

Mike:

Yep.

Susie Murphy:

So the like most all things in San Diego, it's a longer story and it's also multi jurisdictional. Okay, yeah, so even though most of the area where the trails are that people like to go to is Cleveland National Forest, and they are, for the most part, on a map and they're legal trails- sanctioned. It's the sanctioned, it's the, it's the access into the forest from the bottom right down by the highway. Yeah, get up there. That's not quite Okay. There's some private property. And then several years ago more than several years ago, I want to say it was even before I started this job there's also Indian tribal land at the top and there was, there used to be some, there were trails that were on tribal land, so people would go all the way into the tribal land to get to the very sort of, I guess, what was considered the top of the trails and then come down through the forest land and the tribe at a certain point said that's not happening anymore. And and those trails were, honestly, they were very, they were famous. I'm not going to even say the name of them, but they were very famous and people would come from all over to write them. Oh wow, you know, and we've grown some pros here in town. You know Kyle straight Kyle and Rachel straight live in Alpine and we actually, we actually know them from from from Claremont.

Mike:

Oh really, yeah, Okay going, yeah, I just know it's such a beautiful area and yeah yeah.

Susie Murphy:

So so what's happening there and this is a very long term thing is that gradually, the, the county and another organization that we work with, the San Diego River Park Foundation, because it's within the watershed of the river are slowly trying to acquire work. They have acquired some private parcels in there, but there's more that need to be acquired, and anytime that an entity wants to acquire a property, you can understand the complexity, you know the complications with whoever owns it, the family, what their intentions are with the land, and so those things can take years of you know the county sending a letter every year and being like, hey, we'd really, if you're thinking about selling, we'd like to get this property so we can improve access to you know, this open space. Blah, blah, blah. So that's what's going on there, okay, do people still do, people still write it, sure, they do.

Mike:

Like you said, it's a long term project.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, so they are crossing through private property and we have, you know, we have the buy in of the river park to open that up, because people do hike up there too and it has a, you know, beautiful views and and the Forest Service is, is in there, you know they're, they're good with it and the county, eventually, the county has said, you know, that they wouldn't be opposed to planning to build like a staging area at the bottom, you know, parking and stuff. Oh very cool. So that's a long, it's a long term thing Sounds like it.

Josh:

So so, Susie, I've got one like final question for maybe two final questions for you. What is something that we, as a mountain bike community, what is something that we're doing that's distracting from your mission of trail advocacy and giving us the best like options to have to ride? Like what, what, what, what can we change about our behavior as a mountain bike community?

Susie Murphy:

Oh, I think that. How honest, can I?

Josh:

be. You could be as honest as you want to.

Susie Murphy:

I just would like, when anyone is out on a public trail and they're interacting with other trail users or potentially may run across a ranger at some point, I know people say they never see a ranger, but they're out there, but they're there, you know, stop and say hi and get to know. Any mountain biker can get to know who the land manager is and you'll learn a lot about what's going on. But day to day trail use, like can I just say like, don't be a.

Josh:

Don't be a jerk.

Susie Murphy:

Don't be a jerk.

Josh:

Like be nice, say hi, just like you're. Yeah, like be nice, say hi, it's so easy to just slow down and smile Like it's not hard.

Susie Murphy:

Don't scare people. Like don't go too fast. If you're near a trailhead, like if you're within a quarter mile, when you're riding in an area and you leave the parking area, you know you're gonna run into hikers and stuff in the first maybe quarter mile and then they're gonna kinda they're not gonna be out farther. So just slow down when you're within a quarter mile.

Josh:

Don't worry about your Strava segment in the first mile of a ride.

Susie Murphy:

No, and so I just you know I can't make everybody do that, but if just people would just realize that they're outside in public with other people, and it would just go a lot farther for them to just, you know, be considerate.

Mike:

Little things can go a long way.

Susie Murphy:

It's a lot to ask. And then I just, I think the other thing that I learned being, you know, I did teach elementary school for a while, and that does come in handy both, as I was pretty good at I was pretty good at recess duty, you know so yeah, it's pretty much like mountain bikers.

Josh:

Yeah, I have to call on those skills.

Susie Murphy:

But just education, like the, education never stops. And when you have even somebody who may have been a trail user for a long time or a mountain biker sometime, it's very difficult to understand what land is federal, what land is state, what land is county. And a lot of the time people just don't really, they don't care, they just wanna ride their bike Like they don't care. And that's why you should buy a membership to your local trail organization, because we do care and we know those people and we talk to them. So it's hard when people I'll mention the e-bike thing just real quick again the e-bike rules and classes and all that from state to state, from park to park, from open space to open space, are so inconsistent and so confusing. And at this point people have their e-bike, mine's sitting right here, right here it's. The road is today in the desert, on roads where they're allowed, throw up their hands and they're like I'm just gonna ride my bike, I just wanna ride my bike, you know. And so it's hard to tell the story of advocacy. So, like Anderson Truck Trail, for example, it's a long story, right, it's been going on for decades and it still has to come to a resolution at some point. But people like they ask a question and you wanna give them as short as you can, but it might be a 10 minute explanation of why a place is complicated or why it's contentious or why it has issues and the personalities involved and the rules involved and the land acquisitions and people start to glaze over right.

Mike:

Like people.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, it's just, it's very detailed, it's very nuanced. Very, very little in this business is black and white really everything.

Josh:

What would be safe to say hey, listen, like, like, be nice, say hi and like, take a minute to understand, like the environment and the rules of where you're riding especially if it's your local trails. Like you should know all the rules and regulations of your local trails and if you're branching out, take a minute to like do some research and figure out what's okay and what's not Cause you might be messing it up for you know other trail users, right, and I don't?

Susie Murphy:

you know, I don't have any. All I can do is say these are the what the land manager would like you to do, and then that's where I stop. Like I'm, I can educate you on what, what the rules are, but I'm not saying yes or no, don't do this or don't do that. It's just that this is, this is what it is. And I will say another thing that for people to keep in mind, as me being an advocate and working now, even at the state level, there is a huge. We have a huge battle in San Diego, here and in a lot of other places, with conservation groups, right. So Sierra club, other various conservation groups, preservation groups, land trusts who do not like mountain biking in their areas. Some are fine, some are great partners, awesome partners, but others have this old bias, this old, very discriminatory, discriminatory attitude. Right, 20 years ago, this mountain biker knocked me off my horse and I'm going to tell that story for the next 50 years, right.

Mike:

Yeah, right.

Susie Murphy:

And so we have a real battle of trying to impress upon the powers that be that most mountain bikers are nature lovers. We are environmentalists, we do care, we care about the plants and the animals and the habitat, but we want to be out in nature enjoying it. That's why we do this activity.

Mike:

On a bike.

Susie Murphy:

Right, and that story is very hard for some of these people to understand, right? And so we are trying to pound that drum to say I can be a mountain biker and an environmentalist at the same time. Yeah, for sure, so be nice, say hi.

Josh:

Don't give them another excuse to battle Right. Yeah, be super cool, cause it pays back in dividends. Well, susie, I can't tell you how much we appreciate you spending an hour with us here, or an hour and a little bit more than that. Thank you so much. We know you just got off a ride and you just got back and we screwed up the time zones and all that stuff, but we figured it out together. Hey, thank you so much. We appreciate you. Any final thoughts you want to leave our listeners with?

Susie Murphy:

No, I think that's it. Wherever you guys are listening, I bet there's a trail organization in your area. So if you're not a member, Sign up. Find out where they are and sign up. The membership fees are very low and it really just helps your organization and your neighborhood have a bigger voice with their local city council or their board of supervisors or whoever it is. So do that and honestly just be nice and say hi all the time on the trail. Just smile and say hello, nice.

Josh:

Susie, thank you so much. Thanks, Susie.

Susie Murphy:

Yeah, thanks, you guys.

Josh:

Can you dig it? Can you dig it, can you dig it.

Digging Trails With Susie Murphy
Mountain Biking Trails in San Diego
Maintaining and Building Trails
San Diego Mountain Biking Community
Collaborative Advocacy for California Trails
San Diego Trail Advocacy and Preparedness
Mountain Bike Community
Trail Organization Membership and Etiquette Importance