“Leave of Absence”

I’ve been dismissed from the WCC Trails Committee (the branch of the WCC that currently acts as stewards for the Hydrocut Trails), because of the Alternative Proposal for The Stewardship of The Hydrocut Mountain Biking Trails. They presented my dismissal as: “….he (Igor Dragoslavic) is on a leave of absence from the WCC Trails Committee to focus his full attention to other pursuits”. Nothing can be further from the truth, and they know that very well, because I did categorically refuse their insisting for me to resign, or take a leave of absence. They also don’t allow me to deny that statement, in the comments bellow their post.

 

My full attention and energy is still very much available for the pursuit of bettering the Hydrocut, and will remain that way, as long as the “system” will allow it. The new proposal too, was nothing other than a search for ways to put all that energy to a more efficient use.

 

I was accused of blatant self-promotion over the work of others; which is a quite ironic dismissal of all my work since the beginning of organized trail work in 2001. With the exception of 2011, in each of those years I (and Ron in the beginning) had more trail work hours than any other volunteers, and have never missed a single meeting or a Trail Day. This is backed with all the neatly collected trail work logs (with my hours being logged under the ID initials). In addition to the actual trail work, I’ve also spent countless hours on recruiting volunteers, organizing the work, promoting the trails with graphics, signage, maps, and this website. All that dedication and energy will now be discarded, just because of club politics…

 

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21 Responses to “Leave of Absence”

  1. cyclingarts says:

    sorry to hear Igor but now you know how we felt when our stuff was taken out and changed. After my ride tonight after hating all the gravel and inapropriate changes and now you gone it really makes me wonder what is going to happen out there, it was already turning into a highway rail trail, now what

    • Igor says:

      Thanks, for your support!

      I must be honest though: I was largely behind the gravel fills, as that was the only way to remedy the most persistent mud holes. Keep in mind that there can be over 300 users in a day. The biggest holes stay wet even on dry days, and then all those riders keep deepening them with each passing through them. Please pay attention though to how quickly the gravel gets packed over with dirt, making the gravel disappear. You wouldn’t even be able to find some of the fills that were a freshly made eyesore not even a year ago 😉

  2. drew says:

    Igor, don’t despair. Revolutions often take a long time to bear fruit. This is but a temporary set back. The trails will go to shit with out you guaranteed. Just let it happen, that’s the only way (aside from staging coups of course) that the truth will be exposed.

    As for people bitching about your work, what would they prefer, a rutted eroded mess of gullies and mud holes? While the cut isn’t the north shore it does have more than enough features for the brave, aside from dirt jumps of course. That last one isn’t on you, that’s the region trying to keep a reasonable degree of safety out there.

    viva la revolucion……

    Andrew

  3. Igor: This is very disappointing news. It’s very sad when people let politics get in the way of what has turned out to be an excellent thing.

    Is there anything that can be done to help out the Hydrocut in this situation? It seems to me, that since you have had the greatest impact of the development and maintenance over the years, and are in a large way, responsible for the popularity of the trails, you should have a greater say in how they are run. Many, many people find a great deal of please in bike rides through your trails, and it would be a real shame if this were to change.

    Best of luck.

  4. So, is it fair to say they are not interested in the proposal?

    • Igor says:

      They who?

      The Region will do whatever the public demand is, as long as the insurance and safety conditions are fulfilled.

      The WCC is furiously against the proposal, because they take it as a personal attack and an attempt to take away something that is “theirs”.

      The Transitions Bike Parks is interested in providing a good free service, but only if it is welcomed by a large majority of the trail users. There is no benefit for TBP in trying to force itself against popular demand. The actual level of support is now hard to gauge because of WCC’s strong behind the scenes campaign against the proposal, and muffling its own membership from expressing opinions about it.

  5. As someone who is not a member of the biking club I would like to thank Igor for all the work and effort he has have put into maintaining, fixing and improving the hydrocut. It is only people like Igor who get the work done. You need someone who is familiar with the work, the rules and knows what needs to be done to take the lead and get it done. I have been on many committees where if there is not a champion of the cause nothing gets done. As an outsider looking in it has been Igor who has championed the cause and not by words but by action. The sign of good leader is that he is not liked by everyone. If he/she has to appease or pacify everyone who is involved, nothing is ever accomplished. Igor, thanks you for your dedication and all of the hundreds of hours that you have spent working on the trails, it is greatly appreciated. I realize there are many others who have also dedicated many hours to fixing the trails and would also like to thank them for their efforts because their labor creates a wonderful riding experience.

  6. koochdog says:

    Igor,

    I am sorry to hear about the Leave of Absence. As stated in some of my previous postings, it is 100% obvious that you do have passion towards the HC trails, and you do most of the work. This has never been disputed.
    But I do think you did have a chance to respond to MANY questions throughout the blog process regarding your Alternative proposal. You did not answer many questions that were posted by myself and a few others. This is not an opinion, but a mere fact.
    If you would like help in re-writing your proposal with proper, legal terms – I am available 100% to help you.
    I think you are legitimately trying to help the HC trails and it’s riders evolve. But the current proposal DOES read like a self promotional “I/Me” pitch with profit as the key goal. Not brutally, but it does read that way.
    Maybe you can alter some of the points? E.g: delete the whole pump track idea for now. Focus on the insurance and WHY it is being increased. Who is the insurance broker and are that a local business? Fee’s for tools – please make this much more clear. Volunteer input for both man/woman hours in helping, as well as input to future trail growth.
    We can chat if you like.
    And don’t worry. You will be allowed on the trails with your shovel very soon.

    • Igor says:

      Koochdog,

      I am allowing your comments, just because of wanting to keep this a transparent open forum. The conversation would however be more honest if you were not hiding behind a nickname. Your comments and observations have a tone of entitlement, which might be okay to an extent, depending on what’s your level of involvement with the Hydrocut.

      I did answer all the questions to best of my abilities. If the answers are not to your liking, it doesn’t mean the questions were not answered. Since the “for-profit”, the pump track, better insurance, and other questions have been answered to a great detail, it appears to me that you are not reading the answers.

      If the proposal reads like self promotional, it’s been written well, cause self promotion is exactly what I’ve tried doing. The essence of the proposal is that Chris and are confident that we can do a better job, which is supported with the history of our achievements. It is up to the public to judge how valid our arguments are, and who’d be most likely to do the best job.

  7. MWC420 says:

    so, what if you still made improvements on the hydrocut trails? How would they find out? If it is going to benefit every hiker/biker, then why not just take it in to your own hands? I’m not a “member” or w.e you want to call it. I still try my best to cover mud spots and remove fallen trees etc. Anyone who enjoys riding at the hydrocut should pass the message on to go around mud spots instead of make them worse. Maybe even bring a pocket shovel or saw and put in a half hour of work. On frankenstein, the last time I was there, the 2 mud areas on the one corner were brutal. I started making a log bridge but it takes a while because I was doing it with a pocket saw. People just drive through the mud from what I saw

  8. drew says:

    MWC420 -a secret trail ninja posse? That would be fun until you got caught by the authorities…..

    • MWC420 says:

      Drew- Haha get caught for what? it’s not like people who go out of their way to improve the trails are going to start making the suspended ladder bridges that everyone loves…but if you want to help me out with some small stuff lemme know..

  9. J0RD1E says:

    Hello there everyone… I’m a nobody, but I do have some opinions so here are my $0.02.

    I do get why the document pushes Igor and Chris. I do not think of it as ego or self aggrandizement. I think of it as showing that the people that are going to be in charge have knowledge and experience. This situation seems to me like running for political office, and therefore the ‘resume’ type of information is important.

    I am a huge supporter of the Hydrocut, and of anyone who does work there, and I am also in support of splitting the management of the Hydrocut from the WCC BUT if the document is what I am supposed to use to make that decision, it did not convince me.

    In my opinion, it fails for one basic reason. The document implies that the management would go from a club to a Ltd. OR as a simple layperson who might be misunderstanding this… From a not for profit, public club to a private company. If this is not the case, then I feel that it needs to be explained in the document. I can go and find out the rules and regulations of WCC any time I like and I can use that system to try to make changes (even though I probably never would). I currently have no sense of what the new structure would be.

    I think that most people prefer the idea of the land being managed by an organization that they have some control over (like a club) even though they never exercise that control. Unless the new entity is not for profit, pubic and openly accessible, I think a lot of people (myself included) would be reticent to support the change. A benevolent dictatorship is still a dictatorship. Again, this is just how I feel about the document, and I could be reading it all wrong.

    As I feel that no one should complain, without bringing a solution:
    The fix to this is simple. To sell me (and perhaps others) on this idea. I want to know about the legal structure and set-up of the new organization and most importantly I’d want to know all about how I can affect change within or upon that organization. If it’s operation will be the same as a standard bike club, fine, but state that. If it is going to be something else, and especially if it is going to be some sort of for-profit company, you had better sell me hard on why I should give up my rights to that entity.

    Again. I might be getting the wrong idea here, but it’s how I am reading things. I know it may sound silly arguing about rights I never use, but understanding those rights is damn important,

    Mark,

    • Chris Dewar says:

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for your review and input. I apologize for the delayed response, this has clearly been a sensitive topic.

      To answer your question, yes Transitions operates as a private, for-profit business. However, as the stewardship is essentially a volunteer agreement, there was never to be any money exchanged in return for the services we proposed to offer. Adding only the specific accomplishments and work we performed during our tenure of the agreement to our portfolio was the only remittance we proposed. It was never intended to accept credit for any of the good work done by the committee.

      Transitions was originally formed to provide BMX and bike park construction and maintenance services to clients who needed proper work on new and existing dirt jump and track facilities in a concentrated, efficient and accountable process. It was my intention that many of these skills would lend themselves well to the benefit of the Hydrocut trails, under Igor’s dedicated leadership.

      To affect change we had proposed a system where ideas were to be suggested and considered from the riding community via a number of methods outlined in the document, including ideas received in person, over the web and even a suggestion box posted at the trails. It was mostly considered to be for the physical improvements to the trails themselves however, proposed changes to the leadership structure weren’t yet considered in detail.

      While we did receive support from the riding community toward our idea, the negative tone and approach the proposal took was incorrect. This was made clearer to me after speaking with other members of the trail community, and has provided a different perspective to the situation. As I had originally stated, I was not interested in the pursuit of this idea if it did not have the support of the core community. Despite some of the good ideas we suggested, the approach of the document would have been far more effective using a different strategy to engage and include the stakeholders of the trail system, and not have been as upsetting to people who have put a lot of dedication to the trails.

      As the situation maybe isn’t quite as black and white as I previously thought, I have sincerely apologized to the management committee for my role in the negative tone and approach that was used here. It’s also become clear to me that the longstanding relationships and friendships that many of these guys share are bigger and more important than the trails themselves! Having said this, I am actually confident that a better solution can be reached that includes all the key players, and ensuring everyone feels that their contributions are valued and that the best interests and quality of the trails are maintained. Despite some hurt feelings, I genuinely believe that’s what everyone wants deep down anyways…

      PS – the ‘pump track’ idea that we proposed near the staging area would be awesome! Anyone who doesn’t like pump tracks, would love pump tracks after having ridden said pump track. It would be designed to complement the surrounding terrain and would accommodate the larger MTB wheels in the corners and over the rollers, and they are a really good warm up and skill development tool for riders of all ages and abilities! 😉

      Thanks,

      Chris Dewar

  10. Donal Byrne says:

    Igor

    We’ve never met, but myself and 1/2 dozen other local(ish) riders are a huge fan of the Hyrdrocut trails. I’ve read your proposal, it seems to make absolute sense; let’s continue to innovate the trail system, make it more exciting and accessible for more riders. And what better way to encourage that by leveraging an organization that’s committed to trail riding vs. road riding. I say, giddy up…

    I’m not a member of WCC. I have no interest in riding road bikes on the street. But I am an avid SingleTrack fan, and recently begun DH at Blue (with a cheap and cheerful Pinkbike special on a DH rig). I applaud any efforts that culminate in having a trail-specific group assume ownership/stewardship of this trail system.

    Further, I would absolutely support some form of membership fee/bike-tag if I knew the focus was 100% on stewardship of these trails, vs. funding other “roadie” stuff I have no interest in.

    Best of luck, let me know when you petition the Region and where I sign…

    Regards

    Donal

  11. Igor,

    Your proposal seems spot on. Those would be welcomed changes by myself and riding group, that would indefinitely increase the appeal of the Hydrocut to are far larger range of mountain bikers. Flow, berms, modern trail design, and pump tracks are all the things I love most when trail riding (and I can say it’s not just me, it the direction of mountain biking!). Thank you for your hard work, and continued effort to breath new life it a wonderful trail system! Wcc is simply being self serving and is afraid to relinquish any of their power. I am dissapointed with them, and this will be another one of the reasons I no longer wish to be a member.
    You have my support, and the support of many of the young generation of mountain bikers in the region.

    How can we help?

    All the best,
    Elliott

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