Life on the Road with the IMBA Trail Care Crew by Lani Bruntz

Everyday it happens like clock- work: I meet another rider on the trail, or am just pumping gas, and I get asked, “So, where do you live?” I still stumble over the answer, which usually ends up being, “On the road,” or, “In that there Subaru.”

Before I can explain, I am interrupt- ed with, “But where do you really live?” Depending on the day, I usually just give an answer that people are expecting to hear, which is to pick one place, a defini- tive home base that I go back to. I either tell them Idaho, where I lived one year ago, or Colorado, where I grew up.

But the truth is, my boyfriend Jordan Carr and I live out of a brightly colored, hard-to-miss Subaru Outback, flashing the IMBA logo, complete with two Trek bikes on the back and a Yakima roof box bursting with dirty riding gear and trail building tools. We travel the country working to share our passion for moun- tain biking and trail-based recreation as members of the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew. We visit a different community each and every weekend to educate the local mountain bikers and trail users on sustainable trail development. We col- laborate with land managers to find the balance between their agency goals and providing quality recreational opportu- nities to benefit both locals and visitors.

We discuss the health and economic ben- efits with community officials in hopes of getting them excited about trails.

Every weekend, whether it’s in Brook- ings, South Dakota; or Ithaca, New York; or Moab, Utah; we are welcomed into the community by enthusiastic mountain bik- ers eager to improve access to trails and the experience of those trails. I accepted this job dreaming of all the different trails I would ride, and never adequately an- ticipated the impact these communities would have on me. In each place we vis- it, passionate individuals have mobilized into tight-knit communities—individuals who may have never crossed paths oth- erwise. It is a passion for the sport of mountain biking and a passion to build and have high-quality trail experiences that bond these individuals.

Regardless of anyone’s profession, background, or even their riding ability level, bikes break barriers that would otherwise inhibit relationships. Riding bikes provides a platform for friend- ships to develop and, most of all, for a community of likeminded individuals to flourish. As the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew, my boyfriend and I take bits and pieces from each visit and share them with the next, weaving together a stronger, bigger and more inclusive com- munity of mountain bikers. And while

nothing puts a smile on my face quicker than a rowdy, rocky trail, or a fast, flowy section that rips through aspen groves, it is the close but diverse communities of trail lovers that make me want to set- tle down and find my place—to have my own community that I can be a part of.

I am indeed one of the millennial gen- eration who is deliberately choosing to lead a different life than the stereotyp- ically mapped-out path of my parents’ generation: the baby boomers. The majority of folks I get to work with are ‘Boomers, and the idea of not having a home is foreign to most of them. While I sometimes agree with the person who wants to hear “Ketchum, Idaho,” in re- sponse to their question about where I live, the “IMBAru” is my place for now and allows me to get a taste of communi- ties all over the country.

Printed with permission from Dirt Rag and IMBA. Read more great mountain bike content at dirtragmag.com or imba.com.