Dec 13, 2018 by Evan Bailey
So rewind to the Fall of 2007, my wife and I were living in Provo, UT as I was finishing up my last semester of college. We had a great 5 years in Utah but we both did not feel like we wanted to stay there long term. One of the big reasons was it was just too cold and I did not want to have to drive south anytime I wanted to ride my mountain bike during the long winters.
My wife was born and raised in SE Texas, I'm from Tucson, AZ so we are warm weather people. During this time, almost all of my wife's family was living in the SE Texas area. As we contemplated the move to Texas we weighed the pros and cons. Texas had family, good job opportunities, and real estate was much more affordable than Utah or Arizona. But what about mountain biking?! Would I have to give up the sport I loved that I had been doing for the last 12 years? I had to do some research first before we made a final decision.
I stumbled across GHORBA through a google search and immediately was excited to find out that there was actually an off road biking association and there were indeed trails in and around Houston to ride. Sweet!
I was excited and remember telling my wife that I was feeling a lot better about the move since I knew I could continue riding. I then sold my GT LTS DH mountain bike (see below) to one of my buddies. I loved that bike in Utah but I decided I would put the money towards a lighter XC bike that would better suit the Houston riding terrain.
It took a little while but I finally got my used Giant NSR 2 XC bike and started riding on some of the Houston trails in 2009 and they have changed a lot in the last 9-10 years. There are a lot more trail options today than there were back in 2009. As anyone from Houston knows, we get a lot of rain which keep us nice and green but causes a lot of problems on the trails since they can take a while to dry properly.
As you all probably know by now, Houston has had some horrible floods in the last 10 years. The Memorial Day flood was bad and dumped 12 inches of rain in 10 hours. Then the next year we had the Tax Day Flood which then dumped around 15 inches in 24 hours with some areas getting most of that within just 10 hours. Then of course we had Hurricane Harvey.
With all of these flooding events that put Houston under water, the trails were wrecked as you can imagine. If it had not been for GHORBA and all of the people that volunteered to clear out all the debris, sand and re-shape the trails, mountain biking in Houston would have had a huge setback.
I am guilty and hate to say that I was not able to participate in any of these work parties to get the trails cleaned up. I have my excuses like everyone else (families and friends homes flooding, gutting out houses, etc) but I could have put forth more effort to help. I plan on being much more involved going forward.
If you are a member of GHORBA already, then thank you. If you were like me and had been procrastinating joining until today then do it now! Don't think, just do it! $25/year individual or $35/year for a family. Click here to join. Your contributions go towards trail advocacy, maintenance, races, and to cover the insurance premiums needed to help protect land owners from the potential liability. Something I never even considered.
Also, if you aren't already part of the various Facebook trail groups, then add these pages below to your feed. Then, you can get up to date trail conditions, find out about trail work parties, and have some fun conversations with other mountain bikers in the area. Have fun out there and be safe.
Cypress Creek (CCMTB)
Cypresswood Trail Group