It's been how long? Well, I am surprised as you that an event defying description and profit would actually still be keeping me up at night. Yet here I am butterflies in stomach on the day before the fourth annual "Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls" fund-raiser extravaganza. I certainly didn't doubt the longevity due to lack of interest from mountain bike riders or sponsors. On the contrary every year more and more riders and community sponsors decide they want to be part of this great time. The non-existent profit margin isn't a deterrent either since I was never in it for the money, with most cash ending up with Search and Rescue or SORCA.
No, the main reason I'm surprised that once again my brain is racing through a thousand check lists, is insurance and those two telling words "accidents happen." That phrase was popular before people learned that one is never responsible for their own actions if they have a good lawyer. It's this reason that community clubs have had to shut down and local events are few and far between. Like it or not, if you attach your name in any way shape or form to any event you are setting yourself up for a big hit by a bad person.
A bad person like James Leone, a Torontonian who, last August was on a trail when, according to documents filed in court, "suddenly and without warning his bicycle came to an abrupt stop" and he was thrown forward, "striking the ground with sudden and violent force." That scenario is nothing new, it's happened to anyone who has ever ridden a bike. What is new is the fact that Leone is suing the outing club, the trails committee, the regional trails network, the local municipality and the province (which owns the land).
Then there's Travis Murao, 17, who was attempting a jump while on a school ski trip when he flipped and landed on his head. Travis has filed a lawsuit naming Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership and the Richmond School Board as defendants. The lawsuit also names the school board and the four teachers responsible for the care of the students on the trip. This has, of course, led to the cancellation of any school outings.
Now, it's unfortunate that these people had these accidents. Their inability to take responsibility for their own actions, however, confirms my belief that their lives were spared only so that hell has enough time to get something special ready for their imminent arrival.
These are the stories that make community event people say, "why bother?"
Myself? Why do I still bother to put my life on hold and encourage people to get out and have a good time knowing one accident could ruin me for it? The reason is simple, I'm hooked. I'm hooked on the unbelievable feeling one gets when after showing someone what our phenomenal community has to offer they turn around and say, "that was the best ride of my life!"