The annual breakfast was especially notable this year because of the re-opening of the Ken Burton Trail, which had been closed since the Station Fire swept across the San Gabriel Mountains in 2009. Over the past 6 months, the KBT has been transformed from its previously unrideable state into a scenic and sweeping trail, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and MWBA.
Before the breakfast, members of MWBA, CORBA, Pasadena Mountain Bike Club, and a number of other local biking groups came together for a group ride on the KBT, demonstrating yet again the power of a shared passion like mountain biking to bring people together into community and friendship. The breakfast itself was graced by the presence of the family of the late Ken Burton, who shared of Ken's legacy with the crowd and participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the trail re-opening.
Below are photos from the breakfast pre-ride on the KBT with friends from PMBC and members of other local mountain bike clubs, as well as the breakfast and fundraising raffle itself.
The fire road is the best way of accessing a local favorite trail, El Prieto, which follows El Prieto Creek down an oak-studded canyon. A scenic saddle sits at the highest point of the Fern Truck Trail, offering a welcome water break for those heading the whole way up to the Brown Mountain Saddle, and a chance for those descending down "El P" to loosen up after the climb.
Deemed unsafe by the USFS after sustaining considerable damage in the Station Fire, the Ken Burton Trail laid dormant for six years. Now, thanks to the work of CORBA and MWBA, the saddle marks a junction between an ideal singletrack climb and a fast descent into a canyon free of any marks of civilization, save for the trail itself.
Switchbacks and wildflowers abound, as well as a healthy dose of poison oak on shadier portions of the trail, just to keep life interesting. Like much of the soil in the San Gabriels, the dirt on the Ken Burton Trail becomes loose and sandy during dry spells, but quickly turns into hero dirt a day or two after a good rain.
Named in 1970 as part of the National Trail Systems Act, the Gabrielino Trail was officially announced by the USFS with the following message: "This trail has been created for you - the city dweller - so that you might exchange, for a short time, the hectic scene of your urban life for the rugged beauty and freedom of adventure into the solitary wonderland of nature." Though the rhetoric may feel a little unnecessarily lofty, the words ring true when along the trail – you're never more than 15 miles as the crow flies from the hustle of downtown Los Angeles, but the crowded intersections and clustered high-rises couldn't feel further away when in the midst of the California chaparral.
which can be most readily noted by their repurposing of Makita power tools for batter-mixing implements. The Pancake Breakfast & Raffle is an annual fundraiser that aids MWBA in covering the costs of tools, materials, and all other expenses that go towards their mission of trail work, trail courtesy education, and mountain bike & trail access advocacy. Many local bike shops and bicycle industry brands donate time and items to the fundraiser, and historically MWBA has had great involvement and support by the USFS and other agencies.
In November of 1985, Ken tragically passed away on the Angeles Crest in an automobile accident with a drunk driver. Will Shaw, a USFS Ranger, was a driving force in supporting MWBA’s construction of the Ken Burton Trail and dedicating it in Ken’s honor. Seen below, Ken's brother Jim officially christened the re-opening of the KBT in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at this year's pancake breakfast.
The opening of the Ken Burton Trail wouldn't have been possible without the earlier work on the Gabrielino Trail by CORBA, the LA Conservation Corps, and Bellfree Contractors, Inc., the leadership of Steve Messer and Matt Lay on trail work days (among many others), the wonderful people at the U.S. Forest Service, a multitude of local bicycle shops, brands, and racing teams, and a generous trail work grant from REI.
To get involved with trail work in your area and mountain bike advocacy on both the local and national level, consider becoming a part of your local IMBA chapter. More information on IMBA membership can be found at www.imba.com/join.