“I remember getting to the top of the ridge up on West Camino Cielo and looking east and just seeing a wall of smoke approaching Santa Barbara,” local mountain biker Austin Riba said. “It took until late December for the fires to be fully contained.”
And shortly after the fires were contained, a massive storm system rolled through Santa Barbara. Stripped of the brush and roots that held the soil together, entire hillsides slid down - taking the trails and even more tragically some lives along with them.
“Whereas before the trails were burned, now they were really just gone,” Austin said. “The storm took so much material off the hills that a lot of the trail just went along with it.”
So, what do you do if you’re a mountain biker and the trails - the entire community - that you love has been so seriously harmed? If you’re Austin Riba, you pick up a shovel and you get to work.