(Edit: In case you’re wondering what this is about, it was an entry to Specializes 2010 Trail Crew contest.)
...and I just might be one of them.
You see, a few days ago, an email with the subject “Specialized Trail Crew” arrived in my inbox. Usually I would either quickly skim periodical emails of such kind or even skip them altogether, but the subject line had the words “Specialized” and “trail”; words that—to me—invoke visions of endless off-road cycling fun and the activity I look forward to most: mountain biking.
Here is the opening paragraph of this email:
We’re looking for a few good riders. More specifically, we’re looking for a few avid mountain bikers. People who ride a lot, can tell a good story and lead group rides. Riders who respect and are respected by their riding buddies.
I read it and instantly thought ” That describes me!”. Here is why:
1. Passion for the sport: I have been mountain biking for about 4 years now, not a very long time in relative terms. But during those few years I have managed to build a steadily growing community of avid mountain bikers in a country where the sport was virtually unknown, organized the first amateur race in Egypt, and get involved in various cycling advocacy events and initiatives.
3- Social media savvy: I blog (here, here and here), tweet, facebook, knowledgeable in photography, image and video editing, and other tools. I create niche market brands for adventure sports travel companies.
4- I love Specialized!: I might be Specialized’s best unpaid sales person this side of the world . Out of the weekly advanced riding group averaging 10 riders, at least 5 own a Specialized. I currently ride a 2008 FSR XC comp.
5- Access to “exotic” locations and trails: Although mountain biking is not as popular in Egypt as it is in the United States or Europe, the country has a multitude of trail networks in its various deserts and the Sinai peninsula waiting to be explored! The sport is readily growing and Egypt has the potential to be a hub of mountain biking enthusiast in this part of the world due to the great riding locations and weather.
Now a little about our home trail and mountain biking in Egypt:
Our home trail is called Wadi Degla. The area is a massive trail network formed by an ancient (millions of years old) water-carved valleys located in the Egypt’s Eastern Desert, on the south eastern fringe of Cairo. The area was declared a national protectorate in the 1990s.
This amazing trail network makes for a wide spectrum of excellent riding opportunities. From beginner-friendly wide and forgiving jeep trails, to rolling serpentine singletrack heaven on the valley’s southern and northern shoulders, to ultra-technical cliffside goat trails further south. Killer climbs, hair-raising descents..it’s all there!
The wadi (wadi is arabic for “valley”) bed…
The trails are harsh and very rocky. Some times the fall penalty is just too high to risk a steep technical descent…
The desert fauna is elusive to spot, but we are always shutter-happy when we do spot any of the area’s wildlife forms (the Wadi is home to a large variety of desert wildlife, including red fox and Nubian Ibex)
Sunset rides are always my favorite. This picture was taken on one of my favorite rides, known as The Balcony (or Ridge), many kilometers of zigzaging technical cliff-side singletrack on a hill overlooking limestone quarries to the north of the valley.
Now that I have brought you stories of riders (and Specialized fans!) from distant lands and pristine trails , I very much welcome the opportunity of being part of the Specialized Trail Crew. As mountain biking grows in popularity more outside of the US and Europe, Specialized could sure use more than just a few good riders around the world, Egypt included. Thank you for considering me and happy riding.