So there he was, flying (plodding? Can one “plod” on a bicycle?) through the singletrack of East Burke, in the wake of Kingdom Trails founder John Worth. At 6’3”, the Greenneck is not a small man, but he’s got nothing on Worth’s six-and-a-half feet and 210 pounds.
It’s been at least a decade since the GN first rode the Kingdom Trails. Back then, there were not even a fifth as many trails as now exist. Back then, Worth was talking about this crazy dream of a mountain bike mecca that would elevate the local economy, and draw riders from across the globe. No one believed him. Last week, Worth (who is part owner of East Burke Sports and still works in the shop three days each week) rented mountain bikes to three guys from Japan who spoke no English.
It is perhaps unfair to pin all of East Burke’s success on John Worth. But it’s absolutely fair to suggest that without him, none of it would have happened. And it is a reminder that the power of one highly motivated person is a very real and tangible thing.
When I asked Worth if he ever thought the Kingdom Trails would become what they’ve become, he said yes. “But it’s all happened so fast,” he said. “I just didn’t expect it to happen so fast.” Then he swung a leg over his Trek, and barreled down a trail of his making.