Brett Watts pulled up to our rental house in the pouring rain – his lifted Chevy was covered in mud and the bed was full of beer cans and shotgun shells. We could tell we were going to be friends right away. Intimidating in stature but not once he cracks his signature smile, he’s one of those guys that could probably befriend a rock with his southern accent and infectious charisma. By trade, Brett is a US Coast Guard who currently maintains and flies the fleet of helicopters based out of the Humboldt, CA area. In his free time, Brett embodies a bike destroying, trail-crafting shredder who isn’t afraid to send it. His occupation means that every four to eight years, he lands himself in a completely new location, forced to find his way into the local riding scene, or make his own. It’s a situation that would make many people turn away from riding to do something easier, but for Brett, it simply fuels his passion more. His infectious attitude and work ethic make him a powerful force for change. His most recent efforts have had a profound impact on the riding scene in the Humboldt area, and helped spark what has become The Loam Wolf.
The Wolf first crossed paths with Brett as a result of a few Instagram direct messages two years back. Before we knew it, one of our founding members, Drew Rohde was on the road and headed to his “Mind blowing trails”. Drew arrived with some idea of what to expect, but with Brett as your tour guide you never really know what you’re in for, other than a wild time and some world class trails.
Before Brett came along, Humboldt County had a decent bike scene. The small college town in Northern California is nestled in dense coastal forests, with thick loamy soil covered in massive trees. The region is more reminiscent of a Jurassic Park scene than reality, but the full potential was virtually untapped as far as riding. The trail network consisted of carefully built sustainable trails that please the local regulators while being almost entirely devoid of creativity. “These trails drain properly, are low impact and are all of those other things that are synonymous with, “It’s gonna suck to ride,” says Brett. The local riders had grown to accept it and were perfectly content riding what was available. Luckily, complacency isn’t in Brett’s vocabulary and he was no stranger to starting fresh.