Bikes Belong at the IMBA World Summit
Kate Scheider, our statistics guru, and I attended the IMBA World Summit, May 5th - 8th in Augusta, GA. When I was told the Summit was going to be in Augusta, GA, I kept thinking about golf.
But, it was all about mountain biking from the minute Kate and I got on the plane to Atlanta with mountain bike legend Dave Wiens. We picked up our rental car the same time as Dave, and I decided to race him to Augusta. I can proudly say that Kate and I triumphed in the race, even though I'm not sure Dave knew he was involved in a race. I'm guessing that my experience racing in the Leadville 100 later this year will have a much different result.
The city of Augusta couldn't have been more welcoming to IMBA and all of the volunteers from around the world. IMBA, the Augusta Chamber of Commerce, and beer from New Belgium got the World Summit off to a great start on Wednesday evening, including a Frisbee throwing contest which I'm sure I could have won had I not had to step out to use the men's room.
Thursday's introduction by Mike VanAbel was inspiring and set a great tone for the key note Speaker Mike Mercuri. Listening to Mike speak about SRAM and what the mountain bike industry has meant to his business was inspiring. He took time to thank the volunteers and people at the Summit for their contributions in helping build a strong future for mountain biking and bicycling in general. Following the opening breakfast I joined a couple of the breakout sessions, and the one that I was most excited about was the Public Land's Initiative that was led by Jenn Dice and Ashley Korenblat. The IMBA Public Land's Initiative is a new national campaign to improve access for mountain biking, protect public lands and engage the bicycling community in critical U.S. public lands issues. The project is exciting because the bike industry came together at the Bicycle Leadership Conference to raise $600,000 to fund this new initiative.
Thursday afternoon I had to figure out why we were in the south for the World Summit and not in Colorado, Utah, or California. Kate and I got a change to ride the Forks Area Trail System. Riding those trails pretty much answered my question. We had one of the most fun and enjoyable afternoons of riding that I can remember. It was a solid example of what Hans Rey termed "Flow Country."
I kicked off the Friday morning session by providing the crowd with an overview of Bikes Belong and our commitment to mountain biking, as well as introducing our newest marketing campaign peopleforbikes.org. I love explaining how peopleforbikes.org has the power to make riding better and more accessible for everyone who wants to ride, and increasing mountain biking access is no exception. Giving access to those who love to bike, and providing the opportunity to introduce new participants to the activity, is a benefit of the job.
Augusta and the IMBA World Summit was a great experience. It was a thrill to see the energy that all those hardworking advocates bring to the sport we love. I just hope that I get a chance to go back and ride those trails again.