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IMBA kicks off World Summit with 25th Birthday Bash

Published October 10, 2012
The author on Santa Fe's Dale Ball trail Wednesday. Photo: Steve Frothingham

SANTA FE, NM (BRAIN) — IMBA expects close to 400 people will attend today’s opening of its 2012 World Summit here at the city's convention center. The summit, including a variety of seminars and group rides, runs through Saturday. 

This evening’s festivities include an opening address from Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and then onto IMBA’s 25th birthday celebration. Jim Hasenauer and Michael Kelley, two of IMBA’s original board members will be attending the celebration of 25 years of getting mountain bikes on trails. 

“As part of our birthday celebration I’ve reprinted the front page of IMBA’s first newsletter with the headline that the Sierra Club is working to ban mountain bikes from all public lands,” said Mark Eller, IMBA’s communications director. “We’ve come a long way since then,” he added.

IMBA was founded in 1988 by five San Francisco Bay Area bike clubs worried by the growing number of trails closed to cyclists. While this first wave of threatened trail access was concentrated in California, the association’s founders foresaw crowded trails and trail-user conflict were a worldwide issue.

One indication how far IMBA has championed the inclusion of mountain bikes in public land discussions is a seminar on Friday that looks at mountain biking in national parks. A few parks already allow mountain bike trail use, something that as recently as five years ago would be a non-starter. 

Another Friday seminar, “Engaging the Red Bull Generation,” looks at mountain biking where the trail ends, not only a generational issue, but a legal land use issue as well.

“IMBA has been all about getting mountain bikers on trails and responsible trail use, something this seminar is sure to stir up. Darren Barrecloth, one of the riders features in the freeride film ‘Where The Trail Ends’ will be participating, as well as other Red Bull promoters, it should be interesting,” Eller added.

IMBA’s World Summit also inspired trail construction and trail marketing in the host city. IMBA, and its local chapter, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, focused efforts on Santa Fe’s popular La Tierra trail system, host to the city’s popular La Tierra Torture mountain bike race.

In addition to adding signage on the more than 25 miles of trails at La Tierra, Tammy Donahugh, IMBA’s Trail Specialist, helped sculpt beginner and intermediate jumps in La Tierra’s dirt jump area, and a lot of work went into improving and growing the pump track as well. The improvements will be shown off during Friday’s Jump Jam at the park.


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