Saturday afternoon, January 26, had dirt advocates descending upon downtown Des Moines and converging at the Iowa Events Center for the 2013 Iowa Bicycle Coalition Summit. Advocate mountain bikers arrived according to tradition and laid claim to their own room to host the Dirt Strand. In attendance were members of the Ames Mountain Bike Trail Initiative, CITA (Des Moines), CVAST (Cedar Falls), DHPT (Decorah), Dubuque, ICORR (Iowa City) by proxy (email), and LAMBA (Cedar Rapids). Absent was FORC (Quad Cities).
First up was IMBA’s “Better Living Through Trails” with a Midwest twist. Through my role as a the Iowa member of IMBA’s Regional Leadership Advisory Council, I wore dual hats at the summit and presented BLTT on behalf of IMBA. The group from Ames was highly attentive as they are working to pursue trails in and around the University. The information presented in this section is a good refresher too for those who have heard it before. It helps solidify relationships and is good fodder for grants and persuasion.
As the LAMBA president, I moderated the roundtable and, with Ken, presented the session on ProBuild and Bike Parks, based on our personal travels and LAMBA’s experiences with IMBA Trail Solutions. Having traveled to Whistler, the Yukon, Cuyuna, MN, Copper Harbor, MI, and Bentonville, AR, Ken and I have now seen what can be done for mountain biking through the pro build process. We have also experienced facilities built by four different trail specific contractors. It was a lot of fun to tell our and LAMBA’s story. Our goal was to inspire other clubs and show that we can make world class trails a reality in Iowa.
The roundtable discussion hearkens back to the days of yore when Ryan Hanser of CITA facilitated the initial statewide discussion, although, at that time, we pirated a few tables before Gary Fisher arrived and then holed up in some dark enclave. It was great to look at how far we have come in five years, not only as individual clubs but as a statewide group. The other amazing aspect of this group is that we are able to strategize and share experiences. I realized how much so after speaking with Ames after the presentation. The main purpose of this gathering is for each club to have their time to boast, toast, and roast. Essentially, we all get to share our highlights, talk about areas of improvement, and really evaluate all that groups across the state are doing to forward the cause for singletrack.
All in all, a nice showing for our dedicated Dirt Strand. We had nearly thirty people in each session and I think everyone was able to take away something useful to promote singletrack in their community. A great big thank you to Mark Wyatt for granting us three sessions dedicated to dirt, Hansi Johnson for making sure I knew all the details for BLTT, and all the advocates who took the time to make the trip and attend the sessions. Now well into the scheming season, let’s all dream up big plans and work to make world class riding happen in Iowa.