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Cuyuna Grand Opening Redux

In the days since my first blog account of the Cuyuna Ride Center grand opening, I've realized that a lot of what IMBA did to make the Cuyuna project a reality has not been fully explained.

As you'll read here, there were many partners involved and much credit to go around — for IMBA, MORC and many others.

First, I'll note that IMBA and MORC are really the same entity — we are partners organizationally, financially and in our mission to create great riding for all to enjoy. Ninety-nine percent of the time when I am speaking about IMBA I am also speaking about MORC. Members who have tracked the transition to becoming an IMBA Chapter over the past two years realize this, but it's still settling into many people's minds.

So, what actions that made the grand opening of Cuyuna possible can be attributed to IMBA? And to MORC? And to IMBA-MORC? Here are a few figures:

$80,000: This is the amount that IMBA's national office contributed to help pay for the initial costs in planning the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail system. Without this plan set the build would not have occurred, as momentum for the project had stalled.

11: The number of IMBA full-time employees that visited and consulted at the Cuyuna site in the last two years. This includes Trail Solutions staff, myself, our executive director and the Trail Care Crew. Other than myself, all came from out of state, all were paid for their time here by IMBA (not to mention more than $4,000 in donated services by IMBA's professional trail builders) or by the Minnesota DNR.

2.5: The number of years that I have been personally involved in this project as the Midwest Regional Director. The past year I have dedicated a considerable amount of my time and resources to this worthy project. I was a champion for Cuyuna on so many fronts it makes my head spin — but it was all worthwhile!

36: The number of days I spent on the ground at Cuyuna last season during the construction (June-October) and planning phase. I'll be the first to say that this is peanuts when you consider how much time MORC's Tim Wegner and Jeff Shoenbauer spent on the ground, as well as the construction crew itself. However, when you put it into the context of me having to also work a five-state territory, with 73 other clubs all hungry for assistance with their own trails projects, you realize how high of a priority Cuyuna has been.

5: The number of times that Mike Van Abel, IMBA's Executive Director, visited the Cuyuna sight or made a special trip to Minnesota for a meeting specific to Cuyuna in the past two years. Mike's travel schedule it daunting to say the least, yet he as the IMBA ED made it a point to be on the scene and to put his personal stamp on the project. How personal? Read his blog post.

1: The number of new Ride Centers IMBA has proclaimed. That's right. Cuyuna is the first to be announced in the new recognition system with bronze, silver nd gold standards for Ride Centers. One is also the number of Trail Care Crew visits we hosted at Cuyuna, but that number is about to be two as we are having another visit there in September. Each TCC visit is valued at about $4,500, so when you start to add up those numbers, as well as the man hours, travel time expenses occurred with all the other staff involved you see another indication of the effort that IMBA has put into Cuyuna.

As I've said dozens of times in the past week alone, without MORC this project would never have gotten off the ground. First, you have Mr. Wegner and his early involvement — his steadfast and dogged determination to make this project happen can't be overstated. Neither MORC nor IMBA was universally convinced that Cuyuna would work in the early days ... but Tim was.

MORC made a huge on-the-ground commitment to supporting the Cuyuna Chapter, keeping them bankrolled and equipped with tools and resources. And MORC helped secure and organize the two Trail Care Crew visits.

Vitally, MORC stepped up twice with funds directly related to Cuyuna.

The original plans did not call for a dedicated flow and gravity-based design for what is now the Bobsled Trail. Wegner and his crew wanted to bring one in, so MORC and Trek both stepped up and paid for a trail expert with the right skills to make it work. Later, MORC paid to secure Hans Rey as a headliner for the grand opening event.

On top of that, MORC club members in Crosby, put over 600 hours into getting the new trails ready after a hard winter and wet spring to make them rideable according to the MN DNR's high standards.

So, I hope I'm clearly stating that there were several important partners involved at every stage of the game, including but not limited to IMBA, MORC, DNR and too many individuals to name. All of us need to keep talking about how we made this great success happen.

I haven't even gotten to the role that the bike industry played! I've mentioned QBP and Trek, but there's considerable credit due to SRAM and several of the local cycling retailers.

In closing, I'm not sure that every time I, or anyone else, tells the story of Cuyuna it will be possible to give all the credit due to all the partners. I'll try, but I'm sure I'll stumble — so feel free to chime in with a "Don't forget about so-and-so," when I need it.

Thanks for listening.

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Thanks to all

Good write up on everyone involved, Cuyuna is a really fun and beautiful trail system. I look forward to many, many future visits