The new IMBA Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center has opened with huge success and rave reviews. The Grand Opening Gala kicked off on Friday with visiting dignitaries and a ribbon cutting. Congressman Jim Oberstar was thanked both for his service in the district but also for making the funding for the Cuyuna Project possible. As always it was fun to listen to such a great speaker and Jim did not disappoint. We also heard from the Commissioner of the MN DNR, Tom Landwehr and head of Minnesota Parks and Trails Courtland Nelson. Of course our own Mike Van Abel stood up as well and announced that Cuyuna was now a Bronze level Ride Center. Nine year old Maya Staz, who has put in a lot of volunteer hours with her father cut the ribbon.
Saturday and Sunday were then billed as the 1st Annual Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival. We filled the town with cyclists. Several Cafe's ran out of food. Everywhere you looked there were people on mountain bikes. The hotels were full, the campsites full as well as all the trailheads.
Hans Rey showed up Sat afternoon and we had a great group ride with him. That evening he did a really fun demonstration (there were more kids than adults there) and then he also did his slide show. Afterwards there was a night ride that was kicked off by a fireworks display.
On Sunday I was lucky enough to give Hans, John Gaddo and Josh Abrahamson of QBP a quick tour of Cuyuna's more gravity oriented trails. It was one of the best rides I have had in a long time. I dont know Hans except for the few days I hung out with him, but I can say that after a decade of working in the outdoor industry (all in adventure and adrenaline based sports) that I am good at spotting a guy that is having fun. I am sure that he says he loves just about every trail he rides, but there is no doubt that the smile and hoots that were coming from him on Sand Hog were genuine and to me that defines Cuyuna in a nutshell.....
You can view more images here as well.