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Southwest Region Updates: August

Rainbow Rim Trail Volunteer Weekend Scheduled for September

After our volunteer weekend in late May, we continued our work with the USFS-North Kaibab Ranger District on the Rainbow Rim Trail in June and July. We helped flag additional sections of the extension and worked with the USFS trail crew and the Arizona Conservation Corps to clear brush and build new trail tread near Timp Point.

We will continue our work there September 20-21 with another volunteer weekend, sponsored by Giant Bicycles, which will provide limited edition t-shirts for all participants, and Clif Bar, which will provide lots of snacks for everyone. Along with these sponsors, the USFS will cook dinner for the hungry volunteers on the Saturday night.

Come along and camp at the edge of the Grand Canyon; help build one of the most scenic singletrack trails in the world; and join the group rides that weekend. More details will be posted here in the coming weeks.

Advanced Trail Building School in Santa Fe, NM

Plans are coming together for an advanced trail building school in Santa Fe, NM, later this year, in conjunction with building a new, one-mile flow trail at the La Tierra trails network. This session will be open to a limited number of trailbuilder-advocates from northern New Mexico, including members of our local chapters, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (hosts of the event), FooMTB (Albuquerque), Los Alamos Tuff Riders and the Del Norte Mountain Bike Alliance (Taos), among others. Stay tuned for dates and other details of this session.

Trail Discussions Continue with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation

I recently met with Brad Peterson, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation; staff from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); board members from the Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Alliance (our chapter in southwestern Utah); and shop owners and staff from Zion Cycles, Red Rock Bicycle Company and Over The Edge, Hurricane. We discussed various trail initiatives including the planning process with the BLM in St. George and Hurricane; the trail design project in Cedar City (as completed by IMBA Trail Solutions); and a trail planning project in Kanab, where we have been meeting with local advocates and county commissioners, and will have an IMBA Trail Specialist on the ground later this year. There is a lot of potential for trail development in southwestern Utah thanks to supportive land managers, advocates and shop owners being involved in the process. A couple of things from the meeting that really stood out were:

  • The BLM planning process could see 50-100 miles of new trail in Cedar City.
  • Mountain biking brings in an estimated $26.5 million to the Washington County, UT, economy each year.

Arizona High School Cycling League Kicking off Second Season

The Arizona High School Cycling League is looking forward to its second year of high school mountain bike racing. The inaugural season saw approximately 150 racers at each of four races. The fall 2014 (five race) series should welcome around 250 student athletes competing on over 30 teams from around the state.

The AZ League is also excited to announce a middle school pilot program. At the coaches’ discretion, middle school students are eligible to join a high school team and attend practice sessions with the team. This will give middle school students a chance to practice and train with their local high school team.

Check out for more details or to sign up as a volunteer. If you haven't attended an Arizona League race, you should—it’s inspirational to watch the students race their mountain bikes. Big congratulation to the league on its success in the the first year, and best of luck for the future!

Trail Planning Speeding Along in Nevada

IMBA has submitted a conceptual trail report to our partners, STORM-OV in Beatty, NV, which is less than two hours northwest of Las Vegas. We will meet again with these partners at the IMBA World Summit in Steamboat Springs, CO, to develop a strategy for approaching municipal and county officials; we then plan to meet with the stakeholders, including the BLM, in early September to build further support for the project. The terrain in Beatty is huge and there is a lot of community support for a trail network. We see a lot of potential for a world-class system here.

Elsewhere in Nevada, our work in Caliente will soon enter a new phase. Since trail design funds have been secured, we will schedule IMBA Trail Specialists to spend 3-4 weeks there in October and November to complete the flagging of about 40 miles of new trail, working in conjunction with the BLM, Nevada State Parks and the City of Caliente. Expect a longer blog post on this project once the design work has been started.

Tucson Bike Park Master Planning Update

IMBA has completed a conceptual report for a bike park at the 100 Acre Wood site on the southwest side of Tucson. This report will soon be submitted to the various stakeholders including the Office of Mayor Rothschild, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, Tucson City Parks, Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists (our local chapter), and several local health agencies. The report will then be incorporated into a larger master plan for the entire site, which will include for bathrooms, water supply, parking, lighting, shade structures and landscaping. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about the master plan in the coming weeks!

Big Bear Lake, CA, Trail Updates

In 2012 and 2013, IMBA held many meetings with stakeholders at Big Bear Lake, CA, including the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, USFS, Snow Summit Resort and municipal officials. Our work included designing the Skyline Trail and advocating for purpose-built bike trails at the resort.  I recently rode the new trails in Big Bear and was stoked to see what had developed!

The resort hired Gravity Logic in 2013 to design and build lift access trails and the results are awesome: West Ridge Trail (advanced-intermediate level) was my favorite, with beginner-intermediate trails currently in the planning stages. I also had the opportunity to ride the Skyline Trail from west to east and it, too, was a treat! Designed by IMBA Trail Solutions and built by BellFree Construction and the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, this trail is around 13 miles in length, overlooking San Gorgonio Peak, and is arguably the most scenic trail in southern California.

The foundation is continuing to extend the trail in summer and fall 2014. If you get the chance, get up to Big Bear Lake for clear mountain air and awesome riding. The foundation and city officials are also sending a delegation to the upcoming 2014 IMBA World Summit in Steamboat Springs, CO, to learn more about developing a mountain bike destination, with an eye to also hosting the Summit in 2016. A future IMBA World Summit in southern California? That get’s my vote!

Other happenings around the region

Subaru IMBA Trail Care Crew: IMBA’s new crew, Jordan and Lani, has been on the road for several months now, and will make its way to the southwest toward the end of the year with stops in Moab, Taos, Santa Fe, San Diego and San Luis Obispo, CA. Keep an eye on the schedule, and join in one of the session if you’re available.

Cross-County Race in Kingman, AZ, Nov. 2: Here’s an event in northwestern Arizona to put on your schedule, the Raddler Race as presented by Bicycle Outfitters on the Monoloith Gardens, Kingman, AZ. This inaugural event is fundraiser for our local chapter, the Colorado River Area Trail Alliance (CRATA) who are developing great partnerships with city and BLM land managers and the local business community

Model Trail Designations in the Southwest: Congrats to each of the 2014 Model Trail designations in the region: Santa Fe, NM;  Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ; and Tucson, AZ were designated as IMBA Ride Centers, and the Cannell Trail, Sherman Pass, CA was designated as an IMBA epic. Check out the full press release here.

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