Photo: IMBA South Central Region Director Steve Schneider leads a discussion at the Texas Mountain Bike Summit.
In April, IMBA and its Texas-based chapter the Austin Ridge Riders (ARR) hosted the first Texas Mountain Bike Summit in Georgetown. Steve Schneider, the IMBA region director for the South Central territory, which includes east Texas, said, "I'm excited to see momentum building for an emerging multi-group effort that we are calling the Texas Mountain Bike Coalition, with the goal of creating better mountain bike access and stronger land manager relationships in the Lone Star state."
Lee Compton, a trail steward wth ARR, generously opened his home to summit attendees on Friday evening, entertaining everyone with great food and beer donated by Oscar Blues and Lagunitas. Mountain bikers from across the state mingled with each other and with IMBA staff members, including Trail Solutions Project Mananger Jill Van Winkle, VP of Government Relations Bruce Alt, VP of Chapter and Member Services Kevin Adams and Great Lakes Region Director Andy Williamson.
Saturday morning saw 38 attendees gather at the Army Corps of Engineers offices at Lake Georgetown. Schneider started the educational sessions by outlining IMBA's vision for enhancing trails and communities in Texas. Texas-based trail builder Ryan Spates, with S&S Trails
, gave a dialed presentation on connecting volunteers with land managers, and additional IMBA staff members offered presentations before and after the lunch break. Attendees then re-grouped at Russell Park Pavilion for a ride on the IMBA Epic Good Water
loop of the San Gabriel River Trail. After 10 miles of the rocky, chunky trails, tired riders met back at the pavilion for tostadas, beer and Texas-style networking.
"It was encouraging to see land managers, including the Lower Colorado River Authority, attend the summit and express a desire for future trail development in partnership between IMBA and ARR," said Schneider, adding that the Army Corps of Engineers is also considering new projects in partnership with mountain biking groups across the state.
Big-time thanks go to the summit sponsors: Oscar Blues, Lagunitas, NiteIze, CST/Maxxis Tires, BikeSportShops in Austin, Camelbak, Clif Bar, PowerAid, Visit Georgetown and the Army Corps of Engineers. Special thanks go to the Austin Ridge Riders, especially Lee/Karen Compton, members of the board, and President Charlie Riou. Thanks also to Kevin Highfield from GHORBA for his session on grant writing skills, and to all the volunteer trail organizations who attended and voiced their support for a stronger IMBA presence in Texas.