Next week, hundreds of mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers, trail builders, thought leaders, bike industry reps, land managers and government officials from across the U.S. and around the world will convene in Bike Town USA for the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit. This is big stuff!
Spoke Talk columns publish weekly in the Steamboat Today newspaper.
The IMBA World Summit, held every two years, offers a unique opportunity for people to share ideas, learn new things and ride great trails in a beautiful destination. This year’s event offers Steamboat a unique opportunity to show off what we’ve got and where we’re going.
Steamboat made news among bikers across the country last November, when voters overwhelmingly approved using the accommodations tax to develop trails for the next 10 years. That monumental decision came on the heels of Steamboat being declared an IMBA bronze-level ride center — at the time, the only IMBA ride center in the state. The snowball kept rolling as IMBA announced it had selected Steamboat to host its World Summit — the first time being held in Colorado.
Why Steamboat? IMBA chose Steamboat from a pool of 16 solid proposals from mountain bike destinations across the country. Previous World Summits have been held in meccas such as Whistler, British Columbia, and Moab and Park City, Utah. The destination had to be able to provide enough lodging and meeting space and be attractive to mountain bikers from across the world.
“Then we were looking for community involvement. With a super strong chapter in Steamboat with Routt County Riders and all the momentum Steamboat has had lately with all things cycling, it made it very appealing, as well,” said Terry Breheny, IMBA events manager and conference director in a Steamboat Today article in November.
What can you, as a resident, expect next week? On trails and in town, you may notice a higher concentration of bike-centric visitors, many of them speaking different languages. Historically, the conference attracts nearly 400 delegates, representing dozens of states and nearly a dozen countries.
Nearly all of the conferences and workshops will be held behind closed doors, at the Steamboat Sheraton Resort and The Steamboat Grand.
Attendees will be learning about everything from purpose-built trail development to volunteer management to mapping. When not in classroom settings, they will take advantage of numerous activities that showcase Steamboat — Moots Cycles factory tours, rides on Emerald Mountain, jump jams at Bear River Bike Park and the epic ride on Saturday — the “Divide Ride” from Dumont Lake to the bottom of the ski area.
At least six representatives from Routt County Riders will be in attendance, along with several others from various Steamboat organizations and businesses. Registration remains open at www.imba.com.
On Saturday, residents can check out a public outdoor evening film screening in Gondola Square of Singletrack High, a documentary about NorCal High School Cycling League and the incredible impact of high school mountain biking. Sunday wraps up with the Summit-X Enduro Race, a benefit for Routt County Riders and Bike Town USA.
Once the excitement of the World Summit ends, it will be interesting to see the reports that come out of it as word spreads about Steamboat among IMBA chapters around the world.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.