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World mountain biking summit selects Augusta
By Billy Byler | Staff Writer
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The news that Augusta will play host to the 2010 International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit was met by the local bicycling community with something similar to a Christmas morning celebration.

"It's huge. I never thought Augusta could get something this big," local mountain biking enthusiast Andy Jordan said. "It puts a spotlight on the trail system here, and it's going to bring attention to the fact that Augusta, Ga., is becoming a bicycle mecca."

The announcement was released Friday by the association, which is based in Boulder, Colo.

Several members of the local biking community, including Jordan, the owner of an Augusta bike shop; City Administrator Fred Russell, a regular rider; and the Greater Augusta Sports Council were involved in the effort to bring the event to Augusta.

"We've been working with their staff for almost two months, assigning trail rides and doing a site visit and getting things together," said Tammy Stout, the sports council's executive director. "It's more than a typical event booking or typical conference booking. This is the parent organization of all these groups meeting at one time, and they're doing it in Augusta."

Augusta beat Madison, Wis., and State College, Pa., in the bid to play host to the summit. IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel said the area's quality trails and the efforts of groups such as the sports council and the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association, a volunteer-driven mountain biking club, helped make Augusta an ideal choice for the biennial event, which is scheduled to take place May 5-8.

"There's a good community of mountain bikers, and a group like SORBA definitely tipped the scale," Van Abel said.

Previous world summits have taken place in Park City, Utah (2008); Whistler, British Columbia (2006); Washington, D.C. (2004); and Moab, Utah (2002). Van Abel estimated 500 bikers from the United States and Europe will attend.

"But we're going to plan for more than that," he said. "We believe this will be our biggest yet."

The event will give Augusta's biking community the chance to show off the Forks Area Trail System in nearby Sumter National Forest in Edgefield and McCormick counties. Van Abel said the trail system is "a model for the world" and will enjoy an international spotlight during the summit.

"People come and have been coming for several years now from places like Florida and North Carolina just to spend three or four days on the FATS trails riding," Jordan said. "It's like a Disneyland for mountain biking."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or [email protected].

From the Saturday, June 13, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
 

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Cool stuff... I remember going to Andy's bike shop back when I lived in Augusta in '02... it's where I got back into biking. Spent lots of time pedaling my old 'cross bike up and down the Augusta Canal trail. It'll be nice to take the 29er back there and ride some more...
 

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Y'all come on down to the south for some BBQ, fried chicken, quality single, cold beer just before it really get hot and humid. May seems hot, but July/August IS hot down here.

We should have a nice summit down here. Augusta has a nice little urban singletrack, and miles and miles of single in the woods just across the line in SC.

FATS is our gem and the (main) reason we were selected, I suppose. It's jumpy, swoopy and fast, but not really technical I am sorry to say. What it lacks in technical is made up for with speed and pure fun. It will make you smile.

We'd love to have a slew of riders/advocates come down our way next May.

Rick - hope to see you again at another IMBA Summit, this time in my back yard.
 
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