Now, before I go further, I have to note that this is my blog - not COMBO's - and anything I say here is my opinion alone.
Anyway, this year for IMBA's Summit, there are many opportunities for learning, clinics, presentations, and programming, aimed directly at chapters. The gods were smiling on me, because COMBO nominated me, and the Board approved, sending me as COMBO's sole chapter member to the Summit.
My trip began, as all trips do, with a walk through the lavish, international Port Columbus Airport. I won't go into detail, but let's summarize by saying that I was the last passenger on the plane, out of breath from running to the gate, with my shoes and my ziploc bag of toothpaste and contact solution still in my hand.
As a side note, I chose to do the trip with only hand luggage. This means that I couldn't carry a liquid over 4.3 ounces or whatever. Unfortunately, the only chamois cream I have is in an 8-ounce tube. For those who don't know, chamois cream is a salve that you slather on your groinal area to prevent chafing from bike seats. What would you do? Forgo chamois cream and risk a tender diaper zone or go through the hassle of baggage claim? Me, I just lathered up with four days' worth of cream and left the rest at home.
|I nearly slid right off the plane seat|
The downtime was bumming me out, because it meant I was missing some of the pre-conference festivities like a tour of the Moots factory and demo bike riding. But, it turned out well, because I got to talk to some really interesting people who were on the same flight.
First, I met a group of people from the Lexington area Kentucky (in the same IMBA region as COMBO) who are trying to convert an old limestone mine into the world's first underground mountain bike trail and playground. Awesome - I hope this happens for them. Tom Tyler visited Ray's in Cleveland for inspiration - I hope Ray can hook up with them to help! Check out louisvillemegacavern.com.
|Andy Williamson (our IMBA Regional Director) planting the IMBA flag.|
Ultimately, the plane took off, and I really enjoyed the scenery.
But, by the time I arrived, I had a tough choice to make: should I do a tour of the Moots factory, or ride mountain bikes? What would you choose? Yeah, me too.
This is an awesome bike. A 27.5 "hardtail" with a little suspension built into the rear seat stays.
I can't say enough good things about this bike. It was responsive and light. Plus, Moots is a local (as in the same damn town) company and they are great folks, as far as I can tell. If I didn't already have eleventy-twelve bikes of my own, Moots would be the next purchase. Hell, they might be anyway.
Rode the Emerald Mountain Trails. Again, can't recommend them more highly. Awesome. In fact, I felt sorry that the trails were subject to my sorry skills.
Lots of fun uphill and down.
Anyhow, after riding, it was time for the IMBA chapter reception. We took the ski gondolas up to the top of the mountain, where we got to mix with IMBA chapters from around the country and eat finger foods. It was amazing to hear what other chapters are doing. You know how some trips change your perspective on life? This trip is changing my perspective on managing mountain biking.
Beer by New Belgium. Awesome. Great beer, great company. An obvious beer pairing for this post.
More tomorrow. Go be brave!