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Mountain biking summit set for big weekend in Santa Fe

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Hope is that world summit will bring much-deserved attention to N.M. trail riding

Gallup has helped put New Mexico on the mountain biking map.

With four annual biking events that attract some 500 participants per event, Gallup is a go-to place for biking enthusiasts from around the state and the country.

“The city has 50 miles of designated biking trails so far,” said Bob Rosebrough,the former mayor of Gallup, a county commissioner-elect and president of the biking club Gallup Trails Inc. “Half of them go through private land and half are through Forest Service land in the Zuni Mountains east of Gallup. Some day, we hope to have these two areas connected.”

Open events
You don’t have to be a convention-goer to take part in the IMBA conference being held in Santa Fe from Oct. 10-13.
The public is welcome to explore the Vendors Expo at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Oct. 11 and 12 from 3-7 p.m. each day.
On Oct. 12, downtown Santa Fe will host a criterium around the plaza featuring foot-powered kids’ coaster bikes. In addition, a trail-cutting machine obstacle course will be set up, a demonstration urban bike park will be on display, and the Red Bull film “Where the Trail Ends” documenting the most ambitious mountain biking expedition ever will be showing at the Convention Center (tickets at www.wherethetrailends.com).
Group rides will take place every afternoon and be led by the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and the Santa Fe-based Pedal Queens. Motorists should be aware of increased bike traffic along East and West Alameda, Camino Cabra, Upper Canyon Road, Camino de Las Crucitas, and Camino de Los Montoyas as riders head out to the Dale Ball Trials and the La Tierra Trails.
Ride times are:
Oct. 10 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 11-12 from 3-6:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 the Winsor Trail will be used by the cyclists from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning at the Santa Fe Ski Area parking lot trailhead down to the Chamisa Trial, Sidewinder Trail and Little Tesuque Creek Trail, ending up on Hyde Park Road. Motorists should be mindful of the increased bicycle traffic, while hikers and other trail users should be alert to the high volume of bicycle activity on the trails during these times.
The National Forest Service will be posting notices, and trail intersections will be manned with volunteers reminding users to be alert.

Rosebrough, New Mexico state Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, Youth Conservation Corps director Karl Lohmann and Gallup Trails Inc. board member Lindsay Mapes will talk about Gallup’s success as part of the 2012 International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit, which takes place from Oct. 10-13 in Santa Fe.

The foursome will be featured in one of the summit’s forums. They will address how mountain biking can be a transformational vehicle for communities. Summit participants are expected to travel to New Mexico from throughout the U.S. and as far away as Israel for the three-day confab.

The nonprofit IMBA is recognized as a leader in low-impact biking advocacy and as an educational force promoting cooperation between varied trail user groups.

Educational sessions held at the Santa Fe Convention Center will cover topics about mountain bike tourism, creating youth initiatives, developing urban core trails, creating an urban wilderness, the evolution of bike-friendly land policies, how to recruit and keep trail steward volunteers, how to develop great trail maps and much more.

“We have a remarkably strong biking community in Gallup,” Rosebrough said. “There are 200 members of Gallup Trails Inc., with a high percentage of them teachers and medical professionals.”

Rosebrough said Gallup is popular with mountain bikers because of the stunning landscape and great riding conditions.

“Our rolling terrain is perfect for mountain biking,” he added. “Mountain bikers are always looking for new hot spots to go biking, and Gallup is on their radar. Utah and Colorado get most of the publicity. I hope the summit puts much-deserved attention on New Mexico.”

Tim Fowler, the president of the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, said his club played an integral role in getting IMBA to select Santa Fe as the location for the organization’s biennial conference.

“We worked with the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau and local businesses to give a presentation to IMBA,” he said. “We’ve been told to expect 300 to 400 participants. I think attendance could end up being higher.”

Organizers say that Santa Fe’s outstanding bike terrain and mountain biking infrastructure, small-town feel and ideal location against the foothills of the Southern Rockies were some of the reasons IMBA selected the city for the World Summit.

It isn’t necessary to be a member of IMBA to attend the summit. Anyone interested in being part of this special biking event can sign up by the first day of the summit. More information about the summit is available online at imba.com/world-summit.

The focus of the summit is a series of workshops.

A number of organized rides are led by members of the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and the Pedal Queens. The Friday night party and Saturday night barbecue give participants a chance to unwind and relax with each other.

“There will be many great networking opportunities,” Fowler said. “The whole idea of the summit is to share ideas and learn from one another.”

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