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summmit logoAt the Southern Mountain Bike Summit in March, the SORBA Board of Directors voted in two new chapters, Pensacola Off-Road Cyclists, based in Pensacola, FL, and the South Mississippi Trail Alliance (SMTA), based in Hattiesburg, MS.

Speaking of the Southern Mountain Bike Summit, I must say it was a success! Bryson City, NC and Nantahala Area SORBA were the BEST local hosts, and everyone loved Lands Creek Log Cabins as a meeting space.

On Friday, the content was geared towards our land managers, who made a good showing. Garrett Villanueva, USFS REGIONAL TRAIL PROGRAM MANAGER, PACIFIC SOUTHWEST REGIONAL OFFICE, led a discussion about creating trails with technical challenge. Villanueva was involved in building the Corral Trail, which offers bike-optimized features such as table top jumps and berms. Greg Lein gave an update on Alabama’s on-going expansion of mountain biking in state parks. If you haven’t visited an Alabama State Park with mtb trails, you are missing something! While the meetings went on, Hawley USA, Muc-Off, and Cartecay Bikes washed and detailed mountain bikes for Summit attendees. The day was rounded out with a bike ride at Tsali and a social at Anthony’s Pizza.

Saturday started with the Board meeting, and the induction of the new chapters. Presenters then tackled the question of how to attract women to mountain biking. Speakers included Robin Bylenga, owner of Pedal Chic, a women-centric bike shop, and a panel of women from Sorella Cycling, the Dirt Divas, SAMBA SORBA and SORBA Woodstock. Sorbies were awarded to two great volunteers, Paul Stahlschmidt and Julie White of North Carolina, who have done so much over the years to improve mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest. Paul and Julie were joined by Brent Martin of the Wilderness Society to discuss the work they have done together in the Forest Planning Process.

Mountain biking requires skill, so we offered an opportunity to work on skills at the Summit. On Friday, Sue Haywood offered a co-ed skills class, and she followed up on Saturday with a women’s skills class. If you have not had the opportunity to take a class from Sue, I recommend that you do so. Stefanie Wilmert, a NICA certified coach, held a clinic for junior riders. Again, another ride, another social, and the end of a great Summit.