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Fontana Festival Takes Kids Mountain Biking

What's a great way for kids to enjoy the outdoors? Take them on a mountain bike ride. And that is just what happened on July 19th thanks to the organizers of the Fontana Fest. The Fontana Fest Mountain Bike Festival is a family-oriented fundraiser to benefit The Mountain Community School Bike Club. The festival features group rides to Tsali and Fontana Village trails, live music, games and contests, and much more. This year Rusty Sprocket Productions and Pisgah Area SORBA partnered to put on a kids ride.

The SORBA Trips for Kids bikes, which at stored at Gainesville State College, where loaded up and delivered to the event via the Subaru Tour de SORBA Forester. We fitted a few bikes at Fontana Village Saturday morning and then headed over to Tsali for a ride. It was a beautiful summer day to explore the Thompson loop trail. Tsali has long been a mountain bike destination in the southeast and we saw a few familiar faces, jerseys and bikes on the trail.

Mountaintown Creek Trail Proposal

ImageMountaintown Creek Trail is one of the oldest, most picturesque mountain bike trails in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Wild, narrow singletrack snakes down the mountain, tumbling over rocks and splashing across the creek. Flanked by verdant vistas, you keep your eyes focused on what lies ahead. Lose your focus, and the trail may trick you, throw you off. Mountaintown Creek demands your respect and attention-pay it or pay the price.

But, alas, at the end of the trail, the forest ends, and a stretch of private property, the Hills Lake neighborhood, lies between you and your car. This is a problem for anglers, hikers, and bikers alike, unless you want to turn around and climb up whence you came (a daunting task, at best). The Forest Service knows this is a problem for its users, and has begun to address the issue. The rangers of the Conasauga Ranger District,Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests have released a proposal to improve access to Mountaintown Creek Trail.

In summary, the USDA Forest Service proposes to route mountain bike traffic onto the existing Pinhoti Trail. The Pinhoti Trail intersects the Mountaintown Creek Trail about 1.7 miles up from the southern terminus, then turns north and follows the Mountaintown Creek trail to Forest Road 64. Mountain bikes are currently not allowed on this section of the Pinhoti Trail, and some rerouting of the trail is proposed to make the trail more suitable for mountain bike use. The Mountaintown Creek Trail below the Pinhoti Trail would be closed to mountain bikes and reserved for hikers. Also in this proposal, anglers would have a new trail built to the creek from the Bear Creek camping area parking lot. You can view the full proposal athttp://www.fs.fed.us/conf/sopa/recreation-nepa.htm.

Busy spring and summer in Middle Tennessee

ImageEvents:

SORBA-IMBA Middle Tennessee's 1st annual RUMBLE at the ROCK cross country race finished off the 6th annual Fat Tire Fest at Hamilton Creek in Nashville. The 6.5 mile course was a bit damp for the first lap or two, but by the end of the Sport race, the trail was back to its rocky self. This 1st annual romp offered up 92 TBRA (Tennessee Bicycle Racer's Association) racers on top of the 150+ on site for Saturday's skills course, Pinnacle hill climb time trial, skid contest and kids events. The weekend was a huge hit, and we look forward to next year.

Our August 2nd Ride/ social at Lock 4 in Gallatin, TN had a great turnout. We challenged our mountain bike community to come out and ride one of our favorite trails, bring a friend and just have some fun in the dirt. We had several ride leaders that made the day a success along with our membership directors Amy and Scott Walvoord. Thanks again to Kelly Benward and all the ride leaders, Chris Cooper, Reed Lilly, and Tim Spencer. We had a large rider turnout on a perfect day on the trail.

Best of all, we had the opportunity to show several new members what we are all about. Yep, the day is always a success when we grow our membership and see so many trail and advocacy stewards out RIDING on the trails we maintain. Su-weet!

Tool fund
On July 2nd this year we started a tool fund to add some key professional-grade tools to our trail work arsenal. Within only a few weeks we exceeded $900 to add to the $500 from the Maverick Bicycle silent auction at the 2008 Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 hour race. We have already purchased one mac-daddy Stihl brush cutter and are scheming for the next addition. Please help us grow this fund by hitting the DONATE link at www.sorbamidtn.org or email president@sorbamidtn.org.

Paulding County SORBA Dives into the Sara Babb Project

ImageWith great excitement and jubilation, on July 16th Paulding SORBA announced the signing of the MOU for Sara Babb Beginners Mountain Bike Park. On that day, Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin received the MOU from the City Attorney and made the decision to sign it.. Before the ink was dry on the MOU, Paulding County SORBA had over 100 volunteers registered from over 9 area churches to build the trail over the weekend of July 26th-27th. Paulding County SORBA had already worked with county officials to lay out two one-and-a-half-mile loops of beginner's singletrack at the park.

Sara Babb Beginners Mountain Bike Park, located at 216 Recreation Drive, Dallas, GA. is now home to a one-mile beginner loop and a quarter-mile connector trail. 73 volunteers turned out to build this trail on Saturday and 56 turned out on Sunday. Together these groups put in over 870 hours. The work included clearing the trail and cutting the tread with hand tools, as well as building 3 bridges.

Scott Martin, Secretary and Trail Liaison officer for Paulding County SORBA was justifiably proud of this effort, which brought the whole community together. A pleasant surprise is that 90 % of the volunteers who worked on this project are not regular cyclists. Says, Martin, "Your efforts this weekend were phenomenal, and I want to thank everyone who participated in the work party held at Sara Babb Park. Without you, this project wouldn't have ever happened in the time frame it did.. I feel honored to have been involved with this project and look forward to the next one."

Paulding County SORBA plans to host a grand opening for the park on Saturday, September 13th. Everyone, especially the volunteers who work on the trail, is invited. Check http://www.pauldingsorba.org/ for details on the upcoming festivities.

Triangle Off Road Cyclists Keep Busy During the Dog Days of Summer

ImageGroup Rides, out-of-town trips, new trail construction, and maintenance to existing trails have consumed a good bit of our free time this summer. It's a horrible burden to bear, but somehow I'm sure we'll manage carry on.

We have had good attendance at our scheduled group rides (Monday mornings, Wednesday nights, and the Thursday women's ride). We get to meet old friends and introduce new-comers to the sport. Our local shops continue to give us lots of support with these rides.

For National Trails Day, TORC teamed up with REI, our friends over at Trips for Kids - Triangle (TFK-T), and Wake County Parks and Recreation at Lake Crabtree County Park. We had about 50 folks show up. The Kids from TFK-T rehabbed a short section of closed trail, while other groups performed regular maintenance and built a new rock garden.

Our current trail construction project, Brier Chapel, continues. The project is actually part of a large upscale housing project, and the builder decided to have trails built instead of another golf course. We are getting very close to having enough sections stitched together to actually be able to ride there. Thanks to the hard work of our trail building crew and all the volunteers, when finished we will have a 20+ mile trail system to enjoy.

Our day and overnight trips have been a great success. We've visited the Angler's Ridge trail system in Danville, VA, and the folks from SVMBA have been excellent hosts both times. Our weekend trip to Dupont/Pisgah wouldn't have been the same without the help of some awesome folks from Pisgah Area SORBA. The most recent weekend trip to Tsali was outstanding as usual. All these trips have common themes--great riding, good people and lots of fun.

UpState SORBA Update

ImageUpstateSORBA is growing by leaps and bounds. We have some exciting news to share as our first anniversary approaches. Following are some of the highlights.

We formed a good working relationship with the City of Greenville. The City Parks Manager granted UpstateSORBA the opportunity to expand some of the existing Troop 19 Trail within Cleveland Park, which is in the heart of downtown Greenville. Several workdays have produced nearly a mile of new single-track. We look forward to an on going relationship to expand trail & greenway opportunities within the Greenville area.

This summer a new trail opened at our local State Park. Paris Mountain is boasting about the newly created Kanuga trail that offers another connection to the most remote lake in the park. This new trail, which is a downhill beast or a lung-busting climb, offers a new way to the lake and helps alleviate some of the user conflicts we were having on the Pippsissewa Trail. We are proud of this new trail. UpstateSORBA members gave volunteer hours over the course of several workdays providing assistance to Deno Contos and his crew, Appalachian Landscape Management, with the initial creation and completion of this trail. UpstateSORBA looks forward to working with the park on maintaining this trail as well as many other trails at Paris Mountain.

The park has seen increased traffic during the past several months, due in part to the new trail. Another attraction is the upcoming downhill race www.parismountaindh.com. UpstateSORBA is helping with the promotion of the downhill race at Paris Mountain. UpstateSORBA members will give volunteer hours for trail workdays leading up to the race, as well as volunteer to help in a variety of ways on race day. The profits from this event will benefit UpstateSORBA.

UpstateSORBA has formed a great working relationship with park management. We want to continue to support their efforts to educate local riders (new & veteran) with the park's rules and proper trail etiquette. In an effort to assist, UpstateSORBA provides park info & rules, as well as other educational information on its website www.upstatesorba.org.

Local Bike Shop Support for SORBA-Woodstock is Awesome!

ImageSince its inception in 1999, SORBA-Woodstock has received support from a wide variety of people, businesses and government entities, but some of the most consistent and valuable support has come from our local bike shops.

Over the past year, Dan Thornton of Free-Flite Bicycles and Kevin Poske of Out Spokin' Bicycles have stepped up in significant ways that have made our new trails at Blankets Creek a reality.

In September of 2007 Free-Flite gave our fundraising efforts for the new trails an important boost with a $5,000 cash contribution. But Dan continued to look for ways to help us raise money for this important project. In May this year, Free-Flite sponsored a silent auction featuring one of the icons of our sport, Gary Fisher. The event was a huge success with Free-Flite putting up thousands of dollars of equipment for auction with the proceeds going to our new trail fund. The event generated an additional $7,000 gift from Free-Flite, bringing their total contribution to $12,000.

SORBA-Woodstock member and racer Lisa Randall organized the Dirty Duathlon which was held in March of this year at Blankets Creek. The race was a huge success drawing rave reviews from participants and a groundswell of support for making this an annual event. Out Spokin' Bicycles played a key role in the success of this event when they agreed to be the primary sponsor. They contributed equipment and gear valued at $9,000 which was used to reward winners and participants. When their sponsorship and contribution of prizes were announced registration for the event filled up rapidly. In addition to being a lot of fun for racers and spectators, the event produced $8,000 in cash for our new trail fund.

While their contributions to our new trail fund were vital, their ongoing support of our efforts to build and maintain high quality sustainable mountain bike trails at Blankets Creek has been critical. Both shops take turns cooking dinner for our chapter meetings that are held at the trailhead during the warmer months. And both shops donate tubes and power links for our IMBA Bike Patrol members to use to come to the aid of riders who need assistance on the trails. They sponsor bike demos at the trail throughout the year and are big supporters of our annual Pedalpalooza event.

Gainesville SORBA has been busy this summer!

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First, the machine work for our grant project was completed, leaving us with a new inner loop we've dubbed Flying Squirrel Trail, as well as newly cut reroutes and additions to our Zig-Zag Trail. Because of sustainability issues, the zig-zag in that trail had to go away. Don't fret! The new Copperhead Gap trail that replaces it is even more fun, with undulating rollers, short, steep climbs, and some challenging rock and root sections. This is our most advanced trail at Chicopee. Currently it is closed to riders as we complete the finish work. We need help with that, so if you want to see this section opened, come give us a hand!

We'd like to thank Sorella Cycling for the help they provided on our July 12th work party. The Sorella girls never cease to amaze us with the level of work they put in, and it's much appreciated!

We also want to send a huge thanks to the folks who came out for our Mother of All Work Parties on July 26th! We had folks from all over, including the RAMBO and Woodstock chapters. We got a tremendous amount of mileage completed on the Flying Squirrel Trail. Now we can officially open that section and complete our signage. Folks have already been sampling the trail, and the response has been very positive.

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