|On Saturday, March 15, the SORBA Board of Directors held their spring meeting at Mulberry Gap Bunkhouses outside of Ellijay, GA. SORBA's Executive Board, representatives from 22 chapters, SORBA staff, and several special guests made the trek to this scenic mountain get-away to conduct business, teach and learn, and get to know all the SORBA leaders better. Ryan Schutz of IMBA came to visit all the way from Boulder, CO.
The general meeting began at 11:00 AM in the Pole Barn, a roofed structure that is open on three sides. The floor was covered in mulch, and we sat a picnic table or in folding chairs. It's a nice, open, airy space, but the weather was not cooperative with the setting. Thunderstorms rolled through, and we had to suspend the meeting more than once, because voices couldn't be heard above the noise of the rain beating on the metal roof. The Mulberry Gap staff provided hot coffee, which helped take the chill out of the wet morning. Spirits were not dampened, and the meeting continued in spite of the rain.
|Tom Sauret, Executive Director, gave an update on the IMBA/SORBA affiliation, announcing that the databases are now merged, and Ryan announced that new membership cards are in the mail. IMBA members in the Southeast are now officially SORBA members, and vice versa. Dual membership is a thing of the past. Onward we ride!
Tom also spoke about Ride Centers. IMBA Ride Centers are extensive trail networks, masterfully designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and built by professional trailbuilders. They will serve as social and educational hubs, where visitors can connect and learn new riding techniques. The centers will provide the full range of mountain biking experiences today's riders crave, from long singletrack journeys to family-friendly loops, and areas with expertly designed technical challenges - including sustainable downhill and freeriding options - to test accomplished riders. The centers require partnerships with businesses, the bike industry, and land managers. Tom sees a future where these Centers exist in multiple locations in our area. The first Southeastern Ride Center is being created right now in Uwharrie, NC, sixty miles east of Charlotte, NC.
Which brings me to the induction of SORBA's newest chapter. The SORBA Board of Directors approved the creation of the SORBA Uwharrie chapter. Says SORBA President, Eric Hunter, "The addition of the Uhwarrie chapter expands IMBA-SORBA's presence in North Carolina and strengthens IMBA-SORBA's recognition as the mountain biking organization in the Southeast. This chapter will also allow for the development of the first IMBA-SORBA Ride Center in the Southeast that will serve as a model for future Ride Centers across the region and throughout IMBA's service areas." The Uwharrie chapter has opportunities for trails in the Uhwarrie National Forest and Morrow Mountain State Park. This area is rugged, lush, and green, bordered by rivers-a mountain biker's paradise. Brian ? is the chapter president, and he is busy building his chapter and adding members.
After the business meeting was concluded, the Mulberry Gap staff treated us all to BBQ pork, beans, slaw, and a choice of coconut cake or pecan pie. If you come to Mulberry Gap, come hungry. Everything was delicious!
In the afternoon, several sessions were held for the presidents. Richard Price from the Gilmer County Emergency Management Agency spoke about free training to become a First Responder for Search and Rescue. Rick Moon (NWGA), Renee Martinez (OMBA), and Angela Allen (CSRA) spoke about creating quality events. Stephen Mullins led a discussion on SORBA Pro Trails, the professional trail building company run by SORBA. Robin Allen led a discussion on the SORBA forum "no free ads" forum rule, and Tom Sauret met with the new chapter presidents for a brief orientation.
The SORBA Board of Directors will next meet on November 22nd at 10:30 AM at the Elachee Nature Center in Gainesville, GA.