Cyclists celebrate upcoming summit

A week after the International Mountain Bicycling Association named Augusta as the host city for the 2010 IMBA World Summit, members of the local chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association knew they had their work cut out for them.

“Today we’re trying to get the word out,” SORBA-CSRA president Paul Farrow said Saturday morning. “The word came pretty quickly last week so we’re trying to get cyclists from Augusta to come out today.”

Farrow and more than 100 other local mountain biking supporters gathered downtown Saturday morning at Augusta Common for a ride and rally celebrating the IMBA’s decision to shine a world spotlight on Augusta’s mountain biking community.

Several members gathered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion early Saturday morning for a ride along the Augusta Canal and into the downtown area.

They gathered at Augusta Common where Farrow joined Greater Augusta Sports Council event manager Randy DuTeau and SORBA executive director Tom Sauret in an effort to generate awareness and more support for next year’s world summit. They also announced the possible addition of new mountain biking trails in the area.

Farrow said the mountain biking community is close to securing a new trail to run from Petersburg Campground to Wildwood Park in Columbia County.

“That looks like that’s about 99 percent for sure,” he aid. “We hope to hear something in the next couple weeks about that.

“SORBA-CSRA has also been talking with North Augusta for possibly a single track trail near the Greeneway.”

Saturday’s event concluded with a short group ride through downtown. Sauret, also a regional director for IMBA, joined the group and said he looks forward to showing off Augusta’s local mountain biking trails, including the Forks Area Trail System in nearby Sumter National Forest.

“There’s a growing awareness of how great those trails are in the Augusta area,” Sauret said. “The IMBA recognizes that these are some of the best trails in the country. Previous sites (of the IMBA World Summit) were already known outside of the region for what they had to offer. But this is going to put Augusta on the map with mountain biking.”

The 2010 IMBA World Summit is scheduled for May 5-8.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 orbilly.byler@augustachronicle.com

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