Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sun Valley honored by mountain bikers

IMBA grants ‘Epic Ride’ designation

The Wood River Valley is an “epic” place to ride, according to the International Mountain Biking Association.

Greg Martin, director of biking-advocacy nonprofit group Wood River Bike Coalition, said the area was given official “Epic Ride Center Designation” from the association during the association’s World Summit last week, and is one of only eight such areas in the country.

The Wood River Bike Coalition was invited to apply for the designation this year, and the area was evaluated on every aspect of its biking culture, from diversity of trails to the number of breweries, coffee shops and organic grocery stores in the area.

The Sun Valley area received a score of 81 out of 100, earning it a Silver designation.

Rebecca Rusch, a local cycling star and member of IMBA’s honorary board, said she is proud of the valley for the designation.

“This just proves what I’ve always known, that my hometown has some of the world’s best mountain biking,” she said.

A news release from the Bike Coalition states that volunteers put in more than 400 hours of labor to prepare the area’s trails for the 2012 riding season.

Martin said during a meeting of the Blaine County Commission on Tuesday that the area has room for improvement, mostly in the trail diversity category. He said the area is short on pump trails and lift-accessed biking.

“On the trail experience, we received a 45 out of 62,” he said. “That is our biggest opportunity for improvement.”

Martin said that if the more than 19 miles of lift-accessed bike trails that Sun Valley Co. is hoping to build on Bald Mountain are approved by the U.S. Forest Service this winter, that could help the area earn a gold designation when it reapplies in 2014.

Kate Wutz:

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