Sunday morning, a bunch of us dirtlovers boarded the minivan to Lansing for the 2009 MMBA Annual Meeting and Expo. We arrived around 10am ready to transition our thoughts back over to mountain biking. The expo consisted of 50 or so booths…bike shops, organizations, MMBA chapters (not Northeast), private sellers, and more. In the far corner of the large room was a presentation screen and stage. Throughout the day a variety of presenters spoke to a relatively small gathering of mtb enthusiasts. I tuned into a rep from Village Bike Shop, that described in detail the proper way to fit a bike. Ryan Schutz (IMBA) was there (with his radio DJ voice) and coincidently, presented the “gateway” concept. The gateway is a mountain biking destination that offers a trail system, as well as a pump track and a skills area. We listened as Ryan showed slides from recent pump track builds, including the Lee McCormack design that we are considering for Midland City Forest. We hammered him after with questions and learned a lot. It may be possible to get some IMBA help with our pump track build. Jim Crissman represented our NE Chapter, for the volunteer awards ceremony. We have a small group of dedicated volunteers (I’m not complaining), but I learned how small our chapter really is. Prizes were awarded to those with 10+ hours and volunteer of the year…congrats to our Jeff Adamcik.
Now I can see how the Northeast Chapter is controversial…we are barely on the map in comparison. We did, however, have a larger representation than the Northern Chapter. There were two enclosed trailers proudly displayed by other chapters. The trailers had sponsorship logos on the outside, tools carefully mounted on the inside and a gas grill. No tapped keg that I could see. Other chapters were promoting their trails at booths and selling t-shirts, jerseys and even beer mugs! It would be great if the Northeast Chapter could generate a few ideas to increase our membership in 2009.
There were some deals to be had 50-60% off on good stuff…especially if you wear x-large or small sizes or ride odd sized bikes. We all managed to support the economy, buying gear, food, and Bell’s draft beer. Gary Putt demonstrated his best power shopping skills, disappointingly resulting in minimal finds. Jim hit the jackpot at the silent auction. He won so many auction items that he had to write them on his hand, to be able to remember them all. Watch out for the DirtPoet himself, on course at the Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival race…one of many auction items won. We arrived back in Midland in time for dinner with mountain biking on the brain…it won’t be long now before we’re back on the trail!