This post was contributed by Alison Cormier, Education Coordinator for the Southern Nevada Mountain Biking Association! We have long been advocacy partners with the SNMBA as our mission is “to advocate for safer roadways, better trails, and more bicycling opportunities.” Even though recently we have been focused on road bike safety education campaigns, we love the mountain biking community and are always looking for ways to help anyone on a bike!
Alison is on a mission to improve education in the mountain biking community. Here are her thoughts:
When my good friend Rob Hutchinson asked me to write a blog for the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition on behalf of the Southern Nevada Mountain Biking Association, my first thought was, “Wait a minute, SNVBC is geared toward road cyclists. Sure, they are doing some amazing work for road cyclists, but still, they are, you know… roadies. They aren’t going to want to hear from a mountain biker.” But my second thought was, “Wait a minute, I AM a roadie too!” And I know many cyclists in Southern Nevada are the same. Many of you ride both road bikes and mountain bikes. We all share the feelings of joy and freedom we get from being on 2 wheels, whether those wheels are connected to a road bike, a mountain bike, or an e-bike. In the end, we are all CYCLISTS.
Although my passion definitely resides with mountain biking and those dirty, rocky trails I love to hate, I’ve been riding road bikes regularly ever since I met my husband, Mark, 18 years ago. He loves his road cycling! That’s actually how we met, on a road bike ride on the Red Rock Loop. Looking back, I now realize that the first time my husband met me, I was sweating and suffering and about to puke because I had no idea what I was getting myself into by riding the Loop! I guess any time he met me after that day HAD to leave a better impression. Since I’ve also been a runner, it just seemed natural to start entering triathlons. Talk about torturing yourself! I mostly stuck to the shorter, more local races, but I did stretch my limits with a 70.3 once. Once was enough! More recently, my love for the dirt led me to seek out Xterra triathlons, which involve swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. Definitely my preferred form of self-punishment.
With my recent retirement from the paid working life, I’ve thrown my energies into my passion for the dirt by becoming involved with the Southern Nevada Mountain Biking Association. My official title is Education Coordinator, although, in reality, my role is really “just get stuff done to try and make mountain biking better for everyone.”
Just like SNVBC is helping to make road cycling in Southern Nevada safer and better, I want to help mountain biking in Southern Nevada become safer and better. SNMBA, a local chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, follows IMBA’s mission to create, enhance and protect great places to ride mountain bikes. SNMBA has been working closely with the Red Rock Field Office of the BLM to assist them in maintaining some of their trails in the Cottonwood Valley. Those efforts are in their early planning stages but are starting to pick up momentum. The BLM is even assisting SNMBA in applying for a grant from the Regional Trails Program of the Nevada Division of State Parks. Any funds we (hopefully) receive from this grant will go directly toward making the trails in Cottonwood Valley better.
But I also want to help mountain bikers become better themselves in a number of ways. Many mountain bikers have a general idea about concepts like trail etiquette, leaving no trace, and sharing the trails. But there isn’t any one voice for the local mountain biking community who understands and can share these concepts in the form of organized education.
This is a gap I hope to fill. On behalf of SNMBA, I am in the process of creating educational classes and events to introduce mountain bikers to the idea of trail stewardship. I know many experienced mountain bikers have been riding for years and are already familiar with these ideas. But with the explosion of new people finding the joys of mountain biking, I feel it is important that people are exposed to the principles of trail stewardship early on in their mountain biking journey. And, let’s face it, even experienced mountain bikers can use refreshers on this information as well.
My first educational event for SNMBA will be the inaugural Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.
This event will be held on October 8, 2022, from 9 am to noon at the Late-Night trailhead. This is a joint event with the Nevada South NICA league. Information on how to participate can be found on SNMBA’s Facebook page. Please stop by and say hi, even if you don’t formally participate in TKMBD. I’m always happy to babble on about mountain biking, and any kind of cycling, with anyone who can stand to listen to me.
Leave Alison your thoughts in the comments below!