- Written by Diana de Carranza
Annual Meetings...ugh...hours of dreaded jibber jabber about business topics that no one really cares about and all that is on your mind is "when does the lunch buffet start and I hope it's good." Well - not at this meeting! Last Saturday Martin and I got up early and couldn't wait to get Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. It helps that we both love this sport called Mountain Biking and have a real passion to learn not only new tricks that test our abilities but how we can have a positive impact on our community. HMBA (Hoosier Mountain Biking Association) put on a full day of events leading up to the meeting beginning with 2 1/2 hours of trail building techniques.
It is amazing how understanding how water flows down hills and underground you can take a mucky, soupy mess the size of a bathtub and within a few hours and 12 volunteers, have a sustainable, very ridable, repaired trail using only a few tools and materials from the woods and creek bed. Once the trail was repaired, of course you have to ride it! The long flowy woopdie dooes are so much fun, and fast, and they have just enough elevation that you can come up a hill and round a corner, but watch out! there is a huge drop if you take the wrong line, it definitely gets the adrenaline pumping!
After working all morning and going for a good 8 mile ride for me and 12 miles for Martin we were starving, so up to the Inn for our backyard luncheon. And yes, it was good. IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) has created a new Great Lakes Regional Director position and we were lucky enough to spend our lunch totally engaged in interesting conversation with Andy Williamson, the new Director for our region. He gave us lots of useful information regarding our trails at Franke Park, our mtb biking community and our local parks department for continued support with each other and where our responsibilities and respect need to be focused.
Still sweaty and in our bike clothes this conversation was so engaging that we lost track of time and didn't realize it was time for the Advocacy meeting to begin. No one seemed to mind. HMBA has several parks in central Indiana that they and their groups of volunteers help maintain. Locally, they have many challenges that any club could have with local politicians and leaders. Working closely together HMBA and IMBA partner to meet with and educate communities and local leaders providing excellent information on the positive impact of our favorite sport.
Following a short break, and finally being able to change clothes, that dreaded "meeting" was under way with about 60 in attendance. Yes, there was a PowerPoint presentation but it included a fun video and plans for the future of HMBA. Following several years under Paul Arlinghouse's leadership as President, the Board of HMBA will be growing this year. Paul has asked for additional volunteers to come forward if interested in guiding the future of HMBA. They have much work to continue in central Indiana and they hold the Memorandum of Understanding for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources reaching across the entire state.
We opted to head back to our hotel instead of going to the local brewery. I am pretty sure there was much jibber jabber about who has the biggest scars from spectacular crashes shared late in to the evening! All I know is we can't stop talking about it and seem to have a permanent smiles for days to come.