Gear up for mountain bike weekend

If you enjoy the challenge of pedaling a bicycle on a mountain trail, you may want to pedal off to Grants Pass Friday morning.

A three-day series of events beginning that morning features all aspects of mountain biking as well as a trail-building clinic by the Boulder-Colo.-based International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Hosted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District, activities include classroom seminars and training, hands-on trail building at the BLM's Cathedral Hills Park, group rides and social events.

All events are free and open to the public.

The events were organized by Katie Wetzel, a BLM outdoor recreation planner based in Grants Pass. She had requested the association, whose Subaru/IMBA trail care crew holds clinics at a few selected sites around the nation, conduct one in Grants Pass.

The purpose of the series of events is to bring mountain biking aficionados together to work with agencies to begin collaborative efforts, she explained.

"We have several proposed bike systems that have been on the table with the BLM, Josephine County and the city for many, many years," she said. "I'm hoping with everyone helping each other in a collaborative effort, we can move forward with the creation of some new trails."

Moreover, she hopes local bike clubs will adopt some areas and work with agencies on trail projects.

Friday's agenda includes land managers training for sustainable bike trails from 9 a.m. to noon at the Grants Pass Interagency Office, 2164 NE Spalding Ave., Grants Pass.

Land managers from Jackson and Josephine counties, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and BLM as well as the cities of Grants Pass and Jacksonville and others communities have been invited to that session, she said.

"We're also inviting all mountain bike clubs along the Interstate 5 corridor in Southern Oregon," she said. "The hope is that we will end up forming collaborative partnerships to better manage the trails. We want to work with bike groups."

The movie, "Pedal Driven," will be shown beginning at 6 p.m. Friday in the interagency building.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the IMBA will hold a trail-building class in the building. That will be followed by a free lunch for all trail-building volunteers in Cathedral Hills Park, where they will reroute a trail from 1 to 4 p.m. The 440-acre park is two miles southeast of Grants Pass and contains 15 miles of trails.

"We will be relocating a trail that is now in a riparian area," Wetzel said. "We'll relocate it up on a slope."

Sunday's schedule includes a group ride from 9 a.m. to noon. The site has not yet been determined.

The events are co-sponsored by the Subaru/ International Mountain Bicycling Association, Rogue Valley Mountain Bicycling Association, Southern Oregon Subaru, Bikekraft, Spin Cycles and Don's Bike Center.

Participants are asked to register by going to www.IMBA.com, go to "Events Calendar" and click on the Grants Pass event.

For more information, contact Wetzel via e-mail at kwetzel@blm.gov.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.

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