2013 proved to be both a challenging and successful year for NIMBA.
NIMBA started the year with our new IMBA chapter affiliation. Becoming an IMBA chapter will allow NIMBA to access the resources and support of IMBA, it has also allowed us to refocus NIMBA resources from managing the membership process to expanding mountain bike events and trails in Michiana.
Last winter we rebranded NIMBA, creating a new logo, completely redesigning our website and creating a NIMBA Jersey and sock program. With the new website, Facebook page and twitter feeds we believe that NIMBA is providing an active and vital social media presence to help expand Mountain Biking in the Michiana area. At the end of 2013 NIMBA had over 820 Facebook members.
NIMBA broke ground on Elkhart County Parks first mountain bike specific trail in April with 50 people showing up at the ground breaking ceremony/workday to start building the trail at Bonneyville Mill park. By the end of the year we completed cutting the trail and were left with a short stretch of trail to smooth and the building of several banked turns. We are on track to open the trail in the spring of 2014.
We had high hopes for the NIMBA race series in 2013; we brought back a Time Trial to Rum Village, added a Cross Country race to TK Lawless and found a new race timer. Unfortunately we had more weather challenges in 2013 than in any prior race season. The weather affected the turnout at several races and caused us for the first time to cancel a race, the Potato Creek Time Trial. We are looking forward to a warmer and drier race season in 2014.
In 2013 the Tuesday night women’s ride at Potato Creek was expanded to a coed ride and saw continued growth; we also continued to hold the Midweek Club Time trials. We also held the annual campout at Potato Creek. Watch for some new “club” rides/events in 2014 at the NIMBA trails.
The Inaugural Tour De NIMBA was held in October. The Tour started at Potato Creek, traveled the back roads to Bendix Woods continued on back roads and farmers lanes to Rum Village and then returned to Potato Creek for a celebration barbeque. The Sag stops at Bendix Woods and Rum Village had great food and drink for everyone. The distance was 100k and we also had a 50k option from PC to Rum and back. The Tour was a great success, truly a one of a kind ride in our area and we look forward to seeing this annual event grow into the premier fall ride in Michiana.
We continued to invest in trail building and maintenance in 2013 spending over $1,000 buying a new chain saw, walk behind trimmer and lots of hand tool. We also hosted the IMBA trail care crew at Bonneyville Mill. The trail building class was a major success with attendees from throughout Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan.
Volunteers are the life blood of NIMBA. We had a dedicated group of volunteers building the trail at Bonneyville Mill this year. When a wind storm blew through the area this summer and took out large sections of the trail at Bendix Woods we had volunteers clearing the trees and rerouting sections of the trail, so that it was open within a week. At the other parks, after windstorms, NIMBA volunteers consistently had the mountain bike trails open earlier than the parks department have there hiking trails open. We expanded the adopt a mile program trail maintenance program to Rum Village in 2013; we know have a core group of volunteers maintaining their specific sections of Potato Creek and Rum Village .
The NIMBA race series and Tour De NIMBA would not have occurred without our volunteers. In recognition of these efforts, NIMBA held its first annual volunteer recognition dinner in 2013. At the dinner gift certificates were awarded to the top five volunteers that put in the most hours in 2013. We also distributed over $1,000 worth of door prizes to volunteers that attended the dinner.
We look forward to a great year in 2014 and appreciate your continued support.