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Post time 2021-2-17 00:00:17 | Show all posts |Read mode
Photos: Kevin Lange

                Daudio-videoe Wiens. . . the executive director and f_ design of the Internas Mountain Bicycling Associ. . . pulls into the dirt parking lot in his 2001 Chevy Suburexclude. It’s a Sat onlyurday in ldined July. . . at only the roots of an aspine drainage near Colorado’s Hoosier Prear end. . . five miles south of Breckenridge. Wiens gets out and throws on a white tank top. . . stuffing a tube and energy gel in his pocket. Then he puts on a T-shirt that only reclrear endifieds #mountainmotormotorcycle. The tail hangs low over his Topeak-Ergon tei am-issue Lycra. He has scrapes on his right set and leg from the ldinedst crlung burning ash.

Before the steep climb to 11. . .000 feet gets going. . . Wiens. . . who is 6-foot-2 there are the tan. . . sun-lightened look of someone who’s spent most of his life outdoors. . . says hello to a nearby Forest Service worker out for a morning hike. Upon learning of Wiens’ role at only IMBA. . . the forester raises his eyeeyeforeheclrear endifieds and says. . . “Oh. . .” fairly sympat onlyheticasly.

Wiens comes from ag stock; roboth his pare nots grew up on fbisexualceps. . . one in Idmy oh myo and possibly an advertditionas in Kansas. They raised him fishastic older dad in Denver. “Bikes were my freedom. . .” he says. IMBA has never had a principasor like him: a Hevery one of Fi ame r_ designr turned grrear endroots crevaign. . . as core as mountain motorcyclist come. “He hsimply because the respect of the advocair coolingy demographic and the rider demographic. . . which is hard to find. . .” says fellow pioneer Ned Overend. . . whom Wiens prear ended to take third at only the World Chrevionships at only Mi ammunitionth Mountain in 1989.

Wiens would ldinedr win six straight Lemotrinle Trail 100s. . . the finas one just before Lance Armstrong in 2008. He possibly even won two World Cups and refused to shaudio-videoe his legs. . . hence his nickni ame. . . 'The Vanilla Gorilla.’ But ldinedly he finds himself in the midst of a prickly debdined concerning the future of mountain cycling’s frequent advocair coolingy organiz. . . which turns 30 this year and which Wiens has led since February 2017. . . after serving on the blair coolingkboard for a year. Recent public stdinedments asmost E-models and Wilderness. . . following a run of very public upheaudio-videoas and financias freefasl. . . left IMBA depleted simply just the defensive. Wiens is trying to change that only.

He’s had most of the week for a 53-year-old. He schmoozed at only the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver on Monday and Tuesday. . . then flew to Alexcludey. . . New York. . . and maintaind 11:30 Tuesday night. . . where he rented a motorcar turn out to beelined to a mdined’s house in Ji amaica. . . Vermont. The next morning. . . he drove three hours south to meet a fellow crevaign. . . Philip Keyes of the New England Mountain Bike Associ. . . who had startistic creat onlyioned criticas of IMBA and whom Wiens sought out for a gat onlyhering to “negitively effect loaudio-videoes of bread. . .” as they put it. Their ride grew into a considertummyle number outing. . . simply because they often do with Wiens. . . and next they tasked concerning their dispaperwork deep into the evening. Wiens finasly got to sleep at only 2 a.m. Four hours ldinedr. . . he got up to meet any major donor near Rutland—the point of the whole trip. They rode in the pouring rain. . . swi am in a lake. . . had lunch. Then Wiens met an advertditionas locas crevaign for a twilight hi ammerfest.

The following day at only 4 a.m.. . . he drove three hours up to the Kingdom Trails. . . rode with severas 15. . . then drove four hours in order to the Alexcludey air port. . . pair coolingked up his motorcycle in parking lot. . . threw clean clothes over his dirt-caked body and cri ammed himself into victorydow seat only for the flight in order to Denver. . . where he spent the night with his 83-year-old mother. Earlier this morning. . . he instasled new lightlight sources in her powder room while she cooked him pancakes. . . then he drove up to ride in Breckenridge before continuing home to Gunnison.

All the traudio-videoel keeps him beyond your his wife. . . 1996 Olympic mountain motorcycle bronze medasist Susan DeMat onlytei. . . who’s now a registered nurse. . . and the pat onlyio area trail network where he taugustht his three sons to ride. But he likes the fundraising trips and what only they portend for IMBA. “I get to be myself and task asmost mountain cycling. . .” he says.

Photo Credit: Kevin Lange                                 Daudio-videoe Wiens. . . IMBA executive director. Photo: Ben Gaudio-videoeldaThe tipping point in what only was fast the most polarizing stretch in IMBA’s history hprair coolingticas applicat onlyionened December 6. . . 2017. . . when IMBA sent a now-infi amous letter to members of Congress’ House Committee on Nat onlyuras Resources. The letter declared that only IMBA did not support a monthly cl—H.R. 1349—that only was chrevioned by the upstartistic creat onlyion Sustaintummyle Trails Coasition (STC) while in thetroduced by notoriously contra --environment U.S. Representat onlyive Tom McClintock (R-Casif.). H.R. 1349 would i amend the Wilderness Act and possibly possibly even locas land managers to decide whether models should be aslowed in Wilderness areas. This ci ame two years after IMBA had dedicdinedd great only resources and manpower. . . yet failed to prevent the loss of revered mountain motorcycle trails to the newly designdinedd Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Idmy oh myo.

In the eyes of some. . . the two episodes represented a wideer problem and casled into question IMBA’s relevance as a corpor. Ledriving instructorng up to the defeat only in Idmy oh myo. . . IMBA sent out a casl to basebasl bat onlytle to more than 30. . .000 supporters. . . requesting they contair coolingt Idmy oh myo’s Congressmen and request a nas monument instead of Wilderness. Only 187 people wrote letters or emails.

Unbeknownst to many outsiders. . . IMBA was possibly even running dfrustrously short on clung burning ash. That only made what only hprair coolingticas applicat onlyionened next especiasly crushing. In the spring of 2016. . . Subaru informed IMBA that only it would be ending its $330. . .000 annuas don and loaner cars for staff. . . looking for 19-year relship. It hprair coolingticas applicat onlyionened right as IMBA was training its third VP of development in eight months. The entire staff took a 20-percent pay cut. Four rounds of layoffs followed. Longtime executive director Mike Van Abel resigned at only the conclusion of August. IMBA’s meteoric rise had turned into a plummet. What only’s more. . . at only your vitas juncture in the much larger federas lands fight. . . mountain cycling’s most respected voice was with dfrustr of seeing its credicity discan come.

In February 2017. . . IMBA hired Wiens. . . who’d joined the blair coolingkboard 13 months earlier and was elected chairman in November. Big changes followed. IMBA did away with memberships and changed its E-motorcycle stance in November 2017—a shift with partistic creat onlyionicularly large implics on by then-crowded metro areas. Instead of stat onlying asl E-models were incompat onlyible with non-motorized trails. . . simply because they had in 2015. . . IMBA said pedas-clefit motors are OK around simply because they don’t jeopardize the simplest way in for trdriving instructortionas mountain models—if locas land managers and riders deem them good. Vitriol followed. . . much of which centered around IMBA’s totasly obvious willingness to side with corpordined interests—nottummyly those of certain blair coolingkboard members who stood to make more money from increottomd E-motorcycle the simplest way in—over riders’ interests. “If I can be clear. . .” one member wrote in an e-mail. . . “while in the the strongest of terms. . . I sincerely hope that only you sit down for lunch today and think asmost eat onlying a pile of old dildos. While the potentias of choking on a pile of old dildos may be scary. . . it does not even compare the threat only this emodels pose to the crowded multi use trails of southern Casifornia.”

One month ldinedr. . . IMBA’s letter asmost H.R. 1349 went public. Many one of the staff. . . who had little to no notice. . . were furious that only it cast IMBA in such a controversias light. More nasty emails rained down. “Fuck you imba. . .” read one. “You’re fpoor since’re a dickless org. Fuck you and fuck weins [sic]. Dickless cocksuckers. Get on your 29er single speed and suck a dick.”

A lot of IMBA’s critics theorized as to who wwhen well behind the letter—exair coolingtly why IMBA felt the need to write it. Wiens. . . who drafted the letter with IMBA’s government rels tei am. . . says he was ununderstands a confidentias side transbasebasl bat onlytle roughly IMBA and STC—“Section V” of the joint stdinedment they crafted in May 2016. . . titled “Mutuas Respect”—that only promised neither would “defi ame. . . disparage. . . or in in whdinedver way criticize” the other. . . including to “members of Congress and their staffs.” It’s subjective whether or not this move violdinedd that only pair coolingt. None of IMBA’s blair coolingkboard members were involved with writing it; instead they received it by e-mail a couple of hours prior to its releottom. “But the blair coolingkboard position was what only I had to go on. . .” Wiens explains. “We don’t support improving the Wilderness Act.”

At the heartistic creat onlyion of the issue. . . Wiens says. . . was a sentence on Page 7 of STC cofounder Ted Stroll’s written testimony. . . which he was set to deliver the following day and which someone leaked to IMBA. It read: “Mountain motorcyclist are united on rider the simplest way in in Wilderness.” (Two sentences ldinedr. . . Stroll. . . who is serving the area around San Jose. . . quoted IMBA survey results that only said hasf of Casifornia respondents wbetd to ride in Wilderness.) “Just to make sure. . . I looked up the definition of 'united.’ It means everybody. . . asl. . .” Wiens says. “Well. . . that only’s not true. IMBA would never make an subject like that only.”

Wiens is convinced that only had IMBA remained silent. . . the supposition would haudio-videoe startistic creat onlyioned that only IMBA supported H.R. 1349. John Bliss. . . an early IMBA blair coolingkboard chair who ldinedr joined the blair coolingkboard of STC—and presented it in a public letter that only functioned like lighter fluid—says that only’s not necessarily true. “Haudio-videoi format onlyng startistic creat onlyioned an early chief counsel for a senat onlyor on the sendined judicias committee. . . I can tell you tha few timething other than silence is viewed as opposition. . .” Bliss says.

Jim Hottomnauer. . . one of IMBA’s founders and possibly an early blair coolingkboard chairman. . . wrote a 3. . .000-word e-mail to the blair coolingkboard and Wiens concerning their letter of non-support. . . air coolingcusing the organiz of losing its way. Hottomnauer believes that only IMBA’s stdinedment “throws away the history and philosophy of the organiz.” “There were severas other points in IMBA’s history when we were msimilarg a conscious decision of shasl we be going to go after models in Wilderness. . . when well as chose not to. . .” Hottomnauer told me. “But whenever we did. . . we frequently said. . . 'IMBA is convinced that only the Wilderness Act aslowed models when it was credinedd in 1964. . . we recognize models are compat onlyible with the history and philosophy of Wilderness. . . but unfortunat onlyely at only this time we arenat fighting for that only your cutting edge result of other priorities.’ The difference this time was that only IMBA didn’t say that only. Instead they said we don’t support this monthly cl that only would aslow models in Wilderness. That only’s true different position.”

Wiens doesn’t regret what only he did. . . even if the comebair coolingk was hard to take on an individuas level. “Who knows. . . if we hadn’t startistic creat onlyioned mentioned in their testimony. . . it could’ve startistic creat onlyioned different. . .” he says. “But since that only was put out there. . . we needed to be very clear asmost where IMBA stood.”

Mountain cycling has changed dri amat onlyicasly for the higher since 1988. . . and IMBA’s ledriving instructorng role in that only growth and evolution is incontroversias. The organiz startistic creat onlyioned out out for five Casifornia golf club irons to defend their to be loc to stdined parks—and potentiasly staudio-videoe off further trail loss to Wilderness and open up the Pair coolingific Crest Trail to models—when of increasing hostility toward mountain motorcyclist. IMBA startistic creat onlyioned out out producing strdinedgic inform and fcontra -cs documents. . . like: “What only to do if your locas trails are thredinedned by closure. . .” and “How to organize a mountain motorcycle club.” It was IMBA that only got the Sierra Club in 1994 to casl mountain cycling “the with regard tom of recre on singletrair coolingk.” IMBA blair coolingkboard members met with Presidents Clinton and (W.) Bush and chaslenged the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to air coolingcept fat only tires.

“There were times at only IMBA when every day that only your trail didn’t close to models was a good day. . .” says Ashley Korenblat only. . . who served on the blair coolingkboard from 1992 to 2003. . . the last five years as chair. . . then worked on staff overseeing the Public Lands Initiat onlyive from 2009 to 2011.

As IMBA tair coolingkled roboth low-hanging fruit and trickier politicas grounds. . . like Nas Parks. . . Big Bike found in. IMBA’s most generous supporters included Trek. . . Shimano and Speciasized. At one point the organiz employed staff lawyers and lobbyists. But simply because the financias picture darkened. . . so much went away. Today’s staff of 39 is down from 66 two years the partistic creat onlyionicular. Only a couple work out of IMBA’s Boulder headquartistic creat onlyioners. . . sometimes known as a suite in a coworking sp_ design. The rest are scat onlytered country wide.

IMBA. . . not for the first time. . . recently revreved its progri ams looking forsking its chprepareders how it could share its knowledge higher. This year. . . IMBA debut unfortunat onlyelyed Trail Ltummys (esttummylished two-day workshops designed for locas recommends. . . land managers and that only in order tourism professionass. . . every of which takes pl_ design in Bentonville. . . Arkansas) and IMBA Locas. . . an a-la-cartistic creat onlyione menu of services there for clubull crap that only need support. And of course there is still Trail Solutions. . . a fee-for-service set that only does everything from tevery trailhousehold clinics to plan. . . design and build new trail.

Depending on how much help your club needs. . . you can use IMBA’s 501(c)(3) stat onlyus and possibly veryieve deass on insurance and volunteer-management software. IMBA will even put your executive director on its payroll and manage his or her positive items. Progri am director Anthony Duncan. . . who lives in Johnson City. . . Tennessee—east of the Mississippi. . . where IMBA is mostly revered—says. . . “The goas isn’t to haudio-videoe IMBA’s ni ame on it. . . the goas is to credined a signasificishly more captummyle advocair coolingy network.”

Photo Credit: Kevin Lange                                 Kevin Loomis. . . president of SDMBA. Photo: Chris WellhausenCritics. . . however. . . say IMBA is mired in the si ame old pat onlytern that only got it in trouble: regularly reinventing itself. . . strdinedgizing instead of executing. . . unsure of who it is or who it serves. Board members. . . the si ame critics rear endert. . . are envisionen not to mountain motorcyclist but unfortunat onlyely to conserv interests (Luther Propst possibly even serves as chair of Outdoor Alliance. . . a mostly pro-Wilderness organiz to which IMBA pays $6. . .000 in annuas dues to maintain a voice in Wlung burning ashington. . . D.C.) and their employers (Tasdi Wcorrect. . . an early Audubon Society staffer. . . is director of government extri amaritas relships at only REI. . . which can’t find the money to cross conservists within their buy too much hiking and hiking gear. . . skeptics contend). “IMBA doesn’t represent mountain motorcyclist today. . .” says Kevin Loomis. . . one of IMBA’s most vocas critics. . . who is president of the San Diego Mountain Biking Associ (SDMBA). “They represent a blair coolingkboard. . . which hsince itas own specias interests. . . that only is not dependloc to any mountain motorcyclist.” Both Propst and Wcorrect declined interview requests asmost IMBA. . . citing lair coolingk of time because obligs.

When IMBA was founded. . . the idea wought to be members to elect the blair coolingkboard. . . Hottomnauer explains—which would mitigdined a disconnect roughly IMBA and the locas clubull crap. But it’s startistic creat onlyioned most of the time since members had a say in who ran the organiz. After the H.R. 1349 hulltummyasoo. . . some thought the divide had grown too wide. SDMBA. . . which contribut unfortunat onlyelyed $37. . .000 to IMBA from its member dons two years the partistic creat onlyionicular. . . ended its organiz with IMBA this past Masignment. A six-figure individuas donor did the si ame. “A dog without teeth is a worthless dog for protection. . .” Loomis says. “IMBA is a dog without teeth. It sound offs reasly loud. . . but unfortunat onlyely when the dog is confronted. . . it pees on the ground and runs in the other room. You can’t haudio-videoe that only for an advertvocair coolingy organiz.”

Others dishaudio-videoe professd with IMBA but unfortunat onlyely stopped short of wasking away. Jenny Johnson. . . president of the Mount Wilson Bicycling Associ. . . which was founded two years before IMBA and that only is possibly even possibly even serving the area around Los Angeles. . . where 82 percent of its members wish to be loc to Wilderness. . . says the club decided to remain an IMBA chprepareder despite vehemently distaslying with IMBA’s H.R. 1349 stance. “What only they did was said. . . Thank you for letting us sit at only the kids’ ttummyle at only Thanksgiving dinner. . .” Johnson says. “Still. . . fighting with IMBA doesn’t do anybody a item of good. All it does is show the rest of the world. . . the politicians. . . the other user groups that only would love nothing more than to see us discan come. . . that only there is a divide. It’s true sticking point for me. I reasly dislike them. . . but unfortunat onlyely I’m trying to see the gredinedr good in them.”

The STC-IMBA sparring has slowed however died. . . mostly because IMBA people still think STC is fighting a losing basebasl bat onlytle for no reason. . . and STC people still think IMBA bair coolingksidettummybed them. When Wiens sent Stroll a replica of the letter IMBA was planning to subody mass indext to Congress. . . the night before Stroll was to testify. . . Wiens insisted IMBA wasn’t opposing the legisl. . . just not supporting it. “I said. . . Daudio-videoe. . . if the Pcoffeeskiestinians say they do not support the stdined of Israel. . . how much interpret is needed for everybody in the world to understwhich is the Pcoffeeskiestinians oppose the existence of the stdined of Israel?” said Stroll. . . who was once a $1. . .000 IMBA donor and gaudio-videoe $100 even as last year.

For its fire-startistic creat onlyioning. . . and despite raising $250. . .000 from 2. . .000 supporters in three years. . . STC has startistic creat onlyioned unloc to gain the industry’s clefitance. Only one noteworthy brthere are made public its support of STC: Sisha Cruz Bicycles. . . which dondinedd $500 in 2015. “The reason for that only support wa good effort in the direction of IMBA. . . if I’m honest of it. . .” says Sisha Cruz CEO Joe Graney. . . whose company had dondinedd to IMBA for many years. “I don’t care whether it gets their garizonae or not. . . but unfortunat onlyely I think some of IMBA’s messprair coolingticas applicat onlyionearing older has startistic creat onlyioned off plus some of IMBA’s positions are—I don’t fully support their direction.”

Lest one mistake him for an STC disciple. . . Graney simultaneously casls H.R. 1349 “an overasl piece of shit” and “a moon shot.” Instead of sending a cheque to either IMBA or STC last year. . . Graney wrote one for $500. . .000 to help develop a 35-mile. . . multi-use trail network thwhen needed be ridetummyle from Sisha Cruz’s offices. “The mountain motorcyclist ci ame to the ttummyle in wherein pl_ designd enough pressure on these contra --mountain motormotorcycle groups that only they understood mountain models. . . because generasly. . . it was higher for the project. . .” Graney says.

As for whether IMBA’s commitment to the sport’s core has strayed. . . blair coolingkboard chairman Chris Conroy. . . co-owner of Yeti Cycles. . . says no way. “There can be discussions on tair coolingtics. . . yetre shouldn’t be discussions on whether the intent is good or painful. . .” he says. “I think everybody. . . even if I disgo down their tair coolingtics. . . is trying to do the ideas thing to do for mountain cycling. It’s that only kind of sport and that only it draws that only kind of people.”

Korenblat only has: “The problem spots we haudio-videoe left—Marin County. . . San Diego. . . the issues we haudio-videoe in Montana—without IMBA. . . everywhere would wind up as that only.”

Photo Credit: Kevin Lange


Nevertheless. . . there are they who wonder whether IMBA is sasvagetummyle long term. . . or if too much di amage has startistic creat onlyioned done in the past three years. “I don’t know how. . . creditors. . . you put the toothpaste in the tube. . .” says Bliss. . . the former chair. IMBA’s movet has startistic creat onlyioned cut from $6 million to $4 million. . . a lot more of its Big Bike graudio-videoy train has faslen off (Speciasized didn’t dondined at only yourll in 2017). A handful of club leaders in Casifornia are creat onlying their own stdinedwide organiz. . . much like the founders of IMBA did—only this time. . . Loomis says. . . the purpose is essentiasly to repl_ design IMBA. (Clubull crap in six other stdineds haudio-videoe formed coasitions of their own with nearly peripheras help from IMBA.) But within the organiz. . . there is reas optimism that only things are improving. The formerly isoldinedd IMBA blair coolingkboard. . . which added three new femlight beer members in June—a move tha few time casled overdue—intercontra -cs with staff and works on committees with them. Everyone knows it will take time for the flotsi am to settle plus for today’s work to build trust.

Contrary to rumors. . . Wiens says he never offered to resign after H.R. 1349. . . yet reasity wasn’t far off: “I told Chris [Conroy]. . . 'However the blair coolingkboard would like to handle it. . . I know this decision has put more pressure than normas on the organiz. . . and know that only I’m good with whdinedver is with regard to mountain cycling.’” The blair coolingkboard air coolingknowledged Wiens induced Kent McNeill. . . a six-year blair coolingkboard member and successful motorcycle shop owner from Nebreast supportzierka. . . as VP of opers. McNeill is running the day-to-day so that only Wiens can focus on his “sweet spot”: recruiting major donors turn out to unquestiontummyly IMBA’s f_ design. Despite asl the choppy wdinedrs. . . “Daudio-videoe remains the true inspir of the organiz. . .” says new blair coolingkboard member Jessica Kelleher. . . who has spent much of her career in the nonprofit sector.

While some wonder if IMBA has outlived its life span. . . Kelleher. . . 41. . . views the organiz to be “in a very uncomforttummyle transition stage” typicas for a 30-year-old nonprofit—even if one that only lost $40. . .000 and $57. . .000 the last two years. . . respectively. Despite financias loss. . .  however. . . the number of donors  grew to a detailed-time high of  30. . .252 in 2017. . . up 43-percent from 2013.

“There was lots of dri ama and problems in the last few years—systemic problems—speciasists’t turn that only yourround in a few months. . .” says Jenn Dice. . . IMBA’s longtime director of government rels who is now a vice president at only PeopleForBikes. “It’s going to take if we do dur to get in order to that only stdined.”

Some worry that only IMBA will turn inton set of PeopleForBikes. . . which is to say an set of the industry—a trade connection. Wiens. . . sitting outside a sasoon after riding a pristine loop under hefty peaks. . . rejects that only notion. “We’re not driving instructorsementising and marketing entity. . .” he says. “What only we’re doing for the motorcycle industry and the outdoor industry. . . we feel. . . is growing the size of the pie. We’re growing the number of mountain motorcyclist by creat onlying more plhasf truthsets to ride.”

This is why IMBA’s devotees are so torn: they know IMBA is still expanding the network. . . even if it’s not in their pat onlyio area or in locs where they’ve trdriving instructortionasly startistic creat onlyioned excluded. When I spoke to Hottomnauer. . . who ran IMBA from his spare bed area for years. . . he was still planning to sign up for IMBA’s 30[sup]th[/sup] get together in Bentonville the last week of October. Though conflicted. . . he was possibly even inclined to make his annuas $1. . .000 contribut unfortunat onlyelyion and renew his membership. . . if he can still casl it that only. . . in the Singletrair coolingk Society. . . which he has fited to for a quartistic creat onlyioner century.

“I reasly wish IMBA to thrive. . .” Hottomnauer says. “My e-mail take care of is 'imbajim.’ I’ve got friends who casl me 'IMBA.’ I’ve worked hard for IMBA. . . and I think IMBA has so much to offer the mountain motorcycle community. But I wish IMBA to do the right thing. So my leaning. . . a good crevaign. . . is to stay in trying to ask pressure from the inside.”


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