President George W. Bush spent a vacation day mountain biking at the new Tamarack Resort in central Idaho this week. The 25-mile Tamarack trail system was designed and built by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
The president rode 16 miles, sampling many of the singletrack trails that have earned Tamarack a reputation for world-class mountain biking. Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne joined the president for a ride that included dirt roads, singletrack, a tour of the golf course and a visit to the mountain bike challenge park. The president skipped the dirt jump park and lift-serviced downhilling trails, although members of his security team rode the challenging terrain earlier in the week.
IMBA's work at Tamarack is led by the IMBA Trail Solutions program, which offers professional trail design, construction, and consulting services in a fee-based format. The Tamarack project is IMBA's largest private trail work contract to date. Veteran IMBA trail expert Joey Klein manages the multi-year job that also includes professional trail builders from Arrowhead Trails Inc. and Trail Dynamics, LLC.
"I heard the president really liked our trails," said Klein. "The security guys told us he had a blast riding the berms and drop-offs on the Culebra Loca trail, and that he headed back there for another ride early this morning. I think he was impressed with riding purpose-built mountain biking trails."
In a brief press conference, the president said, "I made a mistake in not coming here earlier... This is a spectacular part of the world."
Bush's passion for mountain biking has resulted in unprecedented media coverage for the sport. Nearly every major U.S. newspaper, magazine, and T.V. network has covered the president's riding. The exposure has raised awareness for mountain biking and generated a positive buzz for the sport that is already enjoyed by over 40 million Americans.