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Eyes toward Australia

As the sun set on the final day of racing at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy, thoughts turned toward next year's World Championships to be held in Canberra, Australia. Representatives from Australia were on hand in Italy to talk about next year's race.

At the same time, at the recent IMBA World Summit in Park City, Utah, Australian Glen Jacobs, owner of the World Trail design and construction firm, shared his expertise and experience working on the Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra. Jacobs discussed how sustainable trail design converted a nearly ruined landscape into a top-notch recreation destination.

In 2003, Stromlo's pine forest was decimated by a wildfire. Afterward, the government decided to convert the land's use from forestry to recreation. Faced with the challenge of a scarred land, Jacobs said according to, "It was a trailbuilder's nightmare."

What started as a seven-mile beginner cross country loop turned into the development of expert downhill trails, a four-cross course, and an additional 25 miles of cross-country trails.

Stromlo kicked off its new role as a world-class mountain bike venue by hosting the Australian National Championships, even after a 100-year storm ravaged area just one week before. "The area was nearly underwater, but because we incorporated IMBA guidelines in the trail design, the damage was minimal," Jacobs said according to "From then on, the land managers were sold on the durability of properly built mountain biking trails."

The park has attracted an estimated 200,000 visitors since opening in 2007, with 95 percent of them mountain bikers. It will next host the UCI World Cup on August 30-31 and the World Championships September 1-6, 2009.

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