There is no better way to spend a weekend than hanging out with friends, riding your bikes, watching bike movies and drinking cold beer. These are the good times that Canadians dream about all winter long. This was what over 550 mountain bikers did this past weekend at the Kelso Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario at the first annual Ontario Mountain Bike Festival.

IMBA was on hand to help with a few different projects. The Trail Care Crew led a group of 15 dedicated volunteers through a trail building school and an advanced build to rework a section of Snakes & Ladders. The project had been planned out for over 20 volunteers but since there were many trail veterans in attendance we were able to complete the project.

On Saturday, along with the skills clinics, hourly guided rides and shenanigans like the bike bling competition, there was great representation by IMBA affiliated clubs from the surrounding areas. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed which led to everyone having a great time. Participants stuck around long after booths were torn down to hang out in the beer garden and catch up with old friends.

Sunday, despite the heat warnings, over 40 riders participated in the IMBA Epic ride that showcased trails in the Kelso and Hilton Falls areas. Riders who hung on until the end were rewarded with a swim under the Hilton water falls. A big thank you to Mike & Natalie of the MAMBO Kings club for laying out the route and providing the aid stations and thank you the GORBA mountain bike patrols for making sure everyone stayed safe in the heat. Check out the websites and Facebook pages of both clubs for more photos.

The success of this festival is proof that grassroots events are important to help grow the sport and culture of mountain biking. If you attended the festival we encourage you to let the organizers know about your experience so that they can grow, improve and continue to provide a fun event for the riders of Ontario.