There have been quite a few shake ups at the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) in recent years, including the departure of IMBA's former leader, Mike Van Abel, who served in that position for 12 years. Today, however, the organization named its new Executive Director, Dave Wiens.
Dave Wiens, aka The Vanilla Gorilla (he didn't shave his legs back in the day), is a racing legend--one of the true strongmen from NORBA's heyday. That description, however, fails to capture just how monstrous of a badass Wiens truly is. This is the guy who utterly dominated the Leadville 100 from 2003 to 2008: a period that most people would characterize as his "retirement" from racing. And, yes, Wiens even put the smack down on Lance Armstrong at Leadville in '08. Armstrong came back and narrowly beat Wiens the following year, but you get the idea--IMBA's new leader is fast and good at suffering.
None of this, of course, explains why IMBA made this guy its new Executive Director. Well, the other side of the Dave Wiens coin is that the guy is also an ardent trail advocate. Wiens is the founder and executive director of Gunnison Trails, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing singletrack bike trails on public lands adjacent to Gunnison, Colorado.
For IMBA, an organization that has (fairly or unfairly) faced criticism of being detached from the mountain bike community, the move to place Wiens atop the org chart seems a wise one. Wiens knows what it's like to build trail and build alliances with different trail user groups. It could be a good match. Time will tell.
"As a mountain biker I share a passion for trails and riding with this entire community," says Wiens. "IMBA has been an important part of mountain biking getting better and better over the past 30 years and I'm looking forward to working with mountain bikers from all over, as well as other stakeholders, while IMBA continues to help provide great places to ride."