Eagle’s new pump track ‘best in Colorado’
ADD ANOTHER BIKE TO THE COLLECTION
Road bike, mountain bike, fat bike, BMX bike — where does it all end? For the new pump track, you’re going to want something with 26-inch wheels or smaller and a hard tail, said Marshall Troutner with Mountain Pedaler.
“And you want to make sure you don’t have really aggressive, knobby tires on there,” he said. “You want semi-slick tires, or something with low-profile knobs.”
A BMX-style bike with smoother tires will do, but the best bike for the pump track is a dirt jump bike, such as the Redline Asset, which Mountain Pedaler carries in its Eagle shop.
“Some have a suspension fork, but it’s not necessary,” Troutner said.
EAGLE — It will be one small part of the Eagle Outside Festival, but when the new pump track debuts Saturday, it will be one big amenity for riders.
More than just being the biggest pump track in the state, it’s the next logical step in the evolution of Eagle as a bike riding community, said designer Matt Thompson with Momentum Trail Concepts.
“This was the next cycling amenity that needed to go in, for residents and visitors,” said Thompson, a master’s world champion downhill mountain biker and Eagle resident. “When people get out there and start playing around, they’re going to see for themselves that it’s just a blast.”
The track, located on Bull Pasture Road near the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink, will open to riders at 11 a.m. on Saturday during the Eagle Outside Festival. At that time, anyone who wants to can ride it, for free, whenever they want.
Making it the whole way around the track, however, will be quite a challenge said local bike rider Jay Lucas.
“It’s the biggest and the best in the state of Colorado right now, for sure,” Lucas said. “To do two consecutive laps on this track is going to be next to impossible. You almost can’t make it back to the start hill without stopping from fatigue — which is the way it should be.”
Pump tracks use gravity to propel riders around the dirt berms and corners that make up the course. They’re similar to BMX tracks, but without competition as a focus. Eagle’s new pump track is located next to the town’s BMX track and near the trailhead for the popular Haymaker mountain biking trail. Riders can use Eagle’s singletrack sidewalks to access the pump track from other parts of town, and the track’s presence is expected to take stress off the BMX track, which sees a fair share of practice riding from those who would otherwise use a pump track to practice their skills.
“When most people in the valley think about getting on their bikes, they’re thinking about going out and pedaling somewhere,” said Thompson. “This is bike riding in a different, non-traditional way. It’s a great workout, it’s builds good leg strength, it builds good eye/hand and eye/leg coordination and great kinesthetic awareness.”
Thompson said he is pleased with the way the track turned out.
“We were allowed to play with more real estate to build this one, so we really went all out to make it as fun as we could,” he said. “Because we had a lot of land to work with, it turned out great — when you negotiate the obstacles correctly, you can get going so fast, and then you can pull so many Gs through the turn, it’s just a blast to ride.”
Former Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick helped see the track through.
“We had funding, unanimous support from the town council, but we needed more,” he said,
The town had the land and the space to build the track but didn’t quite have enough budgeted to build the best pump track in the state. So Kostick got together with Lucas and the town staff and put the word out that the town was seeking contractors who were interested in helping out.
A number of folks answered that call and helped make it happen. Chris Spiegel, with Spiegel Construction, did the dirt work. John Purchase, of Purchase Development, offered several tons of dirt. Chris Fedrizzi, of Site Resource Management, pitched in with trucking. Mike Suadolink, of Backyard Irrigation, won the bid to provide the sprinklers and the landscaping because he offered a highly discounted rate and is a bike enthusiast himself. Larry Mathews, of Seeding the Rockies, provided the hydro-mulching to get grass growing on the berms. Finally, the town of Eagle public works department and Matt Farrar from the Planning Department worked above and beyond their normal job requirements to get the project completed.
WORLD CLASS RIDERS
In October of 2014, when Jay Lucas saw Chris Blevins, then 16, race in the high school cycling league state championships on the Haymaker trail, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“He was passing people around the banked turns,” Lucas said of Blevins. “I’ve never seen that done before.”
Blevins, now 18, recently returned from Europe, where he won both the UCI Junior Series Cross Country race in Albstadt, Germany, and the Course de la Paix, a five-stage road race in the Czech Republic. It’s safe to say he’s one of the best young bike riders in the country, and he came out of Durango, Colorado, training on that town’s BMX and pump tracks.
“For kids looking to get into mountain biking, I’d definitely recommend starting with BMX,” Blevins told the Vail Daily in 2014. “It’s helped me so much.”
Lucas says Durango is an example of a community where top riders are churned out due to the opportunities they receive.
“If you give the kid an opportunity you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Now we’re seeing kids as young as three years old, two and a half, being able to pedal a bicycle.”
Throughout the past decade, the Strider revolution has contributed to the accelerated learning curve for kids on bikes, Lucas said. A Strider is a type of bike that has no pedals or training wheels, forcing riders to use their feet and the bike’s handlebars for control. During the summer, the Eagle BMX races have a special Strider event where toddlers take to the track and feel the trill of the crowd watching them compete for fun. This weekend’s Eagle Outside Festival has a couple of Strider races scheduled for Saturday on Capital Street.
“The potential is unbelievable with what kids can do on a bike nowadays when they start with a Strider,” Lucas says.
Kostick said he sees kids on Strider bikes all around town, all of the time.
“They ride the singletrack sidewalks to get to the BMX track,” he said. “These are kids on Striders going for a two-mile ride and they’re four years old. These are the kids who in 15 years are going to be national champions, and it’s because of amenities like the pump track, which were missing before.”
Thompson said that scenario would be a nice side effect of Eagle making the choice to add a worthy amenity.
“I do think it’s a tremendous training tool,” he said. “But it’s not just to puke out world class athletes. Really it’s about getting kids outside and having fun on their bikes. And ultimately I’m hoping a bunch of adults are out there riding it, too.”
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