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Pump track rolling in to Eagle

Eagle resident Cole Weathers is seen here on the Eagle County BMX track in Eagle when he was 8 years old. Weathers, who is now 12, was among those in attendance at a recent meeting catching a glimpse of what the BMX park will look like in the future, as the park prepares to become a more permanent fixture in Eagle with paved corners, a shaded structure, irrigation, electricity and a pump track to practice on.

EAGLE — When local Jay Lucas began working on a BMX track in town, he knew it had the potential to become a fixture of the community.

The track started as a place to introduce locals to the sport of BMX biking and get kids familiar with rollers and banked turns. Five years later, the track would host state qualifier races and become a compliment to the mountain biking mecca the town becomes during the Colorado High School Cycling League State Championships.

Today, with another season right around the corner, the town of Eagle is preparing to invest $65,000 in the BMX park, with goals to add a pump track, a shade structure, electricity, landscaping and irrigation to the area by summer.



“Right now it’s just dirt, so it could move,” Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick told a group of BMX enthusiasts at town hall this week. “This next step really makes it more permanent.”

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The BMX track is located adjacent to the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink on land that’s controlled by both the town and Eagle County. Lucas approached the county about helping with improvements, and Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District agreed to contribute $20,000 to see three corners of the track paved. Eagle’s $65,000 will come from the town’s open space fund.

“We’ll be able to get quite a bit of work done on a really low budget, if we can pull it off,” Kostick said.



SEEKING COMMUNITY HELP

Currently, Kostick and the town of Eagle have lined up public works to provide a loader, Purchase Development to supply the dirt and Momentum Trail Concepts to build the pump track. They’re still seeking an electrician, an irrigation and landscape contractor and a shipping container.

The role of an electrician and a landscape and irrigation specialist in the process is self explanatory. The shipping container, however, would be an optional bonus that could provide a big benefit, Thompson said.

“A container could serve as your tool shed for the BMX track, and could also serve as the roll in for the pump track,” he said. “It’s padlocked, out of the elements, you house all your tools in there and then you build dirt up to it so you don’t spend all your material budget building a mound. Your shipping container becomes the mound, you pile dirt up to it and that’s your roll in.

“That’s how a lot of parks do it,” he added.

THE THOMPSON ROLLER PROJECT

Thompson’s vision is an element of the project that’s invaluable. A masters world champion in downhill mountain biking, Thompson also lives in Eagle, has more than two decades of trail building experience on his resume. A family man, he wants to see the pump track built as much as everyone else in town who has kids who use the track. His desire to help has prompted his company, Momentum Trail Concepts, to offer their services at an 80 percent discount.

The inside joke among Thompson and his neighbors is that while he’s offering his services at an unheard of discount, he will also see to it that he shares in the benefit.

“Don’t worry, I’m gonna be out there riding it,” Thompson said with a laugh when Kostick mentioned how much time and energy he’s donating to the project.

Thompson said Eagle is on the verge of a biking breakthrough, and a pump track — and, perhaps, a slopestyle jump line in the future — will take the level of biking in the community to the next level.

The location of the BMX park and the incipient pump track, in close proximity to the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink and the Haymaker trailhead, is in an area that’s viewed as the epicenter of biking in Eagle.

“If Eagle is going to continue to build on it’s bike offerings, this is the next logical step,” Thompson said of the pump track. “Long term, another thing I would like to see is some proper dirt jumps here in town.”

ALL AROUND BENEFITS

By having a pump track next to the BMX track, Thompson expects the racers using the BMX track will experience fewer crashes once their on their race.

“I think you’ll see decreased injuries because riders will have a chance to warm up on the pump track before their races,” Thompson said.

Pump tracks are similar to BMX tracks, only they’re based more on practice and entertainment, where a BMX track’s function is competition.

“My thought is that if we have a really killer pump track (next to the BMX track), the kids and mountain bikers in the neighborhood will take it easy on the BMX track and not trash it so much. The usage will spread over to the pump track,” Thompson told a group of 15 to 20 BMX track users on Tuesday.

Eagle resident Cole Weathers, 12, asked Thompson what the jumps are going to look like.

“Everything will be roll-able,” Thompson said, meaning a rider won’t have to catch air over the dirt jumps to ride the track. “They’ll be good for riders of all ability levels. I can promise you you’re going to have fun on them.”

Thompson also said the cost effectiveness of a pump track as a community amenity is hard to match.

“Studies on pump track usage in communities show that pump tracks see just as many users as a ball field, and come in at a fifth to a tenth of the cost of a ball field,” he said.


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