Eagle BMX track to celebrate 10 years with free race | VailDaily.com

Eagle BMX track to celebrate 10 years with free race

Local track is now home to biggest event in Colorado

Local BMX athletes display their trophies after a national-level competition in Salt Lake City in June. Top row, from left: Teigan Steibel, Nicky Callis, Gunner Schaub, Max Hudgins. Bottom row, from left: Costner Bradshaw, Tegan Noteware, Sonya Schaub.
Special to the Daily

EAGLE — Jay Lucas has watched a lot of kids get really good at riding bikes over the past decade.

Being a BMX track operator, that’s part of the job description.

But 10 years ago, when Lucas started up the Eagle County BMX track, he didn’t expect that it would become the destination attraction it is today.

While it has become incredibly popular among the biking community in Eagle, Lucas said not all the kids in Eagle County have seen it yet, and some of those kids who haven’t tried it would probably love it.

“It’s our 10-year anniversary, and we want to celebrate with a free race for everyone to see what it’s all about,” Lucas said.

The free races will take place Monday. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.

Biggest race in Colorado

These days, the Eagle County BMX track hosts the biggest state series race in Colorado each year, Lucas said, and in preparing for it, he will sometimes get as many as 40 locals coming out to volunteer.

The state series travels from track to track around Colorado every weekend.

“Usually, if you’ve been doing local races for more than a year, you’ll start trying state races, seeing how you stack up against the riders from the rest of the state,” Lucas said.

About 350 riders have been showing up to the state race at Eagle County BMX over the past few years.

“Because it’s in the middle of the Rockies, a lot of people are able to come,” Lucas said. “We get people from the Western Slope and the Front Range.”

Eagle County BMX also hosts local races on a weekly basis, along with practice nights, and it all happens through volunteer efforts.

“We’ve seen as many as 40 people come out and volunteer to help get the track ready for a major race,” Lucas said.

Life-changing

Having a track nearby has been life changing for locals like Ami Hudgins, whose 7-year-old son, Max, is already competing at the national level.

“He loves the camaraderie, he loves the team,” Hudgins said. “It’s great having a track nearby, and the good thing about the Eagle track is you can ride it anytime.”

Eagle County BMX’s parking lot doubles as a trailhead for the popular Haymaker mountain biking trail, and there’s also a large pump track located next to the BMX track.

“People come cut laps on the Haymaker loops, then they cut laps at the BMX track and the pump track,” Lucas said. “There’s a covered canopy area with picnic tables where people come and hang out, they have birthday parties there, and families come for the day. It’s great to see.”

Lucas says the biggest benefit you’ll get from BMX (and it’s open to all ages, he adds), is the fact that it will make you better at all forms of cycling, especially mountain biking.

“We’ve seen the best high school mountain bikers in the state come out of BMX programs as a kid,” Lucas said.

Hudgins said meeting other families has been a great part of the experience, as well.

“Every’s supportive — it’s like an extended family,” she said. “It’s fun when we’re all together. It’s an all-day event. A lot of times, we pop a tent, break out the grill, have breakfast, lunch and dinner right there in the parking lot.”