Get out and ride: New mountain bike park will give newcomers a place to learn

Jeff Erickson does some maintenance on The Ranch mountain bike course as James Flatten, who will design the new park at the Tabeguache trail head, rides by.



Photo by William Woody—Grand Junction residents James Flatten, right, and Jeff Erickson launch off of a small jump on the dual slalom course at The Ranch mountain bike park on Glade Park. The course features two riders racing along down terrain with small jumps and winding turns.



Grand Junction’s James Flatten, left, and Jeff Erickson race through a turn on the dual slalom course at The Ranch mountain bike park on Glade Park, where riders race side by side through with small jumps and winding turns. The course is similar to the new course COPMOBA is planning to build at the Tabeguache trail head.



QUICKREAD

Tabeguache Mountain Bike Park

Cost: $43,525

Target Age Group: 18-under

Volunteers needed: 70

Volunteer hours: 700

Total acres: 4

Project timeline: Aug. 1-Oct. 25.



The days of playing in the dirt and riding bikes is still a part of life for Jen Taylor.

Because she had so much fun riding bikes when she was a kid, Taylor — a board member with Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association — wants to ensure there are places for the next generation to get out and ride.

“I started riding BMX bikes as a kid,” Taylor said. “That’s what got me involved. I’m a huge trail advocate. Having the access to these types of play areas as a kid instilled this lifelong passion in me. I want to provide this for my kids and grandkids.

“I want to encourage young ones to have a place to play.”

Taylor is spearheading a movement to build a mountain bike park at the Tabeguache trail head near the parking lot off Monument Road.

Taylor and COPMOBA received a $10,000 check from REI on Saturday to get the project started. Construction of the park is estimated at $43,000.

“It encourages kids (to go outdoors),” REI Outreach Specialist Marea Goodman said. “REI’s stated mission is to inspire, educate and outfit the next generation for a lifetime of outdoor adventure.”

Taylor applied for a Pepsi Refresh Project grant, but it will be up to the public who receives the money. Voting is expected to begin online today at pepsirefresh.com. More information on the Pepsi Refresh Project will be determined today.

Taylor is hoping to build a track in Fruita at Snooks Bottom and somewhere in Palisade next year with the help of more grant money. The Fruita location will include a disc golf park.

Taylor hopes to raise money and build parks throughout the Western Slope.

The mountain bike park will be a public park of two to four acres. It is an area for people of all ages to learn how to mountain bike before attempting the more challenging singletrack trails.

It will include a pump track, skill features, graduated dirt jump lines and a dual-slalom course.

The pump track is a continuous irregular-oval loop designed to be ridden on a bike without pedaling. It consists of bumps and banked corners that allow the riders to gain momentum.

The skill features will include obstacles to work on agility.

The jump lines are rows of consecutive dirt jumps with enough landing room to build momentum for the next jump. There will be a beginner line with 20 jumps (20-30 inches high), the intermediate line with 18 jumps (30-50 inches high) and an advanced line with 16 jumps (50-70 inches high).

The dual-slalom course has side-by-side tracks with the same jumps and berms. It combines the pump track and jump line skills.

“The idea for these is to connect kids with mountain biking, but these bike parks are for everybody,” Taylor said. “For us that are mountain bikers, I’m psyched to get out and ride these things.

“The idea is to connect kids with nature, foster our future trail stewards and outdoor recreationalists and mitigate risks. They will be better trail riders for it.”

The park will be designed by Greg Mazu of Singletrack Trails and James Flatten of Grassroots Cycles.

Flatten designed a similar mountain bike park on private land on Glade Park and believes a public mountain bike park near town will be good for the bike shops and the public.

“Right now, there is no place to ride around and do jumps,” he said. “This will give the teenage community a place to ride that is good and safe.”

Taylor is hoping to get 70 volunteers to build the park in early October.

The park is on city of Grand Junction property that is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.

“This is a great connection between private sector and several government agencies,” said Rob Schoeber, city Parks and Recreation director. “We’re happy to be a part of it. Rarely do you have these family uses that come up with all the different levels of expertise.”


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