Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Colorado Daily Article on VBP!

Cash needed to fund Valmont Bike Park

By Marty Caivano (Contact)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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Mountain bikers (and cyclocrossers), in case you've been out of the loop recently, I'm here to let you know that the Valmont Bike Park is going to be a reality.

If all goes well, that means a network of singletrack, a pump track, dirt jumps and cyclocross courses in the best European tradition. Dirt enthusiasts can ride, learn, race and train all year long when the weather is good. Sweet!

Here's some background: Valmont City Park was purchased by the city of Boulder in 1995 through a voter-approved tax, but only last month did the City Council give the go-ahead to a concept plan for the space.

In its first phase of development, the plan includes a dog park, a disc-golf course and the bike park. Athletic fields, an amphitheater and an "adventure playground" will likely be completed in the second phase, once funding has been found.

Forty acres have been slated for the bike park, which will be constructed through a partnership between the city Parks and Recreation department and the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance. While there is money available for building, there's not enough to provide for all of the proposed facilities and features, said Bobby Noyes, the BMA-Valmont Park liaison.

Part of the reason is that the site imposes a heavy burden in infrastructure costs. Money must go to prairie dog remediation, fencing for the park boundary, and the moving and rehabilitation of the site's historic farmhouse -- all before the bike facilities can begin to take shape.

In addition to that, there are two sizable ditches in the park that need numerous bridge crossings to accommodate the trails that will cross them. Not only that, but the soil on the site is mostly clay, and we all know what happens when that stuff gets wet.

"They may have to excavate the trails and bring in road bed and new dirt," Noyes said. "The city wants this thing to be bulletproof and totally sustainable."

The city also wants to give the bike park designers free rein. The planners will examine the natural terrain to see if it supports some other mountain bike options, such as a dual slalom or mountain-cross course.

One thing that's high on the wish list is a permanent cyclocross run-up -- a section so steep that racers must dismount and carry their bikes up it. It would be approachable from different directions, allowing for good variety in race course design.

Another solid feature will be a kids' area, where youngsters can learn to ride and progress their skills. "The facility's going to be oriented toward the full spectrum of riders," Noyes said.

But for all this to happen, money must start flowing in.

"If we don't raise money, it will be pretty bare bones," Noyes said. "If we do raise money, we'll get the cool cyclocross start/finish area, the pump track, the wall rides, the quality facilities that we want."

In addition, Noyes pointed out, "We wanted to raise money all along, because we told the city from the beginning that we wanted to help pay for it."

As a result, the bike park organizers are on a mission to raise $500,000. They hope to collect as much as they can by Aug. 22, when they will apply for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. Noyes said the organization is more likely to help if it sees that it's not the only funding source for the project.

The group for the Valmont Bike Park has raised $17,500 over two weeks, mostly through selling engraved bricks for the site. If you've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to give back to the sport, now's your chance to see your name in print.

So when is this all going to happen? Naturally, there is no set date yet, as organizers are busy working to choose trail designers and take care of other background details.

But, "We would like to start construction in late spring," said Perry Brooks, park planner for the city. "We anticipate the bike facility itself will take two or three months to build."

The result, Noyes hopes, will be a place for cyclists to call home. "The Red Sox have Fenway Park, the Broncos have Mile High Stadium. With all the people involved in cycling -- roadies, mountain bikers, dirt jumpers, 'cross racers -- this can be a hub for our community."

Check out Marty Caivano's mountain bike blog at

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