Friday, November 22, 2013

The season

These last few weeks since our long fall set in have brought mixed feelings. I feel like:  

1. We were robbed; this season was odd and slightly rough because we had such weird weather later winter, wet long spring, short summer and now a long wet, cool fall.  
2. A sigh of relief the season is over, I can relax. This season was one hell of a ride. It was very taxing emotionally, physically and mentally.
3. Slightly bummed, wishing I could ride more enjoy what I helped create.
4. Excitement, a group of us has made the 1 hour trip south 3 times to Bluff Valley Camp Ground to ride Over the Top Skate Park and it has been awesome! It is arguably the best skate park for bikes within 2 hours of the metro that is open to the public and reasonably priced. It is only $10 buck to ride all day and the ramps are dialed and big enough to be enjoyed on a bike.

When I was younger we would dabble in the skate park when the BMX track or our secret jumps, tiny now that I look back on them, were too wet. I enjoyed it but didn't find that much interest in the park and street riding scene back then. I am going to put that on the lack of exposure and the lack of a mentor.
There wasn't a huge BMX scene where I grew up in SD and all of those that were involved were mostly BMX racers. Tons of talented riders but not really into the freeride scene, I will also put some of the lack of interest on the environment or lack there off. It was pretty flat where I grew up so there wasn't a lot of great street riding option and the skate park was small and pretty much designed for skateboards, with no consideration for bikes.

Mover forward 12 years I have all the interest in the world to ride all forms of freeride BMX and MTB and the opportunities are more but still limited. Most of the outdoor skate parks are small and antiquated and the indoor riding options are few and far between. If I had the money I would probably join the Fantasy Factory but I can’t afford $100 a month at this time, maybe someday before I’m too old to really enjoy it I will.
So as I mentioned earlier a group of us have been going to Over the Top (OTT) for that last few weeks. The place is great. It makes me feel like a kid again. I forget all my worries as soon as I enter the doors and all I’m focused on is riding, hanging with friends and enjoying myself. I have been there 4 times so far and each time I can see a huge improvement over the last. I become more confident and smoother after each session. The ramps appear less intimidating and I am slowly conquering all the features. I am currently working on airing out quarter pipes and riding the spines smoothly and consistently.

My goal this winter is to be able to flow around the entire park confidently and shred smoothly on all the ramps and features. After I have gotten to the point that I can really ride the park I will begin adding to my bag of tricks. There is a group of us that is planning on making a guys riding trip out to CO next summer to ride concrete parks and some of the dirt parks and I want to be confident when I’m out there so I can make the most of the trip and have fun. Plus I don’t want to look like that guy! You know the one crappy rider that is just hanging out, haha. Needless to say most the guys I will be going with will be on 20 inch bikes and are dead rippers! I will be on a 26 inch bike and I’m a quality rider working on getting my dead ripper status!

Keep it real! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Recap

Well hello everyone,

I know that I have been on one major hiatus this last few months but man my life has been busy! I had a lot on my plate with all the building and what not involved with Cottage Grove Bike Park but a lot of cool stuff has come of it. I have made some new friends and met more people. We have been able to do some pretty impressive stuff in a matter of a few months. It has now been about a year since the project began with a 30 minute conversation with Zac Docktor, followed by a series of meetings and then hours and hours of fund raising followed by hours and hours and hours of building, then a Party at the Park and then more building, then the IMBA Advanced Trail Building School and that is pretty much it!

We have completed 2 of the planned 6 sections, the 4 x course, a downhill BMX track built for 4 riders wide instead of 8, and the Pump Tracks. Next spring we will build the beginner skills track. This is a short track designed with the youngest riders in mind, strider bikes and the likes. After we complete this we will begin to build the dirt jump section of the park. That will be our large undertaking for the season… It should be a good time! We have a pretty solid crew that is passionate about riding and dedicated to build the most bad ass riding area in the state! I know we can do it!

This park has truly been a testament to what a community both bike and residential can do when they see the potential in a park. I have personally invested about 1000 hours since last fall when the process started but this summer we had approximately 3000 volunteer hours, which is absolutely crazy because that equals what all of the rest of the MORC organization produced in the season at 10+ other trails. We also raise some where north of $20,000 to help fund the project and swept the MORC awards. Mike Mullany won trail builder of the year, Adam Buck won volunteer of the year, the City of Cottage Grove won land manager of the year, Rumpca Excavation won sponsor of the year and I won the president’s award!

It was truly an inspiring year on all fronts and we are looking forward to some more epicness in the future. The project is expected to be completed by Fall of 2015. We are currently in the process of writing some grants and if we are awarded the grant money, it will truly take the park the next level. We are hoping to hire a professional company to come in and build the mountain bike skills course and the Slope Style course, if everything goes as planned, those will be built in the spring/summer of 2015.

On top of building more stuff next spring/summer we will make the park look like a true park. The city will be adding a hang out area, signage and enclosing the park with split rail fencing. We will continue to educate the community and the users about proper etiquette as we had a lot of miss use this summer. We were constantly fixing ruts in the riding surface as riders were not listening to the closed signs and riding it wet. We hope that with fences and a designated entrance that will have signage and the ability to close when wet or under construction that people will get the drift a little better and stay out of the park when wet.
Now that the building season is over and the outdoor riding season has come and gone most think it would be time to hang the bike up and call it a year or get out a fat bike and hit the snow trails, well I’m doing neither. I have found this little gem of an indoor skate park in Zumbrota Falls, MN about 1 hour south of CG.  The name is Over the Top Skate Park located at the Bluff Valley Camp Ground and the only thing I could ask for would be for it to be closer to home but we have already made 3 trips and plan to make many more but more to come on those trips in future blogs!

Keep it real! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vandalism at the Cottage Grove Bike Park

One of the volunteer trail workers stopped by the park yesterday afternoon and noticed that some of the fencing that was put in place a few weeks ago to close the park for the season was taken down. Upon further inspection they noticed that approximately 85% of the fencing had been cut, tore down, knocked down or the post had been pulled out of the ground and thrown to the side.

There were plenty of foot prints and tire tracks all over the park. This act has caused multiple hundreds of dollars worth of damage to the materials that were already installed and multiple volunteer hours to install it. There will be additional fencing and signage installed, this however will cut into next year’s funding to continue the building of the park and will most likely delay the official opening of the park. It is important to understand that the park is closed to protect it during the freeze and thaw cycles. Riding when wet or soft causes severe damage and requires the volunteers to spend their time repairing other peoples VANDALISM! That is what it is, destruction of City property!

There has been a police report filed and both the city and the police force will be increasing patrols of the area. No one should be in the bike park area riding their bikes. It is 100% closed and if caught you could be subject to a Trespassing ticket.

Please be respectful, when the park is closed and you ride it you are causing damage and breaking the law!

We are asking all residents, especially those that live around the park to keep a closer eye on the park and if you see anyone out there please notify the police.

Thank you!

some more pictures here