El Jebel BMXers get their day in the sun
After years of hoping, planning and preparing, a BMX biking track finally will take shape over the next two weeks at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
A massive volunteer effort was launched earlier this year to get a USABMX-sanctioned racetrack constructed in the southwest corner of Crown Mountain Park, across Highway 82 from Wendy’s.
“We want to make this be a park that people travel to,” said Chris Woods, director of Crown Mountain Park. He envisions the venue hosting regional and state events.
The effort was unofficially launched a couple of years ago to create a facility for BMXers, who race on small, light bikes with a single gear. They go all-out on courses that features jumps of various shapes and sizes, banked curves and dramatic drop-offs. One heat around a course typically takes less than one minute, said Heath Johnson, a Basalt resident who raced BMX as a kid and now has introduced the sport to his two young children. BMX biking was popular in the 1970s and into the ’80s but was “quiet” through the 1990s before making a comeback in the past decade or so, Johnson said. He figures former enthusiasts such as himself have introduced their kids to it and fueled the resurgence.
There are 17 BMX courses in Colorado, the closest being in Eagle, Montrose and Grand Junction. Basalt bikers aim to make a track with unique features, Johnson said. Landscape architects Greg Mozian and Nick Soho helped with the design.
Hughes Excavating, Aspen Earthmoving, Rudd Construction and Gould Construction started dumping dirt and rock excavated from development projects at the Crown Mountain site last year. Hughes moved a massive Caterpillar D8 bulldozer to the site Friday and is volunteering its efforts to scrape the site and form the foundation for the course.
Woods said an informal “pump” track, which has smaller features than a BMX track, was formed on the site over the past two years. The pump course will be relocated adjacent to the BMX course.
“So we’ll still keep the grassroots element,” he said.
BMX enthusiasts were able to hustle up all the services and materials needed and also covered whatever costs were incurred.
“This whole project is being completed with contributions and volunteers,” Woods said. “There will be no cost for Crown Mountain whatsoever.”
Crown Mountain BMX acquired a starting gate for the course. That is the only real amenity for the dirt track. A berm will ring most of the course, providing spectators with excellent opportunities to view races.
Woods and Johnson said work would be completed or close to it by June 17. Johnson said Crown Mountain BMX hopes to host events by late June or early July.
The completed course will accommodate racers and riders of all ages. Youngsters and inexperienced riders will be able to roll over all obstacles, according to Johnson.
Volunteers are needed today through Saturday to complete the course.
“All you need is a rake and broom,” Woods said.
To volunteer, call the Crown Mountain Park office at 970-963-6030.
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