Construction underway for new mountain bike trails at CMC Spring Valley campus

All-skills course to host high school races and more

Rich Allen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Colorado Mountain College student Gabe Andrus goes for an early evening mountain bike ride on the trails at the Spring Valley campus south of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

A new mountain bike course just outside of Glenwood Springs may soon find itself the center of attention in the high school competitive circuit.

Ground broke last week on a stretch of new mountain bike trails at the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus. The open-to-the-public loop will be used by the public, the school and to host events.

The Colorado High School Cycling League, coordinator of Colorado’s highest-level prep mountain biking racing series, will host races there. On top of annual regular season series races, it’s also a strong contender for selection as the next host of the series’ state championships, league Executive Director Kate Rau said.

The new trails will run three lines in close proximity to each other, catering to beginner, intermediate and expert level riders. It will conjoin with old game trails and trails previously established in the area to create a full loop with a prospective start and finish line right outside the CMC field house.

“It’s a good fit for everybody,” Jeanne Golay, head coach of the Glenwood Springs High School Dirt Demons and member of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, said. “It helps us get high school students on our campus. The league is growing so quickly that they need venues around the state to host all these races.”

The new trails will be available to the public. CMC itself will use the trails for educational purposes, including their upkeep and maintenance.

Having three skill level lines so close together will help the course’s bid to earn race contracts from entities like the Colorado High School Cycling League, which has competitors at all skill levels. It will also help the school teach students how to mountain bike and go deeper with greater skills and earn college credit.

However, the major push has always been for high school mountain biking, driven by Golay, Rau and the league. Glenwood Springs High School, Roaring Fork High School and Colorado Rocky Mountain School all have teams in close proximity.

“We’re building it for that purpose,” Spring Valley Campus Dean Heather Exby said about the intent to host races, specifically high school. “The high school mountain bike organization was one of the big drivers.”

Colorado Mountain College student Gabe Andrus goes for an early evening mountain bike ride on the trails at the Spring Valley campus south of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The concept of a trail system at Spring Valley began three to four years ago. From the school side, plans included a full system, including extended hiking and adaptive.

When bids for grants on that plan fell short, the school simplified and focused on the mountain bike trails.

They hired Singletrack Trails LLC, a professional trail building firm, constructors of the famed Palisade Plunge at Palisade’s Grand Mesa.

Currently, the high school league is preparing for this year’s state championship after a three-race qualifying series. The regional championships were held in Eagle on Oct. 10 in what local teams currently consider their home race.

This year’s state championships will be held in Durango, which is in the final year of its contract as host. Rau said the contracts run for at least three years, meaning the 2022 host is likely to host through at least 2024.

She said more than 3,000 people attend each race, bringing tourism dollars from across Colorado.

Rau said the decision on the next host is likely to be confirmed in November or December with an announcement coming in January or February.