Steamboat Springs Rich Krause spent nearly 60 hours in a rented Caterpillar bulldozer this week, moving dirt around the Steamboat Springs BMX track and he wasn't even getting paid.
The local excavator and his wife, Cassandra, are the driving forces behind an effort to bring the track up to National Bike League standards. The league is the largest sanctioning body of BMX racing in the country.
"We saw an article in the paper about how high school kids thought the local BMX track wasn't any good and we agreed with them. So we wanted to do something to make it better for them and to give back to the community," Cassandra said.
The couple began determining earlier this year how to improve the BMX park, which was started as part of a high school project a couple of years ago. Cassandra made contacts at the NBL and came up with a list of standards that needed to be met to get the track sanctioned. She also was able to line up about $1,800 in grants with the help of the teacher who helped start the track in the first place, Laura McCoy.
Meanwhile, Rich hit up local excavators for clay and dirt that would be needed to improve the track. He got help from Duckles, Miller Excavating and Wagner Rents.
But when it came time to do the project earlier this week, the Krauses were a little disappointed by the lack of response from volunteers. Outside of three of Rich's friends, only one other volunteer showed up with a shovel in hand to help move dirt and rock.
But the lack of support didn't stop Rich. He started work on Monday and finished Friday turning in 12 hours just about every day.
The Krauses are now asking local bike riders to wait a few days before riding the trails. It takes time for the dirt to set up and riding on the course too early will damage it.
The Krauses are hoping the end result of their work is a better track for BMX racers in Steamboat. Cassandra said that if all the paperwork comes together, the new track will be a place where NBL-sanctioned racing will be held someday.
"We still have to complete some things in the process before we can race here," Cassandra said. "But I think it will all come together."
Her hope is that local BMX racers will be able to race in Steamboat and collect points and trophies at sanctioned events.
Cassandra estimated that her husband's time, plus the donations from Duckles, Miller and Wagner were worth almost $10,000. The $1,800 in grants went to help pay for the equipment needed to complete the project.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org