Bicycle pump track moves closer to reality

Atira Group official: Ski Time Square training course in the works for this summer

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— A number of local entities are gearing up for what may be the first of several summers that define the future of bicycle development in Steamboat Springs. The first fruits of those labors could be realized even before summer 2010 officially arrives.

A pump track in Ski Time Square near the base of Steamboat Ski Area is close to becoming a reality, organizers said.

“I want to get the design by the end of the week,” said Mark Mathews, vice president of development for the Atira Group, which is developing the plot of land at Ski Time Square.

Mathews said he has taken bids for the work and hopes to be able to present a plan to the city in the next two weeks. If it is approved, work could start on the mostly-dirt track in May, and riders could be pumping it up a few weeks later.

A pump track is a small, dirt training facility featuring berms and small rollers. The idea is to be able to ride through the course without pedaling. The course is designed to fine-tune skills of riders and build improved bike handling skills.

“It allows you to learn how to use your arms and legs as suspension, and to keep your speed while turning,” Steamboat Gravity Team coach Cory Prager said. “I’m all excited about this. It’s one of the things we’ve been trying to get.”

The track’s location near the gondola could make it a perfect warm-up for riders headed up Mount Werner this summer to ride down the mountain’s existing trail system, and in future mountain biking seasons when the ski area hopes to expand its freeriding and downhill mountain biking terrain.

“It speaks to the direction we’ve heard the community wants to move as far as diversifying the economy and looking at more alternatives for the cycling community,” Mathews said. “We think this could be a draw. We’re hopefully just a piece of the overall fabric.”

Mathews said for those with the know-how, the pump track shouldn’t be difficult to build and should maintain a low impact.

The plan will include landscaping around the track. The area likely would be maintained by volunteers from local clubs, potentially including Routt County Riders and the Gravity Team.

“It’s not all that complicated,” Mathews said. “It’s just a nice, fun addition to the trail system at Mount Werner.”

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