Truckee Bike Park to break ground on next phase | SierraSun.com

Truckee Bike Park to break ground on next phase

For the past seven years Cortney Knudson and Brooks McMullin have donated countless hours of work in order to give the Truckee community one of the top public bike parks in the country.

Featuring a pump track, flow lines, a dual slalom track, and some of the raddest lines around, the Truckee Bike Park has become one of the best places to progress as a rider. After a fundraiser earlier this month, the park is now scheduled for its fifth of six build-out phases.

Bar of America hosted an April 5 fundraiser and brought in $20,000 for the park, according to McMullin, which will allow for work to begin on the next phase this spring.

"What the supporters did made it an amazing night," said McMullin. "We are going to break ground on a straight rhythm on May 1, or whenever weather permits."

McMullin compared the park's newest addition to the Red Bull Straight Rhythm contest, which features dirt bikes racing down a straight section of jumps.

"Ours is going to be designed for BMX. It starts with a step down, and then there's rollers, singles, doubles, triples, quads, a spine, a slope … into a finishing berm," said McMullin.

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"It's the first of its kind. It's teaching riders more skill, more rhythm. They can do the course different every time. Sometimes a rider is going to be faster sometimes they are going to be slower, so that's going dictate how they hit the rhythm."

After the fundraiser, McMullin and Knudson said the park needs roughly $200,000 to complete the final phase of work, which will feature dual pump track and a slopestyle course with beginner, intermediate and advanced lines.

"We want to prepare the rider for everything that they are going to experience on any trail and in their travels," said McMullin. "We want them to be proficient and confident."

Between fundraising, donations, and volunteer hours, Knudson said the bike park will come in at roughly $2.5 million upon its completion.

Labor of love

McMullin said it's a misconception for people to believe the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District operates the park. The district does help with a percentage of the park's maintenance budget, said McMullin, but the work has largely been done by Knudson and him.

The two have been the driving force behind the park, which, Knudson said, attracted more than 45,000 visitors in 2016. Over the years the couple said they have logged than 40 hours and six days a week, working on maintaining and building the park's jumps and other features, while also carving out time to raise funds.

"It's been free for the public for all of these years," said Knudson. "If you charged a fee like they do for most bike parks, we would've easily raised probably $500,000 from that."

While free to enter, the park does have donation boxes, but mostly relies on fundraising events like the one held earlier in the month or the annual Little Big Bike Festival on May 26. The Little Big will also mark the opening round of the bike park's annual four-part dual slalom race series.

"Where our nonprofit differentiates from all of the other local ones, is we spend extra amounts of money on the trail builder we use," said McMullin. "It's built to be an amazing trail so that when someone rides it they're going to be like, 'Damn, I can't wait to ride that again.'"

Riding season

With snow melting in the area and trails opening, McMullin and Knudson said riders have been going into the bike park, which is currently closed.

"People are riding it when it's wet — stay out," said McMullin. "I know it's just kids trying to have fun, but let's stop the ignorance now. Let's stop the waste of maintenance budget going into fixing this when it can be prevented."

Riding at the park when it's wet damages the features, which then eats into the parks maintenance budget.

"It's all about teaching people the etiquette and what's OK and what's not OK. The shape of the jumps gets damaged," said Knudson. "And the dirt that we use actually holds moisture and so it holds the lines in place better. So when it's wet its really important to not walk on the terrain and to not ride it.

"It's up to our community to teach people the right way and be aware of it. I was guilty of it before I knew about bike parks. I was a cross-country rider, I can relate, but now it's about how can we get the public educated."

McMullin said the park doesn't currently have an opening date for the upcoming season, but should be open to riders in the coming weeks. Visit facebook.com/truckeebikepark/ for the latest information on the park's opening date.

Moving forward, Alibi Ale Works — Truckee Public House will host a May 2 fundraiser, which will feature The Coastal Crews' new film "Motive." Doors will open at 5 p.m. Admission is $15.

The park will also again be offering its Next Level lessons for children ages 6 and up. Lessons are every Tuesday and Thursday from 5–7 p.m. For more information visit TruckeeBikePark.org.

"Cort and I are working on (the park) every day, with the mission of building one of the best bike parks in the nation," said McMullin.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at jscacco@truckeesun.com.