My New Amusement Park

Yesterday the Valmont Mountain Bike Park opened up to the public, and today I went over to check it out. The park has been discussed for many years, and developed over the last few, so it’s quite a moment for cyclists in Boulder. The park is oriented towards rider development of all ages. Each type of feature, such as cross-country or aerial areas, have options targeted towards riders of all ability levels. And even if you get yourself into something you can’t handle, there are bailout options to get around things.

The park is quite extensive and the designers have taken advantage of all the space they had available. Each trail feature is accessible by shared bike/walk trails, so parents can keep an eye on their kids even if they aren’t on a bike. Running down the middle of the park are two irrigation ditches (which is a crude description of them, they are much nicer than that) which splits the park into smaller sections. The smaller sections keeps things more intimate which is good in a park that will tend to get very busy. Nearly all of the single track trails are one way, which is very nice. Right now the vegetation is low so it actually isn’t a huge problem, but it is always very startling to come around a corner upon someone coming the other way.

To be honest, much of the park makes me feel like I have no skillz (yes, that’s skills with a ‘z’). Even the Skillz Loop, which is designed to be a place to learn skillz without being pressured by better riders to get out of the way challenges me. I tried most of the trails today, but not all of the technical options, especially stuff like this:

[vimeo id=24993942 width=450 height=338]

The park has two pump tracks, and I had fun riding one of them (Mesa Top) many times. The other one (Creekside) I did once, but it was very muddy and I didn’t want to ruin the pump track or get any dirtier than I was already.

I’m really excited about this new facility, and I hope to slowly improve my skillz over time at the park. It’s only a couple kilometers away from where we live, so it’s really convenient even if I only have an hour free. My only complaint right now about the park is it’s clear they haven’t quite figured out how to do the drainage from the sprinklers, because there are more than a few muddy spots around the park that contribute to trail destruction at an accelerated pace.