News: IMBA reveals 2014 Model Trail award winners

Find out where the world's best trails are and why they're so good



Boulder, Colorado’s famed Alpine Bike Park has everything from slopestyle to a dedicated cyclocross track. Photo courtesy Alpine Bike Parks


IMBA added recognition of Community Bike Parks to its Model Trail awards to recognize an important and emerging category of trail design. Well-designed bike parks accommodate a variety of skill levels, with progressive features and flow-based designs that encourage cyclists of all abilities, on all kinds of bikes, to ride together and learn from one another in the same space, at the same time. Don’t miss IMBA’s forthcoming book, Bike Parks: IMBA’s Guide to New School Trails, to be released this fall.(Text descriptions courtesy Mark Eller/IMBA.)

The 450-acre Rockburn Branch Skills Park has emerged as a gem for riders in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metro area. The Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (local IMBA chapter), Howard County Maryland and IMBA Trail Solutions created public-private partnerships with REI, CLIF Bar, Diamondback, Columbia and local businesses to ensure the completion of this project. Features of the park include a 5,000-square-foot pump track with a low-risk circuit for a wide range of skills; a flow trail that includes small rollers, berms, table-tops, berms and rock drops; a descending trail with an emphasis on technical log and rock features; a steep, rock-armored climbing trail; and an easy uphill return trail that takes riders back to the top. The crafted technical features mirror the gnarly Appalachian Mountain riding that riders encounter on nearby trails, including Patapsco State Park, to which Rockburn connects. Rockburn opened in June 2012.

Valmont Bike Park wasn’t opened until 2011, but the park’s history goes back to 1996 when passionate local cyclists began advocating that a plot of land near the airport be developed into a bike facility. The 40-acre park is easily accessed by the 200,000 people in the Boulder area, and attracts visitors from around the globe. The park was uniquely designed for both public day-to-day recreational use, programming, special events and world-class races.

Valmont Bike Park features two pump tracks, a dual slalom course, five progressive slopestyle lines, five progressive dirt jump lines, two staircase run-ups and a sandpit for cyclocross racing, a large network of beginner and intermediate singletrack trails with optional technical lines, a skills loop, a “tot track” for tricycles and push-bikes, a playground, event plaza, bike tool station, restrooms and picnic areas.
Valmont Bike Park is managed by the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department, just like public baseball fields and other traditional public play spaces. City management deploys a professional maintenance staff to ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for visitors. The park regularly hosts city planners and bicycle industry representatives from across the U.S. and around the world who come to glimpse a next-generation bicycle facility.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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