Local mountain bike team builds the trails needed to train onMay 05, 2021 09:18AM ● By Greg James
The West Granite Composite Mountain Biking team trains at Lodestone Park. They have permission to add practice trails in the surrounding area that will help them improve. (Photo courtesy of West Granite Composite)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Mountain biking team riders usually don’t spend time digging and shoveling dirt. But they do if they want trails to train on.
The West Granite Composite Mountain Biking Team has permission to build trails around Lodestone Park, 6252 W. 6200 South, to help them become better at their sport.
May 1 is their big day.
“It is our dig-day,” composite head coach Rochelle Bartschi said. “The big open area to the west of the tennis courts will become a trail system. We approached the county and presented a plan.”
Lodestone Park has been the site the team uses to practice its skills training. They can practice turning, braking and small sprints.
“Those are great beginner skills, but they are even better when you can practice on a trail system,” Bartschi said.
There will be a loop on the inside of the paved trails around the park. On the hill, there will be three trails: a beginner with three switchbacks, a steeper trail with tight switchbacks, and then another with rocks for obstacles.
“We can practice on these trails and other teams can come. We see it as an opportunity for kids with bikes to get out and learn before they get on a mountain,” Bartschi said.
The Utah High School Mountain Bike League is committed to providing trail maintenance, teaching etiquette, and protecting natural resources. By participating in this project they earn more team opportunities.
“The kids learn how to maintain trails so then they will be more respectful to trails and our environment. There will be other teams and coaches there to help us on May 1 and we have some equipment coming to help us out,” Bartschi said.
Lots of shovels, rakes and manual labor will mark out the nearly two miles of trails at the park.
“It will make the community better,” Bartschi said. “These trails will help make the open area just a little bit better.”
The idea came about in summer 2020. In February, they presented the plan to Salt Lake County and it was approved in March. The invitation to help is extended to all of those that want to show up.
Registration for the team opened on April 1. It is open to all junior high and high school students. The West Granite team includes all students that feed into Kearns, Hunter, Granger and Cyprus high schools including junior high students. It is open to girls and boys and all skill levels.
Last season the team had 17 registered riders and they have already passed that milestone including more girls than were on the team all last year.
“We have a large group from Cyprus this year and we are always hoping for more. We will train even the less experienced. Some of our coaches are beginners, too. I think we have 22 coaches that want to help out. With COVID last season it was hard. We were the only league in the country that completed a season,” Bartschi said. “Every single kid improved their time last season.”
The West Granite team won a service award last year.
“Yes, I am super pleased with how well they improved in racing and at practice, but they also stepped up and set themselves apart from the other teams. They cheered for even the last finishers and always stayed to help clean up after races. They are amazing kids,” Bartschi said.