Report by Eddie Clark
Eaton Park goes grassroots with a little help from the City of Boulder.
(Dec 16, 2010) BOULDER, Colo.—With the mountain bike racing and events season essentially over until next year, Front Range mountain bikers and dirt jumpers have been taking advantage of the very mild fall and winter by dialing in Eaton Park. Just twelve years ago,City of Boulder’s Eaton Park didn’t exist, and in fact was mostly an illegal dump on a wetlands area where a few mountain bikers, including yours truly, rode some much smaller jumps compared to today’s superhuman standards.
Fast forward a few years and representatives from CU’s BMX club capitalized on a potential closure due to wetlands encroachment by working with the City of Boulder to create one of the very first non-motorized dirt jumping parks on the Colorado Front Range. Since then, a regular who’s who of professional mountain bikers and national champions have called Eaton park, AKA Gunbarrel, their own little public practice park. As riders came and went this park saw boom times, and times of despair where the jumps were neglected and became almost un-ridable.
Fast forward again to this summer and professional slopestyle rider Nick Simcik and a crew of friends started riding out at Eaton Park because of it’s come, jump, and build ethos. Fortunately Nick met up with another local to Eaton Park, Kevin Rauhauser, whom after returning from college wanted to do something about making the place better. “I’ve been riding out here for a while. The heavy machinery was Jared Fischer’s idea. I called the City to see if we could get a bobcat, and they said we couldn’t drive it for liability purposes, but they could lend us a machine and have one of their employees drive it for us free of charge. It was pretty easy to make it happen”, Kevin said of coordinating the heavy machinery and new jump construction.
Drawing upon years of experience in dirt jumping, Simcik and several other two-wheeled comrades got together to brainstorm up how to best improve the park. “We’re going to have three new beginner/intermediate lines, three new trick jumps, a big left hip jump that is going to be 15 feet lip to lip with a big steep lip and landing that will lead into an on-off dirt jump which leads into a long and low, and finally into a step up trick jump. Old lines like Come-back and Six Pack are being replaced for safety reasons to reduce the collision possibility from older lines that intersected each other”, said Simcik.
Nick also went on to note some other new changes, “We’re now calling the BMX line Huevos because it’s fairly big and also calling the Inside line Rancheros because you can now transfer from the Inside line to BMX which now gives you Huevos Rancheros. Outside is going to become the biggest line out here with a small step down into a 35 foot long and low and then a 25 foot double trick jump, a big gap. We’re using similar dimensions to the jumps at AT’s (Andrew Taylor’s) Showdown course for the Outside line. Main Street is also going to get bigger landings, and Tombstone is going to get changed into a right hip.”
Even with City of Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park nearing completion with an expected finish date of spring 2011, Jerad Fischer noted, “We wanted to build some big quality lines so pros could come out after riding at Valmont and ride something different. We wanted to also make it safe so lines were no longer criss-crossing. My ankle injury has kept me from dirt jumping, but it hasn’t taken the digging out of me. This front-end loader from the City has saved us about three years worth of digging by hand to get this much dirt moved. So far, we’ve dug up an old VW bumper, a tv and a few tires.”
To date, there have been two big days with the City of Boulders John Deere 710D Turbo 4x4, and another scheduled for the upcoming Wednesday. Working for City of Boulder Parks and Rec and driving the John Deere tractor, Matt Sunderburg, rides bikes but doesn’t jump them like the young guys. “I’m too old for it. I think this place is great. I’m all about supporting the biking community. I was a little surprised the City offered up the machinery and time, so I volunteered to drive the machinery out here today to help out the cause”, said Sunderburg of his untypical work assignment. Additionally the boys have had plenty of local riders show up on the weekends to keep the park moving forwards, and so long as the weather holds out, it looks like this grassroots movement is on track to create one of the finest dirt jump parks on the Front Range.
To get the latest info on Eaton Park, be sure to join the Eaton Park Dirt Jumps group on Facebook.