Mountain biking team builds new trail

Isaac Gunderson, Podcast Reporter

The Stillwater Mountain Bike team has been around since 2013 and has been an extremely fast growing sport. In mountain biking, athletes race against other high school students from around the state on tight wooded trails called single track trails. The Stillwater team is the top team in the state having won the first two races this year, yet there is not even one single track trail to train on.

Team director Calvin Jones pushed hard last year for the permission to build a single track trail in Valley View park. Many hours were put into getting permission as well as building the trail.

There were many challenges to start the building process on this trail as team director Calvin Jones described.

I think it’s really going to help because we don’t have any single track close to where we train within biking distance.”

— Eric Fernandez

“Our team came to many city council meetings, we had to make proposals lead by Hank Gray on what it’s going to be, numerous city votes, they approved it, and now it’s going to be a fantastic success,” Jones explained.

Before the trail could be built, it needed the approval of the city of Oak Park Heights. The MTB team went to many meetings and answered questions and concerns regarding many different things about the trail. After months of tedious planning and debating, the trail was finally given the approval by the Oak Park Heights city council.

Coaches and riders alike believe that the new trail will help the team prepare for their races more accurately and efficiently.

The closest single track before the new Valley View trail was Carver Lake, which is 16 miles down the highway from the high school. This means that the Stillwater team has to train on either pavement or very wide dirt trails.

Students and coaches think that some noise is not always the worst problem to have.

“I think there will be increased noise, but it’s not going to be the noise that they’re expecting, it’s going to be like kids having fun,” senior Hannah Brown explained.

One of the main opposing arguments in the debate over the new trail was the noise. Citizens with property bordering Valley View were uneasy about the amount of additional noise there would be. As Brown described, the noise will not be kids partying or the like, it will be kids having fun riding bikes or running. The team was eventually able to convince these people that noise levels would not be a problem.

After many months the Stillwater MTB team received permission to build a single track trail in Valley View park. This season, after lots of volunteer hours building it over the summer, the team will finally be able to practice on single track.