When we were dreaming up Rocky Knob, the park was to be a union of ideas. Accessibility and sustainability drove one side of the equation, while progressiveness drove the other. Already, the park has provided mountain bikers in Boone (and those who travel to Boone) with high-quality, sustainable trails just minutes from downtown. The existing trails provide a little of everything (except truly beginner trails) for riders: singletrack, rocks, jumps, flow, you name it. We have yet to deliver on the authentic “progressive side;” that is, a Mountain Bike Park where riders can gain technical riding skills up to expert level in controlled, stepping-stone ways. That is, until now.
If you’ve ridden at the park this week, you have undoubtedly seen the signs of something new happening. We are in full-swing of constructing the Skills Phase of the park. Trail Dynamics (the professional company that brought us the Rocky Branch Trail and The Middle Earth Trail) are back in full force to design and build a series of new areas and trails that are “feature-rich.”
Clockwise from top left: The step down into the powerlines; Chuck gets old school on the saw; Ed and Bill apply the power to the PBJ flagline.
The first area you will see when riding Middle Earth is at the top of the lower knob. Here, two trails leave the high point. One is a half-loop full of skinny log rides and pumpy sections. This trail features “Logzilla” an 84-foot long, 12-inch wide log ride with options and serves as preparation for the larger skills area.
Logzilla under construction.
The second trail is known by the working name PBJ: Pump, Berms, and Jumps. This is an A-Line style trail that departs the lower knob and runs over a half mile and is full of the biggest berms, jumps, stepdowns, gaps, and booters ever seen in NC. All features on this trail have go-arounds and are rollable.
The trail by which all jump trails are measured: Chad Oliver airs Lower A Line: Whislter, BC.
The main skills area is located just past the “Saddle.” It features a wealth of technical features to train on and hone your skills. Rock gardens, ladder bridges, skinnies, and drops adorn this beautiful area.
Left: Flat Shovels on the first lander; Right: Logzilla.
These additions will provide challenge and interest to our park and allow users to “choose their own adventure” and develop their skills at their own pace. Several folks have asked, “Do I need a downhill bike for the new trails?” The answer is no. Most any bike ridden at Rocky Knob now will be appropriate on the new trails.
The Green Monster in the lower skills area.
We do have a very important request: Please respect the building process by not riding any of the trails yet. This is especially true of the PBJ trail. This trail is soft and will take a while to harden into riding shape. Traffic now will rut out the features and set us back. Also, many features are incomplete and unsafe at this point. Do yourself and your community a favor by staying off these trails. If you are interested in seeing them, consider volunteering to complete the trails. We still have much work to do. Contact me directly if you’d like to help.
Exit of the Green Monster.
Canadian Bill eyes the plank for Field Fitting.
If the skills areas do not satisfy your need for new stuff at the park, you still have much to anticipate. The “Boat Rock Loop” is nearly ready to open. Construction of the Kid’s Adventure Playground will start in May and the parking lot will receive professional hardscaping. Stay tuned for more updates.
Finally, here are some dates to keep in mind:
Saturday, April 14: Trailwork Day from 1:00-5:00
Sunday, April 15: Trailwork Day from 10:00-1:00
Saturday, April 28: 1:00-5:00 Rocky Knob Fest with demo bikes from Magic Cycles and Boone Bike and Touring, skills clinics, and good food.
Plans for the park.