Outside its borders, our fair state of Wisconsin isn't exactly thought of as a place to find great mountain biking. We don't, after all, really even have mountains. But those of us who live and ride here know full well that there are some seriously awesome trails around. You just have to know where to look.
Or you have to take the initiative to get them built.
That's what Capital Off Road Pathfinders have been doing for several years now right here in my own backyard. The local chapter of WORBA (the state chapter of IMBA), CORPS has built and maintained a series of really good single and double track trails all over Dane County. Which I had managed to completely overlook until just recently. I discovered the Quarry Ridge network over the weekend, and unable to contain my excitement I took a quick, cold, muddy ride to get acquainted with an area that's a mere 15 minute drive from my apartment.
It's a prime example of how Wisconsin trail builders are able to make the most out of our sometimes limited terrain. We may not have mountains, but we do have lots of ridges and moraines and with the right design and imagination you can really milk a lot out of the land.
And now it looks like we're on track to get some singletrack, as well as a skills park and pump track, right next door in Middleton. Just this evening the Park, Recreation & Forestry Commission approved bids by Mike Riter of Trail Design Specialists and Ben Blitch of B4 Construction so they can begin work on the project out on the west side of the city.
I have no idea when it will be done, but there's a good chance some of it will be ready next season. Which is insanely cool.
You see, I've been riding on and off for about two years now and am more than ready to step things up. I have officially fallen in love with the sport, and the more opportunities to ride new terrain with new people the better. I'm lookin' to learn, be challenged, and have fun. But I'm also looking to help out, which is one of the great aspects of the mountain biking scene: stewardship. These groups do a lot to help with sustainability efforts in a given area, building trails that are low impact, help prevent erosion, and provide a pretty green means of bringing people and dollars to the nearby towns. It's kind of win-win, if you know what you're doing.
I'll be looking forward to seeing what I can do to chip in with future trail building and maintenance, and also to riding as often and learning as much as possible (hopefully without breaking myself too badly in the process). And I'll be looking forward to seeing what these folks bring to little ol' Middleton, Wisconsin.