Pinehurst Park Gets Rolling on New Pump Track
new track will feature 500-foot circuit of rollers and banked turns
A community effort to create a robust mountain- and BMX-biking scene in the Chippewa Valley has led to the creation of a new pump track in Pinehurst Park – or a 500-foot circuit of rollers and banked turns that local bikers and skateboarders can use to gain momentum and speed through pumping, rather than pedaling. Described as the “gateway drug” to mountain biking, Eau Claire’s new pump track offers opportunities for rec enthusiasts of all ages to get outside – bringing more visibility to the hidden gem of the biking community in the Chippewa Valley: Pinehurst Park.
We're teaching these kids life skills, and they don't even realize it because they're having fun.
board member of outdoor and more, inc.
“(The pump track) has a lot of features similar to a skate park,” said Skip Contardi, board member of OutdoorMore Inc., which created Pinehurst Park in 2012, “where it gives you a lot of different options.” “And it’s a constant flow,” added Christian Peterson, president of the board. “You’re never stopping. You can go as long as you want until your body gets tired.”“That’s the beauty of it, is that you don’t have to go uphill to get speed,” said third board member Andy Wians. “You can continuously ride the thing just by pumping it.”
Pump tracks can cost between $50,000 to $200,000 to construct, but with the help of local volunteers and a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, they’re aiming to keep costs lower. “It’s just one heckuva chore to build,” Contardi admitted. “It’s all handwork.” Since the three avid outdoor recreation enthusiasts began developing the park as part of their nonprofit OutdoorMore Inc., they have heard feedback from many local elementary school teachers, expressing how much parks like Pinehurst motivate kids to do better in school. “They loved going out there,” Peterson said, “and they’d get their work done so that they could get back out.”
It’s those same children – and their own passion for the outdoors – that encourages Contardi, Peterson, Wians, and the team at OutdoorMore Inc. to continue working to build a robust outdoor rec scene at Pinehurst Park, bringing more visibility to the mountain bike trails and BMX dirt jumps hidden throughout the park.“We’re really three selfless guys who are doing it for the kids,” Contardi said. “We’re teaching these kids life skills and they don’t even realize it because they’re having fun. … They’re developing building skills, teamwork, (and) accountability. On these jump building days, all the kids make sure they’re here to help their friends. And then they work like grown men, hauling wheelbarrows full of clay uphill, and they’d tag team it.”
Thanks to a generous grant from Diamondback Bikes, the nonprofit hosted a “Dig Day” to lay out the pump track, then bring in dirt to begin shaping the jumps. “Every pump track is different,” Peterson said. “That’s kind of what makes it fun, though, is that they’re all different,” Wians added. “So any one you go to is going to be a different experience.”
The pump track isn’t the only addition to the park. Last summer, board member Cody Curry installed a full 10-hole disc golf course, and this winter, the organization plans to install a new tow lift to improve skiing opportunities. But for now, the group is most excited about opening the pump track as soon as this fall. “In a way, it’s a pipe dream,” Contardi said, “that through determination and teamwork has become a reality on steroids.”
Learn more about the project – and keep up to date with progress – at www.facebook.com/ThePinehurstProject.