Dedicated Frisco Bike Park crew gets hands dirty
June 2, 2015
While driving along U.S. Highway 9 through Frisco, it's hard to miss the dozens of mounds that make up the Frisco Bike Park. The park is one of the most accessible places in the area for quality, downhill BMX biking. What many people don't grasp is the time, dedication and thought that crews put into getting the park ready each spring.
A typical day for the park staff involves digging, shaping and sweeping dirt for about 9 hours. The crew has limited access to backloaders and other heavy machinery, so they will often dump a pile of dirt and shape it with their hand shovels.
"These guys are taking the attitude this year of 'Hey, we want to make it better for the folks that are riding this.' It's the passion that brings this," said the amiable Frisco Adventure Park general manager Jon "Zeke" Zdechlik.
This year's rainy mud season may have been an annoyance to some, but, for the Frisco Bike Park, it was an even larger issue.
“I saw an 80-year-old grandfather one day with his grandson in the mini-pump track, and I just thought to myself, ‘That’s what it’s all about.’”Jon ‘Zeke’ ZdechikFrisco Adventure Park general manager
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The park is usually 100 percent open by Memorial Day weekend, but, as of this past week, only about half of the park was open. The problem has been that it's nearly impossible to shape jumps with wet dirt.
The basic frames of the jumps are kept during the winter, but significant alterations still must be performed before the features are safe to hit again.
"Every year around the beginning of May, we put in 300 tons of new dirt and then add another 300 tons over the course of the season," Zeke said.
Designing the jumps is an exact science, with a specific sand-loam-clay ratio needed. Making them is also very time consuming; a whole day can sometimes be consumed building a single jump.
"We usually focus on the dirt jumps in the early season, but it's been so wet; we've been trying to making the best of our time and focus on other things," explained crew member Ken Brewer.
Those other things are features that haven't received as much attention in the past, like the downhill trails or "gravity courses."
There are three downhill courses as well as four different jump lines that all range in assorted sizes.
"For progression, you want people to feel comfortable moving to the next step; and, going with this, we open our small features first and then work up to opening the big ones," said crew member Nathan Volbrecht.
Having a large range of features ensures safe progression, which in turn reduces injuries. It also allows for riders of all levels to enjoy the park.
"I saw an 80-year-old grandfather one day with his grandson in the mini-pump track, and I just thought to myself, 'That's what it's all about,'" said Zeke with a smile from ear to ear.
The attention to detail at Frisco Bike Park is obvious. Their park crew is a special breed with a deep love and understanding for the sport of biking. They not only have physical dedication, but they also have an intelligence for BMX as a sport.
"It's an art, and these guys are damn proud of what they do," said Zeke.
There are two events coming up soon at the bike park. Frisco Round Up, the oldest downhill bike competition in Summit County, is on June 3. On June 7, there will be a free community demo day with Salsa Bikes and Wilderness Sports.
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