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News from HMBA - The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association - HMBA

At long last, the trail at Westwood is complete!
(Of course there are always tweaks and repairs, so
please keep coming to trailbuilding days.) To
celebrate, we're having a GRAND OPENING GROUP RIDE
on Saturday May 7th, at 10AM. Please come, and
please bring a friend!

Also, on the Thursday before (5/5), the HMBA is
hosting a MEDIA DAY to introduce the esteemed
members of the Fourth Estate to the trail and
mountain biking in general. It would be great to
have a bunch of HMBA folks there to show our
enthusiasm. Maybe you'll even get to ride WW with
your favorite journalist!

Copied below is our press release for this event.
Please feel free to forward it far and wide.

See you there!!

--Mark Finney
HMBA Comm'n. Dir.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
PRESS RELEASE
For immediate distribution
05/27/05

The official opening of the trail will be held on Saturday May 7, 2005 at 10am. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and participate in a group ride on the new trail.

MEDIA DAY IS THURSDAY, MAY 5th, at 10am.
Riders are welcome and encouraged.
Contact information at bottom.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------

HMBA Builds 10-Mile Mountain Bike Trail at Westwood Park

Westwood Park, located just West of New Castle on C.R. 275W has a new 10-mile hiking/biking trail around its 180-acre lake. Under construction since 2002, the trail is now a complete loop, and offers unparalleled enjoyment and challenges for runners and mountain bikers.

In 2001, Hoosier Mountain Bike Association representative and DINO Series director Brian Holzhausen sponsored a trail running race at Westwood Park. The DINO Series has sanctioned trail running and mountain bike races in Indiana since 1999, with over 225 racers competing in the 2004 season. Holzhausen's runners enjoyed the venue, but he saw the need and opportunity for trails more suitable to foot and bicycle traffic.

The Westwood Park's 800 acres surround Westwood Run Lake, a flood control impoundment created by the Big Blue River Conservancy District, and already included horse & hiking trails. The equestrian trails were rough and muddy, and the hiking trails didn't have enough "flow" for trail running and cycling. Along with racer, personal trainer and New Castle native Bryon Horn, Holzhausen began a dialog with Park Manager Jan Crider. They proposed building a mountain bike-specific trail following the contours of the inlets and peninsulas surrounding the lake. After walking the property to discuss construction techniques and potential user base, the plan came to life.

Holzhausen immediately involved HMBA president Mike Hufhand in the burgeoning project. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) is a statewide volunteer-run charitable organization focused on enhancing opportunities for off-road bicycling in Indiana. Its volunteers help build and maintain the trails they ride, and work with public officials in the planning process for potential new venues. The HMBA has hosted trail building seminars conducted by the International Mountain Bike Association to educate trail designers and builders in methods to make trails less vulnerable to the weather and general wear and tear.

The District's Board approved construction of a short section of trail to demonstrate the HMBA's commitment and ability. After that, the green light was given for design and construction of the entire loop.

In the ensuing three years, volunteers from the HMBA came from throughout the state to plan and build the trail. Holzhausen developed an incentive program called PayDirt, which rewarded DINO Series runners' and riders' trailwork hours with bonus points in the season-long competition. Hundreds of people contributed thousands of hours to sculpt ten miles of 14" wide "singletrack," an endeavor that the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) estimates to represent nearly $100,000 worth of work. Many steep ravines and soggy bottomland areas were spanned with wooden bridges, and steep side-slopes were traversed with "bench-cut" trails, excavated to form level trailbeds. In three places the trail crosses the open water by bridge, providing scenic vistas and cool breezes. All told, the trail offers 1,000 feet of climbing over its length. Most elevation gains are in the realm of 20-50 feet, with the result being a thorough aerobic workout. Although the trail is demanding enough to be enjoyable and challenging for experienced riders, its few technical challenges should not be insurmountable for beginners. Says Horn: "I can definitely see an improvement in both my overall condition and my riding skills from my frequent rides at Westwood".

The trail was built in compliance with standards established by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) regarding appropriate inclines and placement. Particular attention was paid to "sustainability" so that the trail would need minimal on-going maintenance. One of the primary considerations was that the trail was to be built to withstand the rigors of hiking and mountain bike usage, but would not be subjected to the pounding of horses' hooves. For that reason, particular attention was paid to keeping enough space between the equestrian and mountain bike trails to avoid user conflicts.

Mike Hufhand, HMBA President describes the trail at Westwood as a "dream come true." "Without the support of Jan Crider and the District Board, this would never have happened. Now we have a destination-quality mountain bike trail within an hour's drive of over a million Hoosiers. Combined with trails currently under construction in Brown County State Park and Versailles State Park, Indiana has gone from one of the lowest-ranked states [regarding mountain bike trail access] to approaching 'critical mass' in the past three years."

The official opening of the trail will be held on Saturday May 7, 2005 at 10am. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and participate in a group ride on the new trail.

MEDIA DAY IS THURSDAY, MAY 5th, at 10am.

To mark the successful completion of the new trail at Westwood, Holzhausen has chosen Westwood as the only first-time venue in the DINO Series' 2005 season. Trail run races will be August 20th, with mountain bike races the following day. Both series offer opportunities for athletes from novices to seasoned experts.

More information and maps can be found at these websites: www.HMBA.org and at www.DINOseries.com .

Contacts: Mike Hufhand, HMBA President
Brian Holzhausen, DINO Director
Jan Crider, Westwood Park Manager
Mark Finney, HMBA Comm'ns. & PR Director
 
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