The big debate this weekend for anyone with a mountain bike in Boulder is whether to go to the opening of the Valmont Bike Park Saturday or to wait for a more crowd-free day.

That’s right, Valmont is opening. It feels so long-awaited that it seems appropriate to repeat it.

Valmont. Opening.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this for months (especially since my office moved nearby). Some of you have waited years. Decades. Geologic time has passed. Glaciers have melted, multiple bike parts have worn out since the first visionaries thought, let us have a bike park, where treaded rubber can be free to kiss dirt between gasps of big air, and the clouds shall part, and the angels shall sing.

And there will be much rejoicing.

OK, it’s really only been in the works since 1996, said Botsy Phillips, BMA vice president.

With much rejoicing going on, I have to go experience it myself. I want to be there among a horde of cyclists. It feels like an opportunity to revel in the community that sports creates.

Here’s why that community feeling matters: We have many, many trail users here, of many stripes.

Lately, my M.O. has been to hike or trail run into the Flatirons to scramble up a rock for a taste of peace and solace. But I also love the feeling of screaming down singletrack so fast my eyes water. I’m mostly a climber now, but all the scars on my knees were borne on a bike (rather, by falling off a bike).

Like many of you, I use our trails in multiple ways — I run, hike, approach climbs, ride a bike. And I’m pretty sure I’ve run into that one bad apple from every user group out there.

Every group — every group — is going to have at least one bad apple. So I have one simple, humble request for all users: Consider whether a little trail etiquette combined with a little tolerance could go a long way on our busy trails, no matter how you’re traveling.

Besides, though there was civility during the West TSA process, there was also conflict, so aren’t we due for a little community kumbaya? Maybe if you’re a mountain biker, you can start this Saturday by appreciating all of the good apples who volunteered much time and energy to create this utopian bike park, the city that helped make it happen and the riders with whom you now share it.

Start there, and maybe the good vibes will spread beyond cyclists, beyond the bike park. That’s right, I’m getting woo-woo on you. Kumbaya, baby. Yes, fight for what you think is right. But let’s still get along. Put some namaste in your pipe and smoke it. Or put it in your water bottle. Whatever works, for the love of Pete, because there are a bunch of us out there on trails, and that’s not changing any time soon.

In light of all that, if you head to Valmont, please read the etiquette tips on the bike park website or Then show up at the park tomorrow at 11 a.m., when some of our most stylish local riders (like Joey Schusler) will do two things:

1. Demonstrate what’s possible when a rider with mega skillz (“z” warranted, have you seen these guys?) hits big features at the bike park

2. Fill you in on bike-park etiquette, because whether you have mere skills or mega skillz, we all have to get along out there and hopefully not crash our brains out.

Kumbaya, much rejoicing, blah, blah, blah!

Info: Park opens (minus gravity features) at 9 a.m.; ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.; demo at 11 a.m.; gravity features open at 11:15 a.m.;


This weekend also marks the running of the 26th Sunrise Stampede in Longmont.

The Stampede has serious longevity — it still has the same race committee as when it started in ’86, and the same designer, Alison Richards, has created the design for the Stampede’s T-shirt since the beginning, too.

If you have the T-shirts, it’s like you’ve collected her body of work…and worn it on your body.


Info: 2 mile and 10K courses; races start at 8:30 and 8:40 a.m. respectively Saturday; more at

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