Windham World Cup and a Bike Park to Be
1 Oct 2014
After a mid-week break from World Cup action, we got racing fever again as we headed south from Whiteface, straight down Interstate 87, to the Catskill Mountains. Our destination in the southern part of New York State is Windham Mountain ski resort. What made this stop on the East Coast Road Trip stand out is the fact that Windham is not yet a bike park. They have flirted with the idea for a number of years now, hosting lift-accessed weekends as stand-alone events. But, they had yet to commit to the concept of a ‘proper’ bike park by investing in the trails and opening the lifts to bikes for the summer. And this, in spite of establishing themselves as a regular stop on the UCI World Cup circuit!
(The route from Whiteface to Windham)
Now things are about to change! For the 2015 summer season and beyond, Windham will be officially opening as a lift-accessed mountain bike park! So, while we got to check out some more pro-racing action, we also got the chance to find out more of what they have planned. And it’s looking good. Windham has brought in the runaway leaders in mountain bike trail design, Whistler Gravity Logic, and Tom “Pro” Prochazka and Dave Kelley have been scoping things out over the summer. No sooner had the World Cup circus rolled out of town, and the guys set to work on 2 brand new top-to-bottom flow trails targeted at the intermediate standard of rider. Machine built, with optional lips to pop-off depending on your comfort level with air-time, they will be the perfect addition to the 2 existing downhill trails – the main World Cup one, and the other DH used for the POC Eastern States Cup event that ran on the same weekend.
(World Cup in action!)
There is a 3-4 year plan for development of the bike park and the trails, with a long-term objective to link with other trails in the area. The Windham Area Recreation Foundation (WARF) holds the master plan, which will connect the bike park with the Elm Ridge and Mount Hayden trail systems down the road. Obviously as there’s a well-established ski resort, there are plenty of the essential facilities that you would expect – accommodation, restaurants, shops and so on. There’s also a good few options for camping, although some are a bit of a drive down the road from Windham. Our base for the weekend was the Whip-O-Will campsite about 12 miles east, where we got caught up in all sorts of fun and games with the great folks there. Ever seen a stretched-bar, golf-cart?! No, neither had we – check out the ERCT Windham video that will be posted-up shortly.
(World Cup women showing us how it's done)
(Ain't no thang)
The Windham Bike Park has a pretty strong geographical location, being only 2 and half hours drive north from Manhattan. So, that’s a lot of mountain bike traffic that traditionally heads further north in the state, or in to Vermont, that Windham now has the potential to capture. But, with proximity to the big smoke comes a few interesting characters as well – the local news was awash with warnings of a ‘perp’ still on the loose after stealing an an elderly woman’s walker, and a woman shoplifter who ‘allegedly’ bit a worker in Home Depot in order to get away…although we were not told what she was trying to get away from!
(Our good friend, bad ass racer and bike park manager at Steamboat Trevyn Newpher)
As for the DH event, Ratboy managed to spoil the US of A party and steal the win from under the nose of Aaron Gwin. The atmosphere of the crowd deflated in a heartbeat as the last man down went through the first split at 2 seconds up on the American. And, Emmeline Ragot brought it home for the girls. Next year you’ll be able to ride the course yourself, but, in the mean time, you’ll just have to make do with scoping-out the pro-lines in a few of our pics below.
(He needs no intro but... RATBOY for the win!)
(Whatever road gap)
(A little air time for the POC ESC race event)
(The WBP crew hard at work. Newspaper headlines tout the 2015 Opening of Windham Mountain Bike Park.)