Valmont Bike Park's history goes back to 1996 with very humble origins. In May of 1996 the city hosted a public input meeting on what to do with the newly purchased 132 acres of park land on Valmont Road. Two passionate local cyclists, Chris Graelish of Boulder/Denver Couriers and Bobby Noyes of RockyMounts, saw the need for a dedicated place to ride. Chris, a race promoter, had limited access to safe facilities to host events as the city and county roads had become increasingly harder to close for events. Bobby ran a cycling team in town that helped promote the cycling events. They discussed the problem with Lou Patterson, a cyclist and VP at Pearl Izumi. They decided to do a mailing to every registered cyclist of the USCF (Now USA Cycling). Bobby and Chris stuffed the envelopes and Pearl Izumi paid for the stamps. 500 letters went out urging cyclists to attend the public input meeting. These were the days before the Internet and the message was harder to get out.
At the first public input meeting, 75 people showed up and 68 were cyclists. The day before a local cyclist Tiffany Pezzulo was run over on Highway 36 on a ride outside of town. Fortunately, she survived. With Tiffany's horrific story splashed across the front page of The Daily Camera, the tone of the meeting was clear: cyclists in town are a user group with unmet needs. Boulder had a problem providing a safe, accessible riding experience. Boulder's Park Department saw this need and began Valmont's planning to include cycling facilities. At this meeting, Pete Webber emerged as the voice of reason. His experience as a pro bike racer led him to work with Grealish, Noyes and the city to add cycling programming within Boulder's Parks Department. The department was overwhelmed. They didn't realize providing cycling in addition to traditional programming was needed. They were very open to the idea and we have worked closely ever since.
After a year of public input meetings, surveys and focus groups Valmont's plan emerged. However, the dot com bust was a blow to the city's budget and planning for Valmont City Park was shelved. In 2006, Boulder's City Council made it a priority to develop Valmont City Park. The concept plan originally approved for the site in 1996 was old, the demographics had changed and the plans required updating to meet current city needs. Fortunately, cycling was still important to the city and they made the decision to develop 40 of Valmont's132 acres into a bike park.
BHA Landscape (Ft. Collins, CO) and Alpine Bike Parks (Whistler, BC) came together in developing a new plan for the bike park. It was a great opportunity, but a great challenge to balance the needs of the greater community, neighbors, youth and a passionate cycling community.
Dawn 'til dusk (weather permitting)