The Fort Lewis College Cycling team started building a temporary dual slalom course on Chapman Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
It was built in preparation for the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships on Oct. 10-13 in Big Bear Lake, California.
Chapman Hill is located below the FLC campus featuring the Flow Trail and a small ski operation in the winter. With the help of the cycling team, Honnan Equipment and AJ Construction construction of the track was completed Sept. 19.
“We need to practice for mountain bike nationals,” Dave Hagen, Director of FLC Cycling said. “We are fortunate enough to have the city of Durango to this whole thing we have going on here.”
A dual slalom course consists of two people racing at one time on two tracks with berms (banked turns), jumps and other features all lasting under a minute, Hagen said.
“I’m super stoked to have this five minutes from my house,” Cole Fiene, a sophomore and FLC gravity racer team member, said. “It’s pretty special.”
The cycling team competes in five different disciplines: track, mountain bike, cyclocross, BMX and road, according to the FLC Cycling Team website. The team has been ranked USA Cycling’s number one Division I team in the nation four times and has also won the National Championships over 20 times in mountain biking, cyclocross and road racing.
The City of Durango approved the project and will be reusing the dirt once snow falls to return the hill to a skiable condition, Hagen said.
This dirt is already reused from an old construction project on campus and will be enough to complete the course, Hagen said. Along with reusing dirt, the team recycled old hoses and siphoned water from a natural spring, located just up the Flow Trail on Chapman Hill, to shape jumps and other obstacles.
Although this course is temporary, Hagen has high hopes of one returning next year, he said.
“They plan to incorporate the skiing operations into it,” Hagen said, referring to the City of Durango and Chapman Hill. “It would really be good for the community.”
The team plans to host a local competition on the new track at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. All FLC cycling athletes and all local cyclists are welcome to attend and participate.