Although progress or fresh news of the bike park at Stafford Lake in Novato, California has trickled out painfully slow at times, things are on track. In fact, the long wait is finally over with the first phase of the new bike park set to open on August 22nd.
The long awaited opening event is presented by Marin County Parks, and will be free to the public, with stoked riders finally getting their chance to ride the progressive jump line and dual slalom track.
A few weeks ago, I took the day off to visit the site and hang out with the build crew tasked with dialing in the features. Previously contracted to build the dual slalom track, they had returned to Marin County for another round of construction. Their mission: dial in and finish the progressive jump line.
The crew consisted of Chris Orr of IMBA Trail Solutions as well as Shea Ferrel, Case Ferrel and Cody Barger of Flowride Concepts. The crew members come to the project with years of bike park and trail building experience.
Although construction of the jump line had been started, the crew had their work cut out for them. Being riders in addition to being builders means stopping periodically to perform flow checks. AKA, riding the park to make sure the experience lives up to expectations.
It’s clearly the best part of the job of being builders, but an essential task as well. When they arrived, it was obvious the jump line needed some love. Constructed by Marin Parks from construction documents, some of the tables were too long, too short, or straight up weren’t working. As riders that dig know, there’s more to building flow than interpreting lines on a page.
There’s an art to constructing and creating flow, especially when it comes to jump lines. Add to that considerations given to beginner, intermediate and advanced lines; each one needs to run well for the speeds and skill levels intended.
Difficult to put into words, sometimes you just need to ride it to feel it.
Some of the lips needed work in terms of height or radius. Spacing between some of the sets needed to be adjusted as well.
The second straight needed even more work; unlike the first straight which was gravity fed, the terrain had leveled out, and maintaining speed wasn’t possible, so major re-jiggering of the course was the game plan.
Build. Ride. Dial it in.
Since these photos were shot, the next row of jumps has come a long way, and that opening date is just around the corner. Get ready to get your shred on Marin riders.
Read up more on the plans for the Stafford Lake Bike Park here.