CrestaOpenSpace.JPG

An overview of Cresta Open Space in Colorado Springs, with the left foreground being the proposed location of an envisioned mountain bike pump track.

The prospect of a new mountain bike venue in Colorado Springs coincides with a struggling effort to reimagine an old one.

"It's not either/or," said Cory Sutela, executive director of Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, the sport's leading advocacy group locally.

But momentum sides with an envisioned series of rollers, berms and other skill-building spoils at Cresta Open Space on the city's southwest side. Meanwhile, on the northeast, dreams continue for a better Goose Gossage Bike Park.

"Make Goose Gossage Great Again," goes the name of the GoFundMe that started in early April, aimed at improving dirt jumps in need of better soil and, more expensive and logistical, a reliable source of water for sculpting ramps.

The fundraiser was started by Boris Simmonds. For air-craving riders like him and little kids like his own, he said he'd like a more "progressive" park.

Currently, Goose Gossage "is a mixture of extremely easy and small jumps that mostly kids ride," Simmonds said, "and then it jumps into very steep and more technical jumps."

If Goose Gossage Bike Park was ever great, he said, it was when it was made an official, public space nearly two decades ago — "ahead of its time in a way," Simmonds said. Jumps elsewhere have a history of being privately and sometimes illegally made and maintained over time.

"There's kind of an ethos around jump parks," Sutela said. "If you ride, you dig."

Observers say that ethos has never taken hold at Goose Gossage. Diggers have come and gone. Jumps have formed and crumbled, lasting only as long as the interested builder or builders.

Simmonds rallied more than a dozen volunteers for a city-supported work day last month and posted about it on the Goose Gossage Bike Park Facebook page he started.

Allen Beauchamp, a prominent cycling advocate in the city, commented his thanks: "This is such an important facility for our local riders who value air time, but it's the fact that every time I visit, there are riders of all ages and entire families there having good, clean, dirty fun. ... Kudos for your vision and effort!"

But can the vision last?

Simmonds' goal of $10,000, with funds housed by nonprofit Medicine Wheel, stood shy of $1,000 after one month. He said the city has been "100% supportive," but "financially has been less than I had hoped, and that seems to be driven by economic reasons."

Medicine Wheel for years has taken an "encouraging" and "empowering" approach, Sutela said. But time- and labor-intensive jumps have never risen up the group's priority list, he said.

Goose Gossage "needs a community that really cares about it and is regularly doing work on it," Sutela said. Similar, he said, to friends groups that have risen at other city parks to assist a resources-strapped department. 

For now, Medicine Wheel has teamed up with fellow nonprofit Kids on Bikes and Cheyenne Mountain Cycling Club to create the pump track at Cresta Open Space. The goal, Sutela said, is to jointly raise $45,000 and start construction this summer on the site approved by parks officials in a 2018 master plan.

In easy pedaling distance of team riders at Cheyenne Mountain High School and situated along trails to Stratton Open Space and North Cheyenne Cañon, the idea is "a progressive, skills development facility that really takes advantage of the natural terrain," Sutela said.

It won't be as extensive as Denver's Ruby Hill Bike Park or Boulder's Valmont Bike Park. "Not huge," Sutela said, "but very good."

Which sounded good to Simmonds. He said he hoped similar enthusiasm could develop around jumps.

But he won't be around to see it. His family is moving to Golden soon.

"I'm hoping other people step up," he said.

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