Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been picking away at building a pump track with the help of my kids. This is a joint effort because we’re all going to be using it. For me, it will be a nice diversion for the times that I can’t get over to Kingdom Trails or just don’t feel like going far from home. My kids have been wanting to build some trails for a while so this is the first step. I may even make some single-track around here next summer but for now this pump track should be a lot of fun. They have both been helping out quite a bit and we’ve made some good progress. The track has no rollers in it to pump with, so technically it isn’t actually a pump track yet. Once the banked corners are complete, we’ll take on the rollers. They will have to be graded so that my son’s bike will will be able to navigate them as well. We’re actually cutting it a bit wide so that my son will be able to ride it with his bike as well as our mountain bikes. The spacing of things will need to be slightly more open than other pump tracks I’ve ridden so it will work well with my 29 inch wheels. Some day I may put in some alternate lines that are narrower and have a steeper pitch.
The worst of the work as been removing sods from the track. I pulled up about a third of the track by hand with a shovel and did the remainder with a tiller. We have raked and shoveled the track to an even grade, but it still needs to be smoothed out a lot. One banked corner is nearly perfect, although it will eventually need to be made a little bit taller. The other three need to be built up more and shaped. This is one of the few times that I wish I had some big power equipment like a tractor or a small backhoe. I’m racing against the clock to get anything more done now that winter is pretty imminent. It’s not unusual for the winter snow to fall and stay for the season starting any time now.
I’ve been out on the track a few times over the past week. In its current state, it is pretty good. It isn’t as fast as I had hoped, but that will likely improve after the rollers and dips are in and the surface graded smooth. Part of my slowness is that I’m still learning to trust the banked corners. I instinctively want to brake when entering the corner at speed, but I know that I could let it go quite a bit more and still make it around. Trust.
It’s surprising what a good workout I can get just riding around the track. Accelerating out of the corners takes a quite a bit of power but gives a pretty cool rush. I wouldn’t want to spend endless hours on it just yet as the terrain is not very interesting. Eventually, I will build the rollers in the middle of the straights into a “table-top” shape so they can ridden over or jumped. Still, for now, it’s not bad to rip around with the ipod playing some good music.
I sketched what I hope will be the final layout in the image below. Once the four corners are complete and the straight runs graded, we’ll start working on the two opposing banked corners on the inside of the ends. The inside area will likely be worked on next spring. The center will be a large mound with a banked corner on each side allowing quite a bit of variety in lapping around the track. There will also be lines over the top of the mound so that it can be run in a figure eight pattern too.