By Jon Roberts – Ward, Colorado … Three months of planning and hard work concluded on the evening of July 30 when the newest attraction at Glacier View Ranch, a pump bike track named Shredders’ Pump Track was dedicated.
Without campers at GVR this summer, it was possible for improvements and enhancements to be made. Nathaniel Sanches and Camden Griggs, summer camp staff, using the extra time, worked to fulfill a dream they had for an empty lot that had been reserved for growing dirt.
Working tirelessly during this time, they made what seemed like endless early-morning trips down the mountain to buy supplies at the local home improvement store. The cheers and smiles from the 25 individuals who gathered for the dedication showed these two young adults that their efforts were well worth it.
The pump bike track that they created is an obstacle course of ramps, rocks, and small mounds intended to challenge the most avid mountain biker.
Shredder’s track will not only be an exciting feature at GVR camp, but will invigorate the mountain bike program.
“It is going to be a great part of our mountain biking program. For the more advanced riders, we will use more of a single-track area,” Jessyka Dooley, Rocky Mountain Conference assistant youth director said. “This is a great area for kids with zero bike experience or with a lot of bike experience that they all can enjoy.”
The uniqueness of the track gained the attention of the Mid-American Union Conference youth director, Roger Wade who flew in from Lincoln, Nebraska for the event.
“I need to let the young people know that the church backs them, supports them, especially in a time when they are asking what the church is about–are we important? Is this important for us?” Wade commented. “I’m hoping to take the idea of giving our young adults the opportunity to show their skills, because the passion is not just with the pump track concept, but with the other things that they may be able to do and be able to give back to the church to make their offering to the community and to our young people a greater one.”
When exploring different improvement ideas to focus on this summer, they realized that the pump track was a component that was needed and could benefit future camp programs.
“We have a mountain biking program already. We have invested in bikes and we have invested in a place to store the bikes, but we didn’t have a great location on the property to teach kids how to use the bikes in a way that was skill appropriate and fun, other than riding around on the road,” Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director said. “This was something that would work to expand the program that we already had going. In a way, that now gives the kids something that is going to challenge them, but is actually staged in levels from novice to expert so they can be building skills in mountain biking.”
The designers and creators of this experience added unique features you won’t find elsewhere.
“Wooden teeter totter is unique; you don’t see that at too many bike parks,” explained Nathan Sanches, creator of the track. “We made it out of old gears and rods. We used a lot of natural features including the railroad ties. Everything here is natural, except for the berms. The wooden berms are cool because they are super sustainable objects. The rock skinny we built– you don’t see at a lot of places. The suspension bridge is unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at a bike park before,” Sanches said.
“I hope campers will leave with bumps and bruises, because with that, a staff member will help them out. The staff teaching them different mountain bike skills and connecting with them is what it is all about,” Sanches said.
Speaking on how the pump bike track plays an important role in the Christian values GVR stands for, Dooley commented, we want to create spaces for our staff to connect with campers in a meaningful way. We create spaces and opportunities to have meaningful interactions with our kids. Inside the conversations, we show the youth the love of Jesus through our actions and words. The programming shows them the message that Jesus cares about you; Jesus loves you; Jesus wants you to be part of the community. That vision has not been lost in this new addition; Dooley explained.
–Jon Roberts is RMC communication and media assistant with additional reporting by Rajmund Dabrowski; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski