Off-road cycling sports are definitely on a roll these days in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon. Eugene built its first dedicated mountain biking trail last summer. Emerald Valley BMX is set to host a USA BMX national event in May, Cottage Grove BMX is rebuilding the track in Cottage Grove, and grant funding will help build new mountain biking trails and skills park in Suzanne Arlie Park.
It's All Downhill From Here!
Pipe Dream is the name of the new downhill mountain biking trail. Located in Amazon Headwaters Park, the trail branches off from the Ridgeline Trail between Fox Hollow and Dillard West trailheads. This is the first dedicated downhill mountain biking trail in the city of Eugene. Although its proximity to the city may entice new mountain bikers in the area to try it out, the trail requires an intermediate level of skill according to Eugene Parks and Open Space. The Pipe Dream trail is a testament to community engagement as it took a combined effort from different volunteer groups such as the Eugene Mountain Bike Stewards and the Disciples of Dirt.
Just over a mile to the east, the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space has been awarded a $1.2 million grant to begin phase one of the Suzanne Arlie Park development for the Ridgeline Trail connection and mountain bike amenities. Slated to begin in 2024, funds granted by the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will be used to create multi-use trails as well as more dedicated mountain biking trails and even a mountain bike skills park. “Eugene just completed its first dedicated mountain bike trail this year,” said Mayor Lucy Vinis. “This funding allows us to create a whole network of trails and a skills park -- additions that will draw and delight mountain bikers from across the region after many years of expressing desire for such an area.” The EDA grant uses funds provided by the American Rescue Plan as a means of investment to boost tourism, create jobs, and solidify local recreational infrastructure.
Row River Resurgence
South of Eugene, Cottage Grove is revitalizing BMX in their town. In partnership with USA BMX, an organization that organizes races and helps to build tracks all across the nation, a local group called Row River BMX is leading the charge to build a new BMX track at the original track site that was shut down years ago. This comes after a unanimous decision by the Cottage Grove City Council last June where a letter from Row River BMX stated, “USA BMX and the USA BMX Foundation fully support the construction of a USA BMX track in Cottage Grove, OR,” and “Upon the completion of the BMX track, USA BMX will support, with full sanction status, local program creation, and event scheduling.”
While there is no date yet as to when the track will be completed, once finished, Row River BMX will continue an over 30-year history of BMX in Cottage Grove. Hosting community events and fundraisers, Row River BMX is committed to the completion of the project.
Emerald Valley BMX Meets the Gold Standard
Over the past few years, Emerald Valley BMX has been hosting many local and statewide competitions. Everything from local single races, which are scheduled three times a week, to regional and state-level races. Emerald Valley BMX hosted the Northwest Regional Championship Gold Cup Finals in 2019. In 2021, they hosted a Northwest Gold Cup Qualifier Triple, a State Final Triple, and a State Race Double. And in 2022, they hosted a State Race Double, and a State Final Triple again.
After hosting so many successful races, Emerald Valley BMX will host the USA BMX 2023 Lumberjack Nationals. The Lumberjack Nationals is an annual event that takes place in the Pacific Northwest region over three days. Last year, Lumberjack Nationals was hosted by Columbia Basin BMX in Richland, Washington. It’s one of 28 USA BMX National weekends. This will be the first time since the 2019 Northwest Gold Cup Finals that Emerald Valley BMX has hosted a major USA BMX race. BMX riders from all over the country will be coming to Eugene to compete.
On A Roll!
Biking and BMX are on the rise across the country. USA BMX actually noticed an uptick in membership during the pandemic as families looked to find new outdoor activities. Additionally, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics saw BMX as an Olympic sport which means kids across the world saw amazing BMX talent, inspiring them to pick up the high-flying sport. These boosts to the sport mean USA BMX is seeing its highest membership with over 77,000 members nationwide.
From recreation to competition, downhill to BMX, the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region is truly on a roll! With the region set to host a USA BMX national event, the revitalization of a BMX track, and the building of new mountain biking trails and a skills park, it’s clear that the off-road cycling sports world is growing and thriving in this beautiful region of Oregon. Riders love to compete and explore here!