By Mark S. Kuhar
Transit Mix, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Continental Materials, is hoping to turn a Colorado Springs, Colo., quarry where it plans to discontinue operations into a world-class mountain bike park.
Transit Mix is completing its mining operations at Pikeview Quarry off West Woodman Road in Colorado Springs. The company is looking to move to the privately owned Hitch Rack Ranch, about 10 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.
City councilors and state legislators have come out in support of Transit Mix’s offer to close and move two batch plants (on Costilla Street and North Nevada Avenue) and accelerate the closure of two existing quarries (Black Canyon near Manitou Springs and Pikeview in northwest Colorado Springs) if granted a permit to open the quarry at Hitch Rack Ranch.
The concept plan for the mountain bike park envisions an extensive variety of trails, loops and features that cater to all types and styles of riders. Projected amenities include mountain, downhill and slopestyle tracks, a BMX and pump track, a youth learning area, flow trails, a cyclocross course and a bike polo field. The plan allows for trail networks that could be utilized for organized races and events. It also provides space for facilities and amenities that are compatible with the bike park, including family picnic areas, a playground and a large dog park.
Pikeview offers several unique characteristics conducive to a bike park. The size of the parcel, approximately 150 acres, would provide significant space to create a variety of trail types, features and experiences. Other bike parks along the Front Range are much smaller in size, ranging from a few acres to 40 acres.
The nearly 900 ft. of vertical change in elevation at Pikeview would allow for longer, steeper and more challenging trails. Local rocks from the site could be used to create sustainable technical features in the trail as well. Transit Mix’s existing maintenance shop could serve as a small events center, offering rental space for parties, bike clinics, races, bike service and rentals and a small coffee shop or concessionaire.
Furthermore, Pikeview’s location adjacent to the Pike National Forest provides for possible trail connections to the national forest and an existing trail network atop Rampart Range. The views from the property are uninterrupted and expansive, further enhancing the users’ experience of the property. There are also opportunities for regional trail connectivity with the existing Foothills Trail, a tier II urban trail at the entrance to Pikeview.
Transit Mix is especially proud to announce vigorous support for the concept from area cycling advocates and organizations, including USA Cycling. Marc Gullickson, the mountain bike program director for USA Cycling, said, “The mountain bike park envisioned for Pikeview would be a tremendous amenity in any community but especially valuable here in Colorado Springs, where America’s Olympic athletes could train on it.”
Scott Schnitzspahn, the vice president of athletics for USA Cycling, added, “USA Cycling doesn’t have anything like the Pikeview Mountain Bike Park available now. It would be a huge asset to the cycling community and reinforce Colorado Springs’ identity as Olympic City USA.”
Jerald Schnabel, president of Transit Mix Concrete Co., said, “Pikeview Quarry has been operational since 1905. Transit Mix inherited the scar on the mountain when it acquired Castle Concrete, which had operated Pikeview Quarry since it began leasing the property from Golden Cycle Corp. in 1969. We are excited to announce a plan to leave the land much better than we found it.”