By Stacy Walenter
In the spring of 2016, downtown Troy got an exciting addition to its landscape with the creation of the pump track, located just behind the Troy Museum. This spring, bicycling enthusiasts can look forward to the added enjoyment of a new three-quarter mile flow trail.
The pump track and flow trail were both constructed by Terraflow Trail Systems, which was founded in 2009 and is based in Whitefish.
According to owner Pete Costain, a flow trail “is a smooth trail built specifically for bicycles that integrates natural and man made rollers, dips, and banked corners (berms) for the sole purpose of having more fun than a flat trail would provide. Riding a flow trail well is a game of gravity and skill that can take some time to perfect, but the end goal is to ride a flow trail fast, thus enhancing the compressive forces of the berms and dips and the unweighting experience of the rollers.”
A pump track, on the other hand, is “an exaggerated flow trail with so many features that a skilled rider can ride and ‘pump’ the entire track without any pedaling.”
Flow trails are more conducive to speed and mountain bikes, while pump tracks are “tighter and more technical” and are better for BMX-type bikes. However, either type of bike works well on both courses.
The funds for both courses came from grant funds secured by the Kootenai Mountain Riders (KMR). On their Facebook page, KMR says it is “devoted to promoting the sport of mountain biking, protecting access to trails for riders of all levels and styles, and to maintaining mountain biking opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible.” Kootenai Mountain Riders’ membership stretches from Bonners Ferry, Idaho to Trout Creek.
KMR was awarded a grant from Troy Parks and Recreation for the pump track, with an additional, smaller grant from the Lincoln County Community Foundation to help cover design costs. The flow trail is being funded by a $20,000 grant from Montana State Parks’ Recreation Trails Program.
Though the grant is coming from a state organization, KMR secretary Shana Bernall said that backing from the community has been outstanding.
During an interview with Bernall, she said that the city of Troy has graciously provided the land for both courses.
The City of Troy and Lincoln County have both hauled dirt as in-kind contributions. The Bull River Fire Department donated dirt from their building site for the second phase of current project.
Costain said that the trails are essentially done, but Terraflow will be back soon to complete what they started in the fall, since the cold weather did not allow them to finish. Bernall said, though the finish work is forthcoming, the trail should be rideable once the club clears debris and fallen branches at its work day on April 7.
The trails are an ideal outdoor activity for families after a long winter stuck indoors. The proximity of the two courses will allow families to use both and still be within view of each other.
“The Troy flow trails consist of 3 trails with a gentle downhill grade and one return trail. Looking downhill, the three trails generally increase in difficulty from right to left,” Costain said. “One very cool feature of the trails is that they are all within eyesight of each other, which means a group of riders could ‘race’ each other to some degree.”
The Kootenai Mountain Riders aim to expand the trail system from out of town into the surrounding forests. The trails in town are great for families, but as skills improve, Bernall expects people will want to be challenged.
Bernall’s husband Ben works for the United States Forest Service and, while there is not currently any final approval, they are looking at creating mountain bike-specific trail systems catering to advanced mountain bikers.
Costain believes the flow trail, pump track, and potential trails will be a good thing for the city of Troy.
“The hope is that additional new trails will eventually be built in the mountains directly surrounding Troy to help elevate the area to a vacation-worthy riding destination, especially if existing Forest Service trails are marketed as well,” Costain said. “The U.S. is full of success stories from the last ten years of small towns reinventing themselves as mountain biking destinations, which inevitably brings in food and lodging dollars in the summer months.”
Anyone interested in keeping up to date with the efforts of Kootenai Mountain Riders can like the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kmrmtb.