One of the things the Northfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board is trying to move toward is making our community’s parks less seasonal. One example of this is Sechler Park… Our local mountain biking chapter called “Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails” (CROCT) has now developed a wonderful MTB trail network throughout the wooded portion of the park, ranging from beginner to expert level. The MTB trails can be accessed from Laurel Court behind Walgreens, entering the woods just to the right of the walking bridge. Folks can also enter behind the pavilion in the center of the park. We are currently working on signage that will be coming soon.
The 1.5 hour hike of about 3 miles (from the cul-de-sac behind Walgreen’s to the far pavilion and back) was a little challenging, as the temperature hovered around the zero degrees F mark with gusty northwest winds.
Marty and I wanted to give them a first-hand look at what CROCT volunteers have accomplished in Sechler Park since we got approval from the City to construct a mountain bike trail there last year. We’d like to add extensions and features to the trail this year, as well as install one or more trail head kiosks. And we’re interested in discussing the possibilities of adding off-road trails and bike park features like pump tracks to other City of Northfield parks. (For example, see the CROCT blog posts about the Meadows Park community planning meetings.)
We’re not yet sure if Dave and Dale were impressed with what they saw, but given the weather conditions, it’s likely they’ll remember the experience. 😉
Today I accompanied CROCT member Myrna Mibus on her first fat bike ride on the more challenging sections of the Sechler Park mtb trail. Sections of The Spine can eat you up and spit you out, as she found out. Fresh snow made it tougher than normal:
But she owned a challenging line in the Velodrome section of the Figure 8 loop:
Here’s a 40-second video of her various rides. She was smiling and laughing way too much:
We don’t have a grandiose plan (yet!) to create ‘destination’ mountain bike trails here in Rice County. We first want to create trails for those of us who live here to ride. But having trails that mountain bikers can enjoy when they are visiting the area for some other reason is cool. And I think it adds to the overall desirability of the area for those considering moving here.
As far as I know, Rob Stepaniak, manager of the Highland Park Erik’s Bike & Board Shop in St. Paul, was the first non-CROCTer to ride our Sechler Park trail when he paid a visit on Thanksgiving morning on his way to visiting family in Faribault. I wasn’t there but he posted these photos on Facebook and gave me permission to use them here.
Last Saturday, I gave MAMB member Clay Haglund a tour of the Sechler trail on his way to visiting family in Hastings. I captured this 27-second video of him sessioning in the Figure 8 loop. I’m pretty sure he was the first to make it up the steep portion of the ‘velodrome’ segment since it snowed.