We spent our New Year’s Day on the couch, talking about bikes, and watching videos and movies. Not to mention, doing a bit of recovery from the previous night’s festivities. Our host, Rocker Dave Walker, was telling us about some covered Dirt Jumps a short drive from Portland, located in Salem, Oregon. A quick check on BRMBA’s website found the location to be the Salem Fairgrounds. In fact, the site was the same as where the old indoor Bike/Skatepark existed. Its a shame the park was shut down, but a small skating area remains, as well as the highlight, covered (dry!) dirt jumps!
The team that is the Black Rock Mountain Bike Association has been making things happen. They are best known for their work in creating a sanctioned Freeriding Area in Falls City, Oregon. Falls City has become a major draw for riders from all over, and in fact, recently been showing up all over in recent Fox Clothing ads. The club has taken the next step, and set up a covered Dirt Jump Park in the fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon. This is significant in rainy Oregon, where having a covered riding spot for winter is key. Most riders in Oregon just suck it up, and gear up for the cold and muddy conditions. Personally, I hated it when living here, so when we heard about a dry place to ride, checking it out became a priority.
After loading our bikes and gear up, we got on the road. Snow fall the night before made the drive through North Portland a bit more interesting, as we tested the traction control on the Xb. Once on the freeways, the snow wasn’t really an issue. Rolling up to the fairgrounds, we found ourselves the only visitors present other than a kid on a 20″ and his grandpa, who seemed to delight in the company of other adults to talk to. In fact, we were the only people present for the first hour we were there, which was to me, a bit strange, if not pleasant.
The riding area was an open barn space with a few signs stating the rules, which actually surprised us a bit. I guess we assumed there would be a charge to ride, as well as gates. The fact it was a public free for all, was pretty sweet. On the left was a pump track which served as a nice warm up. The layout of the track was pretty good, and has a lot of potential. We noted a few sections were the rollers didn’t quite work- the spacing was tight and they were difficult to actually pump.
With a minor bit of sculpting, and respacing a few rollers here and there and this would have been a sweet set up. The track as is, is slow, and takes a lot of work to get through, especially compared to tracks like Mark Weir’s, or other dialed Portland area pump tracks. We saw a van with BRMBA decals roll up as we were on our way out, so it’s clear its still a work in progress.
Since the pump track was pretty rough still we quickly moved on to the warm up lines of the dirt jump area. The dirt jump area had 3 basic lines. A small, very beginner line (that would have been awesome in the pump track area), an intermediate line with 3″ lips and 8″ tables, and a more advanced line.
After riding for a bit, Rocker Dave found the light switch, which made a world of difference- we could actually see the lips of the jumps!
The preferred route of travel through the jumps was through the set of three intermediate table top jumps, then turning a 180 via the berm at the end. Riders then had the option of hitting up the more advanced line or coming back via the beginner line.
After getting warmed up, we would hip off the first jump to right, racer through the next two, to the berm, and come back through the biggest set.
As the day wore on, more and more riders showed up to get their drizzly day session in. Our host was feeling pretty mellow, and put his bike away before we snapped our shots to document the day, but we made him pose for this lovely lifestyle shot:
Times for the indoor are as follows (for Bikes AND Skate Board)
Monday – Tuesday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday – Sunday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
for more information on the Park and the BRMBA, visit their site: http://brmba.org