UROC blazing trails in Cumberland

United Riders of Cumberland at the vanguard of world-class mountain biking venue

THIS MOUNTAIN BIKER competed in an Island Cup cross-country race in Cumberland.

THIS MOUNTAIN BIKER competed in an Island Cup cross-country race in Cumberland.

The United Riders of Cumberland (UROC) hosted the Island Cup XC and the Dodge City Downhill men’s bike race in April.

The latter drew 150-some competitors, the youngest five years old. The field included several national-calibre racers.

Established five years ago, UROC has a growing membership, which does not represent the number of trail users.

“We’re a group of 200; we can say we’re a group of 400,” said UROC board member member Matt Powsey, who lived in the village in 1993 when he and others started building trails. He and a friend started Dodge City Cycles.

“Mountain biking in Cumberland goes back many moons. In the winter of ’93/’94 me and a couple of guys started building the first trails on that north slope.”

One is called Buggered Pig, in reference to a piggery back in the day when Cumberland contained a Chinatown.

“There’s a lot of historical names in the trails,” Powsey said.

These include Haigai, which was the name of the main street in Chinatown; Bucket of Blood, named after the Wellington Hotel; Trail Tuna Juice, a nickname of a kid who delivered lunches in the mines; Bronco’s Perseverance, in reference to longtime mayor/alderman Bronco Moncrief; Shaker, built where Japanese shake mill lines were located; Black Hole, in reference to coal seams in a deep hole; and Steam Donkey.

“It’s pretty fantastic,” said Powsey, who feels mountain biking is the major draw to Cumberland. “There’s people coming on big vacations to ride British Columbia single track. They’re going to Whistler, Vancouver and Cumberland … Regardless of what anybody says, mountain biking has been the catalyst for what turned Cumberland around in terms of a thriving village.”

The club is in the initial stages of designing a jump park at Village Park, where they hope to break dirt in the fall.

UROC has entered a two-year agreement with the Village to work with staff on land access agreements with land owners. The Memo of Understanding will help the club to further promote mountain biking in Cumberland — and to further build a destination tourism product locally.

“There’s a real population to do that in Cumberland,” said UROC president Mike Manara, noting the village rivals the Sea to Sky corridor in terms of mountain biking, according to the Mountain Bike Tourism Association. “To be considered in that kind of league is pretty special.”

UROC youth memberships are available at Dodge City Cycles. All-mountain Mondays are for riders aged 11 to 17. There are also rides for women and beginners.

Check unitedridersofcumberland.com and Facebook for more information.

 

The next event is a 12-hour endurance race in June.