It takes a village to raise a pump track.
On the night of Nov. 4, a group of San Mateo County officials and landscape designers held a virtual community workshop over Zoom to reveal three potential designs for a new pump track in El Granada’s Quarry Park. It’s something local bike enthusiasts have been hoping for since the county closed an unauthorized track in January.
Due to the pandemic, the process will take longer than anticipated. Nicholas Calderon, director for the San Mateo County Parks Department, said the contractors likely won’t break ground until at least late April 2021.
With final designs still in flux, there are still many steps to be taken before bikers finally drop in. The Granada Community Services District will vote on funding at a later date, and the track needs a Coastal Development Permit prior to completion. But the meeting last week was the first step in a long planning process toward getting an official and robust pump track in Quarry Park. Participants voiced their feedback on the new designs, and several people expressed gratitude that local community members were working hand in hand with county and district officials to move the project forward. At one point, more than 40 people were watching on Zoom.
The three pump track options were presented by Zach Wormhoudt, a Santa Cruz-based designer who runs Wormhoudt Inc. While the firm has extensive experience building dozens of skate and bike parks, Wormhoudt worked closely with a community focus group, which included local residents and bikers, such as former Midcoast Community Councilmember Chris Johnson and Ric Barker, who runs the Coastside Mountain Bikers Club.
The designs were labeled as “Butterfly,” “Merger” and “Flying X.” An initial poll of participants revealed Flying X to be the most popular option by far. It’s a bit more dynamic and slightly longer than the other two. Wormhoudt emphasized that while each option has slightly different variations and layout, one is not necessarily more advanced than the other.
Regardless of which design is chosen, a perimeter skill track will surround the facility. This could include features like a rhythm section, log pile, rock garden and bridge wave. His goal is to strike a balance where less experienced riders can learn the nuances of maneuvering and “pumping” around the series of banked slopes, while at the same time skilled bikers can push themselves on the track.
“Each one of these layouts, the overall challenge of the terrain, configuration, height and difficulty is equal. It’s just the layout that varies,” he said.
Landscape architecture firm Gates and Associates, which worked on the Quarry Park Master Plan, hosted the meeting and oversees the overall design and community outreach. It’s also bringing in public amenities like picnic tables, bike fixing stations and a drinking fountain.
“We’re really optimistic this is going to be the start of a great relationship with the Parks Department,” said Barker.
Concerns about parking arose as a few viewers wondered if Quarry Park’s parking lot needed to be expanded to prevent overflow onto the streets. Barbara Dye, president of the board of the GCSD, said additional parking would be considered in the updated Quarry Park Master Plan, which could be revealed as a draft by the end of the year.
The track will be built in the meadow northeast of the parking lot. Calderon said this location was ideal because the track would have a minimal environmental impact and be easily accessible from the parking lot. This is the county’s first time developing a pump track. Calderon and designers want the layout to be an inclusive attraction and not a regional feature that would challenge seasoned riders from outside the area.
“We really want a family-friendly space that is accessible to all ages,” Calderon said.