Today we’re biking in Kincaid Park. The mountain bike trails, known as singletrack, are one of the park’s most popular features, and draw all kinds of riders.
Diana Maioriello is here today with her family, who range from age 12 to about 50. They’re all avid bikers, and today they’ll be trying out the single track for the first time.
“We’re up for the challenge. It’s a beautiful sunny day, the weather is warm, and we’re ready to come out and explore,” says Maioriello. “Anchorage loves the bike trails and it makes people healthy and gets them out. So we’ll see how I fare.”
The singletrack is narrow, and it bends and dips dramatically, speeding riders across the bumpy terrain. Lee Bolling oversaw the trail’s construction as project manager.
“I really wanted it to be like a rollercoaster. I did a lot of mountain biking in college in Reno, Nevada and there are some great trails there. And I was like, ‘we need to have some more flow trails in Alaska’,” says Bolling.
Bolling is Vice President of the nonprofit group Singletrack Advocates. He says currently the Kincaid single track is nine miles long, but starting this summer, his group will expand it another six miles.
“It’ll be a big traverse from along the north side. So you can ride the existing single track trails and pop out at the Raspberry parking lot. And then you can take this trail all the way to the coastal trail, and that will loop back in to the beginning of the existing single track trail. So it kind of makes this giant loop out of the park,” says Bolling.
Although the trail expansion had support from the community and local government the whole way through, Bolling says it wasn’t easy to finalize. Finding money and volunteers is hard enough, but Kincaid Park is shared by many groups.
“A lot of people don’t even know there’s an active archery range that’s in the middle of Kincaid Park right now. So we had to work with the archery group to figure out where’s a safe place to go so you’re not in proximity of the archery range, you don’t want to do that. And then we had to work with the Nordic Ski Association too because they’re the biggest player out in Kincaid Park, and we want to make sure that any trail we build isn’t going to affect the Nordic skiing trails that are already there,” says Bolling.
Bolling says the original Kincaid single track took more than 240 volunteers and 2100 hours of labor to build. The STA will be relying again on their volunteers for the second phase of the trail, and Bolling says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s great to see a person go out there, and they’ll be hand finishing a bank corner. And then when they go out there and ride it, they’re like ‘that’s my bank corner right there!’ They have this emotional attachment to it, which is pretty cool because if there’s anything wrong with it they may go out there and fix it themselves,” says Bolling.
Back on the Kincaid trail, one of the few single track riders I run into doesn’t want to say his name, but he will say that the expansion is a great idea. It’s not busy on this Friday afternoon, but apparently the quiet won’t last long.
As for first-timer Diana Maioriello and her son Tony? They’re going to wait and see how their first trip goes.
“Maybe nine miles for a 48 year old is enough,” says Moriello
“Nine miles is good, but when they extend it we need to come back,” says Tony.
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