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Where The Trail Begins
Quanah Hill Grand Opening
Saturday, May 28
With arguably the best time of year approaching - summer time - there's excitement about all of the fun outdoor activities to enjoy. And what's more exciting is that the Weatherford community is soon to host a new addition to it's repertoire of such activities. The Weatherford Mountain Bike Club is hosting the grand opening of Quanah Hill, a multi-purpose trail located at 810 West Lake Drive, on Saturday, May 28.
A little backstory - when a few local guys who shared a common interest in outdoors and mountain biking got together, magic happened. Seeing a need for a quality trail in the area for locals and out of town folk to enjoy, they decided on action and formed a club.
"We wanted to open up a multi-use tail - hikers and walkers one direction and bikers the other direction," Josh Porter, vice president of the WMBC, said. "That was our goal. We decided to form a club, so we formed a mountain bike club right here in this room [Antebellum Ale House]. We started hashing things out."
It wasn't long before word got out and the club's efforts gathered momentum. Then one day the stars aligned for them.
"The City came to us with this piece of property out here on Quanah Hill - what's now named Quanah Hill. At the time it had no name, it was just a city utility property where they had power-lines, a power-station, and I think there's even a gas well out there," Porter said.
"They approached us and said they'ed like us to come take a look at it. We were a little uncertain - what was this going to be? What kind of land is it? But as soon as we walked out there our jaws dropped. It was awesome."
The property is a mix of many types of terrain - hills, drops, open fields, dense woods, even a waterfall when mother nature allows. There's 140 feet of elevation change from top to bottom of the property, and the WMBC has permission to create trails on 75 acres of it. Previously the property was used by the Sportsman Club many years ago, according to Porter.
Shortly after acquiring permission to utilize the city property, gaining membership/becoming a local chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association, and some proverbial red-tape they were getting their hands dirty on the trail.
"We hit boots on dirt in December last year," Porter said. "We've been out here every weekend, since the deadline of the trail opening day was given we've been out there everyday. They've put in over 200 hours each out there."
By using a CAD program and topographical maps provided by the City, the club has designed and created a large - and growing - multi-use trail that was otherwise overgrown unused property. Talk about up-cycling, pun totally intended.
The main trail loop is called 1886, which is the year the courthouse was constructed, and though there's already talk of expanding the existing trail, the current map boasts 3.86 miles of corridor and tread trails and about 380 feet of elevation change.
"You'll make a climb and you'll drop, you'll make a climb and you'll drop, so overall climbing on the trail is about 380 feet. The trail is 3.86 miles long so that's a lot of climbing. It's been done so well that every time you climb you get a little drop. Every time you climb a little bit higher than before," he said. "It beats you up, you feel the climbing, you are working, but it's not a crazy technical difficulty trail. You're not going to navigate obstacles or different things on the main trail, it's just climbing and it pushes you hard."
But it's not all just a workout, we hear the last drop is a doosey.
"The last drop is a bomb, it goes from the water tower area up there and you're just going down hill and it's awesome. It's intense, it's fun, it gives you a couple technical challenges going down there but nothing crazy. It's a good trail," Porter said.
These guys really tried to think of everything when they got to work on the trail. They included a loop for the kids they rightfully called Lost Boys Loop and also a more intense loop for advancing riders called Good Night.
"The first loop you have off 1886 is Lost Boys Loop - the kids trail. You can bring your eight or nine year old out there and they can ride. It's family fun, we want to get families out there. That's one of the big things that we wanted to have available so families can come out and have a good time together," he said. "The second loop, we call it Good Night. The joke name of it is Good Night and Good Luck. We made it a loop so the less experienced riders don't have to be nervous about it."
So now that the trail construction is complete and ready to ride, the club is excited for their big event on Saturday, not only is it their ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. it's also a fundraiser in the form of Kids MTB Challenge. For kids to participate in the event - which includes lunch, snacks, and raffle tickets - it is $10. The club has teamed up with New River Fellowship Church to help raise funds to send some kiddos to summer camp, and several local businesses have donated items, time, and food to help make the event extra special. They are raffling off four brand new bikes, helmets, towels, gloves, water bottles, etc.
"We're encouraging kids to get there at 9"30 a.m. because we'll be doing safety checks on their bikes to make sure it's good to go. At 10 o'clock there will be a safety talk from club president Larry Colvin. He'll discuss wearing your helmet and the appropriate way to pass people on the trail and trail etiquette. We're going to get the kids on the trail at 11 o'clock and at noon we'll have lunch. The raffle will happen at lunch as well - we'll give away the prizes," he said. "Then at 1 o'clock it's more riding."
Now of course the event is weather permitting, but as Porter said himself, "You never know in Texas."
"If the weather doesn't hold out, we'll reschedule and try to change dates if we can. The trail drains so well and dries out so well that it would be pretty bad weather to shut us down."
Sporting slogans saying, "Blood, Sweat, and Gears," and "Comradery, Collaboration, Community," this neat group of individuals have created something really neat for the Weatherford and surrounding communities.
GS Reality Team