Mountain bikers ride into grand opening

Washougal Bike Park Skills Course is the first of its kind in Clark County

By Dameon Pesanti, Columbian staff writer

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WASHOUGAL — Mountain biking fans of all ages convened Saturday to test their skills against the boulder, beam and grit features during the grand opening celebration of Hamllik Park’s new bike skills course.

Almost non-stop, a steady stream of riders rolled round the park, up and over steel and wooden triangles, long, wooden plank trails elevated off the ground, and a few big boulder mounds at the Washougal Bike Park Skills Course.

“It’s awesome,” said Katina Fischer, one of the event volunteers. Fischer said the park will give everyone from seasoned pros to young and new riders the chance to hone specific skills. “Now they can come here and not be intimidated by the trail.”

During the Kids Ride Party, Bike Clark County volunteers and Ed Fischer of Camas Bikes manned a safety station to ensure each rider had a suitable bike and a helmet before hitting the course. Kids also used a little passport that was filled with stickers to signify when they completed various stations. When it was filled, they earned a prize or a treat.

After his first go around the course, but certainly not his first on a bike, 11-year-old Adam Loughrey said “everything was pretty great.” However, like several other cyclists, he got stopped-up a couple times by pedestrians admiring the new features a little too closely.

“There should be a rule people shouldn’t be able to walk on the trail while we’re trying to ride it,” he said.

The features wrap around the perimeter of the park. Like a ski hill, the course includes obstacles of varying degrees of difficulty so everyone from adults on full suspension bikes and carbon fiber frames to children with bikes too small for pedals can find something to ride.

The bike park, a nonprofit through the Clark County Parks Foundation, was built by volunteers mostly through donations of $40,000 in cash and materials.

A volunteer force of local cyclists, park neighbors and Eagle Scouts Tommy Liston and Jaden Moore spent the summer installing the features. But officials say it’s just the beginning. Plans are in the works to spend next summer installing a pump track (a track of mounds banked turns cyclists can ride without pedaling) and a small jump course as well.