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Chapman Hill Flow Trail

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For years, Durango riders have longed for this. Now, that day has come.

On June 25, the Chapman Hill Flow Trail opened up, and so did the riders, on a quarter mile of a ripping, bending flow trail – dirt bobsledding at its best.

The three tier trail has a main flow trail, a section of five legit’ progressive dirt jumps and an entry level section.

Designed by Daniel Scott of British Columbia’s Alpine Bike Parks, hired by the city of Durango, they sent one of their best, Eric Becker, to cut the trail with an E35 Bobcat. Becker is credited with forming the famed Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, Colorado. Local Trails 2000 then came in for the finishing work.

“To me, flow means a nice smooth track,” Becker said during construction, under the constant weight of afternoon storms in June. “Nice turns, and ideally you’re not breaking too much. That’s the most important part: a good trail alignment where you’re carrying your speed. You’re going to find a lot of berms, rollers tabletops, and step downs.”

The overall character capitalizes on the natural terrain, capturing and milking gravity. It begs to be carved to pieces.

“It’s a really nice element,” Trails 2000 executive director Mary Monroe said at the completed site. “It came after years of proposals by Trails 2000 to add some missing links to the overall trail network.”

In short, a few underground social trails would be shut down, making way for new trails like Chapman and the Medicine trail, in Horse Gulch. One social trail in particular, the beloved and highly illegal Kitty Charmer in Horse Gulch, was laboriously constructed on city and private property and wildly popular. It took the heat, becoming a sacrificial lamb of sorts that led to a cant-beat-them-join-them solution. In unison the city, Trails 2000 and volunteer crews began breaking new trail on sanctioned projects to fulfill the needs of today’s new breed of mountain biker.

“Through the process of figuring that out, some of the social trails were closed and (there was a motion) to expedite the approval process so we could build some additional trails,” Monroe said.

And that’s when the dirt started flying.

Chapman and the Medicine trail, a loaded singletrack spur off Raider Ridge with killer features, gaps, jumps, berms and tech moves, are products of patience and planning, according to Monroe.

It was worth the wait. In a short time, some phenomenal riding has gone up in Durango. And according to Monroe, more is on the way.

Now it’s time to get out and go with the flow.

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