Mountain Biking

‘Smooth Criminal’ offers mountain bike thrills in Canon City – Pueblo Chieftain

CANON CITY — A new mountain bike flow trail dubbed “Smooth Criminal” is open to daredevils who appreciate a thrill ride such as the two young men who requested it.

The nearly 1-mile long trail starts at B.F. Rockafellow Ecology Park and flows downhill into the 160-acre Schepp open space offering banked turns, rolling terrain and various jumps. The Canon City Area Recreation District and Fremont Adventure Recreation teamed up to create the trail with the help of the city of Canon City and Fremont County.

Young cyclist Mason Lenard from Canon Exploratory School approached the recreation district about creating the trail. Lenard and his pal Brian LeDoux then pitched the idea at a board meeting last December, gaining unanimous approval.

“The trail was constructed using the 1% For Trails funding collected by Fremont Adventure Recreation from the group’s numerous sponsors, which include local businesses.

“The creation of Smooth Criminal is phase one,” said Kyle Horne, Canon City Recreation District executive director. “It is the second addition to the South Canon Trail System since it opened in 2016.”

The trail opened with a ribbon-cutting Saturday and then after rider feedback, was closed for a bit Monday while the trail builder made a “slight tweak to the lip on a jump at the very bottom of the trail to make it better. Another change was made to add some obstacles on a corner to keep riders in the correct line,” Horne said.

A sign at the start of the trail advises new riders to undertake two pre-rides before trying it with more speed.

“We want to remind riders they need to use their brakes because there are jumps, banked turns and other features to make it challenging. Safety is essential and you should never ride a flow trail full tilt unless you have done a pre-ride,” Horne explained.

“Everyone is advised to read the signage along the trail for safety reasons.  There are inherent risks in mountain biking, but they can be reduced by being aware of your surroundings,” Horne said.

The trail is designed to aid in skill progression, with the right-hand side of the trail designed for intermediate riders and the left side offering larger features and jumps for more advanced riders.

“The Smooth Criminal flow trail is designed for mountain bikes only and for safety reasons no hiking, running or horseback riding is allowed.

The trail uses the Schepp open space and Gloria’s Grove, named after the open space land donors Walter and Gloria Schepp.

The South Canon Trails, extend beyond the Schepp Open Space into Fremont County and BLM lands with many trails designed for all user groups.

“The recreation district, in conjunction with groups such as Fremont Adventure Recreation, will continue to look at expanding outdoor recreational opportunities close to town for all user groups,” Horne said.

Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Tracy Harmon can be reached by email at tharmon@chieftain.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.