The name does not disappoint. With over 50 km of technical terrain, full of gnarly rock gardens, gorgeous slabs and rugged roots, Rockwood Park has the chops to make riders push their limits. After two years of efforts nullified by Covid, this season the Rockwood Challenge returned and promised a particularly spicy course. This year organizer Dean Roberts of Millennium Cycle was elated to see over 100 participants with over half the field consisting of youth. Roberts is excited to get back at hosting races in the region and believes Rockwood has the infrastructure and vibe necessary to welcome young and seasoned riders into the community.
Rockwood is a special place to ride, because it has so much variety, there are trails that are super rugged and crazy
Winner of the U17 female category Sophia Burry enlightens me on her experience of the park “Rockwood is a special place to ride, because it has so much variety, there are trails that are super rugged and crazy, but then you ride a kilometer farther and you’ll come across a trail that is super buff and flowy”. Having Rockwood as her training ground has helped Sophia gain the skills to tackle any terrain and this girl is tearing up podiums across the East. She dreams big and rides fearlessly.
proceeds of the event went into the ‘Adopt a Trail’ program
Part of that East Coast Vibe that is so effortlessly present at this event is due to the collaboration of the four local bike shops; Bikes and Beans, Haywards, Bike works and Millennium Cycle. Roberts recounts this cooperation, “this year I reached out to all local bike shops to get involved and everyone agreed. RW is a park for us all and the proceeds of the event went into the ‘Adopt a Trail’ program, it was a pleasure having everyone pitch in.” The music was bumping, the grill was fired and although this is a competitive and challenging race, the atmosphere was welcoming and warm. Everyone just seemed so stoked to be able to do what they love again, with the community that makes it so worthwhile.
Great things are happening in all aspects of the sport
Most of the trail building efforts in Rockwood Park are due to the countless volunteer hours of the Saint John Trail Miners. Moneys raised by the Rockwood Challenge 2022 will be used to fund work by local company Dig In trail building on trails that were featured in the race, allowing the Trail Miners to focus on other projects. When asked about the future of mountain biking in the Saint John region Roberts said, “I would suggest that we all keep doing what we are doing. Great things are happening in all aspects of the sport and I couldn’t be happier!”
Contributed by Mountain Bike Atlantic Advocate, Claire Lamont