Those of us who are mountain bikers and who know all about packing up the bikes and gear to head off for an out-of-state riding adventure know why the Coldwater Mountain project is a big deal for mountain bikers. Those of us who have seen and heard first-hand what a great trail system can mean for a local economy and general quality of life know why the Coldwater Mountain project is a big deal for the Anniston and Oxford communities.
For those who haven’t heard, IMBA’s Trail Solutions team is hard at work on Coldwater Mountain in Anniston, Alabama building the first phase of what is to be a world-class, 60-mile mountain bike trail system. The system will include professionally, purpose-built mountain bike trails for all ability levels, a gravity area, a skills park, and a pump track. The project has been twelve years in the making, and it is so exciting to see all of the hard work and planning coming to fruition. This world-class trail system is within a couple hours of Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, and Chattanooga.
We were privileged to spend a couple of weeks in Anniston with IMBA’s Trail Solutions team and the good folks from the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA), seeing first-hand the amazing work going on, on the ground. Riders who bring their bikes to the mountain will not be disappointed.
For those who wanted to know more about why this project is such a big deal, we gave a Better Living Through Trails presentation at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce to explain the health and economic impacts that a trail system like the one on Coldwater Mountain can have on a community. The most successful trail systems are not only well-built, sustainable, and fun to ride, but are also well supported, utilized, and promoted by the community.
We also presented Club Care at Wig's Wheels to get local volunteer juices flowing on how they can garner additional support and participation around the cycling community. NEABA has been around for 22 years and has contributed a great deal to the cycling and greater communities, and they are always looking for more hands to lighten the work.
On Saturday, attendees of the Trail Building School made the trek to the top of the Coldwater system to work on a unique line of trail that will pass through a natural rock formation. The volunteers applied new skills in rock armoring, safely moving large rocks, and preparing the tread for rock armoring. They then had the opportunity to walk a mile-and-a-half or so of completed trail, which includes flowy lines, rollers, berms, and multiple optional jump lines and rock drops. It gave them a taste for the juiciness that will be the Coldwater Mountain trails.
We are personally so excited to see this project evolve and to hear the inevitable stories about the positive impacts it will have on the community and on giddy mountain bikers from across the region. If you haven’t hugged a trail builder lately, this project will give you the urge. And reach out to NEABA if you are interested in getting involved with volunteer work days or would like to join to show your support!
More pictures from our visit to Coldwater Mountain: