, Tenn. -- Neko Mulally and Sean Leader are pleased to announce the grand opening of Windrock Bike Park on Nov. 12, 2016.
With a mission to grow downhill in the Southeast and integrate trail experience from their favorite places around the world, the two partnered to expand and improve on the existing trails at Windrock Park and offer a weekend shuttle service. As of opening day, the park will offer nine trails from the midway point of the mountain, with plans to expand to the top of the mountain by fall 2017. Shuttles will operate every Saturday and Sunday from November to May, and the park will be open for self-shuttles and private bookings during the week.
Windrock Park is the country’s largest and longest-running OHV park, with 72,000 acres of wilderness, as well as camping, cabin rentals, a shooting range and onsite restaurant. This infrastructure, combined with the rocky terrain and 2,150 feet of elevation, gives Windrock the potential of being an international mountain biking destination.
A core group of East Tennessee mountain bikers first built downhill trails at Windrock in the early 2000's, and many of these trails still exist today. Mulally and Leader have worked closely with the original builders, and are committed to honoring their vision – raw, rocky and natural terrain. By adding line choices, removing hazards and improving drainage, the team has modernized the trails without losing the original flavor. "I'm super excited on what Neko and Sean have brought to Windrock. I've been saying for years how much potential this mountain has. Neko and Sean having the opportunity to build machine cut trails is what this place has been seeking for. Adding the intermediate and beginner trails is going to give the opportunity for riders of all different levels to come in, have fun, and progress at the same time. Give Windrock Bike Park a couple years and I believe you will see one of the top bike parks in the country. I'm glad that I'm still hanging around building trails, even if it's been on the XC side. I plan on coming back to the big mountain and helping out Sean and Neko wherever they need it. Windrock Bike Park here we go!!!"
- Brian Posten (Builder at Windrock Since 2003)
Terry Jeffers, Joey Bridges and Rusty Heydel started digging there in the fall of 2001. There had been a couple guys, Chris Maxie and Homeboy, that scratched out the first trail there a year or two before that.
|Chris took Joey and I up there to show us what they had started and it was on from there. My most memorable moment would actually be a building season. Back then we would shut the trails down from around December to March, depending on weather. We wouldn't ride at all, not even XC. Every spare moment was spent laying out and digging new trail and doing maintenance on existing trail. When we laid wheels on Southern Rocks for the first time it was one of the coolest feelings I've ever had. We both cleaned it the first run. That was the best payoff ever. - Terry Jeffers.|
Doug Ferguson, once a top downhill racer on the east coast, was a key part of the original dig crew at Windrock. "In the early days it was hard. No go-arounds, straight the f*ck down, rocky, ect. It was kill or be killed. The core group was solid, we would get 3-4 runs per hour every Sunday and Wednesday night. It's hard to describe how awesome it was."
Doug was in the same position as Neko a decade earlier, a pro downhill racer who made Windrock his training grounds to conquer the race season ahead."Neko's reputation is well deserved. Windrock was founded as a training ground to make local riders take on places like Snowshoe and the NORBA National series. Neko is using it in the same way, which means the spirit of pushing your limits to get better will remain"
To make the park more accessible to riders of all levels, they also added a new machine-built flow trail, Talladega. Talladega pulls from Neko’s race background, Sean’s desire to ride big- hit trail bike lines and lead machine operator Patrick Tait’s perspective as a blue level rider. The trail has big jumps, high-speed sections and massive berms that will challenge intermediate and advanced riders alike.
The mild winters of East Tennessee offer a huge opportunity for Windrock to become an off-season training destination for elite mountain bikers, as both Mulally and Leader know from personal experience. They met while riding shuttles at Windrock – Mulally was training for the World Cup Downhill season and Leader for the Enduro World Series. Windrock Bike Park will operate through North America's traditional offseason, giving riders access to world-class trails while most of the Northern Hemisphere is covered in snow.
|To me, the best moments come when you are putting yourself out there. When you're taking risks and everything is clicking. That's the feeling I'm chasing. When your equipment, the terrain, and conditions are all working together so you're able to make the bike do exactly what you want to. As a racer I work hard to create that experience for myself. Through product development with my sponsors I try to share that feeling on the equipment end of things. My vision for Windrock is to help people experience a great day on the bike through the trails we've built. - Neko Mullaly.|
/ Windrock Bike Park Website