Neko Mulally, Sean Leader to Open Bike Park in East Tennessee

Nov 7, 2016 at 8:05
by Windrock Bike Park  
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee


OLIVER SPRINGS, 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.

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Leader slashing some fresh corners

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).

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Neko instructing rock placement for a fly-over bridge on Middle Finger
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Machine Opperator Patrick Tait putting in long hours on Talladega
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
All hands on deck for the construction of the fly-overs
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Jack Major lending a had during his fall break
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Callie Horwath suckered into being a rake babe
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Dirty Emily looking fly on the quad
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Patrick Tait finishing up the 35' table on Talledega
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Isak Leivsson knows how to run an excavator?


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.

bigquotesChris 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.

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Windrock crew in the early 2000's
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Ferguson Archive 2002-2004

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"

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Neko and Brandon Lee putting in laps on Talladega
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Pro BMX Racer, Tommy Zula, Throwing some style on the downhill bike

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.

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Neko pealing decals off one of the shuttle buses
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Riders headed to the top

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.

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Left - Gstaad-Scott Team & Fox Suspension // Middle - Josh Coaplen, Fox Engineer, tracking data // Right - Frank Stacy and Neko Developing the Bontrager G Mud tire
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee

Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee
Neko Mulally Sean Leader to Open Shuttle Access Bike Park in East Tennessee

bigquotesTo 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.


MENTIONS: @seanleader / Windrock Bike Park Website




75 Comments

  • 34 1
 Windrock is basically heaven now... 72,000 acres with mountain biking, off roading, and a shooting range.
  • 3 2
 So in your opinion...is it worth dragging my DH rig from Vancouver on a plane and rent a car from Nashville to ride there for a day? Just so happens I'm going to that area in a few weeks so thinking Maybe I should squeeze in some off season southern US downhilling? Thanks for your input.
  • 1 0
 Terrain and soil is completely unlike anything in Vancouver. If it's just for a day, I'd make sure it a day they shuttle.

Otherwise, coming on a weekday, you'd have to line up with a smart crew of locals who know how to shuttle the upper part (Windmill). If you can line up a locals midweek, then double yes.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: ok....you were right. I rode it today. Met Sean...super awesome guy! and a bunch of other great people too...including Josh Rogers the junior World Cup racer. The bus was awesome! Endless laps. The dirt was amazing..gently slapping my bum when I'm coming into the berms hot. I like that. The tech and rocks were wicked, the flow line is fast! I got a rental bike from Cedar Bluff Cycles in Knox, they hooked me up with a carbon Trek session. I would highly recommend them if anyone needs a rental. It was definitely worth the effort for a day or riding.
  • 1 0
 @chinaboy: Justin keep in mind that when you get to hit the Windmill from the top and if/when they open Southern Rocks back up...you'll REALLY love it.
  • 20 2
 I love the shuttle bus!!!
  • 9 0
 This place really is heaven for the South East DH rider. I used to LOVE riding and racing here back in... uhm... '01-'03??? I moved right about the time they were starting the top, and some of that stuff was silly steep! You didn't pick a line, you picked a spot to crash.
  • 2 0
 Damn dude, where you been?
  • 1 0
 @profro: Colorado. Come visit!!!
  • 1 0
 There is video evidence of that day. Gruesome video.
  • 1 0
 This isn't the carnage video from the one that ran through the wet spring. Can't seem to find it. But we're all in it and the awesome Trail 1 bulkhead. Video doesn't do the old track justice.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: @nuttypoolog:

vimeo.com/1858306

Mike's finest @ 1:23
  • 1 0
 @profro: Hah! The video was literally named "Windrock Carnage". Silly me.

That's me at 0:58 making a go of it and promptly sitting down. Ryan Taylor at the end exploding was gruesome.
  • 10 0
 its a toss up between Baileys ex Military truck and Wind Rocks bus. Hopefully they let you talk and chew gum on the bus.
  • 3 0
 Southern Rocks better stay open. I ride that trail every time I turn a pedal at Windrock. There is no there trail like it. Least amount of dirt and most amount of rock there can be. As for taming Windrock, I don't think it can be done unless you have a full time paid trail crew with heavy equipment or a lot of man hours. Any trail builders there since the beginning reverts to burly in no time. If anything, they will have their hands full just keeping that flow trail from reverting to solid rock and ruts. Wish them nothing but the best. I still want to go from the top on the weekends. That's half the fun, so that needs to be allowed.
  • 2 0
 Southern Rocks is closed,and instead of it costing. 24 cents a day to ride it's 30 dollars a day on the weekends. The Talladega trail they just made closed off some good sections of the original trails,but hey they needed a easy flow trail to open with.
  • 2 0
 You cannot self shuttle on the weekends,so you can't ride windmill trail on the weekends.
  • 2 0
 @motobutane: buuuuu. windmill ftw.
  • 2 0
 @motobutane: That is something I take exception to. Southern Rocks was the absolute signature trail for Windrock. Joey, Brian and all those guys turned a boulder field into an immaculately crafted rock and roll freight train. It's not been kept up in recent years. Guys like Neko, Leader and all the new breed haven't experienced how smooth and fast it was when those guys built it. It can be brought back easily. If anyone is listening, they should re-open it asap. No Dozer, just backbone. Wink
  • 1 0
 @jstuhlman: ditto!
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: working on it this winter it has a large tree down on it and needs some work
  • 3 0
 I am guessing mid week you can either push up trails or pedal the shuttle road or use your own vehicle to use the shuttle road?

During the weekend can you still drive your own shuttle or pedal access the road?

I will be making the journey from Michigan to hit this during the winter several times over i hope! this is the best news of my fall!
  • 1 0
 you can self shuttle for $10 when the shuttle bus is not running
  • 1 0
 @GunnyBailey: And if it was Saturday and i was on super enduro mode and wanted to pedal the road... Will someone tell me that's not allowed? I did find on the website that self shuttles on the weekend are no go, no exceptions. I can understand that with way too many trucks raging up and down the road.
But how about pedal laps?
  • 2 0
 @s-dub: You will do it once. Ha. This is one steep and long road.
  • 3 0
 "...potential of being an international mountain biking destination." That was fast, Windrock is a ProGRT on the 2017 calendar!
  • 1 0
 Todd?
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: Who's Todd?
  • 1 0
 @Boschinator: Todd Bosch...former pro DH racer.
Thought you were him. Was gonna be surprised. Hadn't talked to him in years.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: Nope, sorry man. Venderbosch is my last name.
  • 6 0
 You had me at 35' table.
  • 1 0
 This place looks like fun I'm hoping to check it out soon ! Thanks Neko and Sean. Tommy Zula is a great new personality in DH as well. I met him at ESC finals at Plattekill. We have quality people in this sport and it's great to see them working together to make great things happen.
  • 1 0
 I remember riding Windrock for the first time with some buddies and we were all on old hardtails. Was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life but the best mtb experience I've ever had. Two taco rims and lots of scrapes and bruises led to smiling faces all around as we left that place. Each time I go back I have the same awesome feeling. Thanks Neko, Sean, the original builders, and everyone involved for making this hometown mountain into a truly top tier park. Enough blabbing, lets go ride!
  • 4 0
 Now that this opening and I live right next to Bailey I think its time to starting thinking about a downhill bike
  • 5 1
 So did everyone just abandon Bailey to go to Windrock?
  • 4 0
 There's a good bit of ways between them. Bailey kinda covers Asheville and western NC and Windrock covers Knoxville and eastern TN.
  • 4 0
 Yeah windrock is quite a ways a way from Baileys.
  • 3 0
 @preach @NCbiker24 @fatwheels123 although it's "a ways" in Appalachian distance (I used to live in Southwest Va, I know how it is), in the rockies, 2 hours between riding spots seems like they are just down the street from each other. Lots of people will ride Steamboat one day then Winter Park the next and talk about how nice it is that they're "so close". I miss how many options for trails y'all have in a relatively close proximity, and now you have two sick ass bike parks that are a day trip from each other

In short, I'm jealous. This is just another reason for me to move back to the homeland (don't worry, I'll tell all the peeps down in Colorado that I'm leaving for "work", and that the riding sucks Wink
  • 1 0
 @trialsracer: that's true sir. I'm in Hickory, so Baileys is about 1.5 hrs away, and Snowshoe is 5Hrs...windrock is 3.5Hrs...
and then of course Beech is 1.5 but they don't seem to really want to be open to bikers (or they are doing it completely half-heartedly) So Windrock could certainly be "In the mix" but it'd be a pretty good haul from my neck of the woods.
  • 1 0
 @trialsracer: Yeah, but Colorado has way more mountains and elevation than we do. Windrock is literally like the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit.
We don't even have a single mountain with 1000 feet of elevation and a ski lift. In Colorado, they're everywhere.
  • 2 0
 Rode with some of these awesome people at Bailey a couple months back. Great crew...can't wait to head up there and check this out!!
  • 2 0
 Windrock is growing! Plans to build new trails, open old ones, and money for upkeep and improvements! It will just keep getting better!
  • 1 0
 Great opening weekend! Big thanks to Neko and everyone involved in making Windrock Bike Park a huge success.. Looking forward to all the things to come to Windrock in the near future..
  • 2 0
 Hot damn that looks rad. Might have to escape the Colorado winter and make a trip sometime soon.
  • 1 0
 I'm in one of the pictures. Where is my prize :-)

Windrock is an amazing place to ride and cool to see its getting even better.
  • 4 1
 Yeah boys!
  • 2 0
 They took the Rock out of the Wind! That Emily looks more like a Zombie!
  • 4 0
 I thought that was Pensatucky.
  • 2 0
 Dope!! Windrock is only 3 hours from me. Can't friggin wait!!
  • 1 0
 O the memories ....been riding and working a Lil there since 05....but more kick ass memories to come!!!
  • 1 0
 Yeah, and got rid of all the stuff that made Windrock what it was to do so. Too bad, place was amazing.
  • 1 0
 Can't wait man, this is super Rad!
  • 1 0
 Big ups to Doug, the captain when I was rolling through on the regular.
  • 1 0
 No better sound than the firing up of @profro and @milohead s F250's on a Saturday afternoon.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: good times. This news of WR almost makes me want to get a dh rig again
  • 2 0
 @bizutch:

I bet at least 50,000 miles of the 319,000 miles on my F250 are up and down that road.
  • 1 0
 @milohead: you've got some uninjured body parts left. Go for it.
  • 1 0
 Man this riding season keeps getting better. Thanks Neko and Sean!
  • 2 1
 The map says "opening fall 2017"
  • 2 0
 That's for another peak.
  • 1 0
 that is for the trails that start from the very top of the mountain
  • 1 0
 I hope to make it out to the GRT in March! Looks sweet!
  • 1 0
 YEEWWWWW! way to go boys!
  • 2 0
 Brings a tear to my eye
  • 1 0
 ill be there this weekend!!!pretty stoked.
  • 1 0
 FYI Home of a 2017 USAC Pro GRT race in March
  • 2 1
 This is dope news
  • 7 8
 They dumbed it down for the masses. The soul of Windrock is gone forever.
  • 5 0
 They built a few easier trails to make it a more well rounded riding spot. They still have the original gnarly trails it says
  • 3 2
 @BikeEveryDay: Southern Rocks was mentioned in a comment but it's not being offered as a trial you can ride. They covered up and changed the trails a lot,but nobody will have the balls to say anything negative.
  • 1 0
 @motobutane: Ok that's too bad than. Hopefully this initial shuttling offering goes well and they'll make some gnar on the upper mountain. I understand the original spirit may not be captured the same, but with the original builders on board I bet some cool trail can be made.
  • 5 1
 The original builders are collaborating on the project. no soul has been lost
  • 1 1
 give it time, not done building yet.

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