Mountain bikers will soon be making Dauphin their next destination as work is underway on a new competition course and trail system.
With these developments, excitement is building both in the city of Dauphin and among riders from across the province.
This major project was merely a dream two short years ago according to Clayton Swanton who is the co-chair for the 2020 Manitoba Summer Games. Swanton explains they needed to have a place to race for the upcoming Games and took the opportunity to look at the bigger picture and see this as a legacy project. In the end, they believe the variety of terrain will provide an excellent location for a great course that will hopefully become an economic driver for the region.
Swanton saw firsthand what it was like for Dauphin to host a successful Manitoba Games back in 2004 and is working together with a great team of volunteers to make the 2020 Games even better. He is passionate about active living and is quite familiar with endurance sports so it's no surprise that he has big goals for this new venue.
The local cycling club is also helping to lead the charge. The Dauphin Derailleurs bring experience to the table and are also busy building up the sport with local riders. Everyone involved wants to see cycling infrastructure grow in and around the region and it's paying off.
At the end of June, award-winning trail builder Alex Mann was on-site to assist in mapping out and planning the 4-kilometer competition course that will be used for the Games next summer, and looking at the overall goal of 30 kilometers of trail.
Mann is known as a competitive racer and coach who combined those interests with his professional skill set of soil mechanics and environmental engineering. Many will have seen his work at Fort Whyte Alive as he designed and built the Bison Butte trails for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
According to Swanton, the land near Dauphin is ideal for a mountain bike course because of its proximity to the Countryfest site and the facilities already established there.
"This allows them to focus on the natural terrain which includes stunning river water, shale cliffs, a fern gully, and what the local riders refer to as the bobsled run," he said.
Since the summer of 2017, local volunteers have been busy with a lot of physical labour. The hard work began with cutting branches, raking, shoveling and much more. We've been told they won't stop until the course is race ready.
The first on-site MCA sanctioned event that everyone is excited about is scheduled for Sunday, August 11th. The North Gate MTB Race will be a test event for the 2020 Games, only 13 months away.