Nothing in the Deep South
The ‘Deep South’ isn’t quite known for its mountain biking. Don’t get me wrong, quality trails are popping up here and there but it’s nothing like the wild west, with its plethora of public land and endless ribbons of singletrack. Here in the south, where public land is as uncommon as fat-free butter, we have to fight for our trails. However growing from the sweat and toil of the local community sprouts Chewacla State Park, an oasis of singletrack in Auburn, Eastern Alabama, USA.
Chewacla is a bit of an anomaly compared with neighboring regions. It has more than 25 miles of trail, community grillings, a blooming high school National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) team and weekly group rides for women, children and everyone in between. Its cycling community is healthy, but it hasn’t always been this way.
Five years before the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers (CAMP) was established in 2012, purpose-built singletrack in Auburn didn’t really exist. Instead, mountain bikers took to the local Auburn University Campus to huck stairs, speed down the concourse, and poach the president’s lawn. The one mountain bike trail in town was a steep, technical piece of singletrack built in the 1980s for the first NORBA race east of the Mississippi. (The trail is now called Heartbreak Hill – an apt description.) The town’s small mountain bike community didn’t make a conscious decision to build Heartbreak Hill, but projects like this would later be thoroughly thought through and perfectly executed.