January 21, 2021
In many ways, mountain biking is one of the most creative sports. Everything from choosing and building a bike, to upgrading and maintaining that bike, to building your own jumps and trails. There is so much up to the rider’s imagination and own mind, which is what makes it so enjoyable.
One of the best examples of this idea can be found right here in Belmont, in the form of the Carlmont Jumps. Painstakingly crafted over 40 plus years, the Carlmont Jumps are a testament to the creativity and communal nature of the mountain biking community.
Because of its unique location, the Carlmont Jumps represent an area usable by all different types of people. Anyone of any skill level can find something at Carlmont that will help them progress and have fun riding their bike.
With features ranging from absolute beginner to expert levels, there is no shortage of variety. Even hikers and families take advantage of the place, which also boasts an RC car track at the bottom. For many, Carlmont has evolved into more than a set of jumps on a hill and has become something for the whole community to take advantage of.
Of course, the biggest part of the jumps is the trails themselves. Everything ranging from steep rocky sections to large jumps to smooth flow sections can be found at the Carlmont Jumps. Some of the more popular trails include Utter Delight, Jack Daniels, DMC, and the Carlmont Main Trail.
Not only are the trails of great quality, but there are also constantly dig crews creating new features and reviving old forgotten trails in the winter months.
“It’s a chance to give back to those that built before you and the community in general. Carlmont wouldn’t be the place it is if people didn’t bring shovels up the hill and dig for a day,” said Carl Bussiek, a sophomore and active builder at the jumps.
This responsibility of maintaining Carlmont has been passed down over the years as people’s lives take them further away from the park itself. With the older riders moving out to attend colleges or pursue other careers, the future of Carlmont now lies in the younger generation’s hands.
However, the future is nothing short of bright, as the recent boom of mountain biking has ensured a long-lasting community to preserve Carlmont for years to come. With many of Carlmont High School’s own students participating in large scale building projects, there seems to be no lull in the maintenance of Carlmont.
The Carlmont Jumps has an incredibly welcoming community of people stemming from all walks of life. From grown adults and parents enjoying time with their children to teenagers enjoying rides with their friends. There is a place for everyone at Carlmont, and that is apparent from the second you arrive.
People shout praise as riders flash by, listening to music and laughing lightheartedly at stories of past rides and old memories.
With the rise of the pandemic, the atmosphere of the Carlmont Jumps has died down considerably but continues to be warm and welcoming for those just discovering it.
Perhaps the biggest example of the amazing community can be seen in the massive riding event called Hucksgiving. Taking place on the day after Thanksgiving, Hucksgiving is an annual ride-out event organized by the Carlmont Kids group, which has since been dedicated to their friend, Nick Aguilar, who passed away in a car accident in 2016.
“Obviously, I want [Aguilar] to be at the center of [Hucksgiving], but I wanted it to be a time where everyone can come together no matter how old you were, what skill level you were and just kind of hang out,” said Josh Woodward, a local rider who is heavily involved in the planning and running of Hucksgiving. “Last year, we had people drive from Utah to come out, which is insane. I never would’ve thought in a million years that people are so invested in this place.”
Over the years, this event has become massive, with more than 100 riders showing up to show their support and ride some bikes.
To say that seeing so many people enjoying Carlmont is magical is quite an understatement, as it is nothing short of surreal. With the turnouts growing every year, who knows what the future will hold.
Of course, with the pandemic still ongoing, this year, the event has been limited to only a few select riders for the safety of those involved. However, the anticipation for next year will be fully present in the riders’ minds until the time comes again next year.
Like in any riding spot, Carlmont has a host of iconic features that stand out from the rest. Some of the most notable features include the Pimpin’ Hip, G-Line, and Triple J. Each of these features has its own notable characteristics and personalities that set them apart from others in Carlmont.
Perhaps the single most popular feature at Carlmont is the Pimpin’ Hip. With its technical rocky roll-in and large size, the Pimpin’ Hip is not for the faint of heart. However, its incredible build quality is what makes it so popular. Oftentimes at the center of Hucksgiving, the Pimpin’ Hip is meticulously maintained to keep it running as smoothly as possible. Pimpin’ can be seen as the centerpiece of countless photos and will continue to be the star of Carlmont for the foreseeable future.
An easy second to the Pimpin’ Hip, G-Line is a set of four large jumps that dominate the bottom portion of the Carlmont Jumps. Just as the Pimpin’ Hip is recognized for its great build quality, G-Line is in the same field. With very little to no maintenance happening to the set, the line is still practically indestructible, showing no signs of deterioration after more than a decade. With its relatively mellow lips and smooth flow, G-Line is extremely satisfying to clear, always leaving riders with smiles on their faces.
Easily one of the most intimidating jumps at Carlmont, Triple J’s lip alone is impressive. Built out of wood and standing at a staggering height, this jump is nothing short of massive. An unforgiving, rim-destroying rush of adrenaline, Triple J is reserved for the most experienced and ambitious riders at Carlmont.
With the new generation beginning to take roots in Carlmont, some are worried that this upcoming group lacks some of the respect that has been a common part of the Carlmont Jumps since the beginning.
“I don’t think any of us discourage people from building here or riding here. We just want them to respect what is here. Just like we did as young kids. I think that’s the thing that has gotten lost in the last couple of years,” Fuller said. “You kind of have your masters as the older generation to pass on the ideals, and, unfortunately, I feel like that’s kind of been lost a little bit.”
Despite these worries, the younger riders are confident that this era will make Carlmont better than ever. According to Forbes, mountain bike trail counts have skyrocketed by as much as 500% in some areas compared to last year. With this boost in riders, Carlmont has seen a big upswing in traffic.
“I feel like the growing community of younger people getting into mountain biking and discovering the jumps at Carlmont will create a whole new era of biking there,” said Max Minkovsky, a local rider and a freshman. “With new jumps being built and old ones being rebuilt, the Carlmont jumps are more popular now than they have been before.”
For Minkovsky and the other younger riders, Carlmont is just beginning to blossom, and for Woodward, one of the most prominent and active members in the community, that is a good thing.
“I definitely see there’s some inklings of hope and a bunch of riders still going. I think Carlmont goes in waves, you know, it has its high periods, it has low periods, but I mean it’s been here for over 40 years now, I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” Woodward said.
With the community behind Carlmont and all of the builders, riders, hikers, RC car drivers, and any in between, it’s safe to say Woodward is right.