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In late October, Tom Ritz and Jason Schiefelbein from PumpTrax USA, along with John Leitzel from the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, joined Lebanon, Indiana City Engineer to walk the woods of the former city landfill, that will one day be home to Stone Eater Bike Park.

“We had a really good turnout on the bidding process,” said Lebanon of Lebanon Engineer Kevin Krulik. “We had three really qualified companies that bid on the project. Happy to report that the lowest bidder, and the one that we consider the most responsive and responsible bidder is PumpTrax USA. We are excited to work with them, and this group has been a group that is really involved in cycling sports at the highest level, and I do mean the highest level. They have build the BMX courses at the Olympics.”

“Every trail, every pump track, every BMX track, when we build, they’re not the same,” said Tom Ritz Co-Founder of PumpTrax USA and head of Tom Ritz Designs. “So, we want to bring a special thing to Lebanon here. We want to find out a little bit of history, maybe tie-in a little bit of the history with some of the trail design and some of the feature designs. It’s always fun to do.”

“The lay of the land is key,” added Ritz. “Being on a landfill, you’ve got a lot of restrictions, because you can only go six inches down, a certain amount of years and stuff like that, but when you get of that, like once you get into what you see behind us, it is good terrain to let our minds go free.”

“What really excites me is the NICA end of it,” said PumpTrax USA Co-Founder Jason Schiefelbein. “We are from Ohio, and NICA(National Interscholastic Cycling Association) is just getting started in Ohio, and it seems like it’s in the same phase here in Indiana. We are happy to be a part of the growing NICA scene in the lower Midwest, Ohio and Indiana areas.”

“Huge thanks to the City of Lebanon,” said John Leitzel, Indiana NICA League Director. “The amount of years that have gone into this project, the amount of work to make something that riders and families from around Indiana and around the Midwest can come to. We are so excited that this project is finally coming to fruition. It’s been the fruit of a lot of effort, and we have right now, young athletes from 6th through 12th grade from around Indiana, so excited to get up here to Lebanon to experience what is happening here at Stone Eater.”

“The big thing we always hear with every city that we speak with is ‘We want a progression,’” added Schiefelbein. “You want to bring your five-year-olds here that can learn the basics, then your 10-year-olds who are starting to get a little crazy and maybe going beyond their limits, but they learn their limits, up to people my age. All skill level, all different types of trails, so easy to more advanced.”

“On BMX tracks, my reward is seeing a five-year-old kid dragging a three-foot-tall trophy off the track. That’s the best thing you can see in the world,” added Ritz. “For mountain bike trails and things like that, just to see families get together. You know, it’s great to see the family, kids not on the Nintendo or on their phones, but out here riding. They are getting good fresh air, getting out in the public, and just getting out. It’s just a great reward.”

“We are excited to have them here, we are excited to bring their unique flavor of BMX racing to mountain bike racing, especially with our cross country trails,” added Krulik. “They have also branched out into doing the whole gambit of mountain bike trails, so we are excited to see what PumpTrax comes up with. Allowing their creativity to run free in the wooded areas, with the skills trails and the skills features, the boulders, the timbers, and all the other materials that we’ve got here for them to work with. We think it’s going to be a great partnership, and we can’t wait for them to get started.”

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