Cyclists, bring your bikes to school with you for the end of the semester. Assistant Ath­letic Trainer Gus Hem­ingway has cut an approx­i­mately 8‑mile mountain bike trail just for you with hopes to finish it in late April.


Junior Matthew Johnson, who has ridden the trail with Hem­ingway, likened him to both a sherpa and the Grim Reaper, referring to the months Hem­ingway has spent slashing away at brush in Hillsdale’s woods, preparing the trail for riders.


“He cut it all by hand,” Johnson said. “We’re all going to have a really cool trail out there because of Gus and his efforts. It’s been his baby.”


Director of Ath­letics Don Brubacher said that the ath­letic department thought of making a mountain bike course a few years ago, about the time they were con­sid­ering devel­oping the cross country course. Hem­ingway thought of the idea inde­pen­dently and sub­mitted it to Brubacher last winter. College Pres­ident Larry Arnn approved plans for the course last fall.


“The avail­ability of Gus was a key element in the process. He is an avid and expe­ri­enced cyclist who even­tually took it upon himself to design the course and establish guide­lines for its care and use,” Brubacher said.


The trail begins in Hayden Park and uses the same land parcel as the cross country trail. It ends behind an aban­doned house on Mauck Road. It is one of the only trails within a 25-mile radius, and Hem­ingway says, “Hope­fully one of the best within 40. There are trails in Jackson and Adrian, but they are a little con­fusing and hard to follow.”


“It’s a good investment for the local com­munity, too. It makes Hillsdale more of a des­ti­nation town,” Hem­ingway said.


Johnson said that the trail will be useful for runners, as well as mountain bikers.


“The cross country track is [a] cross country [track] by NCAA stan­dards — it has to be a certain width and flow — but it’s not trail running. This will be trail. It’ll be basi­cally single-track, which is a little wider than to ride on. It’ll be a single-track, flowing trail that will be good for hiking, running, and mountain biking,” he said.


Hem­ingway said that, besides being nar­rower than the cross country trail, the new one has more varying terrain and is acces­sible for people at various skill levels.


“It’s a good length. You can do mul­tiple laps and do a long workout or do one lap and have a short workout,” Hem­ingway said.


The college has already received a donation of eight mountain bikes from a member of the board of trustees.