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.