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HISTORY
A commentary from David Royka
The developer of The Land and one of the land owners

Freeriding
IMBA has defined freeriding as "a style of mountain biking that celebrates the challenges and spirit of technical riding and downhilling." Anytime you are on a trail trying to push your riding limits, you are freeriding. Years of freeriding exposure and gaining momentum have spawned small freeride trails and parks everywhere. Freeriders around the world have rushed to create micro oasises of freeriding nirvana wherever they could. There was no money. There was no fame. Riders did what they did out of a pure love for the emerging sport of freeriding and they were making it their own... literally shaping the sport with their unique individual efforts. The Land is one of those great experiments and expressions of freeriding. The goal was to transform about 80 wooded hillside acres into one of the most advanced and challenging freeride courses in the USA. Situated in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York State, The Land continues to evolve into a tight network of singletrack freeride trails, designed to flow and blend into the environment with natural stunts, providing an amazing riding experience.

Inspiration
I progressively dreamt about the trails featured in magazines and admired the pros doing seemingly impossible stunts on DVDs. I traveled as often as I could to ride as many places as possible. Locally the freeride scene was passionate but unfocused. On a long road trip home from Boston in February 2005, the entire idea gelled into a coherent project and I frantically scribbled down notes on a pad beside me. I saw an opportunity to promote the sport and harness the collective energy and talents of the area's freeriders. I mapped out the plan to construct a freeride park using Land I jointly owned. Later that April an informational meeting was held with nearly 45 people in attendance and the project was officially under way. The dream was collective and grassroots volunteers showed up to help build the most challenging freeride trails on the East Coast.

Concepts
There were several core philosophies that drove The Land's development. Bring the emerging sport and soul of freeriding to the Western New York area. To use the top riding locations in the world as inspiration and make this one even better. To create a world-class biking destination, worthy of travel to the area. To make trails and stunts built of natural materials, using sound methods and made to last for years, all blended into the landscape. To have a low environmental impact and be very environmentally conscious, utilizing natural on-site materials and limiting the use of heavy equipment. To provide a safe riding environment designed to reduce injuries, allowing riders to advance in the sport faster. To have a place to ride that pushes your comfort zone, improves your skills, and allows you to grow as a rider. To represent intermediate and advanced skill levels and challenge riders of all abilities. At the end of the day, this was a collaborative effort representing the ideas of many people.

Future
We're working extremely hard to open The Land to the public as soon as possible. While the opening date is still in question, I hope The Land's existence inspires others to develop similar freeride parks across the country. From the current Land Crew, we highly encourage others to make intelligent and respectful advances in freeriding within their own communities. Freeriding comes in many flavors and styles. The Land represents only one aspect of the sport although every discipline of biking has our respect. We admire any rider that takes biking farther, faster, or higher. After all, we're all bikers... and it's about riding in whatever form that motivates you, pure and simple.

Sincerely,
David Royka
Havoc Adventure Sports :: FreerideArmy.com :: royka.com

 

Inspecting Tarzan Drop :: A Freeriding Highlight of The Land

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