Mountain bikers in Durango, Colorado have prime single track right out their front doors. Recently, the city council voted unanimously to rename 301 acres of riding terrain after 1990 mountain bike world champ and resident Ned Overend.
Ed Zink, owner of Mountain Bike Specialists bike shop, formed the “Name it for Ned” campaign in an effort to rename the Durango Mountain Park after Overend and he received hundreds of emails in support.
Overend sold 50 acres of land to the city followed by Zink, and his partners, who sold nearly 100 acres. The group sold their respective properties for a fraction of their value to preserve it for recreation, rather than see it developed.
“I'm honored and flattered,” Overend said to the Durango Herald. “It causes me to think of all the people who've made the Durango cycling community what it is. They're who I thought about when I heard people wanted to name a park after me."
Overend is a former professional mountain biker who won the sport’s inaugural World Championships in 1990. Over the span of his career he won the NORBA National Championships title on six occasions. He was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. He retired from professional bike racing in 1996.
“Ned wanted to get his acres into the public domain and that is what got the ball rolling on the creation of the park,” said John Glover, general manager of Mountain Bike Specialist. “He sold that well below market value for the City of Durango, otherwise, it would have ultimately been developed. Any one who owns land here has a choice to either make a millions of dollars on it or preserve the land. Ned chose to preserve it.”
Durango is one of the few cities awarded silver status as the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly Community for its vast cycling infrastructure like the Overend Mountain Park. The application process provided an opportunity for the City to review its infrastructures, roads, bike paths, trails and school routes. The evaluation highlights the quantity, quality, interconnectivity and proximity of trail systems throughout Durango.
“Durango has a lot of open spaces and parks,” Glover said. “Our parks are wild areas. It’s all single track that’s in the Overend Mountain Park. There are also lots of walkers, jogging, nature lovers and wild life. It has really smooth, sweeping ride and super fun single track so it attracts a lot of mountain bikers.”