The Objective...

...of this project is to rehabilitate the Fountainhead mountain bike trails to make them more sustainable, while preserving the challenging, backcountry nature of one of our absolute favorite trails.

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The Fountainhead Project is FINISHED!! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 17:58

The Fountainhead Project (FHP) is FINISHED!!


(Draft Map Courtesy of Knobby Tire Mapping)

That should have been our headline May 16th, 2015 when we received our last invoice from our contractors.  Of course now it’s almost 5 months later and we’re finally writing this piece.  We had hoped to install the final signage including the final map but those projects have been delayed and it’s way past time to sum the Project up.


The Numbers – Trail Distances: After completion of the Black Loop Project our advanced loop went from 3.93 miles to 7.98 miles (As measured with a wheel by Trail added during construction subtracted by trail closed/reclaimed).


The Green Loop: 2.20 miles (Measured by walking with a professional grade GPS)

The Blue Loop: 4.77 miles (Measured by walking with a professional grade GPS)

The Black Loop: 7.98 Miles (Calculated Total)


This brings the total trail mileage as measured and calculated to nearly 15 miles.  Most riders using a commercial GPS are seeing approximately 13 miles.  This tracks pretty well with the error we saw after the first phase of construction where riders recorded nearly a mile shorter than what was measured by a professional GPS.  Our 2 mile discrepancy can safely be attributed to GPS accuracy and sampling rate combined with the constant elevation change of the trail.  Whatever riders decide the distance is in their own heads is good with us!


The Numbers – Cost: Both Phases of the redesign project were funded through a combination of donations and grants received though the Virginia RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grant program.  RTP grants receive their funds from the Federal Highway Administration.  They are matching grants with the recipients required to fund at least 20% of the projects total cost.  The FHP more than exceeded its matching obligations for both grants allowing each phase to significantly expand past their original designs.  The Green and Blue Phase I project received an RTP grant for $100,000 and the club contributed through fundraising and donations approximately $80,000 in cash.  The Black Loop Phase II project grant provide funds of $152,000 with MORE matching nearly $42,000 in cash.  This staggering amount does not even include the donated material (Stone from Vulcan Quarries), volunteer labor, and donated services.  The original IMBA estimate for the project was $425,000.  When all is said and done, cash spent on the project was $374,000.  Combine that with the donations of material, time and labor mentioned above and that estimate was pretty spot on.


Thank You’s


Thanks for a project that spanned this many years (2005 through 2015) can always be a tricky thing.  Not so much on who you Thank but who you forget to Thank.  With that in mind we want to send out the broad Thank You to The Land Owner, NVRPA (The Northern Virginia Park Authority), MORE and the all of the contributors.  Without these three groups the project could not have started much less run the course to completion.  10 years is a long time and the faces changed many times but there was always the Land Owner, the bike club and the riding community that supported the project.


Special recognition should be given to NVRPA regional mangers James Short and Mathew White as well as their grant specialist Kate Rudacille.  Dealing with “us” and all of the intricacies needed to complete this project was an above and beyond challenge.  Again, we Thank them and all of NVRPA for their patience, their help and of course their use of land to build the trail.


In Thanking MORE we need to Thank every Board member that has served over the last 10 years.  The FHP was probably the largest home grown, internally run project that the Club has ever taken on and it was not without its share of churn. Each and every month the Board met they had to hear about the status, the funding and the problems associated with the project. There were many many Board members who were directly involved with the project.  Treasurers (there were 5 of them), Advocacy Directors and Presidents of the club.  Special recognition needs to be given to Jason Stoner, who was President during the Phase I construction, and Ernest Rodriguez, who President during the second Phase.  Without their constant support the Project would have been lost many times over.  In addition to the Board Members who supported the project we would like to Thank the two Project Managers for the efforts.  Thanks to Anne Mader and Larry Cautilli for sticking it out!!!


And of course our Donators.  There were many individual donations to the FHP.  These donations ranged from $10 to $10,000.  And of course donations were not just in cash.  As mentioned above, Vulcan Quarries donated TONS of rock that include delivery.  The FHP also received volunteer labor from many club members, the Bike Lane Team and Team XXL.  CDW donated labor by helping to write our RFI/RFP’s.  IMBA donated labor to help offset and bridge shortfalls with the use of IMBA Trail Solutions.  Our builders helped us stay on budget.  There were several times that Ironwood Outdoors, 402 Trails and Bergrad Trails needed to “right size” construction costs to help us stay on budget.


The FHP originally kicked off with grants from the Trail Conservation Fund (Sponsored by Michelob Ultra) and a Grant from REI.  Club members formed TEAM IMBA and raised over $4500 dollars.  The O’Sullivan family as well the Pinkerton foundation donated several times with large cash donations.  KBR donated $10,000 and the project received a grant from Bikes Belong for another $10,000.  There were over 200 individual donations to the FHP during its 10 year existence.  MORE matched funds, did fund raisers and donated several times through the FHP history.  Again without all of this support we could not have achieved what we did.


It’s a bitter sweet taste now that the project is over.  It was a long 10 years but we learned a lot.  Only time will tell if the trail lives up to our expectations, can justify its expense or stand the test of time and rider usage.  We think we have a kick butt trail offering a little bit of everything to the many different riding abilities that make up our mountain bike community.  Is it perfect?  No.  Did everything we try work?  No.  Are there complaints?  Yes!!  But one only has to look at the upper Parking Lot of Fountainhead every weekend and now nearly every day to see how popular the trail has become.


Over the next year we’ll work with MORE and NVRPA to get new signage and maps installed.  We also need to do some additional clean-up here on the FHP website so it provides more information about the trail and comes across less beggy for money.  From all of us here at the Fountainhead Project, this is not so much as a goodbye but a strong suggestion to go out and ride.  We’ve earned it and we bet you have too!!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2015 18:39
The State of "The Head" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 21:31

The State of “The Head”

With the 2014 July 4th holiday week coming we thought we’d share where we are in the this last Phase of the Fountainhead Project (FHP).

To Recap, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) with MORE as a  partner, secured a Virginia Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant for the amount of $184,000.  This grant is a 20% matching grant and supplies $152,000 in direct funding with a $32,000 matching funds/services and material requirement.  To date MORE has raised $32,000 in cash and there has been over $18,500 in materials and services donated, with over half of that being stone from our kind benefactor’s at Vulcan Materials.

Of the $184,000 cash that the FHP had  to spend on the project, $131,752.94 has been invoiced as of the July 4th holiday week.  This leaves the project with a balance of $52,247.06.

Here’s the breakdown on what’s been built so far:

Project Area 1:  3,799 linear feet of new trail with 910 linear feet of closure for a net gain of 2,889 linear feet of trail.

Project Area 2:  9,083 linear feet of new trail with 2,651 linear feet of closure for a net gain of 6,432 linear feet of trail.

Project Area 3:  7,234 linear feet of all new trail with no closure.  PA3 also contains a nearly 600 feet of a purpose built jump line as well as 3 optional expert level drops.

The net gain in trail mileage for the first three project area’s is approximately 3.14 miles bringing the total trail mileage at Fountainhead Park to approximately 14.04 miles.  This distance is a dramatic increase to the original estimates from the RFP and is due mostly to the change orders in the first three Project Areas.  These change orders could not have happened if it weren’t for the generous donations that MORE received towards the project.

The budgets for Project area’s 4 and 5 have been revised to make sure that that the remaining funds are not exceeded.  In PA4 either the option for Segment 2 or Segment 3 will be not be exercised fully.  The current thought is to leave Holy Grail (PA2 Segment 2) mostly alone with some repair work on a couple of the blown out turns.  In Project Area 5 segment 1, the proposal for three wooden features will not be exercised and will save the project $1200.

The new estimated trail total for the Phase II portion of the FHP is now 3.6 miles and will bring the estimated total for the entire trail to 14.5 miles.  (Final trail distance will be determined using a Professional GPS, mapper and GIS software).  When MORE first helped open the trail it was barely 5 miles long.  Most of us are extremely happy with the 300% increase!

If you want to help us stay on target or even get some of the unexercised options restored into the construction process please consider a donation.  We estimate that we have between 4 and 6 weeks left before competition.  If you have ever considered donating, no matter how small or large, now is THE time.

To Donate please go to:  Fountainhead Project Donate Now

Click on the “Donate Now” button to use PayPal or follow the instructions for mailing a check. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 22:16
Winter Building!! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:04


The winter of 2013/2014 for Northern Virginia and much of the east coast will certainly go down as one of the worst for trail building in recent history.  Our estimated build schedule was thrown out the door as snow storm after snow storm blanketed our favorite trail.  On top of the snow issues we had periods of arctic cold that made digging almost impossible followed by rapid warm-ups that made the ground a soupy mess.

Despite the weather related set-backs, the construction Team of Ironwood Outdoors and Bergrad Trails were able to complete and open all of Project Area 1 (PA1).  PA1, the climb up and out of the picnic table area and into Port Charlotte, was originally about 6/10's of a mile in length.  The new segment is now 1.4 miles in length.  In addition to the added mileage, PA1 has several board walk features, several rock gardens, a short jump line and a couple of small jumps.  Signage at the front of PA1 will warn riders about what is coming and will encourage them to walk sections they can not navigate in favor of riding around them.  PA1 makes good use of the original legacy trail by using two sections in the reverse direction to help increase the final mileage of the finished product.


As the weather started turning for the worse, it was decided that the builders would skip from PA1 to PA3.  This would allow the builders to keep working while conditions were less than optimal and riders to continue to ride on the long established original trail tread.  Although the new trail will ultimately be more sustainable than the old, we have found that in the first year of a new build, the trail tread, without thousands of lap passes on it, is highly vulnerable to frost heave caused by rapid freeze thaw cycles.


PA3 cuts new trail deeper into the heart of Port Charlotte and will increase the overall length of the system by approximately a mile.  It will include the longest jump line in the project, several platform jumps (with ride arounds) and a nice but very narrow section of hand built trail on some of the steepest side-slopes in the entire Park.



PA3 helps us try and meet our goal of an overall system length of between 14 and 15 miles.


For those wishing to follow the progress of the redesign, a FLIKR gallery has been created.  We hope to document construction well this time:

For Facebook Users looking for up-to-date information, the Fountainhead Project maintains its page at:


Last Updated on Sunday, 30 March 2014 17:04
The Black Loop Ground Breaking PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 13:08

The Fountainhead Project is pleased to announce that Phase II construction out on the Black Loop has officially broke ground.

This Phase of the Fountainhead Mountain Bike redesign has been divided into 5 Project Area's with construction occurring in linear order from Project Area 1 though Project Area 5.

Project Area 1, located directly across the bridge at the picnic table area, will be the show case for the entire Black Loop.  This Project Area will contain short samples of all of the components from the entire loop.  From the heavily signed and corralled entrance with rock and wood qualifiers to the short down hill jump line, riders will be given a taste of what the trail will be like over the next 7 miles.

The Fountainhead Phase II redesign project differs from the Phase I project by shifting the design component onto the shoulders of the builders.  Although we were very happy with results of the Phase I effort and ridership at the Park has nearly tripled since finishing Phase I, we recognized the limitations on creativity imposed on the builders by restricting them to a 30 foot wide corridor of a design created by someone else.  Our current Team of builders, a joint effort between Ironwood Outdoors and Bergrad Trails, have worked well with the Fountainhead Project, MORE and the land owner, The Northern Virginia Park Authority (NVRPA).  The design is solid, change orders have been well received and the creativity and imagination seem to be flowing abundantly.

For those wishing to follow the progress of the redesign, a FLIKR gallery has been created.  We hope to document construction well this time:


For Facebook Users looking for up-to-date information, the Fountainhead Project maintains its page at:

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 March 2014 15:07
The Black Loop Project is under contract! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 August 2013 20:07

August 2013: UPDATE

The Northern Virginia Park Authority received two excellent RFP submissions for the Fountainhead Black Loop redesign. The first submission was a joint effort from Ironwood Outdoors and Bergrad Trails.

Ironwood Outdoors run by Brock Lowery, was one of the prime contractors on the Green and Blue Loop redesign effort that took place last year. Bergrad trails is operated by Geoff Allen. Geoff lives local to Fountainhead, rides there often and was the volunteer who came in and fixed some of the trail issues out on the Blue loop using his own machine and time.

The second submission came from 402Trails, owned and operated by Brad Stone. Brad also worked on the Green and Blue trails and was responsible for the highly acclaimed and well received Big Flow Berms that are his signature style of building.

We are proud to report that the Park has gone forward and selected the design from Bergrad and Ironwood Outdoors. Congratulations to Geoff and Brock!!

We would like to send a special THANK YOU to Brad Stone and his crew at 402Trails. Fountainhead would not be the place that it is today without his vision and expertise as a master trail builder.

Since receiving the design from Bergrad/Ironwood Outdoors the Fountainhead Project has been working closely with the builders to further refine and expand the design to further meet the needs of the Fountainhead Mountain Bike Community. The below map represents the latest update we have. The lines were generated from GPS tracks that followed the actual pin flags that have been placed in the ground.


With this design it is proposed that 4.8 miles of new trail be built, 2.5 miles of the existing trail will be retained and 1.5 miles of unsustainable trail be closed. This will bring the distance of the current Black Loop from 3.93 miles to approximately 5.2 miles. When completed the new trail with all three loops should be approximately 13.3 to 13.5 miles long.

As with the first project, Vulcan Quarries has stepped up to provide us the much needed stone to further enhance the Black Diamond experience of the new trail. To be exact they have agreed to donate 7 loads of stone ranging in size of “Baby Heads” to Boulders.




The new Black loop will incorporate; jumps, drops, rollers, berms, boardwalks and of course a rock garden or two.

The Black Loop project is being funded by a matching grant from the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the VA Bureau of Land Management. To maximize 100% of the $152,000 available under the grant a matching $30,400 in cash, labor, service and material donations must be raised. Cash and labor donations totally approximately 22K have been raised to date but we need more. Click on the DONATE NOW button to help the project directly with cash. Every dollar raised will go directly to building trail. And please look for announcements regarding work days. Under Recreational Trail Project guidelines, for every volunteer hour donated, $22.03 can be applied towards matching requirements.

Do you want to be kept up to date on the latest regarding the project. Consider “liking” us on our Facebook page ( Not a Facebook person? Our page is wide open. You won’t get alerts but can check the page often for updates.

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 September 2013 18:09

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Betty the Builder

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s 2006 Readers’ Choice Awards recognized Fountainhead mountain bike trails in its list of Favorite Mountain Biking Trail System!

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