Westwater Mesa and Zion Curtain

Piecing together enough information about these two trails is difficult, so I’ve decided to compile it all in one place! I’ll add pictures soon, hopefully after we check out both of these ourselves.  I feel like as Grand Junction native bikers we should know about all the trails in the area and these two are ones we’ve never ridden.

Zion Curtain

Zion Curtain is out in Rabbit Valley, like Western Rim.  It is higher than the Western Rim trail and is longer too.  I’ve not heard many say it’s as fun as Western Rim, but I have to assume the views are spectacular. According to the no-longer-updated GJMountain Biking website:

[Zion Curtain is an] Aerobic cross country ride for the junkie who’s ridden most of the Grand Valley and beyond. The moto single track takes you to “Zion’s Curtain” then two ridge overlooks and a pinion graveyard. There’s a fine rolling downhill to bittercreek valley.

STARTING POINT: I -70 to rabbit valley exit. Turn north (right)  then take gravel road west over ridge. Take the first left and go to the I-70 underpass.

Ride Description: Start at underpass and go 0.5 miles to well defined ST on left.  Cross over DT and go into cool canyon then up the wash. Climb steep hill then pedal to Zion Curtain fence at 3 miles. Although this is the true Utah-Colorado boarder, symbolically this is the end of the promised land to some. Up steadily to the first rabbit valley view (6.8 miles). Nice place to see Castle rocks, Parallel 2 trail and Eastern/Western rims.  Head west on wide tract near the ridge line to the fire licked pinion graveyard. Travel uphill to 2nd viewpoint into bittercreek. Roll the downhill until you get to a short steep loose pitch. If packed it might be slide-able. Roll the next section cursing the motocross developers for not staying high and making a cutoff to the DT. Weave your way to a 2nd wash in bittercreek then hike uphill (waypoint 5). At the Kokopelli intersection turn right. FYI 1 mile west on the Kokopelli is the start of the Overlook trail at bittercreek campground. Instead cruise northward to the 1st DT on your right that goes uphill ( point7). More climbing then downhill on loose gravel passing the ST beginning.  Here’s a screenshot of the Copmoba map I found of the area:  To download the map, click the link below the image.

map of Zion Curtain, Westwater Mesa and Western Rim

map of Zion Curtain, Westwater Mesa and Western Rim

Rabbit Valley 2-27-14

Most say it’s best to do this ride clockwise.  For more information and reviews, visit the Singletracks.com Zion Curtain page.

Westwater Mesa:

I thought this trail was more like 30 miles long, but according to Singletracks.com it’s only 23.  Here’s their description of the trail:

Scenic trails that mostly follow the Colorado River canyon rim. Singletrack is used by motorcycles, but is surprisingly solid. There are a few junctions along the way that can be confusing, but it you stay along the rim until the back side of the lollipop then you should be fine. However, I recommend getting the regional guidebook to keep you straight. This trail can connect with the Western Rim trail via the Western Rim Connector (see guidebook). A good, solid, scenic ride with mileage and some technical areas.

To get to this ride, drive west on I-70 to the Westwater Mesa exit.  The trailhead is there (somewhere).  More info to come!

Labor Day Madness: A weeklong trip through Utah

It’s no secret we love to go to Utah and bike.  Yes, we love our GJ biking and it’s awesome and blah blah blah, but sometimes it’s nice to get away and enjoy other trails. Our favorite place for that happens to be just one state away.  For the first half of our trip we headed to the SW portion of the state and camped at the Cedar Breaks National Monument.  This turned out to be a great decision because not only was our little campsite just right, but the campground had FREE showers!  FREE! Showers!  2 better words have never been heard after a long bike ride.

Our agenda for our days there went something like this:

Monday: bike the Virgin River Rim trail above Navajo Lake, drop down the Dyke trail, ride the Navajo Lake Trail (about 14 miles total)

The Virgin River Rim trail runs for many more miles than what we did; you can pick it up or drop off of it at different points.  We started at the Te-Ah campground entrance and rode along the rim until we intersected with the Dyke Trail.  The Rim and Dyke trails were about 9 miles.  At the T intersection that you come to on the Dyke trail, just above the gravel road, take a right and then follow that for about 1/2 a mile until it drops you down to the road.  Cross the road and follow the signs down to the Navajo Lake Trail.

Virgin River Rim trail

Virgin River Rim trail

The end of the Navajo Lake Trail

The end of the Navajo Lake Trail

Tuesday: bike the Thunder Mountain trail in Red Canyon (just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park) (14-15 miles including the return bike path portion)

This was a bit of a drive for us, but according to the Utah Mountain Biking website, Thunder Mountain is a “must-ride classic.” We parked at the paved parking area along the road to the Fremont ATV trail then biked 2 miles down that road to find the Thunder Mountain trail head. From here the ride is up and down singletrack for about 7 miles.  Some portions are VERY exposed and there were some pretty sketchy switchbacks filled with rubble.  The trail did have some fun parts though and the last 2 miles were fast and entertaining! Of course, at this point you’ve ended in the Thunder Mountain parking lot and will have to ride the bike path about 5 miles back to your car.  There are worse things I suppose…

Views from the Thunder Mountain Trail

Views from the Thunder Mountain Trail

Wednesday: use Georg’s bike shop to shuttle and ride Bunker Creek (right fork) (about 12 miles)

Ah Bunker Creek…I rode this trail 5 years ago on our last trip out this way.  I know I walked more then than I did this time, but I didn’t endo last time like I did this time.  In any case, Bunker is not to be missed! Use Georg’s as a guide and make sure to tell them you want to do the reverse shuttle.  This way when you finish the ride your car is waiting for you.  We like this because then we can drive back down and sit by the creek to have a beer and a snack.  The ride starts right at the top of Brian Head peak and begins with the Sidney Peaks trail.  This trail is super scenic and fun! When you get to the Bunker Creek intersection take the right fork (which is on the left).  I have no idea what the left fork (on the right) is like, but it’s supposedly more technical.  Trust me, the “Right Fork” will be enough.

Enjoy this bomber downhill but be careful! It’s rocky and rooty and just plain gnarly sometimes.

We stuck to our plan and though we arrived back at camp tired and hungry each day, it was worth it!

For the second half of our trip we drove up to Park City and stayed in a condo for several days. We LOVE Park City.  I swear I could live there quite easily.   Thursday was our travel day and was a much deserved day off from biking.

Sidney Point trail heading to Bunker Creek

Sidney Peaks trail heading to Bunker Creek

Friday: Self-created shuttle of sorts to ride the Wasatch Crest to Mill D.

Mill D is a great option if you want to get some great views on the Crest trail, but aren’t riding on an approved “even numbered” day.  The Mill Creek canyon trails are only open to riders on even numbered days, so you can ride the upper portions of the Wasatch Crest ride, but you’ve got to turn off somewhere…it might as well be at Mill D! Mill D is found by taking a left at the Desolation Lake intersection.  It’s a great ride, about 14 miles when you close the shuttle loop.

To shuttle this from the Park City side: Drop one person off at Guardsman Pass to begin the ride.  Assume this person will wait on you at the end of the Scott’s Bypass trail or at the top of Puke Hill.  Drive down Guardsman Pass road.  Make sure to take note of the dirt road right in a 90 degree curve on right on your way down.  It’s very obvious and there will be cars here.  This is where you’ll bike back to.  Climbing this road will take you to the bottom of Puke Hill.

Keep driving.  Turn right onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and go another mile to mile and a half.  You’re looking for a large gravel parking area on the left.  As soon as you see the tops of the buildings at Solitude ski resort you’ll see the parking area.  If you reach Solitude, turn around and go back.  The parking area will be on your right by the campground sign and road.  Now, bike back up the road to the 90 degree curve sign and the dirt road.  Enjoy your ride!

At the end, your friend can bike back up Big Cottonwood Canyon road to the car.  Just tell them to look for Solitude.  Then they’ll see the car just past it.

Turn left here to head towards the Mill D trail

Turn left here to head towards the Mill D trail

Though mostly mild, there are a few technical spots on Mill D.

Though mostly mild, there are a few technical spots on Mill D.

Saturday: Hire a shuttle (Double D’s!)   Use Double D’s to get back to Guardsman Pass.  Leave your car at Park City mountain resort and bike across to the 7-11.  Tell D that’s where you’d like to be picked up: The 7-11 on Park Ave.  After your shuttle, enjoy Scott’s ByPass and then climb Puke Hill one more time.  Now get ready for 7 1/2 miles of downhill! Turn right onto the Pinecone Ridge trail and follow this down to the Mid-Mountain trail where you’ll take a sharp right turn. Follow Mid-Mountain to Spiro and Spiro back to the road.  Head right over to the parking area and your car.  Whooo hoooo! What a fun ride! (Watch for uphillers!)

Riders climbing the Pinecone Ridge trail

Riders climbing the Pinecone Ridge trail

The one very short climb on the Spiro trail

The one very short climb on the Spiro trail

Sunday: Before we headed home we drove the short distance to the Glenwild Trails and rode the Bob’s Basin downhill trails a few times.  Cutthroat is the considered the hardest one and man was it! Lots of rock drops and rock features but there are ride-arounds on everything.  The Drop-Out is my favorite :)

I hope you had a great summer and got some good riding in.  Let’s all enjoy a safe fall with lots of trails and dirt!

The summer of bike mishaps and some bike tire fixing tricks!

It seems this summer was destined to be our summer of bike mishaps.  It all started several weeks ago when Adelle and I headed out to Loma for a quick ride.  First, we locked the keys in the car. After a few moments of panic Adelle had a great idea and we managed to get the car unlocked without having to break a window.  Later in the ride I noticed my bike tire was sliding around on the dirt.  I checked it and sure enough, there was a hole.  In my tubeless tire!  What the heck?

First, we tried just pumping the tire back up and riding on it to see if the Stan’s sealant would fill the hole.  That didn’t work.  So then Adelle asked the all-important question, “Do you really think you can put a tube in this tire successfully?”  My response?  “Well…in theory.”  So we set about changing the tire.  We got the tire off the bike, got the tire off the rim (thanks Kenda tires!) and got a tube in.  We got the tire back on the rim easily and pumped it up.  Then came the real challenge: getting the back tire back on the bike.  We just couldn’t do it! Fortunately some guys came by and the one guy knew the trick to getting it back on.  What’s the trick to easily putting your back tire back on your bike?  Make sure you’ve either got the chain in the smallest sized ring, or that you just take the chain off the front rings all together.

So John helped me patch my almost brand-new tire and we put more sealant in both of ours since the sealant had obviously dried out over the hot summer.  The next week the three of us headed to Steamboat Springs for 3 days of biking.  The second day we were getting ready to do some resort biking when Adelle noticed her rear brake lever was awfully close to her fingers.  Well it turned out she needed new back brake pads.  So off we went at the resort in search of a bike shop; John did his best to change the pads without his usual set of tools and, with the awesome help of the mechanic at the Ski and Bike Kare shop, we were on our way.

Then the next day, this happened:

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See that duct tape on Adelle’s tire?  We were having a lovely snack at the almost-top of the Bealle’s trail in Steamboat when we heard what sounded like a gunshot. It was LOUD. And it was Adelle’s tire.  The outside layer was delaminating and had also caused a small leak.  So once again here we were on the side of the trail putting in a bike tube…once that part was done, John put duct tape over the gash in the side of her tire, and off we went for another 11 miles of biking.  That evening we made sure to go get a new tire and change it out for the following day’s ride.

Back in the Junk, we went two Sundays ago for a ride on Lion’s and Troy Built in Loma.  Halfway through Lion’s Loop Adelle’s derailleur cable SNAPPED! It just SNAPPED!  So she had to finish that ride with basically a single-speed bike.  Thank goodness John was there to fix that issue.  We’d’ve had no idea what to do and would have ended up walking.

HOPEFULLY all our bike woes are behind us.  (She says, knocking on wood…) Hope your summer has been better!

Steamboat Trip Report: Biking Steamboat!

Over the weekend (and 2 extra days) we headed up to Steamboat Springs for some biking and relaxation.  We’d never been there in the summer; I’d never been there at all.  So we rented a condo on VRBO, took our friend Adelle with us, and set off.

Steamboat is about a 4 hour drive from here, but road construction pushed it to 4.5 hours for us.  So we arrived around 1:30 on Thursday and set about getting ready to ride.  Here’s a rundown of the trails we did:

Thursday afternoon:  Front side of Emerald Mountain

We parked on the far end of the Rodeo lot in town and saw some guys riding up a trail.  It had a map of the area so we assumed it was the way up.  Here’s the problem with Steamboat’s Emerald Mountain trails: very few signs.  So we climbed up, took a right onto a steeper trail, and then another right.  We were sort of following signs from the cross-country trails to Emerald something or other on our way to finding the Lupine Trail.  Here’s some advice: Take a map! There’s a great one in the phone book there (I know, I know…) and you can download one from their website too: www.steamboatbiketown.com 

You won’t get lost; you just might not end up where you meant to.  We found the Lupine Trail – signs appear about halfway up the mountain and climbed it up to the Quarry Overlook.  Lupine is great for climbing as it has lots of easy switchbacks and no serious grunts.  Be careful though; people bike down it and hike it too.

We made our way over to the Blair Witch trail (my FAVORITE of the front side trails) and then to MGM.  When MGM sort of ended at Molly’s and a no-name trail, we took the no-name because it went the direction we needed to go.  From there we just found whatever piece of singletrack going downhill we could find.  All in all it was fun if a little frustrating.

Climbing on the Lupine Trail in Steamboat Springs

Climbing on the Lupine Trail in Steamboat Springs

Friday: RESORT DH!

Friday we got a late start because we had some necessary mechanical issues to take care of.  We couldn’t go bombing downhill with no back brakes! Once that was fixed, we all headed up to the Gondola area and hopped on; our bikes rode in the handy bike racks behind us and were handled with care by the staff.

First we just cruised down the fast and swooping switchbacks of Tenderfoot.  This gave us a good idea of what the mountain’s trails would be like and gave us a warm-up.  It was still 5 miles of downhill, even if it was an easy trail, and my calves were KILLING ME halfway down.  Soon they got in the groove though and we skidded to a finish and headed up for round 2.

We promised J this time we could do some cross-country riding, so from the top we headed up Duster (basically a dirt road) then hung a left and quick right onto the Sunshine Trail. Then we climbed. and climbed. and climbed. All in all it was probably only 3 miles total (including the road) of climbing, but MAN we were tired.  Then we picked up the Elk something trail and took it down to Rustler’s Ridge.  Both of those were a BLAST! Rustler’s was super fun with lots of optional jumps and beautifully bermed switchbacks.

We decided 15 miles of riding meant it was time for lunch.  We wanted to head back up once more after that but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  There was lightning somewhere that seemed terribly far off to us, but not to the Gondola people.  Oh well! We still had fun.

Climbing on the Sunshine Trail at Steamboat Ski Resort

Climbing on the Sunshine Trail at Steamboat Ski Resort

Saturday: Bealle, Ridge and Rotary – The backside of Emerald Mountain

On Saturday we drove waaaaay out Twenty Mile Road to Cow Camp Road (gravel) and found the trail head for the Ridge Trail.  This would be our end point, so we parked here and then biked 2 miles up the gravel road to the Bealle Trail. What most people do is climb up Bealle (about 6 miles) and then go down the Ridge trail.  We saw a few people going down Bealle, but we saw NO ONE headed up the Ridge trail. Bealle isn’t a bad climb at all; it’s long, but never grueling.  It even has a few fun rolling sections!

Even with an exploding tire (de-laminating from the outside) we managed to ride Bealle and then take the option from Ridge onto the Rotary Trail.  It only added about 1.5 miles more, but they were fun miles! At the end we sat around with cold beers, chips and twizzlers and discussed how this was definitely our most awesome day yet.

Almost at the top of the Bealle Trail at Emerald Mountain in Steamboat Springs.

Almost at the top of the Bealle Trail at Emerald Mountain in Steamboat Springs.

Sunday: Spring Creek and home

On Sunday we made the very hard 5.6 mile climb up the Spring Creek trail.  This is a popular hiking, biking and running trail.  Because of that the Strava DH numbers aren’t visible.  It’s considered a dangerous segment and rightly so.  If you were flying down that trail and came upon a hiker or someone climbing in a blind curve, there would be major injuries.

Anyway, after the grueling climb we of course got to turn around and go right back down; that part was super fun!

Bridge 8 of 15 on the Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs

Bridge 8 of 15 on the Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs

All in all it was a fun weekend of biking.  I hope Steamboat continues to build more trails and improve the ones they have.  They’ve got a good thing started there.

Now, on to more important matters: where we ate!

Here are the 3 places I’d recommend from our trip:

1. Mahogany Ridge.  By far the BEST restaurant of the trip.  Great food, great beer, great bartenders and great atmosphere.

2. Sunpies Bistro.  We found this local’s dive bar on Yelp and had to go.  Their hushpuppies were out of this world! I loved the very laid-back and casual atmosphere too. It’s right on the Yampa River, so you can enjoy a Po’ Boy and a hurricane while watching the river roll by.

3. Old Town Pub   Maybe it’s because I was famished, but the turkey wrap at this place was the best I’ve ever had.  It had apple butter on it! APPLE BUTTER.  Fabulous.  Adelle and J both got awesome mac-n-cheese dishes and we had a great apricot beer to go with it all.

So there ya go.  Steamboat.  Go there.  Don’t like to bike? Float the river!

 

Life Lessons on the Bike Trail: Flat Tires :(

So after “breaking in” to our car the other day because we’d locked ourselves out, my friend Adelle and I headed up the Mary’s Loop trail in Loma, Co for a quick out-and-back with a side loop on Wrangler.  Just past the Wrangler turn off, after deciding to go a bit further, I noticed my bike tire felt odd…and sure enough it was going flat!  This wouldn’t be that unusual except that I have tubeless tires…which aren’t supposed to go flat nearly as often as tires with tubes in them because of the Stan’s goo that slides around in them and fills any tiny punctures.  Well…the goo dried up.  We’re assuming it was because it’s been SO hot lately…

Anyway, after an attempt at just pumping up the tire and riding to see if any remaining goo would fill the hole, we decided to try to put a tube in.  This isn’t something either of us have ever done before.  In theory, we knew how…but could we really do it?

First we flipped the bike upside down and took off the back tire.

Next I dumped out all my tools and deflated the tire the rest of the way.

We used one tire tool to pry a little bit of the tire off the bead and then used the other to drag around it and get it completely off one side.  This is when we noticed there was absolutely NO GOO left in the tire.  We took the nut off the tubeless tire valve and pried it out of the rim.

I got out the tube and pumped it up just slightly.  After checking to make sure there weren’t any thorns still in the tire, we got the tube in place with the valve back in the hole and started putting the tire back on the bead.  I was really worried this part would be difficult.  I’ve seen enough tires put on to know it can be very hard to get them back on!  But this one?  NO problem. Thank goodness for tubeless-specific tires and Stan’s rims!

We finished pumping up the tire and then tried to put it back on.  Here’s the one place we messed up: I didn’t shift the gears properly before we took the tire off, so we had no give in the chain to get the tire back on.  Some guys came by though and helped us with that last part.  Next time we’ll know.

In the end we had a great short ride and learned a few new life skills.  It was still a great bike ride with an even better ending:

2014-06-28 13.24.44

Photo blog: Indian Point Trail

These are some photos from a ride Adelle and I did last week on the Indian Point side of the Flowing Park loop.  To get there, take Hwy 65 onto the Mesa, turn right onto Lands End road, then left onto the first gravel road, which is 109.  Stay on the main 109 road until it ends at Flowing Park reservoir.  Ride through the side entrance by the gate on the gravel road.  Follow the signs.  If doing the whole loop, ride clockwise from the junction of Flowing Park and Indian Point (the trail is a lollipop).  It’s about 14 miles.  We rode to the junction and then just did the right side of the ride: Indian Point.  It was about 12 miles round trip.

To be honest this is not even close to being a trail I “like” to ride.  It has great views and awesome wildflowers, but that’s about it!

Indian Point trail, Grand Mesa

Indian Point trail, Grand Mesa

Views from the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa

Views from the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa

Rock Garden on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa

Rock Garden on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa

Trails and wildflowers on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa.

Trails and wildflowers on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa.

Indian Point on the Grand Mesa

Indian Point on the Grand Mesa

"Cinnamon" black bear on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa.

“Cinnamon” black bear on the Indian Point trail on the Grand Mesa.

Flowing Park Reservoir on the Grand Mesa

Flowing Park Reservoir on the Grand Mesa

Steamboat Springs Mountain Biking

Who’s heading to Steamboat Springs???? Our annual Crested Butte trip has been changed to Steamboat this year because, well, we just wanted a change of scenery.  CB is awesome and its trails are scenic and fun, but it’s time to expand our horizons.  We’re going to rent a condo and enjoy 4 days of biking!  Some places we plan to hit:

The Emerald Mountain Trail System

Quarry Mountain trail at Emerald Mountain.  Taken from Singletracks.com

Quarry Mountain trail at Emerald Mountain. Taken from Singletracks.com

The Steamboat Springs Ski Resort Bike Trails

Bike Trails at Steamboat Springs Ski Resort

Bike Trails at Steamboat Springs Ski Resort

and a few other short trails on our first and last days.  We’re really excited to go check out a new place and I have a feeling the biking is going to be pretty sweet.  I’ve heard there are stiff climbs at the beginnings, but there are on most trails in Crested Butte too.  If you’re looking for info, start with their annual bike magazine.  It’s great!

Desert Summer Mountain Biking: Beat the Heat

It. is. hot. Like 100 degrees hot.  Like sweating as you walk from the car to the house hot. Like the steering wheel is too hot to touch because I’m too lazy to get a sun shield hot. It’s just plain hot. BUT that doesn’t mean mountain biking has to cease, just that one has to plan more carefully.  So here are 5 ways to “beat the heat” when biking in the desert. (Or anywhere for that matter)

1. Go early.  Well sure, that’s obvious right?  By early, I mean you should be on the trails no later than 8 or 8:30.  By 10:30, even with a breeze, it’ll be HOT. You need to be done riding by then, so plan your trail route accordingly.

2. Speaking of trail routes…Choose less strenuous rides. Maybe the dead of summer isn’t the time to choose a 14 mile ride with lots of climbing.  Maybe this is the time to choose a ride with small short climbs and lots of flowing cross country or downhill terrain.

3. Find Shade.

Find shade to rest in on hot bike rides.

Find shade to rest in on hot bike rides.

Shade is your friend.  It can be significantly cooler under the shade of a pinon or juniper tree, or even in the shade of a giant boulder, than it will be standing right in the blazing sun.

4. Wear cotton.  This is a controversial suggestion, but I believe that on very hot days wearing cotton, as opposed to a synthetic moisture-wicking material, is best.  It stays wetter longer, which means as soon as a breeze hits you or you start downhill, that damp shirt adds to the evaporative cooling effect of your own sweat.  Find the lightest weight, lightest colored shirts you can and wear those on super hot days.

5. Head for higher ground.  When all else fails, head for the mountains.  We’re lucky enough to have the Grand Mesa not far away, so we sometimes just head there for cooler temps and scenic but less-fun rides.  Sacrifices must be made when it comes to riding in July!

Overcoming Bike Fears Part III: SPEED

Go FASTER! Isn’t that what we always said as kids?  Whether it was on the swings, the merry go round or even on our bikes, we always just wanted to push the limits and go faster.  My adult self often wishes that my child self would take over sometimes and push me to go faster and faster.  Alas, it rarely happens.  Over the years I have gotten faster on my bike, especially on downhill sections of trails that I’m familiar with.  It’s taken much time and courage though, to force myself to go faster for one simple reason: it’s scary!

 

Butterknife trail in Grand Junction, Colorado

Butterknife trail in Grand Junction, Colorado

So how do you overcome the fear of speed?

1. Get familiar with a trail.  Once you’ve got a favorite trail that you know all the ins and outs of, you can start working on speeding up.  This is your favorite trail! It’s one you could ride in your sleep!  You know every rock drop, ledge, berm and roller on it.  Now let yourself go faster.  Move those fingers away from the brakes!  Look ahead!  Visualize the next move in your head; this anticipation will help you better position yourself for the move and you’ll be able to keep up some speed.

2. It’s like eating an elephant. No one says you have to suddenly fly down an entire trail at super high rates of speed.  If you see a long coasting hill coming up, just focus on going faster on that.  When the trail gets technical again, slow down. Little by little you can extend the portion of trail on which you feel comfortable riding faster.  Even if you just start with one downhill and practice to see how far you can coast up the other side, that’s better than nothing.  Take small steps.

Remember your body positioning and remember to keep looking ahead.  If you’re cruising downhill in a “ready position” with your weight over your pedals and your butt behind the seat, you’ll be ready for most drops that you might suddenly encounter.  Obviously if you’re looking head then you’ll be more likely to see those drops coming and can quickly shift to a better position if needed.

Overcoming Bike Fears Part II – Exposure

My biggest fear when biking is exposure.  Not the exposure itself…but what exposure leads to : falling, death, falling death.  I shudder at the thought, to be honest with you.  But what’s to be done?  Some trails are just exposed; there’s no escaping it.  I have three thoughts about exposure:

FIRST: ALWAYS LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.  This rule is paramount to dealing with exposure.  Don’t want to fall off the cliff? Don’t look at it!  Now that we’re clear that this is a rule that must always be followed…

 

Ease into it: If this exposure exists on a trail you know you will ride often (like one that is 10 minutes from your house) then know that you will have plenty of time to get comfortable with this portion of the trail.  You don’t have to ride it all at once or even at all.  Walk it a few times; get the feel for it.  Start to ride small bits of it and then more and more.  It may take years, but eventually you may conquer the entire thing.

Just get through it: If it’s a non-technical piece of trail then use the rule above of looking where you want to go.  The trail has few rocks in it, so you won’t have to steer.  Just pedal or coast along looking 10-15 feet in front of you at the trail (not off the cliff!) This works for me on trails like Crested Butte’s 401.

Views from the 401 Trail in Crested Butte

Views from the 401 Trail in Crested Butte

Walk it! If the trail is technical beyond what you’re comfortable with, then just walk the sections that terrify you.  We often say, “If this obstacle were in the middle of a double track trail…” but hey, sometimes they aren’t.  Sometimes obstacles are smack dab in the middle of a very exposed piece of trail that makes you think you’re going to fall off the edge of the world if you just step wrong.  In that case just walk it! No one will care!

So that’s it.  Dealing with exposure.  Just take your time, ride what you can and don’t feel bad at all about walking parts of it.  It’s better to walk and live to ride another day than crash!