Now is a great time to get out and ride Fraser Valley trails | SkyHiNews.com

Now is a great time to get out and ride Fraser Valley trails

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking With Keith

The days are getting shorter, snow is making a few appearances up high and the temperature is slowly getting colder. This is one of the best times of year to get out and enjoy your bike. Colors are changing, elk are bugling and who doesn't like to let that inner kid out to play?

I was able to sneak out Wednesday evening with some friends and ride some of the new trail improvements done in the Leland Creek (D4) area on National Public Lands Day. This bit of new trail (part of Leap Frog) is one of the last trail improvement projects to be done in the Leland Creek area and it is a great addition to the other trails that were improved and added earlier this summer. The trail for the most part is hand-cut, narrow singletrack. Enough rocks and turns to keep you attentive but easy enough that a wide variety of skill sets will enjoy the trail. The surface is still a bit rough but that will smooth with use.

The Leland Creek area and specifically the Leap Frog trails are our most technical trails in the Winter Park vicinity. The grades are not steep but the rock features make for the challenge. One thing I enjoy is that every rock feature has a ride-around option so you do not have to ride the feature if it is too hard. I usually pick up the Leap Frog trail by riding to the top of D4. Just before D4 meets with Forest Road 159 you will see a sign for Leap Frog on the east side. The upper section rolls a bit on top.

Small to medium size rocks frame the trail in many places allowing you to test your skills (note: always check out the challenge if you are unfamiliar with trail). Keep an eye out for moose as they are frequently seen in this area. As you descend the trail becomes a bit easier – technically speaking. It has a bit more flow but still enough technical terrain to keep you on your toes. There are a few intersections, most of which are marked. I suggest exploring all of the marked intersections to see what is out there. One thing to be aware of is that many of the unmarked trails will go away. This was part of an article I wrote a couple of weeks back as adding and removing trails balances the environmental needs with recreational desires.

“This is one of the best times of year to get out and enjoy your bike. Colors are changing, elk are bugling and who doesn’t like to let that inner kid out to play?”

Fall can be a challenging time of year to ride. You have great swings in weather patterns that can happen over days or sometimes hours.

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A few things that will help you be more comfortable and safer on your rides.

• Wear wool socks. You can get them in the cycling length so you don't have to wear your ski or hiking socks.

• Toe warmers: These are neoprene covers that go over the front part of your shoe to block the wind and insulate the shoe. You would be surprised how well these work. This is a must-have item for your cycling wardrobe.

• Knee warmers: They cover the knee and part of the thigh. Another must-have item for your cycling wardrobe.

• Long finger gloves.

• Flashing light for your seatpost or seat. Be safe, even if you can see well, should you be on a road at dusk then try to be as safe as possible.

• Light for your handlebar just in case something happens and you have to come home after dark. (Bring a flashlight if you don't have a handlebar light).

All of these things can be found at our local bike shops.

Now go out, have fun and be safe.

Group rides

Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park does a weekly group ride on Friday's at 5 p.m. Intermediate and above skill level. Come join in! 970-726-5988

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.

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