Sanders: Rethink your ride in winter
December 17, 2015
Mountain biking takes on a lot of different forms. It's far more than the type of bike your ride. We all remember the warm days of summer and those rare rides when our legs find a hidden inner strength that take us farther than we have been before. Your eyes fill with the view that you have only seen on pictures as you crest over the top of the mountain one trail higher and farther than you have been before.
It may be the feeling as you lean into a turn. Your bike feels more like an extension of your body as your mind let' s time stand still while the world slowly moves by. Of course there is the rare day when all of your technical skills work together allowing you to float effortlessly over the roots and rocks below your wheels. There is the saying "the older you get the better you were". This applies to all ages and genders. It is not just time passing us by but more often our slightly embellished memory of being a bit better than we were.
Those experiences and ability to make memories need not be confined to summer. Winter has great opportunities to get out on the bike and see the same terrain in a very different light. Riding in the winter has the same yet slightly different rewards. I see far fewer people when I am out on the trails. Many times I see no one at all. There are the occasional ski tracks or imprints of mountain bikers who slipped away from life's challenges to step back a bit while the child inside is let out to play. A few years back I was passed by a moose as I slowly worked my way up a nearby road.
Riding in the winter has me on trails and roads that I may pass up in the summer. Winter Park has a huge variety of opportunities for your winter riding but it may take a slightly different mindset to select the best experience. Much of our trail system is not groomed. Let's face it you can't ride your fat bike cross country on snow. You can try but as I have found, it is more of the under the sea adventure than the bliss of that perfect ride when everything works together. The trails that have been groomed or used by others are what I seek. Most often I am on a trail that has been groomed or used by snowmobilers. Compaction of the trail gives a great surface to ride and it allows me to enjoy my limited time. I've had some great rides on USFS roads that I don't ride in the summer. In the summer I have a multitude of trails to select which allow me to sculp that perfect singletrack adventure. In the winter many of those same trails are rarely if ever used by anyone. The roadways that I cross in the summer become my routes in the winter.
The next time you are riding think of your ride on a larger scale. It might take you to the top of Corona Pass on the east or on and off USFS 159 on the west. You may just ride the Fraser River Trail for the first time all the way to Granby Ranch. Or it could be a combination of all of those things. What is the take away on all of this? Think a bit differently than you have in the past and use your previous experiences to create new ones. You may be very surprised with your new adventure that is just waiting for you to try.
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!
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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 me at email@example.com
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