Sanders: Fall riding tips, how to stay warm, GMBA meeting |

Sanders: Fall riding tips, how to stay warm, GMBA meeting

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Fall riding can be one of the best times of year to ride but it does have its challenges. One day it feels like summer, the next reminds us that winter will soon be in control. The swing in weather not only creates difficulty in preparing for your ride but also in your trail selections based upon Mother Nature’s deposit of snow or rain.

Riding after snowfall

We should all be aware that every type of trail use will cause some sort of trail damage. Our responsibility as users is to try to minimize the damage we cause. Be especially careful after a fall snowstorm. Snow tends to melt slowly saturating the ground. When the temperatures drop the ground may freeze and need to warm up a bit to allow the water from the melting snow to be absorbed. A few tips that might help you out when you ride. Sometimes I’ll get out before the ground thaws. This allows me to ride on top of the frozen surface and greatly reduce any impact that I may have. If your schedule doesn’t allow you much flexibility in choosing your time or you would like to be a bit warmer look for trails that will catch the sun and dry out. You may have to change some of your favorite routes to include a few more roads in order to avoid muddy trails.

Fall Trail Recommendations

I have a few trails that I like to ride that tend to hold up well with the variety of fall weather. Blue Sky, D4, D3 and Sunset Pink are a couple of favorites close to the town of Winter Park on the west side. On the east side I like Yankee Doodle, Serendipity, Broken Thumb and Twisted Ankle. In the Fraser area Chainsaw tends to dry out after the mid morning sun is able to hit the north side of the trail. Upper Elk Creek gets good sun on the east side and has a solid road base for most of the west side of the trail. All of these trails have good surface conditions meaning that they tend to drain well and not hold water. Part of this is due to the soil but much of this is due to trail layout and design. Proper design sheds water from the trail and reduces erosion. The result is a long lasting trail that creates a great experience. A huge thanks goes out to everyone who helps maintain the trails. A special thanks to the USFS, Headwaters Trails Alliance and the Town of Winter Park for hours of planning and construction.

Stay warm

Staying warm and dry can be a bit of a challenge. I put fenders on my bike. Even a little bit of water from the road is enough to get you wet and cold. Having warm feet is key. Simple things like toe warmers (covers the front of your shoe) or booties (covers the entire shoe) are huge in keeping your feet from getting froze. Wear your ski socks. They not only keep your feet warmer but warm the calf muscles which then allow warmer blood to your feet. Lightweight cross country style gloves tend to work well for the hands. The headband or skull cap you use in the winter will fit nicely under your helmet. Most of us know how to layer from our trial and errors with skiing. Just in case you need a reminder, layers work best. Block the wind but ventilate when you are working hard so that you don’t get a chill from the sweat. Carry a pack with extra clothing or to have something to put clothing in should the weather warm. When in doubt, assume the weather will change for the worse and be prepared. You don’t want to have to cut your ride short due to being underprepared.

MPHS Bike Club

Our Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club is racing Sunday in Nathrop (near Buena Vista). This is the fourth race of the Colorado High School Mountain Bike Race Series and the final race before the state championships!!


Grand Mountain Bike Alliance is having its monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday October 11 in the Headwaters Trails Alliance building in Fraser. The focus of our meeting will be to recap recent events and accomplishments as well as begin to determine goals and objectives for next year. A key topic will be the recent notification from the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce that they will no longer be marketing mountain biking as a specific activity.

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out 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 me at

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