Breaking the Cycle: Hard Charging the Rocky Mountains

Colorado_8Crisp air, astounding mountain vistas, challenging climbs, and a huge variety of trails and roads: anyone can plainly see why Colorado is a mecca for cyclists, both on and off road. You’d just better bring a good set of legs (and lungs.) Let’s start the discussion with Winter Park, which lies just 20 miles from Granby and is known as Mountain Bike Capital USA. This town has more than 600 miles of trails for every skill level, and for those who want to take the easy way up and the hard way down, visit Trestle Bike Park, one of the premier mountain bike parks in the country, located at Winter Park Resort. Riders load their bikes on a specially designed chairlift to the top of the mountain, where they can take your pick from more than 40 miles of off road trails to the bottom. We took a Trestle 101 downhill lesson at the park, which is an excellent way of introducing downhill to anyone even remotely interested in mountain biking. You start at the ultra-well-equipped bike pro shop for an expert fitting of your rental bike (from the largest fleet in the country) and protective gear. It’s all dialed in perfectly for you, down to tire pressures and shock damper settings, and the technicians will ask you if it feels just right before you head out the door. Meet your guide and take the chairlift up to the top of the mountain- there you’ll go over basics of body position and braking. Colorado_9When everyone is comfortable, your guide will take you down a blue (easy) trail, stopping periodically to explain the correct way to navigate berms, loose gravel, and other challenges. You take it at your own pace, and it’s all very non-intimidating. You’re in control the whole time, and the knowledgeable guides offer plentiful amounts of encouragement and direction. For experts, the sky is the limit, as Trestle is the place to go for downhill. Their tougher black diamond trails offers lots of features: wooden berms, wall rides, gaps, and more to challenge even the most jaded biker. Take a special skills assessment to enter the famous Banana Peel trail, for top riders only.

Colorado_10If you’re staying in Breckenridge, then you’ve found yourself in an incredibly bike friendly town. There are hundreds of miles of spectacular area rides on pavement as well as off pavement. We sought out Breck Week, which kicks off summer with mountain and road bike demos, skills clinics, guided tours of the town’s breathtaking roads and trails, and of course, the notorious Funkadelic Pond Crossing Challenge, which tests riders to make their way across a 10 inch wide plank to victory over the Dredge Pond downtown. Riders are encouraged to wear a costume, and are awarded prizes for first to cross, fastest to cross, best costume, and best crash. All in all, it’s a great experience for anyone who loves cycling, and it’s great family fun!

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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