How To Enjoy Fall Mountain Biking
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. This bit of new trail (part of Leap Frog) is one of the
trail improvement projects that was completed in the Leland Creek area and it is a great addition to the
other trails that were improved and added a few summers ago.
The trail for the most part is hand cut and narrow single track. 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 up for the challenge. One thing I enjoy
is that every rock feature has a ride around option so that 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 USFS 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.)
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. 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
- 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
- Knee warmers- they cover the knee and part of the thigh. Another must have item for your
- Long finger gloves.
- Flashing light for your seat post 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 mountain bike accessories can be found at our bike shop.
Now go out, have fun and be safe.