Spoke Talk: Emerald’s newest trail opens
Steamboat Springs — A milestone is upon us. The first-ever user-specific trail on Emerald Mountain has opened. This bike-only, downhill-only trail is like nothing else on the mountain.
NPR, which stands for No Pedaling Required, is an intermediate flow trail. With more than 100 features including berms, rollers, table-top jumps and double rollers that can be jumped, the trail is 1.75 miles of downhill excitement.
The trail is very smooth and the features are all roll-able so it can be ridden by almost any level of rider on just about any style of bike, from a BMX to a 29er. If you’re new to flow trails, heed the following advice:
• Lower your seat and stand on your pedals. Lowering your seat increases your feeling of control and traction as you lower your center of gravity “into” the bike, and it allows you to get more suspension from your arms and legs.
• Standing on your pedals means staying out of the saddle. Sit when climbing, but when descending your weight should be distributed evenly on your pedals.
• Resist the urge to sit down. It’s game on — no time to sit. You’ll be able to react to the diverse terrain much more effectively if you stay on your feet.
• Look ahead. Head up, eyes forward. Look as far down the trail as you can as you barrel down the dirt roller coaster.
• Let your arms and legs absorb and “pump” the rollers — these four tools that we’re all equipped with provide far more suspension than any bike.
Why a directional trail on Emerald? Directional trails reduce user conflict and promote safety by providing alternate downhill-only access for trail users.
Rightfully so, Emerald is one of our town’s most popular biking amenities. It’s not uncommon to see double-digit numbers of cyclists on your typical ride. Going down, that can mean a lot of on-again, off-again as a cyclist yields or is yielded to.
Those bikers who like to ride a continuous, uninterrupted, fast and fun descent will love NPR because all the traffic will be bikes and all will be going the same way — down. Other trail users may notice markedly less downhill cycling traffic on certain Emerald trails as a result. That’s a win-win.
Routt County Riders was awarded the bid for trail construction by the city. Trail building began July 27 utilizing Routt County Riders’ ST240 trail dozer, mini excavators, a skid steer, plate compactors, a water tank with battery-powered sprayer and many hands and hand tools.
Two months later, the completed trail starts below the last switchback of Blackmere Drive before the Quarry overlook and continues down until near the top of the Howelsen Hill chairlift.
Over the next several weeks, Routt County Riders will continue to monitor and adjust the trail as rains and riders pack it out. Let us know what you think after you’ve given it a whirl — share your feedback on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/rcriders or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave your comments below.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.
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