Get your body and bike ready for mountain bike season while you wait for area trails to dry
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sunny skies and warm weather are making locals eager for mountain biking season, but area trails are not yet ready.
Routt County Riders Executive Director Kelly Northcutt said it’s important to be mindful of not riding the local trails when they’re wet because tires can leave tracks this time of year.
The first trails to dry up in Steamboat will be the backside of Emerald Ridge and Rotary Loop, since they are lower in elevation and west facing to receive more sunlight. Beall Trail is under a seasonal closure for elk calving.
“Last winter, we dried out a lot faster,” Northcutt said. “This year, the higher-up trails on (Buffalo) Pass or upper Flash of Gold will probably not be viable until July. It totally depends when the snow all melts up there.”
But there are other options for cyclists as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Ski shape is not the same as bike shape, and the best way to prepare is to start pedaling.
“It’s a good time to retune your body, retune your bike,” Northcutt said. “People could be intimidated to go from skiing to a Moab (mountain bike) trip with 10 people. You start somewhere, and it takes a while to get back in your groove.”
Northcutt rides her commuter bike to town and attends Manic Training and spin classes to get her endurance back. Routt County Riders member Ian London advises cyclists to take advantage of the paved or gravel roads on a road bike in Steamboat Springs.
Paved routes like River Road (Routt County Road 14) out to Stagecoach Reservoir or Twentymile Road (C.R. 33) out to the coal mine are London’s favorites this time of year. For a bigger loop, connect them through Oak Creek.
Gravel routes such as the Emerald Loop, Airport Loop, C.R. 29 and C.R. 179 are in riding shape, but gravel roads farther out are not yet ready for the season.
Local bike shops are a good resource for finding trails ready for riding, but for the first taste of mountain bike adventures, cyclists are traveling to Moab, Grand Junction, Fruita and Glenwood Springs.
If traveling isn’t an option, Craig’s Cedar Mountain is expected to be one of the first trail systems in the area to dry. The mountain had 2.7 miles of track built last summer, and 1 mile of flow trail and 2 miles of singletrack are in the works for the upcoming summer.
But before riders start pedaling, it’s important to check the bike.
“It’s good to check your tires,” Northcutt said. “A lot of times tires can dry up, and the side walls can crack. Make sure that you have good tread on your tires and that your fork and shock have been serviced recently after so many hours of riding.
It’s the same as your car: You want to keep up on the maintenance to run smoothly.”
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