Really hitting the Mountain Bike hard lately (which is a good thing, considering the amount of money I spent on it). After a so-so trip to Garnet Hill two weekends ago (trails are slightly overgrown and underused), we went up to Lake Placid to see what the Whiteface area had to offer. We were definitely not disappointed. On Saturday, Ace and I sampled the "Flume" trails down near the Hungry Trout Restaurant. The trails are relatively new, and very well maintained:
The next day (Sunday) we tried a little loop right near my parents camp detailed here. The route into Deer Pond was mixed. The first half was a really nice, wide-ish nature trail that we had a blast on. The next part was a series of two plank bridges over some swampland. Some of the bridges were ridable, but a lot of them weren't. Between the bridges were some sections with roots, stumps and rocks that tripped us up more than once. A tough hike/bike experience. Eventually, through, just as we were getting towards the pond, we were rewarded with a nice downhill and beautiful views of a remote lake. We didn't really have the map linked above, so we had a little discussion about which way to go out. Eventually, we decided on the trail that pointed us to "Old Wawbeek Road". This turned out to be a good decision, since 95% of the trail was perfectly ridable (as opposed to about 65% of the previous trail). And eventually, we reached the aforementioned road, which turned out to be abandoned asphalt - perfect for our somewhat weary legs.
Finally, we joined some friends for a ride yesterday (Tuesday) up at the Skidmore Stables. We just did a quick loop of Carriage Trail-Pilgrim-Swam Pass-Here to There-Rock Garden (different Rock Garden)-Carriage Trail. Ace and I seem to be getting better because sections of trail that we used to struggle with, we are now flying over with ease. I think the difficult trails that we are subjecting ourselves to are making us better riders. As hard as the Flume Rock Garden and Deer Pond trails were, we're subconsciously taking what we've learned on those trails and turning it into positive movements on our regular trails. Kind of like skiing in a way.
In fact, I'll have to remember that this winter. A great way to get better is to try new trails at new mountains. Or new trails at old mountains. Or new lines on old trails. Even if it's a struggle while you're doing it, subconsciously, you're learning what works and what doesn't. So eventually, when you get back to the trails you're used to, you'll be rocking them like never before . . .