Mountain biking is a sport that to the uninitiated, might seem to be made for the young. It’s sometimes an extreme sport, with bruised knees, wild turns, and stomach wrenching dips. But there is a place on the seat of a mountain bike for someone who was born in the 1950s. You just have to use your brakes and find the right place to ride.
Today I joined a few of my peers to zoom down a fantastic new mountain biking trail at Climb Works in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The trail begins with a climb…but the way the trail has been built, it mostly curves up and around, not forcing you to peddle straight up. It’s definitely something that gives you a workout, but the Trek bikes they provide are geared so low, even a medium strength rider can make it.
At the top, it’s a slew of wonderful bumps, banked curves, and best of all, a wooden spiral that takes riders around and around on banked turns into a great finish with more curves and a thrilling end.
Andrew Wagner, the PR guy, and Skyler Villeneuve, a riding guide, were ebullient discussing the potential of this new rider’s mecca. First, an additional 130 acres of mountain woodland has been purchased, so new trails will someday be built next to the existing trail. Second, they would love to offer night time mountain biking and a host of other amenities like a Treehouse cafe. They envision that their zipline and mountain biking customers will want a place to unwind, and the cafe will give a great view of the passing riders and zippers overhead. They’re also building a great little practice run where you can sharpen skills before ascending to the top. At the shed where they keep the bikes there is a small bump track that’s already an excellent training area.
And in case you just don’t want to make that somewhat strenuous climb to the top, they’ll be offering motorized rides up there in the months ahead. So all you have to do is make the turns, figure out the banks….and for God’s sake, don’t pull hard on that front brake, the one with the red paint on it, unless you want to take a trip over the handlebars.
Climb Works, 155 Branam Hollow Road, Gatlinburg TN 865-325-8116.
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