EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Downhill Mountain Biking
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Downhill Mountain Biking

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So I am a fairly novice MTB rider, have a Cannondale F400 hardtail and am thinking about trying out lift serviced biking. The closest to me that I know of is Mt. Snow as I live in Central Mass.

Any suggestions?

Danger level?

Skill level needed before attempting?

yada yada yada?
post #2 of 19
I have done Killington on a Trek Y and Sugarbush on a Specialized Stump M2 Hardtail. The full suspension is a lot easier on the body and that was not a "downhill" bike. You might want to see what you can rent up there in a DH bike. It is a blast though and look forward to doing it again.
post #3 of 19
a fully rigid hardtail is capable of riding DH. the bigger question is how fast you want to go.

don't be fooled, SMJ. we ride to the top of ski hills and then descend all the time around here. well, at least those of us who enjoy that climb do. and we do it on light XC bikes.

if you are interested in finding out what gravity-oriented DH riding is about, I would suggest taking a day of using your own bike first, riding slow enough to feel in control, and then maybe halfway through that day, see about rental of a more cushy ride.

when you rent a bike, be prepared to think about a few things...

the heavier the bike, the harder to pedal uphill and maneuver BUT the more stable at speed and in the air.

the more suspension travel you bring to the ride, the more inefficient the uphill part or any other part during which you have to pedal.

more travel lets you go faster with less discomfort. in this situation, you probably will want more padding than your basic bicycle helmet. when I do DH riding I wear a full-face and a full torso armor suit, as well as leg armor. not even this amount of protective gear is a guarantee -- I have been wearing full armor and still been hurt fairly badly. but for sure, it helps if you take a digger in a rocky field.

don't be put off by the appearance of a bunch of yayhoos smirking in your direction with full suspension bikes and body armor. they're no different from the Gomers who buy the latest ski gear and sit around the base lift without ever doing a run (which would show their disconnect between skill and gear).
post #4 of 19
I took the gondola at Big Sky a couple years ago. The gondola mainly services green runs with some blues and a couple very short black runs. I figured it would be easy.

My first indication that I was wrong was looking at the 3 other riders in the gondola with me. All had on full body armor and helmets with face masks. I was decided to do Morning Star first since it was an easy green run that was hard to keep moving on on skis. It ended up being equivalent to a blue run. I then went on a blue run to find it was equivalent to a black run with some double diamond sections. It was an eye-opening experience.
post #5 of 19
Danger level high to very high. I raced DH for 10 years, and there is a reason why they wear all the armor. Of course, back in the good old days, we did it in shorts and a regular jersey with no suspension, so it's not like lift-served riding is an automatic trip to the hospital. Start slow and realize that you can hurt yourself badly even on the service roads. You can catch big air on the waterbars that cross the road, and if that's not what you had in mind, the Polish wheelie to endo is not fun.

It can be a lot of fun though, and I do recommend it. You can ride the singletrack downhills of the XC course from the lift, I wouldn't recommend that you even consider the DH course, but you might want to walk it. Mount Snow is (or at least was) considered one of the hardest DH's on the World Cup circuit.

Oh yeah, as dangerous as the riding is, the black flies are worse.
post #6 of 19
BTW - depending on where yo are, Plattekill may not be too far away. Generally the riding is harder there though, as lost of the trails are composed of loose shale which can be more slippery than wet roots.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, this has given me an incredible amount of information in a typical short amount of time (the great power of community.)

Any links to body armor/face protector photos and purchasing info? (I know I'm being lazy I should just Google it.) (Use the Search function speaketh Atomicman.)

Maybe I should buy someone's Star Wars Darth Vader costume and use that?
post #8 of 19
I always used Dainese and had good luck with that. I think if you go up there with an XC mindset and control yourself, you should do allright without armor.
post #9 of 19
SMJ,
Give the mountain a call. @ some places you can rent all the gear you need.....including a DH bike. Places such as Plattekill, Mt Snow and Mt Creek can wind up to be fairly advanced riding.
Killington has a lot of diversity and skill levels(although it has been some time since I have MTB'd there.
There was someone on one of the MTB boards trying to get a coalition together to open up riding @ Majic...I am not sure what stage of development that has reached.

Personally, I use leg and arm armor when riding those type of trails (I dont go too hard core)....Roach, is the company name .....also have a full face Giro Mad MaX II helmet.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey Shen. Yeah I don't know where I should go. Could try K-mart. I want easy rolling downhills. I'm 53 next month, don't want to hurt myself and risk losing skiing next year, and don't have much MTB skill yet. Just checked out the Roach Indy line, looks good. Between lift ticket and rental it's a bit much, so i'll probably use my bike as Gonzo suggested. Hate to spend all the money on a helmet and clothes right now because I'm so f'in broke. Hoping for a big contract soon so maybe I'll have the dough to go out and splurge.

I have been learning to work on my bike though and that's a gas. Much dirtier than ski tuning! Rebuilt my front and rear axle bearings having not even known what a cup wrench was last month!
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic
I always used Dainese and had good luck with that. I think if you go up there with an XC mindset and control yourself, you should do allright without armor.
agreed completely. get a taste, then see if you want to go faster (more recklessly? heh) BEFORE you go popping for armor that might never again get used.

but if you spend, spend wisely, and Dainese is the best.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
agreed completely. get a taste, then see if you want to go faster (more recklessly? heh) BEFORE you go popping for armor that might never again get used.

but if you spend, spend wisely, and Dainese is the best.
Sounds like a good plan. I looked for Dainese on the web but followed a dead link and then went back and looked at Roach. I'll research them more, but as you say, no purchasing at first. I will definitely ski, er ride in control. I've gotten up some speed on dirt roads already and it's a gas, but I ain't going to risk flying off that thing at that speed onto hard ground.

I already learned my lesson a couple of years ago when I tried out rollerblading, and with all the pads, etc., one low speed fall on a curb was bad enough.
post #13 of 19
NB:

I acknowledge Dainese is best, but its cost reflects this.

I use Roach Rally FR leg armor and RockGardn Flak Jacket. I also have Roach Rally FR arm armor and Roach old school (now called "Indy") leg armor.

if you are careful you should be okay. the one suggestion I'd make is to use platform/flat pedals, not clipless and not the kind with toe clips/straps. you want to be able to use your feet if you begin losing your balance, and if you're not super-adept at getting your foot loose from clipless pedals or clip/strap pedals, you will probably be more banged up from falling when you might have been able to just stick out a leg.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
..... the one suggestion I'd make is to use platform/flat pedals, not clipless and not the kind with toe clips/straps. you want to be able to use your feet if you begin losing your balance, and if you're not super-adept at getting your foot loose from clipless pedals or clip/strap pedals, you will probably be more banged up from falling when you might have been able to just stick out a leg.
Interesting and now that you say it - obvious. Who needs power on the upstroke when you're coasting ?

I actually have pedals that have clipless on one side and platforms on the other. Only question then is what shoes to wear? The nice firm ones with clip/cleats and just use on the platform side, or other shoes?

The two sided is kind of a pain with the clips, because I keep having to look down to make sure I'm on the right side, so I've thought of buying pedals with clips on both sides.

I know i could do all this on mbtr.com, but I'm such a newbie there. And I know which of you guys I can trust and respect already. (ie. if Irul suggested something I'd do the opposite :
post #15 of 19
the 2-sided pedals would be acceptable for a first outing. Beware smashing the "clipless" side on rocks underfoot, though. you can damage the mechanism.

as to shoes, I would use something that has a softish sole that will be "grippy" against the flat side of the pedal. you don't want an extra-rigid sole if you are taking saving stabs with the foot, or if you have to dab intentionally in a rocky area. rigid soles are for controlled conditions, not chunky rocky ones!

think about it this way: what kind of shoe would you want to wear if you were HIKING in that area? that's closer to what you would want for lift-served/shuttle riding.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks gonz. You are the man! (Nice dog too, I've seen it on mbtr)

For hiking I'd use my medium weight hiking boots. I might use my New Balance walking shoes, but if I had the choice I'd use the boots.

For biking though the wallking shoes might be better, I'll have to experiment on some of the dirt roads and small hills around here.
post #17 of 19
SMJ,
This may be old news 2 ya...but:
http://www.nemba.org/

Massachusetts:
http://www.nemba.org/ridingzone/places-ma.html
post #18 of 19
Epic has it right about Mt. Snow. THe DH run is pretty hairy, like one long rock garden. Funny, because the skiing there is easy as pie. I've been to a NORBA National event there and ridden the XC course; it's one of the more technical courses on the NORBA circuit, but pretty standard for New England riding. I rode at the big K once too, but just my luck the lifts were only open on Saturday and Sunday and I was there on a Friday so I had to ride up. They do have some nice singletrack, and, just like with skiing, there's a lot there that is not on the trail map. Now I want to go riding!
post #19 of 19
The trails at K seemed generally wetter than Mt Snow. If you're not ALL about the lift, and just want some good riding, you ought to check out www.kingdomtrails.org some time. I had a fantastic ride up there last week. Of course, there's a lot of good riding down where you are too. Sometimes I think the riding is better down there than up here.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cycling
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Downhill Mountain Biking