Since mountain biking is one of the few sports “Born in the U.S.A” it is fitting that the Stratton Bike Park opened for 2020 on the Fourth of July.
Lift-served downhill mountain biking made its debut last fall after years of planning and permitting. Technically, it was the launch of mountain biking on trails created specifically for the sport; a few of us may remember the 90s and a jaw-jarring descent straight down Standard on what might as well have been a cruiser bike when you compare it to what you’ll find today at First Run.
Stratton’s new trails were designed by Vermont’s Sinuosity Flowing Trails; the name says it all. Fun, flowy and family-friendly, the network features beginner and intermediate terrain alongside challenges and zippy features like that wallride. Check out the trail map and find out how to book tickets and rentals.
Mountain biking showed up at the top of a wish list when Stratton asked, “what new activities should we offer for summer?” Thanks in part to advances in trail and bike design, the sport has grown to over 8.6 million participants in 2019 – I couldn’t even find numbers from the early 90s. But there must be other reasons behind the popularity.
You can tout the fitness benefits, a cardio workout with minimal stress on the joints – unlike running. Great gear, spectacular settings, adrenaline, adventure … an engraved invitation to be in the moment.
Social distancing is easy, encouraged in fact.
It’s a perfect family activity, you’ll be unplugged and outside all day.
Anyone can enjoy it, at any age. You’ve probably seen videos of that 6-year-old prodigy. And read about Patricia Baker in Outside Magazine, setting records in the 80-84 age group. It’s a lot like skiing and snowboarding that way. Then there’s the mountain landscape. And gravity!
Maybe it’s just because you have decided to do more things that make you happy.
Like my friend Melissa, who gave it a shot at Stratton last fall, soon channeling her inner Madonna as she wound her way down Trail 3. Which she has since dubbed “Vogue,” though that’s not what you ‘ll see on the map.
To paraphrase the Material Girl, “Let your body move to the mountain. Move to the mountain. Hey, hey, hey …”