#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 9

Carry a Tool Kit
Whenever you’re out riding it’s important to carry at least a basic tool kit. Whether it’s in a saddle bag or in your backpack, having some basic tools can mean the difference between rolling/riding or walking home. At the very minimum consider carrying:

• Multi-tool (with a chain breaker, Allen set, and torx)
• Inner tube
• Micro pump or CO2 cartridges
• Cell Phone
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A larger tool kit can include the items listed above as well as:
• First aid kit
• Windbreaker/rain jacket or extra layers
• Food
• Extra tubes
• Patch kit
• Any frequently used tools not on your multi-tool (ie. small Allen wrenches)
• Sunscreen

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It can be dangerous when things on your bike become loose. Having a multi-tool to be able to tighten up your seat, handle bars and suspension bolts can be the difference in keeping your ride going or ending it on a sore note.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Tidal Wave: A Trail is Born!

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Deer Valley Resort offers great lift-served access to its hiking and mountain bike trails. Every season has seen continued maintenance, upgrades and additions to the network of trails that crisscross its mountains.

For the first fifteen years all of the trails were built by hand during the spring and summer seasons. While the work quality was outstanding, the trail crew didn’t have the luxury of moving large obstacles around to create an ideal path; instead, they often had to adapt to the whims of the terrain by going around rocks, stumps or whatever got in their way. More recently, small machinery began to make a huge difference, but still couldn’t always achieve the vision that some trail designers already had in mind.

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About one and a half years ago, the resort felt that it was time for a more radical trail update to bring new elements that would reflect current riding trends and new mountain bike technology. Enter Gravity Logic. Deer Valley asked the Canadian based consulting company to make a general assessment of the resort’s trails, conduct a feasibility study for new ones and then deliver a master plan of what should be done in terms of upgrade and new trail creation. Last fall the overall plan was reviewed and the resort decided on a course of improvements that would help with the trail system’s most pressing needs.

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The project began in May of 2015. Gravity Logic came to Deer Valley for two weeks, during which time plans were formulated for the creation of “Tidal Wave,” a brand new intermediate flow style trail. Chris Erkkila, assistant mountain biking manager recalls, “We broke ground on June 1st and we wanted to have some product to show on opening day. On June 19 we had the upper section of Tidal Wave ready for our season opening. Since that time sections have been added and we’re hoping that in early September the entire trail is completed.”

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The new Tidal Wave trail was created with “riders from five to 65 years of age with varied mountain bike abilities” in mind as Chris puts it. This is not a beginner trail per se, but a “blue-flow” trail designed so that riders from new-intermediates through pro level can all enjoy it. Even though I’m slightly over the above-stated age limit, I recently rode it. I admit I was intimidated when I came face to face with the trail’s very first sweeping turn. However, the fun thing about Tidal Wave is that it’s been designed to be ridden at various speeds and still be fun. So fun in fact, that it duplicates the feeling of being on a roller coaster while riding a bike. What’s remarkable is that slow riders can co-exist on this trail with faster downhill pros.

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Gravity Logic has worked on on a wide variety of mountain bike trails for many years and has learned what works and what doesn’t. For example, there are “hubs” built into their designs. These hubs allow riders to stop more frequently, relax, take a break or just let faster riders pass them before continuing their descent. Some of these “hubs” existed in the past, but from now on, they’ll be more ubiquitous. Also, the modern trail design is wider and provides more room to pass.

According to Erkkila, the public’s reaction to the completed upper section of Tidal Wave has been extremely encouraging, “We’ve looked at was being posted on social media. All of the comments have been very positive. We wanted to offer something that wouldn’t be too intimidating and yet provide thrills for everyone.” What’s coming out clearly is that Deer Valley now has a product unique to Utah, that can welcome a wide range of riding skills while addressing what the market demands. Bike technology has been a major driver for this. Chris adds: “Just in the last 10 years bikes have become significantly lighter, with better suspensions and more powerful brakes. These days, as bikes change, so do trails!”

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As it promises to change the way riders appreciate Deer Valley’s mountain bike trails, Tidal Wave might be the first step in a transformation that may sweep the entire resort in the upcoming years.

The future master plan is likely to be a green flow-style trail, more adapted to beginners needs. “While Tidal Wave was laid out at an average grade of 8 percent, the future green trail would only be sloped between 5 to 6 percent,” explains Chris Erkkila, “It still would be a downhill bike trail, but it would be tamer, not as steep, offering a much easier starting level and a smoother progression for learners.”

This new development bodes well for the future of mountain biking at Deer Valley. Since summer isn’t over yet, make sure to try the open sections of Tidal Wave soon! There’s no need to wait until its completion at the end of the month to understand and appreciate the shape and thrills of this type of trail design!

Share your Tidal Wave photos with #DeerValleySummer on Twitter and Instagram.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 8

One Finger On The Brakes

Last week we talked about the merits of learning to use both your front and rear brake together. This week we’d like to remind you to use only one finger on the lever while braking. Just like you wouldn’t use two feet to brake in your car, you don’t need that much lever pressure to slow your bike. Braking with one finger allows for better modulation and allows you to brake smoothly without locking up your wheels. With today’s bike technology and hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll have better braking sensitivity using only one finger. The key to feeling comfortable using only one finger is to move your levers in so that your one finger lines up on the end of the lever. This creates maximum leverage, giving you the confidence and power to use only one finger.

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We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 7

Don’t Fear Your Front Brake

Maybe you’ve come out of a corner, overusing your front brake, and washed out. Maybe you’ve had the dreaded “over the bars” crash – you decided then and there to never touch your front brake again. It might be tempting to rely solely on your back brake for stopping power. However, not utilizing 100% of your stopping power can create an out of control sensation and encourages skidding. Your front brake accounts for approximately 70% of your bike’s stopping power. If you’re only using the back brake, you’re not taking full advantage of all of the control that your bike has to offer. The key is using both brakes together with a smooth touch as well as making sure to shift your hips and bottom back under braking. By moving back under braking you make it safe to use the front brake and make the back brake work better. Practice this out on the street and down gentle hills to get more comfortable and then start trying it on your favorite trails.

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake1Many riders fear the front brake

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake2However, if you learn to use your front brake together with your back brake, your bike (and riding) will thank you.

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Doug demonstrates riding back under braking. This position provides a secure place from which to counter the stopping power of your front brake. Practice getting here from cruising in neutral position by slowly applying pressure to both brakes and bringing your hips and bottom back.

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You’ll feel the same after mastering this simple and powerful skill

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 6

Soft Pedaling

Soft pedaling is what we refer to as making your feet feel light in order to pedal into a clean gear change. When approaching a steep incline we want to make as many gear changes prior to the hill. However, when that inevitable gear change happens on the hill you want to focus your weight onto your seat and bottom and not mash down hard on the pedals while shifting to an easier gear. Clean gear changes are important in maintaining your bike’s longevity and not wearing on its drive train. You shouldn’t hear harsh noises or gears jumping around while shifting, keep it light and smooth.

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Here Doug exaggerates mashing all of his weight onto his pedals by standing while biking uphill. Soft pedaling as a concept is more of a feeling, which is hard to illustrate through a photograph. It’s a tool you’ll find useful in correcting that awful crunch sound of an abrupt gear shift. You know the one I’m talking about, the sound that makes you cringe thinking you’ve just broken your chain.

LB2015.08.06.soft.editAgain, it’s hard to describe this week’s concept with a photograph. Here Doug bikes uphill and focuses his weight on his seat and bottom, making his feet feel light, like a feather. This allows for a smooth gear shift, one that’s music to your ears.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 5

Low

Rounding out the “Four Ls” is remembering to ride low through corners and technical terrain. You give yourself a more stable platform when riding with your ankles, knees and elbows bent as opposed to standing tall and rigid. Think about how high off of the ground your bike already is – adding height by standing too tall can lead to tipping and general instability. Keeping your chest down low with your elbows out creates a stable, low center of mass. Remember to corner like a Porsche, not a monster truck.  LB2015.07.30.lowcropped

Doug demonstrates how the neutral position is a good starting point from which to get low.

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Here Doug gets low from turn initiation through it’s belly, keeping his center of mass closer to the ground, which allows for stable steering.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

 

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 4

Level

The third of the “Four Ls,” “level,” refers to keeping your torso and shoulders relatively level to the ground and not letting them dip into the turn and/or inside the bike. You want to move your bike laterally under you, leaning your bike, not your body. Riders often get into trouble when they lean their bodies into a flat non bermed turn causing a loss of traction and/or balance. Remembering to stay level will help you avoid this pitfall. Of course, there are times when leaning your body can be useful, but in general there are few negatives in staying level.

LB2015.07.73 goodlevelcroppedIn the above image Doug is letting the bike move laterally under him, keeping his torso “quiet.”

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The image above is an example of tipping into and being inside of the turn. Doug is demonstrating incorrect technique in this image.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Summer is all about trails! 

I started hiking and biking in early May this year, and to keep my excitement high through the rest of the summer, I recently chatted with Charlie Sturgis, Executive Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. This organization is involved with everything trail related around Park City. Charlie told story of his Foundation, its current projects and its future goals.

JF: How did you get involved with outdoors sports and activities?

Charlie Sturgis: I’ve always been an outdoorsman, I grew up in Chicago but was always involved with hunting, fishing and skiing. I remember visiting Snowbird in 1974. That’s when I fell in love with the Wasatch Mountains and declared then and there: “This is really cool!” That is how I made Utah my home. I finished my college education at the University of Utah and went to work for Mountaineer Sports and then Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City. I had a ball! I skied, rock climbed, ice climbed, mountain biked and kayaked wherever and whenever I could.

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JF: What brought you up to Park City?

Charlie Sturgis: Contrary to what many people believe, I didn’t actually start White Pine Touring. I came in when it had just begun in a teepee near the old Park West. The original owners asked me to manage the business for them and they eventually sold it to me. The timing was perfect and that’s when I added biking to winter sports, and we became a year round outdoor shop. My wife and I made Park City our home in 1985.

JF: How did you get involved with the Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: Jan Wilking and I started establishing the Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit organization, to promote trail development around Park City. In 1993 we hired Troy Duffin, our first executive director. Mountain Trail Foundation has been around for 22 years already! I eventually sold White Pine Touring, stayed on for a few more years, and as the Mountain Trail Foundation executive position opened up in 2009, I seized the opportunity.

JF: What was your vision at the start?

Charlie Sturgis: My vision was to make this nonprofit organization work and run more like a business that would become financially sustainable. At first this wasn’t the case, but today memberships represent 40% of our income, 20% to 25% comes from corporate sponsorship, another 20% to 25% is the product of races and events we organize, and the balance comes from special grants. This allow us to make decisions because we have money in the bank.

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JF: Did you find inspiration at other resorts?

Charlie Sturgis: Not really. From the get-go, things have really worked out well for us. Our growth has been organic, and when success came, we decided to share our best practices; IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) is the “mothership” of an organization like ours, but we really stand as the good example out there. We’re in assuming a leadership position in the outdoors community and remain willing and ready to share our expertise and mentor other organizations.

JF: Who was your audience then, and what is it today?

Charlie Sturgis: Based on surveys, we seem to have as many hikers as we have mountain bikers. We support and advocate for non-motorized recreation. Our audience is everyone from grandparents to their grandkids, hardcore athletes and casual weekend recreationists.

JF: Non-motorized? Then tell me, how do electric bikes fit in the picture?

Charlie Sturgis: The dust has yet to settle on the use of e-mountain bikes. At this point, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts: Besides some legal issues related to the way conservation easements are written, the electric assisted bike offers an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t normally be getting out, to enjoy the outdoors. It provides an option to easily leave one’s car home. These two goals can easily be accomplished. If today, someone on an e-bike is straying on a trail by mistake, the overall good outweighs the occasional incursion.

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JF: Over time, has your work evolved or is it still the same?

Charlie Sturgis: My job has become more administrative, something I’m not too crazy about, and more regional, in the sense that our influence reaches beyond Park City which is a very good thing.

JF: What are the opportunities for your Foundation in the greater Park City area?

Charlie Sturgis: We’re working on plans to connect all seven adjoining ski areas by trails, so bikers and hikers can go from town to town and use all lifts in between. I’d like to see the Great Western Trail be completed, but at the same time would like to see a more organic growth to our programs, so we don’t get carried away by doing too many things, too fast, and lose control over the users’ experience.

JF: Is the local business community supporting what you do?

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, they are supportive and they would be foolish not too!

JF: How do you see Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension fitting into the overall picture?

Charlie Sturgis: Anytime someone is willing to let us build a trail across their land, as it is the case with the Bald Eagle Homeowners Association, we should jump on the chance! Steve Graff, Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager, wanted us to get involved with the build. Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension is going to provide an easier way down the mountain for the typical family, a gentler trail should make it a lot easier for mom, dad and the kids to get down in confidence. No matter what the size of trail infrastructure a resort can offer, it is important to think of easier access and egress points.

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JF: How can readers of this blog help Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: All non-profit organizations often go unnoticed and the Mountain Trail Foundation is no exception. Any contribution, no matter how small, is always meaningful and in the long run, contributes to the non-motorized cause!

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 3

Loose

Our second “L,” “loose,” is all about letting the bike work under you. As in any athletic endeavor, it’s important to keep your body loose while biking. In allowing your arms and legs to move long and short you gain more suspension than just what’s on your bike. Having a death grip on your handle bars and riding rigid will only leave your body fatigued and you will constantly get thrown off balance. The looser you ride, the more fun you’ll have moving with the terrain, not bracing against it.

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Doug allows his body to work with the terrain, flexing and extending through the trail’s rollers.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 2

Look

“Look” is the first of what we like to call the “Four L’s.” For both inexperienced and experienced riders a common tendency is to look just ahead of your front wheel.  This does not allow you to anticipate what is coming next and makes us ride defensively. Being able to anticipate line choice and braking zones as well as the looking through corners and technical zones of the trail are the keys to a successful ride. So keep your chin up and your eyes down the trail.

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Doug demonstrates how to look beyond your front tire. His bike is turning but his eyes are already looking to the next part of the trail.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.