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How to Get Fit for Mountain Biking This Spring

Wildflowers in Crested Butte

How to Get Fit for Mountain Biking This Spring

Crested Butte How to Get Fit for Mountain Biking This Spring

Crested Butte is one of the founding homes of mountain biking and has some of the best mountain biking in the country. With world class singletrack like the 401 Trail, Doctor’s Park and Monarch Crest at our fingertips it’s no wonder there are so many spectacular mountain bikers in this valley. For some of us, it is hard to let the winter season go, but for others the excitement for mountain bike season quickly escalates as the temperatures rise and snow levels drop. 

Remember when we were little and we would get too excited about something and someone (usually an adult) would tell us somewhat frivolously but seriously at the same time “patience is a virtue”? Well, they were right. Ultimately, this is what they were preparing us for: mud season. The time when all you want to do is saddle up and get on that singletrack that’s right outside your front door, but when you do you find that it’s still too muddy or still has way too much snow on it to ride. Don’t worry, it will dry out and you’ll be rippin’ it before you know it, but in the meantime here’s a few tips to ease your pain!


Living in a place like Crested Butte has its advantages, and having a central location to many mountain bike destinations is one of them. Of course Moab and Fruita are just a hop, skip and a jump away, and the pair have been a destination for brown-pow (or should I say red-pow?) hungry riders for decades. But if you’re looking for something different, maybe something you’ve never ridden before check out Phil’s World outside of Cortez, Colorado. Phil’s World is perfect for just getting back into the swing of things with it’s not-too-difficult-but-still-amazingly-fun singletrack. And even closer to home is S-Mountain, which sits just on the edge of the town of Salida. Although I don’t think Salida is technically a “desert”, the trail system on S-Mountain dries out early in the season, and even sometimes stays dry all winter. This is the perfect network of trails to get you stoked for the summer season with awesome singletrack like North Backbone, Unkle Nazty, Sweet Dreams and the newest edition Chicken Dinner.


When you don’t have time to take that trip to the desert but can’t think about anything but mounting that noble steed of yours, try getting a group of your closest buddies together and have a roller or trainer party together! Usually riding the trainer does not sound very glamorous or compelling, and can be extremely boring, but when you ride together it’s almost like you’re outside doing the real thing. You can either set your bikes up so they’re gazing wistfully out the window, or facing a T.V. playing your favorite mountain bike movie from last season. Either way, having friends around always makes riding those rollers or the trainer more bearable. 


I know, you haven’t had time to train yet, you’ve barely ridden at all since the mountain closed and you’re feeling out of shape for a mountain bike race. Well getting those legs moving is a great way to boost your early season strength, and what better way to motivate than to register for something like the Growler, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde or 18 Hours of Fruita? The Original Growler is a 64 mile race of super fun Hartman Rocks trails, but you don’t have to do the whole thing if you’re just not feelin’ it! There’s a Half Growler (32 miles) too. And the beauty of those longer races like 12 Hours of Mesa Verde or 18 Hours of Fruita is that you can either take a stab at racing them solo or you can gather up a team of 2-4 and race with your friends. No matter what you do, all of these races are sure to whip your legs back into shape in no time!

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be rippin’ your favorite trails in no time. 

- Ellen Patten