As a novice mountain biker, I was a little apprehensive as I headed to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. I found that there are many trails for both beginners and experts. I recommend wearing closed toed shoes, long pants and long sleeves for protection against possible abrasions or flying rocks. I brought a camel backpack along too for easy water access to prevent dehydration.
I loaded my bike into the gondola. Good thing I had a bit of arm strength to lift the bike onto its rear wheel and balance it into the gondola! The ride up was beautiful as the alpine meadows were in full bloom with colorful flora. Whistler Blackcomb looks so different in the summer; I got to see what usually lies underneath a blanket of snow. I saw people hiking in shorts and t-shirts, others mountain biking, and pets frolicking down the mountain.
Before I hit the trails, I took a lesson from my guide Derek. If you’ve never gone mountain biking before, I strongly recommend taking a lesson. I practiced starting and stopping, traversing rocks, logs and ramps. In time, I became comfortable with my bike. I was ready to hit the trails and started off with a rocky downhill stretch. As I started to descend on the path, I leaned back and lightly pumped my rear brakes rather than locking them down, which would have caused me to lose control or fishtail. Since I am on the lighter side, I rode out of my seat and kept my center of gravity over my pedals. All that was left to do was relax, enjoy the scenery and have fun! That was easy!
I am used to riding without suspension, so it felt rather strange to ride a full suspension mountain bike. When I sat in my seat, I felt as though my knees were hitting my chest. I felt low to the ground. But I have to admit, it was marvelous not to feel every groove and bump on the rocky path. Most of the biking trails at Whistler Blackcomb are designed for full suspension mountain bikes with disc brakes. Riding a conventional bike without suspension or disc brakes will exhaust riders quickly as they exert more energy by absorbing the shock and braking a lot harder.
I thoroughly enjoyed biking down the trails as they zigzagged through the green meadows. It definitely took my skills for a ride as I maneuvered boulders, logs, roots and planks. I found that it was crucial to keep my arms and legs as loose as possible in order to absorb the bumps. Every so often, I stopped to enjoy the scenery (the truth is I just wanted to take a break). This was a rewarding activity as it gave me a sweaty full body workout while enjoying the outdoors at the same time. I was looking forward to my next activity when I got back to my hotel room, and that was soaking in the hot tub! Wherever your trail leads you, may it be blissful!
While you are in Whistler, be sure to also check out the AIR DOME.
The Air Dome is an 8,400 square foot covered indoor bike training facility with a huge foam pit and wooden ramps. The Air Dome offers jump progression from 2' high jump ramps to 26' Quarter Pipes with options for riders of all abilities. Dirt Jump, Slopestyle, Downhill and BMX bikes are all welcome one the ramps and in the foam pit. Rental bikes and helmets are available in limited numbers. Riders can take their skills to the next level using any of the three jumps into the foam pit regardless of whether it is learning basic straight air or technical back flips. Spectators are also welcome to come watch the action. (source: www.whistlerbike.com/information/airdome/index.htm)