SMBA and the trails on the Saratoga County forestland (the Kalabus-Perry parcel) out my back door. The two are only about 5 miles apart as the crow flies, yet the terrain and trails couldn't be more different. The K-P county forest parcel is part of the Saratoga Sandplains and the trails are smooth and fast, not a rock or a root in sight. SMBA’s terrain, on the other hand, is what you’d expect from the foothills of the Adirondacks: bedrock is close to the surface, there are beaver flows and wetlands, rocks and roots are everywhere, the trails are technical and challenging.
When I started mountain biking last summer I called it "cross-training." To be sure, riding has improved my running, and vice-versa. I still call running my primary summer sport, but over the past few months riding has become something more than “just” cross-training.
Blue Sky’s Thursday night group rides at SMBA (last night’s ride was my fourth or fifth), have helped me ride better and stronger this summer. But don't mistake my enthusiasm for expertise. Being reasonably fit has helped, but I'm still learning basic technical skills: shifting my weight on the bike, climbing, cadence, bunny-hopping a log smoothly, avoiding granny gear. I carry a spare tube and a pump, but if I get a flat while I'm riding I'll probably have to walk my bike out of the woods.
Kingdom Trails aren’t in the cards for me, but I am looking to check out a few more local riding options like Luther Forest, Spier Falls and the Schenectady Central Park trails. I’d love to get a chance to ride the BETA trails in Wilmington. And I’d like to try a local, low-key race (hmm…), even if I finish dead last. Of course, once I pin on a race number, it’s definitely more than just cross-training.