My Favorite Mountain Biking Gear

With an outdoor sport comes gear. Unfortunately mountain biking is not a cheap outdoor sport. Not only do bikes cost $$$, the gear does too. Fortunately I’m pretty good at finding deals. I shop online at Sierra Trading Post and Steep & Cheap and usually end up buying last season’s gear at discounted prices. I’m not an expert by any means, but this is what I’m using right now as a novice mountain biker.

Women’s Giro MTB helmet with MIPS.

First and foremost, the most important piece of gear you buy will be the helmet. The main difference between a mtb helmet and a road bike helmet is the coverage. Mtb helmets cover more of your head, especially in the back. MIPS stands for Multi-impact Protection System, a technology that “reduces rotational forces when the helmet gets hit at an angle.” Buying a helmet with this newer technology is a no-brainer (see what I did there?) because it’s one of the most important pieces of gear you will buy.

POC VPD 2.0 Shin Guards

Buying Body Armor can quickly get out of control and before you know it you’ve spent thousands. Since I do have a budget, I wanted to pick one good quality piece. I don’t ride aggressively so Jordan and I decided shin pads would be the way to go. POC makes the VPD 2.0 shin guards that have flexible padding that’s soft until impact, it’s really quite amazing. I ride with flat pedals that have spikes on them to keep shoes connected to the pedal. When those spikes come in contact with your shins it is NOT good. Therefore, shin pads are quite necessary. However, they are sold individually, which I think is pretty stupid. Who only wants to buy only one shin pad? My next purchase will probably be POC’s VPD knee pads.

Speaking of shoes…

Women’s Five Ten Freerider Shoe

When I first started riding, I was wearing regular trail running shoes. But when I upgraded my bike, I got flat pedals with spikes that were tearing up my shoes. Enter mountain biking shoes. Yes, they look like shoes that high school skater kids wore back in the 90s, but they work for mountain biking. And they are comfortable! They have special grippy bottoms that keep your feet glued to the pedal, most of the time… and they are also surprisingly waterproof.

Pearl Izumi Women’s Cycling Gloves

These are traditional fingerless road biking gloves that I wear mountain biking. I’ve tried full-fingered mountain biking gloves but my fingers must be odd lengths because I have yet to find a pair that I like enough that fit well. Anyway, these gloves are pretty cheap and they work well enough.

Osprey Zealot Mountain Biking Pack and 3L Hydration Bladder

Osprey is my go-to for packs. I’ve been hiking with their Sirrus daypack for years and love it. When I found a mtb specific pack on sale on Steep and Cheap for $60 a few years ago I got it and do not regret it. This pack has a sleeve for your body armor, along with a helmet attachment that I believe also works with full-face helmets. It also comes with a built in zippered bag for your mountain bike tools. Mine is blue, not orange, but you get the gist. I love it.

So there you have it! My favorite pieces of gear for mountain biking. Obviously you don’t have to spend a ton of money to be safe while biking, but certain items are worth it. You can always find deals online, too.

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Mountain Biking at Green Mountain Trails

On Saturday, Jordan had a rare day off, so we joined our friends and went mountain biking in Vermont. The Green Mountain Trails are located near Killington in the town of Pittsfield, Vermont. They have 25 miles of singletrack trails labeled by difficulty.

Mountain bike trails are categorized just like ski trails. Thankfully there was a wide range of greens, blues and blacks to ride. I like to stick to greens and blues.

Mountain biking on trails I have never been on in kind of nerve wracking. Thankfully I could ride most of them. We climbed up to the summit to a little stone cabin.

There were also some really great views!

The guys wanted to ride the “Devils Throat” down. Just the name of that trail scares me. Thankfully when you can’t ride the trail you can always hike it. Hiking with a mountain bike is just a little bit harder than regular hiking…

(No, I do not ride in Chacos…)

After I made it down Devil’s Thumb, thankfully there were many blues and greens to ride. The last mile back to the car was a downhill style trail that was so much fun! In the end I think we rode about 10 miles. It was tough!

I think I’m improving every time I ride. This summer a few friends and I are going to Vermont for a women’s mountain biking event where we’ll take clinics to learn proper riding techniques. I’m so excited!

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Winter Adventure Update

No, I did not fall off the face of the Earth! I’ve neglected this space for the past month because I’ve been busy with my clinical rotation of my Dietetic Internship! On January 16th I started this 13 week rotation at a hospital in Western Massachusetts, so I’ve been living in the Berkshires during the week and returning back to the Capital Region on the weekends. It has been going pretty well so far! I plan on doing a Day in the Life of Clinical Dietetic Intern pretty soon! But here’s what I’ve been up to.

+Fat biking! Last weekend Jordan and I drove with a few of his friends to Northfield Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire for Winter Woolly, a downhill fat biking festival! The park opened up the lifts for one day so we could ride our fat bikes downhill in the SNOW! We haven’t had this much snow in about two years so it took some getting used to. The first time I ever rode a fat bike was during Winter Bike Fest in Vermont 2 years ago…and that was the last time until now. I got my own fat bike for Christmas and love love love it! Next weekend we are doing our annual trip to Vermont to fat bike at Kingdom Trails and Ski at Jay Peak. Cannot wait!

+Skiing! Jordan and I bought value passes for Jiminy Peak so we could meet there and go skiing after work. The hospital is only about 20 min from Jiminy so I can drive straight from work and meet Jordan to go skiing. We’ve done this a few times and I’ve also met some other friends there for a Ski date. Twilight skiing is so fun! I learned to ski a year ago and I’m slowly getting a little better each time I do it.


+Training for Seneca 7. Nothing much is happening on the running front. After taking a break this fall from training and racing, I’m slowly upping my mileage for the Senenca 7 Relay in April! We have our team from last year together again because we had such a blast. I’m looking forward to running 77.7 miles with them around Senenca Lake in April.

+Snowshoeing. We finally got enough snow to strap on snowshoes. Last Sunday during the big snow storm Jenna and I met some friends at the Pine Bush in Albany for a short three mile snowshoe. This was the longest hike I’ve been on since January 2nd and I’m really missing the mountains! I have plans to get up to the Adirondacks tomorrow to do some exploring.


+46r # 10,007. After waiting patiently for MONTHS, I was finally assigned my 46r number! It’s official, I’m 46r #10,007! I promptly ordered a few pieces of gear with that logo on it!

I’ll be back soon with a trip report for my hike tomorrow!

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Over the Top Trail Run/ Mountain Bike Ride at West Mountain

So, I’m behind on my blog posts, but it’s never too late to catch up, right? Back in August, I signed up for my first ever duathlon, a 5K trail run and 10k mountain bike ride at West Mountain in Queensbury.

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image from West Mountain’s facebook page

I really had no idea what to expect from this race. I signed up for it with a few of our friends, and none of us got any emails or anything about the logisitics. We just knew it started at 10:00am at West Mountain Ski Resort. We got there at about 9:15, picked up our shirts and bibs and headed over to the starting line, which was at a different area than the main lodge where packet pickup/ the afterparty was located.

I set up my bike at the transition area (a first for me!) and got ready to run.

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The only picture I got from the whole race, my mountain bike at the transition

The run portion started off great. But soon, the hills began and I found myself walking a lot. But my only goal for this race to was to have fun (and finish it).

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Run Time: 36:08.7
Pace: 11:39

Transition time: 2:04.2

I got on my bike and pedaled away. The first part of the bike course was on the same course as the run, which was weird. But then I found myself going up the mountain. I guess they don’t call it “Over the Top” for nothing.

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There were some nice views at the top of West Mountain! But I was on my bike so my phone was in my pack.

Bike time: 1:01:33.4
MPH: 6.04 (I am SO SLOW at climbing on my mountain bike. So not efficient.)

Total Time: 1:39:46.4

There were 20 individuals in this race (some people were competing as teams) and my friend Aubrey was the 3rd fastest woman! I was the 3rd from last. At least I wasn’t last!

After we all finished, we loaded our bikes back up and drove back to the main lodge for the post-race party, where hamburgers and beer awaited.

Overall, I think this was a nice little race. The volunteers were friendly it it seemed to be organized well. The course was marked  well, too. I would do it again!

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Mountain Biking in Klondike Bluffs, Moab, Utah

Our last full day of the trip was an action-packed one. Jordan and I were on the fence about renting mountain bikes during the trip, but decided to go for it on the last day. We were in Moab, after all, where some of the best and most famous mountain biking trails are located. Our hotel was also right across from the best bike rental shop in Moab, Poison Spider. The night before we picked out and got fit for our bikes. I chose an Ibis Mojo HD3, an extremely high end, 27.5 wheel size, carbon fiber, full suspension mountain bike. We asked our friends who had come to Moab previously on a mountain biking trip where the best place to go would be. They recommended Klondike Bluffs, just outside of Moab. The guys at Poison Spider installed a suction-cup bike rack on our rental vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, while we picked out the bikes.  We brought them home for the night so we could get up early and hit the trails the next morning. We parked at the North trail head off of 191 since the South Entrance was closed. The trail names are dinosaur themed because dinosaur footprints can be seen on the trail. Crazy! Here is a great description of the trails.

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It was unlike any mountain biking I’ve ever done! It was so different out here because it was so wide open! I’m so used to riding through the woods, afraid of hitting trees, I actually enjoyed riding these open trails much more.

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Riding the Ibis Mojo was amazing. I can see why it is such an expensive bike. I felt comfortable on it and it rolled over every rock effortlessly!

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Can you spot the jack rabbit?

 

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I was worried it would be hard to find the trail, but they were marked very well.

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Green Lizard Guy

We stuck to mostly beginner/intermediate trails and rode 11.3 miles total in about 1 hr, 45 minutes.

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We were so glad we decided to rent bikes. We got out early (around 7:30) to beat the heat. It started to get hot fast, and by the time we were done it was in the high 80s.

For lunch we went to the Quesadilla Mobilla, a food truck in Moab serving what else–quesadillas! They were delicious! We liked them so much that Jordan and I ate lunch here two days in a row. Yum! When can we move to Moab?

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The Southern Belle – Shredded beef with cheddar/jack cheese, sautéed corn, sautéed onions and roasted sweet potatoes

 

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