Bunny-hopping Along the Adirondack's Jackrabbit Trail

Pedal along Lake Placid's revered cross-country singletrack
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Fair-weather passage: A wood-plank bridge on the shores of Lake Placid, connecting high-octane stretches of singletrack  (Leanne Mitchell)
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Lake Placid's Mountain Bike Clinic at Mount Van Hovenberg
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Over 2,500 Feet of Vertical Regret: Mountain Biking Down Little Whiteface
A riveting descent of the East Coast's most revered—and feared—mountain
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Certain expectations accompany any mountain-bike outing into the Adirondacks: tight singletrack weaving through pine and spruce, the sunlight flitting in and out between the branches like a strobe light; punishing uphill grinds followed by hoot-and-hollering descents; staggering alpine scenery; and the rarified, refreshing glory of all that mountain air. But I'd never anticipated that so much could be had so easily, and so close to where I slept. And all I did to get—quite literally—on the right path was buy Jeff a beer.

"This guy will ride you into the ground," my friend Rodolfo told me, patting Jeff on the back.

Rodolfo had fled the urban environs of Washington, D.C., earlier this year, midway through the ski season, and immediately tapped into the large service industry that employs pretty much everyone in Lake Placid. Well, at least those not on vacation, training for the next Olympics or Ironman, or owning one of the town's restaurants or hotels. He spends his days on the golf course, his nights working as a manager of the Boat House Restaurant, and his off time contemplating which pair of skis to score before the first snowfall. Along the way, he's met many a kindred spirit within Placid's robust service industry, which is where Jeff—and my punishing introduction to Placid mountain biking—came in.

That night, we tossed back a few Moslon Canadians at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, a bar housed in a former church with home-brew pints of questionable quality and a refreshingly divey atmosphere amidst the restaurants of Lake Placid, which seem stuck on serving over-priced "gourmet" sandwiches. Jeff told me about the routes around town—Pine Pond, Scarface, Brewster Peninsula—but when he found out that I was staying at the Placid Bay Inn, there was only one choice: The Jackrabbit Trail.

Published: 28 Aug 2003 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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Best Hotels in Lake Placid

$366-$644
Average/night*
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#1
The Whiteface Lodge
$201
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#3
Courtyard by Marriott Lake Placid
$185
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#4
Crowne Plaza Resort LAKE PLACID-GOLF CLUB
$169
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#5
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort

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