Lake Placid's Mountain Bike Clinic at Mount Van Hovenberg - Page 2
|Theory into practice: Kim Scholle takes on the logs. (Nathan Borchelt)|
Kim and Dotti worked the loop a few times, managing the obstacles with surprising efficiency, and then Joe moved them to a short slalom course, where he instructed them on proper leg position and how and when to prep for turns.
After perfecting the flat-terrain slalom, we biked into the surrounding woods. Most of the routes throughout Van Ho traverse grassy single- and doubletrack alongside dense forests, through open fields, and up (and down) hills with modest grades. Narrow singletrack routeslike their signature run, the Kintahide in the shadows of the trees between these cross-country paths. These are tight and technical routes with a soft pine-mulch bed and lots of roots and rocks, but Kim and Dotti wouldn't face the Kinta until the end of the day; for now, the next series of obstacles proved challenging enough.
After a quick pedal over some grassy doubletrack, Joe took his willing students to the top of a short downhill slalom run, which they traversed until both felt comfortable. Then we cycled to a grassy bowl section near the biathlon shooting range to practice banked turns. At the end of this section, Joe told us to ride down the hill with our eyes closed, so we could feel how the bike and our bodies naturally adjust to the slight dip at the base.
Cycling downhill with your eyes closed is an odd, overwhelming experiencea mad leap of faith that betrays the basic instinct of self-preservation. But it proved to be solid advice for both Dotti and Kim. As Joe explained, if you keep your arms limber and let the bike carry you over, abrupt shifts in the terrain can be handled effortlessly.
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