Roots Rocks Riding
Two runs later the sunlight is fading and my two companions and I are ready for a hot shower and a meal at one of the valley's smorgasbord of restaurants. As a destination ski resort, Mont Sainte-Anne has tons of on-site housing—our three-bedroom condo was literally ride-in, ride-out, and restaurants ranging from dirtbag-cheap pizza joints to haute cuisine were plentiful.
The next morning saw us stumbling around the condo, slugging down coffee to get stiff limbs moving, and inspecting our now-thrashed bikes. After only one day of riding my fork was making strange sucking noises and the rear set of brake pads was ground halfway to the shoe thanks to the sandpaper-like grit that scours the pads to nothing. In truth, a morning of bike maintenance was exactly what our tired bodies craved, and riding from noon until sundown was more than enough time on the bike to explore new trails and crash our brains out.
The war of attrition between us and the mountain lasted four days, enough time for us to explore most, but not all, of the extensive trail network and ride ourselves quite literally into the ground before calling a truce. Mont Sainte-Anne has, in my estimate, about a perfect week's worth of terrain to explore. It's a great introduction to eastern riding. The terrain is challenging and extremely varied, it's a great location and this French-speaking area of Canada could be called "the poor man's Europe," but more than anything the area welcomes tourists.
Because Mont Sainte-Anne is a managed resort aimed at catering to tourists, there's none of the provincialism you'll find at other mountain biking hotspots, where tourists are shuttled onto the "yak routes" while the locals keep the best trails for themselves. Mont Sainte-Anne attracts visitors by offering world-class riding, friendly help in the form of maps, lift service and resort personnel, and a great, uncrowded atmosphere. In the week leading up to the World Mountain Bike Championships when the entire bicycle world descended en masse on the resort we never felt the trails were crowded or that traffic was a problem. Looking for a great first East Coast riding experience? Forget America, eh, and go North, young cyclist.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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