"I had fallen in love with mountain biking. I had no clue yet why I was so drawn to the woods with two wheels under me."
Trail riding for me is as much of a meditative practice as it is a form of exercise. Like many forms of meditation the art of focusing on one thing like your breathing helps to quiet the rest of the mind. All the thoughts that are distracting you from being, are forced into silence when you master the art of focus. Nothing will hone your ability to focus faster than a gauntlet of rocks, roots and trees whizzing past you at 20 miles per hour while you push your limits on an ADK trail. The trails here were very carefully constructed to strike the unattainable balance between ripping fun and ecologically invisible. This makes for the perfect environment to hone that Jedi skill set of the pure mountain biker. No trial can teach you all you need to know about riding a bike, but every trail gives you the option to learn if you are willing to show up for class.
I started riding bikes when I was 6 in Chapel Hill North Carolina, but told my parents to take back the bike they bought me for Christmas. Not because I did not want to ride, but because there was no way I was going to be seen riding a gold and black Columbia from the hardware store by my friends who had PK Rippers, GTs and Huffys (back when Huffys were on the cover of every other Transworld BMX). I had my eye set on a lime green Kuwahara flatland bike hanging on the ceiling of our local bike shop. I rode that thing into the ground on every pool, ramp and trail I could find until I realized I was using it wrong . It was cool looking, but too heavy to break and I couldn’t keep up with the kids on the Rippers. It was a flatland bike and I sucked at flatland. They just gave me shit for being slow as we rode to the half pipe the neighbor built over his parent's tennis court. I went through a skateboarding phase in middle school, then a road riding phase in high school and it wasn’t until college that I found mountain biking.
A local I met drinking beer in college told me I needed to give up the bootleg night crits we were doing in downtown Greensboro NC and buy a mountain bike. When he hopped up a flight of 20 stairs sideways and then flew back down them like he was on a magic carpet, I realized he might have a point. By the time I was a senior, I had a job as a mechanic at Cycles de Oro I had earned enough for a ball burnished GT Zaskar with a yellow Judy Rock Shox front fork. I raced that bike in my first and only XC race during an event at Country Park in Greensboro. I was first into the woods that day, but was passed by 20 guys in the next mile and broke so many parts that I got a DNF.
Long and short of it, I had fallen in love with mountain biking. I had no clue yet why I was so drawn to the woods with two wheels under me. I had girls and beer and college friends in my tracks every time I peddled out, but the bike always won and life went on. So here I am after 4 years of amateur racing the NORBA DH circuit in the late 90s and now a transplant to NY since 2010. I thought I had found pure gold riding the Pisgah Ranger District of western NC from 2005 to 2010. Don’t get me wrong, western NC has endless rad trail riding and I still love those trails. But the summers are cooler here and the trails are some of the sweetest lines you can find on this green earth.
The Adirondacks have been home to outdoor enthusiasts longer than any other group of mountains in the US. That history is palpable in the people and the places that make this region such a true diamond in the rough. The people here live and breath the life given by these mountains and that grounding to the place we call home is more valuable than ever these days. The people here feed each other with the fresh food they grow as much as with stories of their latest conquest. The north country is a bit isolated from the rest of the world, but that only serves to focus its inhabitants on the things that really matter. For us mountain bikers, that list is pretty short, good people, good beer and good trails. All three are quite at home in these woods.
The flow trail revolution had just started taking off when I moved here in 2010. For many purists, flow trails are a lazy rider's excuse for not putting in the work or not having the skill to ride real trails. I happen to like flow trails a lot and felt pretty lazy riding them almost exclusively all last summer on my DH bike. I pushed myself in many ways and met a lot fo really cool people riding all over NE on my days off. At the end of the summer I realized I missed my home trails. Not just because it was where my friends were riding without me, but it was home.
These are the trails I get to work on so others can enjoy them. These are the woods that hold the magic of these trails, and here live the people who make them great. My dream is to make Wild Flow Tours a company that embodies this spirit and serves as a model for mountain bike tourism by putting the trails and the story behind them at the center of the tour. Flow is better when you find it not when you build it. Flow is an experience that comes from a place and all the parts of that place that make it great. When you spend a couple days riding with the people who ride the trails they build here you will know true flow. Good food, beer, stories, fire and good trails paint a far more whole picture of mountain biking than any long winded story. So, come ride with us and make memories that you will never forget.