Tips for first trip to a bike park

I’m going to be down in Western VA in a couple weeks and want to check out Bryce Bike Park one of the days I’m there. I currently have a Trek Roscoe (120mm hardtail) and I’d call myself a solidly intermediate MTB’r.

I have a couple questions for people who have more experience with this than I do.

  1. I am planning on renting a bike (comes with Full Face and pads). Do people recommend getting a DH bike (Trek Session) or a Trail bike (Trek Remedy) for bike parks. I don’t have a ton of experience with big drops or jumps but I’m definitely looking to push that just a little.

  2. Should I bring a hydration pack? I have a USWE Airborne 3. Or would a bottle be fine and then just fill it up at the bottom every once in a while?

  3. I usually ride with SPDs (Lower end XCish shoe) but I have a pair of FiveTens from when I started out. Would people suggest I go with what I usually ride or go with the flat pedals?

  4. I’m also open to any other suggestions, recommendations, or tips that anyone with more experience might have for me!

Thanks!

  1. Depending on the severity of the trails you’re going to ride. I would stick with the Remedy unless the trails really call for a full on DH. The Remedy will be more nimble, easier to get airborne. The big DH rigs tend to feel a bit sluggish on intermediate trails.
  2. Yes.
  3. I would ride with whatever style you’re comfortable with. If you aren’t comfortable riding flats, I would ride clips. Either works well! (Most DH racers use clipless these days)
  4. Make sure they set the suspension up for your weight.
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Thanks! I’m leaning Remedy right now just because the trails look relatively smooth and I’m not going to be doing any gnarly jumps or drops.

I’ll probably stick with clips just cause that’s what I’m currently used to.

Thanks! I’ll be sure to double check the suspension

I would consider getting some lessons if possible. I know almost nobody gets mtb lessons (as compared to say skiing), but as with skiing, there is benefit of getting good technique early. I didn’t get my first lesson until over 10 years of mountain biking, and it was amazing. The basics of how to corner, how to do drops etc.

If you’ve skied, you know when you see someone with good technique compared to someone who just “gets down” the hill? It’s like that on the mtb too. It’s like that with mtb too.

The instructor I went to, was in the UK. He basically said there’s only three things to know, and we just worked on them all day. It made it so simple and just transformed how I felt on the trail. Not sure I got faster (much like the skier with beautiful technique compared to the one who just gets down the run), but it felt so much smoother and more in control.

And yeah, I’d do remedy and not a full on dh bike.

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I looked into lessons but unfortunately they are not doing lessons with COVID distancing restrictions. It’s something that I wanted to do this year but COVID kinda botched any plans of that.

It’s lift access so there isn’t a lot of downside to the DH bike. If you aren’t a frequent DH type rider your hands and arms are going to go long before your legs. A DH bike will absorb those impacts much better and help stretch out the amount of time you will be able to really enjoy the day. Shorter travel bikes will have you looking forward to your time in the chair which is really never where you want to be.

That said, the Trek Remedy is more of an AM bike (to me) than a trail bike. So 160/150 is likely more than enough if you aren’t a particularly sendy rider.

But it’s better to have the travel and not need it than need the travel and not have it especially when riding park lift assisted. I would go DH bike but if they were all rented and only had AM left I would get along with that just fine as well so the difference is marginal.

I wouldn’t want the pack on all day if I could refill at the bottom after every run or two but that’s me. A lot of folks wear hip packs with one bottle in them, between $20-$40 on Amazon. Here is a shot of a friend of mine wearing one while winning an enduro race in the pro men’s field:

image

I have the fivetens with cleats and without. Personally if you aren’t used to riding flats I wouldn’t go that route for your first park day. Sounds like you ride clips, I would stick with them.

Other suggestions, maybe bring your own goggles and if you have your own full face bring that.

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  1. Probably the Remedy based on your background and goals.
  2. Maybe, but I take advantage of the lift and prefer bottles and fill ups personally. Drink on the lift.
  3. Use SPDs
  4. Don’t forget to eat like you would on any other ride. It might be tempting to get a greasy lunch should that be available but it will kill the second half of your day. Eat clean. Be prepared to be fatigued in a very different way. Yes, hands, arms and feet but also legs - my legs require at least a day to get used to extended squats for 3 minutes plus. Just be prepared for that, I also don’t strength train so if you do, it may not affect you like it does me. Be especially wary towards the end of the day, it’s easy to want to get in that final run to clear the section or feature that has eluded you all day but that’s when people mess up, “one last run…”

Have fun!

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