Monday, September 5, 2016

Mountain Biking in Richmond, VA

Meet Lola. She has been my biking companion since i bought her 9 years ago. When I got my first bonus at my corporate job, she was what I purchased. She is a SCOTT Voltage YZ 20. A couple of weekends ago, she and I went trail riding at Lake Anna State Park and she got a bit muddy. Since I enjoy MTB quite a bit, I thought I would share some of my favorite trails in the area.

Some of my favorite trails are in my own home city: Richmond, VA. Thanks to the MTB Project, they have created (and even ranked) some of the best biking trails in the area. Since MTB works closely and collaborates with the International Mountain Bikers Association (IMBA), they have created a great website to view photos, post reviews and even rate biking trails. This, in turn, has allowed bikers to get an idea of difficulty, prepare for training, and even increase the challenge and experience on their bikes.  And, since it is all free, you can contribute and upload your own photos and reviews of the trails. Richmond alone has 32 trail options to MTB, so you have a lot of options just in the immediate city alone.
My favorite biking trails in the RVA, is with the James River Park System. With a variety of trails compiled together, you can get an array of different difficulties, grades and experience in just one large loop. As it run from one side of the city to another, it really does give a MTB rider like myself a variety of challenges. As this trail also contains runners, dog walkers and families, you may experience some high walking traffic along the route.
Pocahontas State Park, located in Chesterfield, VA (20 min drive from Richmond), has one of the best excursion trails for a MTB rider who wants a little more jumps in their ride. With the inclines, hills, and jumps available, the Blueberry Hill trail makes for a fun, unique ride just outside the city. Some of my friends can get a really great jump in the air on this trail and it makes for a great place for group riders.
My personal starter trail for MTB was in Deep Run Park, located in Henrico, VA (a 15 minute drive from Richmond). The Outer Loop is by no means a beginner trail, but it does allow you to easily learn to maneuver your MTB in a fast-paced setting. Also, if you are learning to use clipless pedals, this is a great place to start practicing locking and unlocking your shoes. While not all the terrain is ideal (it does have rocky paths, sandy paths and some steep turns), it will help you in the beginning of your training.

If you want a long, scenic ride, you can also try the Cap2Cap trail ,which stems from Richmond to Williamsburg. It is a long ride along paved trail, but it is a great day trip from one city to the next. Regardless of where you go MTB, the ride is always a lot more fun than the walk. So, this Labor Day weekend, take a bike ride!

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