Colorado’s Summer Sport – Fort Carson Mountaineer

“Bike shops are great resources for anyone looking to get into mountain biking. From there, it’s all about gaining experience and learning your skill level.

— Fernando Martinez Batiz

by Scott Prater

mountaineer staff

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Fernando Martinez Batiz, recreation assistant, Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation, rides a local mountain bike trail during an outdoor recreation adventure trip last fall. (Courtesy image)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Colorado Springs is home to some of the best mountain biking trails in the state.

It’s great for the mountain bike enthusiast who’s been riding for more than a few years and has gained some knowledge of the best trails and how to get to them. But, people interested in a new sport or cyclists new to Colorado Springs may have questions about where to start.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources in town for people who want to get started, find the right bike, gear, and most importantly, where to find the right trail.

Fernando Martinez Batiz, Recreation Assistant with the Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation Department, recommends cyclists download the Colorado Trail Explorer app called COTREX, which is also available for desktop. The free app allows users to find trails, view maps, and learn more about specific trails.

“The app is super helpful and helpful,” said Martinez Batiz. “It includes hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, as well as mileage and elevation and updates all relevant closures frequently.”

Newcomers to the Pikes Peak area should also visit www.mtbr.com. There, runners will find maps for every trail in every state and read reviews of the trails from people who have experienced them.

The site also hosts forums where people review bikes, parts, supplies, and just about anything mountain biking.

Interested cyclists can also get a lot of valuable information at one of Colorado Springs’ many local bike shops. Staff at local bike shops can point people in the right direction regarding the type of bike they will need given their skill level and the types of trails they can expect to ride.

“Bike shops are great resources for anyone looking to get into mountain biking,” Martinez Batiz said. “From there it’s all about gaining experience and learning your skill level.”

Beginners should familiarize themselves with their bikes on local city hiking trails. Most are relatively flat and do not present much technical difficulty.

The US Air Force Academy offers trails for beginners and less experienced riders, particularly the Falcon Trail, which circles the academy, although it may be a bit long for some beginners as it is close to 13 miles long. Cheyenne Mountain State Park, just west of Fort Carson, also has plenty of trails for beginners and they are well marked at every intersection, making it hard to get lost. Palmer Park may also attract locals due to its central location and variety of difficulty.

FORT CARSON, Colo. – A Fort Carson soldier tackles an obstacle during a recent outdoor mountain biking course at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.  (Photo by Fernando Martinez Batiz)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – A Fort Carson soldier tackles an obstacle during a recent outdoor mountain biking course at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. (Photo by Fernando Martinez Batiz)

Martinez Batiz recommends Red Rock Canyon Open Space on the west side of town for beginners because its trail system offers a wide variety of skill level trails and a skill park as well. The trails are well marked and navigating the area is fairly straightforward.

Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation offers mountain biking lessons for interested riders and even includes bike rentals. Staff typically meet course participants at local locations, where they teach skills and offer guidance during a group ride. Outdoor Rec, as it is called, is open to all DOD cardholders and anyone else with access to Fort Carson.

“Probably the most popular trail for avid mountain bikers is off Gold Camp Road,” Martinez Batiz said. “Captain Jacks and the Falls are well maintained trails and provide a smooth experience. The COTREX app and several websites will help direct cyclists to the trailhead.

Long-time rider Martinez Batiz said mountain biking is a lifelong sport, one that provides fun and excitement while challenging its participants.

“It’s a physical challenge, but it also presents runners with a mental game,” he said. “I think it’s like rock climbing. When you do, it’s just you and the trail. Everything else seems to melt. It’s therapeutic, it forces you to focus, and it feels like exploring, especially if you’re on a new trail.

Of course, anyone who has ridden a bicycle is aware of its dangers. As in any sport, if athletes want to improve, it is imperative that they push their limits.

This is one of the reasons why it’s important to wear the proper protective gear, including a helmet, gloves, and goggles. Martinez Batiz advises cyclists to also bring tools, water, spare tubes and a pump as a precaution, but insists they will most likely encounter other cyclists after a while. they stay on the track.

“One of the great things about Red Rock Open Space is that it includes features that riders may choose to skip the first few times they hit a trail, but as they gain more skill and experience experience, they may feel more confident to attempt a jump or a steeper section. ”

Adventurous or more experienced riders can also check into one of the many Colorado ski resorts that offer downhill experiences on their ski mountains.

The county resorts of Summit, Vail, and Winter Park all host ATV parks, where riders go up the drag lift (with their bikes) and down the trails. Resorts offer trail maps for cyclists that display the same difficulty levels as ski runs – green for the easiest runs, blue for intermediate runs and black for expert runs, so choosing which run is easy that suits them, whichever station they choose to visit.

At Breckenridge, riders can take the chairlift to Peak Eight and choose from a variety of skill level trails.

At Vail Mountain, riders can ride a gondola up the mountain and choose to ride easy routes along mountain meadows or opt for more technical trails in the trees.

Winter Park features the Trestle Bike Park, famous for the wooden trestles intertwined between its trails.

Those who prefer to get away from the crowds can visit Mountain Bike Granby Ranch, west of Rocky Mountain National Park. While experienced riders can challenge themselves here, the park also offers several cross-country and family-friendly trails.

If you don’t mind traveling a bit further, Crested Butte Mountain Resort hosts the Evolution Bike Park which boasts over 30 miles of multiple skill level routes.

Keystone Ski Area‘s Bike Park features jumps, rocks, freefalls and wooden features as well as berms, ramps and a skill park, while offering over 100 miles of trails, many for kids. beginner cyclists.

ATV enthusiasts can also find ATV parks at Copper Mountain, Telluride Ski Resort, and Snowmass Village near Aspen.

Those who prefer to gain experience before hitting the ski slopes have a few options.

Martinez Batiz recommends people try renting a bike from Outdoor Rec or a local bike shop before buying, then look for opportunities to take instruction classes and group rides.

There are many options and people tend to adapt better than someone walking into a store blind. Some shops and cycling organizations offer group rides, where more experienced cyclists can sort of mentor the new ones.

The Women’s Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs, for example, (http://wmbacos.org/group-rides/) organizes group mountain bike tours for local women.

For more information on summer and winter ATV adventure travel, instruction classes, and bike rental information, contact Fort Carson Outdoor Rec at www.carson.armymwr.com.

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