I had a more than an amazing time mountain biking at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia this past weekend. I got to actually get out onto the trails at least 3 times in two days. That’s a lot, considering I might get the bike out once on a weekend to only get a couple hours of riding in. What made it so much fun is that my friend recently got an RV, and we camped out there! This was the 3rd time in my life that I’ve ever been camping. If you’re going to go especially when the weather is a little chilly, this is absolutely by far the best way to do it.
I had arrived at the camp site a few hours after my friend Mike & his wife Lindsey were still setting everything up. I’ve been camping before, but bringing the RV made a world of difference! The RV had a full kitchen: microwave, gas burner stove, small dining room table, & shower, sink etc. It sleeps up to 9 people! There was plenty of room, and it was a literally a home away from home. Being able to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner was a huge plus. This was the best experience mountain biking, because we never really had to leave the trail. We were only 30 seconds from the trail head!
It wasn’t a crazy extravagant setup. We just had a few chairs, got a small campfire going, and were able to chill for the rest of the night when we got back. It was about 4:00 pm , and we didn’t get out onto the trails until 5:00 pm. Sunlight was fading away, but I wasn’t going to let the day pass without at least getting one ride in!
I really wish I was able to capture the amazing bright sunset as we got there. I literally told my friend this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! I had never been out to a biking trail like this before. As we were about to start our ride, the sun was setting glowing over the lake. It was very bright and the view of the water was beautiful. Of course this picture doesn’t do it justice. We snapped it as we started to head back. It was getting dark, and we didn’t have any headlamps. You don’t want to be out in the woods without any light! I’m wearing about 3 layers of clothing to stay warm here. I have on some padded shorts with a pair of reinforced thicker shorts to keep me from getting too bruised up when I fall. With the clipless pedals taking hills and turns crazily, I generally catch a few spills. I’m having too much fun to try anything slower! If you start to get tired trying to rip up a huge hill and can’t get your feet out in time, you’re going to hit the dirt.
Being out in nature always brings some peace of mind. The sun setting just minutes from getting dark was a sight to capture for sure. Fort Yargo is by far the coolest and most difficult trail I’ve ever been to. I hadn’t been biking in a while, and with just training legs the day before, it was hard, lol. There were some nice downhills, followed by some grueling uphills. Of course we took the outer loop (which is harder), and didn’t even get to do the whole thing (It’s a pretty large trail to do it all). I’ll definitely go back, and conquer the whole thing next time for sure. I was out with my friend the first day and we were just getting our feet wet for this one.
Mountain biking can burn some serious calories. There are some fun downhills, which is the majority of why you want to go in the first place. But, the bigger the downhill, you can for sure expect a crazy uphill. These aren’t fun, but they sure push you to your limits on on what your legs are physically capable of doing. If you have practiced some high repetitions on lunges, you just may be able to handle the burn some. (Yes, your legs will feel like they are on fire!) I absolutely prefer it over road biking. (Because I’m an adrenaline junkie.) I feel I have a greater time flying through downhills, dodging trees, & going slideways over a patch of leaves. It really gets your heart pumping! And for me, 2 hours can fly by, and it didn’t even feel like I worked out. I couldn’t imagine slaving away on a treadmill for 2 hours, it would feel like torture! Like I tell everyone, you want to enjoy working out. It helps getting in various types of conditioning in and out the gym. Mountain biking with friends or even by yourself is a great way to get a good workout in. It stimulates the mind and body.
Whatever vehicle you have, you totally need to invest in a bike rack. They have the ones where you can mount on the roof, or the back of your car. The one I have is a saris bones bike rack. I think I paid about $140 after tax for it. I used to shove the bike in the back of the car. This is WAY more convenient. If you have a truck, toss in the bed and go! If you have an SUV, they have all sorts of different ones you can get. It all depends on your preference.
The picture above was the morning from my second ride on day 2. This is still an amazing view, but nothing beats how it looked with the sunset. The day we left it was a little cloudy and rainy, so we couldn’t get a last ride in. Well, we could have, it would have just been miserable and slippery. We ate breakfast, packed up, and headed out. If you’re looking to challenge yourself in a new way, go get yourself a mountain bike. The best thing is that you can always practice at most gyms. Just hop on the stationary bike, or take a spin class. Build up your conditioning, or just go out there and give it a whirl. We stopped about 4 times or so for water breaks, and to gather some energy before a big climb up the hill. So don’t worry about feeling defeated, you will get your butt handed to you the first few times. But the more you do it, the better you get. Challenge yourself this new year to do something different, and take your body to another level.