Under heavy threat of rain that never came, 718 Cyclery hosted a group ride at the Blue Mountain Preserve, in Peekskill NY. As conditions are treacherous to begin with at Blue Mountain, and as there was rain the day before, we didn't bring our carbon hardtail fleet members from Yeti and Focus
As is customary, riders arrived by train and car. The train ride was just over 60 minutes on the Hudson Line of Metro North out of Grand Central Station. Riders arrived at the Peekskill Station at 9:45, and we at the trailhead by just after 10am.
Blue Mountain holds a special place in many local mountainbikers hearts are rocky and unforgiving. I still have scars on my shins from a visit a year ago.
Blue Mountain is also notorious for getting lost at. I have known many riders who spend alot of time at Blue, and who still complain of getting lost. It can add to the immersion, but sometimes you just want to know where you are.
I had 2 goals on this ride. The first was to try our my new 2016 Kona Explosif . My second goal was to not get lost.
The first part, riding my new bike, went well. The bike represented a number of firsts for me.
- First time on 27.5" wheels
- First real time on a modern steel mountain bike
- First real trail time on a hardtail
Blue Mountain and its unforgiving rock piles was probably not the best place to dive right in. I normally ride a 2014 Salsa Horsethief 1 (29'er, full suspension), so I am used to rolling over things opf a certain size. On the Explosif, I found that I actually has to steer a bit more and not rely on the bike just rolling over everything.
As a new hardtail rider, i also found that without a rear suspension to take some of the burden, it was just left to me and the fork to absorb the blows....which at Blue Mountain can be pounding.
As far as the "not getting lost part", that didn't go so well for most of us. My plan for my ride was to do a long circuit ion the Blue trail. I was on it as far as I was concerned, until all of the sudden I wasn't. There is a gun range off to the south of the park, and you can actually use the sound to get bearings.