Travel & Destination
Duluth, MN: An Unanticipated Mountain Bicycle Destination
Lake Superior shimmers in the sun listed below me. After a day of rain, the clouds have parted and the air has actually cleared. I can see sailboats raising their white sails and Matchbox-sized cars crossing the bridge to Wisconsin. Rising from the coast, a chairlift ferryboats bikes and riders to the top where I stand.Returning my focus on my bike, I mount my saddle only to discover that my riding partners have actually removed without me. My 4-year-old, complete face helmet and video game face on, is zipping down the path, my spouse chasing close behind. Hurrying to capture up, I clean a rock face and throw a cursory glance at the sign to verify that we are, undoubtedly, on a green trail. It’s surprisingly tough.When we chose to check out Duluth, Minnesota as part of our year-long mountain biking trip, I slightly remembered reading some publication posts about the terrific riding. Still, I had difficulty thinking of how a city in the upper Midwest could impress a Western-raised girl. My expectations, for that reason, were low when we pulled into camp atop Spirit Mountain. However it didn’t take long to understand why Duluth has acquired its reputation and IMBA gold-level flight center classification. From technical lift-served downhill goes to all-day cross-country legendaries, Duluth did absolutely nothing but impress.Spirit Mountain For our first complete day of riding in Duluth, we opted to purchase lift tickets to Spirit Mountain. My kid and parents decided to join, so it was a little bit of a family affair. There were plenty of other families riding also, which suggests that the future of mountain cycling in Duluth is secured.The family-friendly nature isn’t really to suggest that the entire bike park is tame. Spirit Mountain provides something for everybody. There were runs that neither my partner or I might clean up, though we tried.The tracks were a great combination of flow trails with manufactured features, and others with natural, rocky surface. The most extreme run, Calculated Danger, deserved its double black diamond rating, with among the longest rock faces I have actually ever seen. On the other end of the spectrum, the green runs were fun for both my 4-year-old and myself with big berms, wooden bridges, and a couple of techy rock spots thrown in. In between the lift-served routes, the pumptrack, and the skills location, we were able to quickly take in an entire day at Spirit Mountain. In fact, we made it onto the 3rd chair of the early morning and among the last to go up the mountain in the afternoon.On our last lift of the day, we left and rode 100 yards to camp. It doesn’t get much more practical than that. The ideal area of the camping area
at Spirit Mountain– at the top of the ski hill– allows ride-in, ride-out access to the trails, and the ability to get a run in before the lift has actually even opened for the day.Duluth Traverse As much as I enjoyed our lift-served day, I’m a cross nation woman at heart, so was delighted to go out the following early morning on the Duluth Traverse
path, which conveniently links to the base location at Spirit Mountain. The traverse uses 85 miles of trail(65 %of it singletrack )linking the area’s popular trail systems and the city itself. From the traverse, riders can check out Lester Park,< a href=https://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/hartley.html > Hartley Park, Piedmont, Maker, and Mission Creek. The Traverse, in addition to the various involved path networks, provided enough singletrack to supply us with numerous days of entertainment … and we didn’t finish all of it. To my surprise, the mountains north of Duluth provide a fair bit of climbing up and descending.Not only did the location test my endurance, it checked my technical abilities as well. Much of the system routes are rooty and rocky, with long wood bridges covering the muddy areas. The Traverse itself tends to be enthusiast and fast.My favorite path was the Home Brew loop at Brewer. Far from the slickrock routes of Moab and Sedona, there in the upper-Midwest, I found myself riding up, down, and over smooth granite. The path required focus, however absolutely nothing triggered me to dismount, so I found myself lost in” the zone”– the greatest badge of approval in my book.A Vacation-Worthy Destination Thanks to on-the-mountain camping and a thriving, busy city, Duluth is worthy of a vacation or even a week-long getaway.