Accessing Untapped Terrain
The idea of riding somewhere new can be both an exciting and a daunting task. You are not sure if the trails in this new area will be outside of your skill level, or if they might not even be worth riding. It is easy to sit on your computer and soak up information like a sponge. You read about all of the trails a specific area has to offer. There is lots of quantifiable information that can be learned from a quick google search. The skill level. The terrain. The length. The grade. Someone has put in all of the hard work for you. You have been given a cliff’s notes on entire trail systems without even setting your eyes upon dirt. You know entirely what to expect. But what about something different. Why not try getting out there and finding a new zone. A place that as far as you can tell few have ridden. And those who have, were kind of enough to not share the details.
How often do you ride on your everyday trail wondering what might be just over the other ridge? That ridge that no one in your riding circle has ever explored | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte | Rider: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
Part of the excitement for me and riding is the idea of taking the road less traveled. Part of my fascination with maps and the reason I spent so much time obsessing over google earth is to find something new and different. Sometimes the things you find will be difficult to ride, maybe even unrideable. Other times what you find is not worth the time you put into the expedition. You may find an area already heavily trodden with tire tracks and frequently hiked by the most insufferable of outdoors enthusiasts, however, you could also get lucky and find a small trail; one that a casual glance would easily dismiss, a trail few of hiked, and barely any have biked. And that is where the fun begins.
Sometimes these trails often get much steeper than photos can accurately displayed | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte | Rider: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
I will easily admit that I tend to be a bit of a solo rider (some would even say antisocial). The further my pedals propel me away from civilization, the better the ride. Perhaps this is what spurs me on to find the most unridden ridgelines and the steepest climbs I can conquer.
The Start of a trail that you would never spot if you did not know it was there | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
One such area has been of great interest to me lately. I knew that access up there was easy on foot, however, with over 1000 feet of vertical ascension and some rock scrambling, I knew it would be mostly deserted.
Some of the terrain on the way up would certainly have me wishing for a bigger bike | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
Naturally it was my mission to ride to the top and drop down the back side of the ridge to see what I could discover. It can be easy to underestimate the steepness of terrain when viewing it on a map.
Eventually things often get just too steep to ride | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte | Carrier: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
Usually I tend to do a lot of hiking and a lot of bushwhacking on accents like this. The reward is always worth it when you reach a point when you are making the fresh tire tracks.
Eventually my tracks were the only ones I could see | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte
You never know what you might find. You may get to the top only to realize what you found is totally unrideable and have to retreat down the same trail you ascended. Or you may find an entirely new playground that has tons of untapped potential.
At the top of the ridge line there was so much potential. So many other rides here that could be had. So many other mountains to climb | Photo: Benjamin (BJ) Platte