#ECRT 2017: Bryce Bike Park
18 Jul 2017
Back in 2014, we said that we would never do it again. We said that we would never drive our monster truck-camper across the country, ever again. Our 2014 #ECRT was epic all right...epic storms, epic tornadoes, and apocalyptically bad road conditions! But, here we are, in New York State, folding laundry at a mountain biker friend’s home, whom we literally only met less than a week ago. We decided this time around, that we would take a different path, a more southern route. There was no arm-twisting happening between the two of us. We wanted to make the drive again. Our thoughts were, maybe this time the drive across the country would be different. Yes, it’s a long drive, but, when you break the trip up with trail riding at new locations every few days, it goes by pretty quickly. We made a list of bike parks, 16 deep, with Bryce Resort in Basye Virginia, the first stop on our list. So, we departed Phoenix AZ on April 28th and arrived at our first bike park (Bryce) on June 23rd.
(Go to WorldBikeParks.com Features Page: titled—“From The Mouth Of Maurice” for our 2017 travel blog articles)
Our summer bike park tour started as soon as we saw the first Bryce Resort sign. Something about seeing a resort’s billboard seems to make the clouds shimmer and the squirrels dance, no matter which bike park we travel to. Bryce is a pretty small bike park, with only 7 trails, but Gravity Logic builds them all. We must admit that we drool anytime we hear the words Gravity Logic. Anything they touch turns to gold. We couldn’t wait to ride! A couple snafus to mention: Natty’s refurbished eBay pedals were breaking, after only a couple months of use, and her DH bike literally hadn’t been touched since last summer shredding at Whistler. She discovered, after removing the bugs and cobwebs off her frame, that her rear brake was completely seized up. Her rear wheel would not budge. The downhill bike needed a serious overhaul. Trey was dialed with his new PIVOT Firebird. Fortunately for Natty, Bryce is all about the flow trails. So, her PIVOT Switchblade was just what she needed to rip the beautiful terrain that this bike park has to offer.
Our first day, we arrived late. Too late really to set up camp, throw on gear, and try to catch the last hour that the lift was running. So instead, we met up with the Mountain Manager, Derek Clifton. We asked him about Bryce’s scene and culture. He said riders travel 2-3 hours to ride at the park on the weekends. They come from all over; Richmond Virginia and even as far as Washington D.C., to ride. He enthusiastically explained about their summer-long race series that’s held once a month on a Saturday. If only we had arrived a week earlier, we could have been there for their first race of the summer. He spoke very highly about the resort, community, and the riders.
That evening, we stood at the base area, looking up at the wooden features and watched the final riders as they flew down the mountain and styled out at every opportunity. That made us giddy to ride. The next morning, it was game on! We ate breakfast and were out the door ready to go!! As we rolled though the parking lot, we noticed groups of riders with camp chairs set up behind their cars, in the emerald green grass, like they had been there all night long, just waiting for ‘first chair’. Of course, we had to talk to the locals! We met guys from all over, new riders, old riders, and guys bringing their buddies out for the first time. After a good chat, we headed for the lift. We noticed something right away when we got into the short lift line…the guys ahead of us turned around and smiled. They were happy to be there and happy when they said, “Hi”. The vibe was set. This is a friendly bike park. We’ve been to a lot of bike parks, somewhere close to 40, and this has got to be one of the happiest places on Earth. Not once were we met with any stank, “get out of my way”— attitudes like some places we have visited in the past. The riders were all friendly and genuinely enjoying their time.
We hopped on the 3-tray chairlift. It’s one of those non-detachable kinds, so you have to be ready to get-on and get-off quickly! We have a lot of practice with this, but it’s always like a hamster trying to escape from the infamous spinning wheel. The lift is not super fast, but you will remain entertained, as you can see most of the trails from the lift. We’ll admit, a fair bit of heckling took place, but still not as much as what happens when you ride at the Canyons, in Utah. We got to the top and were ready for our first laps of the day. Natty said, “let’s ride all the blues, then ride all the blacks!” The first trail happened to be Natty’s favorite trail at Bryce, “Brew Thru”, which is an easy intermediate jump line. She could have spent the whole day riding this trail, working on her “baby whips”, and would have been very happy and satisfied. The other notable trail is called “Pickleback”, Trey’s favorite trail. It’s a black diamond, machine built, jump trail with tons of impressive wood features. Step-downs, step-ups, a wall ride, ladder drops, and even a corkscrew can be found on “Pickleback” trail! It’s a challenge to carry so much speed and not be tempted to grab a little brake, but you’ll need all of it to make the transitions on these large features.
(Rider: Royce Sylvester)
In all, we were very delighted with the trail system, although compact; we had a really captivating time. The only thing that would have made it even better would have been a tiki-bar with tacos and margaritas or cheep beer at the bottom. It doesn’t sound like they plan to expand on the trails, but they have Gravity Logic come in every spring to bring a fresh perspective and keep the trails interesting. Bryce Bike Park has a long season, generally running well into late October. Would we come back here to ride again? YES, of course! Any time we get to the bottom of a run with smiles on our faces and an eagerness to go back up the lift, it is worth another trip back!
Fall Finale from Synaptic Visuals on Vimeo.
WANT MORE? Follow Natty and Trey of WorldBikePark's EVERYWHERE
Having fun, looking good and feeling protected all because of these guys!
Follow us here for our most current locations and shenanigans:
T-Shirts get your T-shirts
Have quesitons for us? Info@worldbikeparks.com