Earn Your Turns- Exploring Rockmont’s new Mountain Biking Trails

Justin Bennett March 6, 2024

A team of professional trail builders has been working hard on our new mountain biking trail system here at Rockmont. Yesterday, I went up the mountain to see their progress and was surprised to see they had already finished a mile of trail.

Starting near the lower soccer field, the trail delicately weaves up, down, and around the contours of our property.

As the trail climbs, it meanders through thick rhododendron forests, across old logging roads, and up to the Adirondack shelters. Along the way, the builders have put special care into developing alternative routes for riders of varying skill levels. Our ultimate goal is to inspire confidence and allow campers to gradually challenge themselves. Once they feel confident navigating the easiest terrain, they can pursue more technical features such as rollers, tabletops, berms, and small rock jumps.

The trail is an out-and-back, meaning, you get out what you put in.

If you climb a quarter mile, you get a quarter mile of downhill. To reach the apex you have to be willing to climb the entirety of the run. As I walked the trails, I foresaw many campers saying, “I wish there was a ski lift to bring us to the top!” I know that on my first attempt, I’ll be wishing for a ski lift too. Despite my desire for the easy way up, I’m particularly thankful we won’t have a ski lift.

A few years ago my wife and I went skiing in Montana. During the trip, we joined some friends for a backcountry adventure. We went to one of the local mountains and with my snowboard strapped on my back, started hiking straight up the mountain. It was a brutal couple of hours, but one foot after the other, I made it to the top. Looking down I saw my footpath cut through the snow, and with a mountain of fresh powder, could visualize an epic descent. We rode down and it was as epic as I had imagined.

Every moment of pain on the way up paid double on the way down.

When I got to the bottom one of the skiers gave me a huge high-five and said, “Doesn’t it feel good to earn your turns.” Yeah… It felt incredible. I’ve skied hundreds of slopes, but always at a resort and with the aid of a ski lift. I’d never felt the satisfaction of earning my descent.

As cliche as it sounds, it made sense to the phrase, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I had a feeling of accomplishment that was immeasurable. I had embodied a difficult journey and earned the reward of being proud of myself, and along the way, expanded the boundaries of my capabilities.

I’m thrilled that our new trail is an out-and-back, and I hope that as each camper bikes their way up the mountain they will see their journey as part of the reward.

The sense of achievement isn’t merely in reaching the top, but in every bit of effort it takes to get there, and in the satisfaction of an epic, well-deserved descent.

 

Justin Bennett

Program Director

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