This is always a great kick-off the bike fest weekend. The dirt jumps behind the Little Supermarket in Wilmington is a great for families and there is always a good show to see. This year festival organizers have brought in the KRUSHER STUNT TEAM from Montreal to impress the crowd and get everyone fired up for a great weekend of cycling in the Whiteface region. After the Jump Jam head back to Whiteface for the official welcome party, including the infamous best calves contest.
With any luck, the morning of the 13th Annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race will be clear and cool. In the valley, it will likely be a comfortable 60 degrees. As you make the nearly 3500 ft. climb to the summit you’ll be grinding your pedals and sweating. At the top you’ll get off your bike at an elevation of nearly 5,000 ft. where the weather can be totally different than it was at the base. Your sweat cooled body will lose its temperature quickly and you can find yourself feeling pretty chilly in a big hurry. Do what you can to get something warm to put on at the top. If the weather is good, a light jacket stuffed into a pocket will suffice. If the weather is poor, you’ll want a full set of warm-dry clothes waiting for you at the top, and maybe even a ride down.
No matter how you slice it 100K on a mountain bike is a long race. Add in the significant amount of climbing of the Wilmington/Whiteface Race and you’ve got a recipe for leg cramps. In order to have the best day possible on the bike you’ll need all the fuel you can get. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of the big race and skip an opportunity to get the nutrients you need to make it to the finish line. I can recall racing with unnamed friend a few years ago who decided to skip the aid station in Elizabethtown in an attempt to gain a few extra seconds over me. I quickly passed him heading up Jay Mountain, and never saw him again. I’m almost certain he didn’t finish.
There are so many opportunities for cycling in the Whiteface Region you’re going to want to bring a whole stable of bikes to enjoy it all. Between great trail rides, “Poor Man’s Downhill,” real-deal downhill riding at Whiteface Bike Park, Dirt Jumping, Road Riding, and more you don’t want to limit yourself by only bringing one bike.
My favorite addition to last year’s Bike Festival was the addition of the Beach Party at Lake Everest. The food cooked up by Liquids and Solids Restaurant was delicious and the tunes coming from the band “Lucid” made for a really festive atmosphere. It was also a really good opportunity to support the greatest mountain bike trail advocacy group on the planet BETA. The Barkeater Trails Alliance works really hard to build and maintain trails in the entire Whiteface region. There will be a BETA booth at the beach party. Purchasing a membership, buying a t-shirt, or taking home a map will go a long way to ensuring the future development of trails like “Poor Man’s Downhill” or “Hardy Road” that are the centerpieces of the Bike Festival.
“Poor Man’s Downhill,” the gravity trail that is suitable for any fat-tire bike is a growing attraction in Wilmington. The town of Wilmington will once again be offering free shuttles to the top from Steinhoff’s Parking lot on Saturday afternoon. Don’t miss it!
In the "Up A Creek" Complex right at the base of the "Poor Man's Downhill" in Wilmington, there is a new bike shop that is ready to service any type of bike you can wheel in the door. The new shop is conveniently located at the base of poor man’s downhill to help you get your ride back in working order and back up to the top for another lap. Rumor has it that is also the site of the unofficial bike fest after party.
All of the Bike Festival events take in place in Wilmington, so it only makes sense to stay in Wilmington. There are a number of lodging options right in town, which makes it super-convenient to make it to the starting line on time. For dining options be sure to check out the new deck at McDougal’s Pub.
Whether you are competing, spectating, or just riding, it would be a great idea to build an extra day or two into your trip to check-out all of the riding opportunities in the Adirondack's Whiteface Region. The communities of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid both have an abundance of riding opportunities for mountain or road cyclists. A trip to the area would not be complete without a visit to both towns.
The Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Festival is about a whole lot more than just competition. It is a coming together of all things cycling in the area. You don’t have to be a hard-core racer to enjoy all the fun. There is a guided group ride supported by BETA, free PMD shuttles, downhill riding at Whiteface, a ton of trails to ride, and an endless amount of quiet country roads to explore. Mark your calendar for June 20-22 and come enjoy all that cycling in the Adirondack's Whiteface Region has to offer.