Amanda Grant was meant to be an Adirondacker. She mountain bikes, she hikes, she does triathlons. Put simply, Grant revels in the outdoor activities the Adirondacks offer year-round. “What drew us to this area was the unlimited amount of outdoor opportunities that you have here. Every day you can be doing something outside and mixing it up in different activities where you’re not doing the same thing."
One of Grant’s favorite, most physically and emotionally satisfying activities is mountain biking and she doesn’t seem afraid of anything. Grant loves the thrill, the challenge, the hard work. She loves the “rocky and rooty” terrain, even the burning legs that come with biking up a mountain trail. Her determination is enviable — “make it as hard as you can and I’ll go as long as I can” — but also rooted in a personal sense of the reward. Grant knows that what awaits at the summit is pure magic.
“When you get to the top, you know it’s all worth it.”
Grant was born and raised in Virginia, where she met her husband, a Canadian from Ottawa. A ski trip while visiting his family led the pair to Lake Placid and the slopes of Whiteface for three pretty remarkable days.
“When we left, I felt like I was leaving home, even though I’d only spent three days. I was like, ‘We have to come back here.’” A few years later, Grant and her husband Jim were able to make it happen, becoming part of a community that loves the outdoors. “People are so supportive of the Adirondacks and they’re so passionate about where they live. That passion radiates onto you and you become passionate about being here and enjoying it and people are supportive and helpful and awesome.”
Grant and her husband have tried many outdoor activities in the region, keen to try new things and meet like-minded locals, but it's mountain biking that she really adores. When she talks about mountain biking, Grant is deeply thoughtful, while her passion and enthusiasm not just for the ride, but for her life here, shine through. "I love the climb. You get to see the Adirondacks - instead of maybe being in a little spot in the woods and you get to see what’s immediately around you, you get more of a whole picture. A beautiful, whole picture. It’s calming and overwhelming."
"You have to go up to get those views, whether you’re hiking or whether you’re mountain biking, you have to climb somewhere to be able to see the whole picture."
The views are incredible. Sunrise, sunset, each bit of the day has something deeply special to offer. But the mountains themselves, the actual trails that have to be traversed are pretty amazing, too. She’s biked in a lot of places, but the trails here, and the steady development of new ones, has her hooked. Despite her own expertise, she’s cognizant of the importance of a variety of trails to draw in bikers of all levels. While Grant notes that the area trails offer "typical East coast-style riding," with plenty of fun and and technical challenges, she also emphasizes that it's the variety, along with the awesome landscape, that she feels makes the Adirondacks so unique for mountain biking.
“There’s always different levels and there’s always challenges,” she says. “You’re still trying to clean that trail, or make that obstacle, there’s always things to work on so that you can improve. You’re in beautiful woods and it’s fun and it’s exciting and it’s awesome.”
Riding to meet the dawn, actually starting in the dark, headlamp on, throws a glowing hue on already remarkable vistas. Grant appreciates early morning rides, seeing the world wake up when most people, if they’re out and about, are simply in their car, maybe on their way to work. Grant knows she's part of something special.
“To be there, and be in position, and to watch it physically, inch by inch by inch come up, is pretty awesome, that most people don’t do - or don’t get to do - on a daily basis. Your mindset is very calm, you’re relaxed, you just have a much nicer day because you had such a pleasant experience in the morning and so it just sets up your whole day to be amazing. Everything is going to be good."
Around every corner, over every mountain or little hill, new adventures in the Adirondacks await. More sunrises, ready to soak you in the beauty that is the Whiteface Region. Whether you're on foot or on a bike, celebrate summer with your own new adventures. The journey, views, and natural wonders are everything. Don't take our word for it, or Amanda Grant's, although we are all reliable. Come find out for yourself!
The Dawn Patrol series: