Orange Peel Bicycle Service employee Essam Welch talks on the phone Tuesday at the shop. Despite the cold temperatures and snow, Welch said there still are opportunities to mountain bike.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Orange Peel Bicycle Service employee Essam Welch talks on the phone Tuesday at the shop. Despite the cold temperatures and snow, Welch said there still are opportunities to mountain bike.

Biking options still available

Local riding enthusiasts finding ways to hit trails before winter sets in

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On the 'Net

Moab

About 304 miles from Steamboat

www.discovermoab.com/biking.htm

Fruita

About 204 miles from Steamboat

www.gjmountainbiking.com/

Vernal

About 162 miles from Steamboat

www.utahoutdoors.com/pages/vernal_bike.htm

If you go

Old Town Hot Springs spin class schedule

When: 6:15 a.m. Monday through Friday; 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 12:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. Saturday

Cost: $4 for members or $12 for nonmembers

A 10-class punch card for members is $30.

— Although the options in town are narrowing, those die-hards looking for a couple last rides on their bikes before winter sets in for good are in luck.

Several day and weekend trips to Utah and western Colorado offer some of the best - and last - mountain biking in the area.

"I'm trying to get to Moab," said Ben Clark, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's cycling program director. "This time of year, Fruita is still in good shape, and Moab's in great shape."

Clark is among the many Steamboat cycling enthusiasts who have made the trip to Moab or Fruita in recent years.

Moab, though more than 300 miles away, provides riders with great conditions for riding. Another option - and one that doesn't get as much attention - is Vernal, Utah. Just across the Colorado border, it offers many undiscovered trails.

"I've hear some of the trails out there are pretty good," cyclist Barkley Robinson said. "I've never ridden in Vernal, but I've heard good things about it. It's a little undiscovered gem."

Closer to home, Spring Creek is the lone mountain biking trail open in Steamboat Springs. However, the upper portion is closed above the second bridge.

Steamboat Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series director Gretchen Sehler said to be careful when looking at trails. She said riders must stay off trails if they're wet or even frozen.

"You really don't want to go on the trails if they are wet - and they are," Sehler said. "We want to keep them in shape for next year. You don't want to ruin them."

Clark said another option for those itching to get out on their bikes is riding in the snow. Once the snow really starts to fly, he deflates his tires a little and rides on the edge of the Nordic trails.

Others who aren't as daring can check out the full complement of spin classes offered by Old Town Hot Springs and other area fitness centers.

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