I still remember the summer my dad took my training wheels off my bike.
I refused to bike all summer, and it was a whole 365 days later that he convinced me to learn how to actually ride a bike without a safetynet.
You can imagine his surprise, even 20+ years later when I told my dad I’d be taking a downhill lesson at Trestle Bike Park. But I’d come a long way since training wheel days, even if I was still a bit nervous walking over to the Trestle Bike Shop the morning of my lesson. If you have some apprehension about giving Trestle a try, you aren’t alone, but between the awesome, knowledgeable staff and the terrain designed for progression, this is really the best place to
give downhill biking a shot get addicted to downhill mountain biking.
What to bring to your lesson
Dressed up and ready to go:
- Get a full face helmet with your rental – helmets are mandatory, and full face is 100% recommended!
- Highly recommend goggles instead of sunglasses
- Wear short sleeves and grab elbow pads and shorts with knee pads- you do have the option to wear more armor – it is available with your rental.
- Long shorts (something with pockets gives you a place to put your pass)
- Closed toed shoes
Other things to note: I brought a backpack, and had keys, phone, water, etc. You may want to just leave those things behind and ditch the extra baggage. But note you do need a credit card on file to rent your bike so a wallet would be handy!
Get a Bike
As much as I attempted to arrive early for my lesson- that didn’t happen, so instead I rushed to get to the Bike Shop and got there flustered. I highly recommend getting their early. The Trestle Bike Shop is where you’ll get your rental and meet for your lesson. It is located across from Starbucks in the Village ( #20 on the Village Map).
Failing to get there on time, didn’t phase the awesome Bike Shop staff who were extremely helpful in getting me sorted out and ready for they day. I got the standard rental including the Giant Glory Fleet bike, got it fine tuned to my height, weight, zodiac sign, etc. And then headed out the door right into my lesson. I recommend booking ahead of time because one, it will save your spot, and two, if your nervous, it will hold you to going! Because it is worth it!
Between the helmet carrying and bike maneuvering, I felt very clumsy going out to meet my coach. I felt like a little kid again, attempting to hand my ski gear with limited coordination. But I embraced it, knowing that over time I would *hopefully* fumble less.
Walking over I met up with Sweet Lou AKA Trevor AKA The Most Rad Trestle Coach there is. We started chatting about my comfort level and biking experience so he could assess my skill level, which let’s be honest, is NOOB Level. Even getting my bike onto the lift felt a little awkward, but Trevor helped get me set to go, and as we rode the lift, I felt more and more comfortable as he ran me through what we would go over before hitting the trail.
Once to the top of the Zephyr, Trevor broke down the skills we would be working on even further:
- Freeride Stance
For each skill Trevor would talk through it, demonstrate it himself, and then have me demonstrate as well right beside the lift. I felt way more comfortable knowing I’d get a chance to practice all the skills before even getting on a trail. This style of coaching really gave me the tools for success and confidence I was looking for. After finding out I am a pretty adimant skiier, Trevor also put a lot of biking logic in skiing terms which helped me understand so much more of what I was getting into. Being able to really meet me where I was at in terms of learning, made the whole experience really fantastic and all the new information easily digestible.
Here’s a little more about what to expect from your Trestle 101 Lesson:
Hitting the Trail
After I got a little flat land work under my belt, it was time to ride Green World.
Trevor would talk me through each section of trail before we rode through it, so I always knew what was coming up and what to prepare for. Then, we would recap how it went and if I had any questions before talking through the next section.
It overall felt pretty natural, but there were a few times I asked Trevor questions- is it normal to find cornering easier on one side over the other? Where should I look on a berm again? Am I going really slow? Are your bored right now?
Trevor was a great sport, helped me with my technical questions, and if you were wondering, no he wasn’t bored. He said he likes beginner lessons. He gets to cruise and take it easy and really enjoys teaching new riders. I’ve seen this dude really ride, and I KNOW he can rip, so I knew he was slowing down significantly while guiding my lesson, but he was perfectly content. He was stoked to be riding and teaching.
One lap in, and I started to panic because I thought my lesson was over. I had just started to relax and enjoy myself. I was bummed until Trevor asked, “Wanna do another lap on Green World or try Long Trail?” as we headed back to the Zephyr again.
I was stoked to keep on riding! I opted for Long Trail – a blue trail that is a little more challenging with more berms and some wooden features towards the end.
Again, we took Long Trail section by section, and Trevor gave me a heads up on the terrain. We even hit one of the wooden features at the end, which to the dedicated Trestle rider may seem pretty basic, but to this first timer, it was a blast.
Would I recommend a lesson to a first-time rider?
Hands down, zero debate, 100% yes! I improved my skills far more than I expected in just 3 hours on the trails. This is NOT like skiing where if you bump you butt on powder on the bunny hill it ain’t no thang. Downhill mountain biking definitely ranks high in the category of “Things You Don’t Want to Haphazardly Attempt.” A lesson is the best way to actually have FUN on your first day at Trestle.
Did I fall?
I’m sure you are all wondering the big question- did I put that helmet/pads/life insurance policy to work? Yeah, I did- and you know what happened next? I stood up, I dusted myself off, and I got back on my bike. Really. I got a little dirty and laughed about it. But I lived, I continued riding, and I didn’t let a little slip off the top of a berm scare me from enjoying the rest of the day! Mountain biking is like no other sport. I can see similarities with skiing, but it is really its own beast, with its own challenges and its own reward. I don’t think much compares to the feeling of accomplishment that comes with biking, especially on some of the Trails at Trestle, and I think that should be for everyone to enjoy!