"The Angel Fire Bike Park turned a stoic 'been there, done that' 64-year-old longtime Alaska wilderness guide/Southern Utah slickrock monkey into a laughing, giggling 16-year-old that has probably driven my friends crazy with Angel Fire stories ever since I got home.
Kathi, my wife of 16 years, and I are mountain bike guides on the slickrock mesas in Southern Utah. My interest in her idea of fun (climbing thousands of feet in a zillion miles) has waned and she could not understand why I have been occasionally going to downhill parks the last couple of summers. A van trip to Angel Fire, NM, to take advantage of my new MTBparks Pass and escape the desert heat changed all that.
She met a girlfriend to ride a cross-country loop above Angel Fire Valley on Sunday while I rode in the resort. Reluctantly, she agreed to ride the bike park with me for a couple days afterward. She is an ultra distance mountain bike racer. The Breck Epic, La Ruta, The Arizona Trail bike packing race and the 1,000 mile self-supported winter bike race the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska are a few of her favorites—none of which involve chairlifts. She has always earned her downhill and would never join me to ride a bike park. The amazing trails at Angel Fire changed all that.
Downhill mountain biking is a progressive sport and the Angel Fire trail system is built to accommodate every skill and fitness level making it easy for beginning gravity riders to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves right from the start. Always a conservative rider on downhills, it was not long before Kathi's speed had doubled and she was boosting small drops and jumps with a giggle and a smile. A competitive person, I think she is having visions of surprising some of the guys on the downhills in her next cross-country race.
When her arms just couldn't take any more high speed turns and bumps before the lifts closed on her second day, she started talking about where 'we' might ride next and meeting girlfriends at Angel Fire again soon for an epic cross-country ride followed by a couple of days in the bike park.
To all of you guys and girls out there with significant others who ride but hesitate or even scoff at the idea of joining you in the park, consider planning a trip to Angel Fire or one of the other resorts on the MTBparks Pass and you might get lucky like I did."