Kinda Rained Out: Northside at Taos and Angel Fire Bike Park, New Mexico

I got a 3 day weekend for 4th of July (the Longmire crew voted to work the 4th to get the 5th-7th off).  At the last minute, the family and I decided to jump in the g-ride and scramble up to Taos for the weekend.  Hmmm, I’ve been meaning to ride Northside at Taos Ski Valley and Angel Fire Bike Park, so we threw the bike on the Soobaroooo, and made our way up.  A quick stop at the Blue Heron Brewery in Rinconada for a Tarantula Red Ale, and we were there.  I had a plan.  Ride to the top of Frazier Mountain at 12,163′  on the first day at Northside, and then meet up with Manny and Jill the next day to shred Angel Fire Bike Park.

Mother nature had other ideas.  After dropping my money in the kiosk at the Bull of the Woods Trailhead (it’s a $10 entry fee that goes to maintaining the trails, etc), I started my climb at Northside in 81 degree temps.  I made it up “Bull of the Woods Road”, over the “First Mother” and “Second Mother”, through “Jean’s Meadow”, up “Big Daddy” and onto “Frazier Mountain Road”.  The clouds were looming, temps dropping, and the thunder was getting louder.  Right around “Dark Trail” the skies opened up and started to dump.  So after 45 minutes and 1,500′ of climbing, I had to pull the plug.  Not stoked about the abort, but it was the safe/ right thing to do considering all the variables.  I got slaughtered by a downpour as I raced back to the car.  When I finally ducked into the warmth of my vehicle, it was 58 degrees and I was soaked.  I’ll chalk that one up for the experience.  You’d think by now, I know to always have a rain jacket tucked in the pack, especially in monsoon season.  Oh well.  I will be back to Northside though.  What I did ride was beautiful and lush.  There is a bounty of great riding and I still need to erase climbing Frazier Mountain from my “to do” list.  Anyhoo… ** NOTE as of 6/29/15 — I went back and rode it successfully – read about it, here)

Great Scot Scottish Ale.  Yum.

Great Scot Scottish Ale. Yum.

After drying off, I went with Angela and Lucy to the Taos Mesa Brewery for dinner.  Fantastic.  Great food, and of course great beer.  Live music too.  The memories of shivering in the rain racing back to the car, etc were quickly forgotten with the help of a pint of Great Scot Scottish Ale.  Amazing how good company, good food, and good beer can make all the difference.  If you’re in Taos, I highly recommend going here.  So on to the next day…

Chili Express.  Storm clouds coming in.  Luckily we made one trip to the top before the mountain closed for lightning

Chili Express. Storm clouds coming in. Luckily we made one trip to the top before the mountain closed for lightning

Angel Fire Bike Park.  The dawn of a new day.  I met Manny and Jill at Blake’s Lotaburger at the turnoff that heads to Angel Fire.  I jumped in the truck, and off we went.  They’d never ridden lift accessed trails before so we were all stoked to check out the highly touted terrain at Angel Fire.  We got there and the skies were clear, but it was already close to noon.  We could see clouds lurking and hurried on the lift asap.

Manny loading his Moonlander on the lift

Manny loading his Moonlander on the lift

We only paid for a one-time lift ride (the all-day was way more money and we were pretty sure a storm was coming in).  Once at the top we decided to hit up a new trail for 2013 called “Angel’s Plunge”.  Score.  This trail was wicked fun (did i just say that?)  Hahaa!!  Even though I was getting thrown around a bit on the rigid ss – I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.  My teeth were muddy and it was glorious.  Hero dirt from the previous night’s rain.  The trail was mildly techy, with some rock and root sections, but no big drops or anything like that.  A couple fun bridges were sprinkled in as well.

a fun bridge section on the new Angel's Plunge trail

a fun bridge section on the new Angel’s Plunge trail

Cha-ching!  A local we met on trail recommended connecting with Lower Boogie.  So we did.  More of the same.  Stellar dirt, well-crafted, mountain-bike specific flow, happiness inspiring riding that reminds you why we ride in the first place – exactly what you’d expect from a true mountain bike park.  Worth every penny.

Lift access.  Where you earn your turns with $$

Lift access. Where you earn your turns with $$

We got to the bottom as thunder claps erupted around us.  A quick look up to the top, just to realize it’s no longer visible.  Hey, no one’s on the lift either?  Closed for lightning.  That was it.  One lap.  A taste.  I want the full meal.  Must go back.  We did hit the Deer Trail (one of the free Greenbelt Trails on the other side of the highway) on the way out of town.  That was actually pretty stellar as well, must explore the rest of those too.  If you go to the Angel Fire website, you can download a map that has those trails on it as well (2nd page of the bike park map).  Angel Fire, you’ve not seen the last of me or my trusty blue Niner!! #ridebikeswithfriends

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3 Responses to Kinda Rained Out: Northside at Taos and Angel Fire Bike Park, New Mexico

  1. ftgsmith says:

    Reblogged this on Angel Fire Condo-vrbo.com/373086 and commented:
    For the mountain bike enthusiast: a nice summary of what the Angel Fire bike park has to offer.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Sticky Singletrack Along the Rio Grande Gorge: Horsethief Mesa – Taos, New Mexico | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

  3. Pingback: Ride Report: Peak Bagging in Taos, New Mexico | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

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