For reference- I'm 47, my wife is 40, we've been riding for about 6 years. I ride a LOT- all over the country, my wife rides less than I, but as much as most. We've made the 8 hour drive to Cleveland Rays 4 times and the 3 hour drive to Milwaukee Rays over 30 times. You won't believe this place- Mountain Bike heaven- 55 degrees and a million places to hurt yourself!! Inside a 3 acre building, I rode over 40 miles in 3 days!! Chek the website for pics- and Youtube for videos- seriously, you'll be droolin.
For extreme beginners- you can start by actually riding lines painted on the floor and small rollers.
For Novice- wide ladder bridges, short low skinnies, small rocks, small rhythm sections small teeters, rollable drops.
For Sport- Pump track, harder skinnies, teeters, rocks, and jump lines. You may want to try out the HUGE BMX bowl if you've never been in one. Start up on the mezzanine and go to the left when you enter the deck. Go the the corner and TURN AROUND. where the ramp you just came down ends- the side of the bowl is less than vertical. If you've never been in a bowl, you'll want to start by getting in and out here. The other areas are vertical and if you're running 3 chainrings they'll hit if you don't hop into it.
Experts- How about a teeter on top of a teeter? And the elevator drop- ride in and track stand while it drops about 4 feet, then ride out. Also- there's a line with a gap and a sliding platform- hit the platform fast and lock the bike up and trackstand- you keep moving and the platform crosses the gap!! Slightly taller and VERY thin skinnies- LARGE jump line, with a couple of big wall rides.
For everyone- there's a yellow path and a green path painted on the floor- these both basically do a loop around the building so you can get around or just ride easy- or fast if you want. The yellow is flat and very easy, the green goes from the floor to the rafters a couple of times and has places where you can hop off and do a quick jump line or pump track lap etc, and hop back on,
For those who want to try something different- the foam pit. 6 foot near vertical jump into a pit filled with foam blocks. 1st jump a few years back I landed square on my head still riding the bike- no worries, the foam is there for a reason. After a few tries I was able to pull this off- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1QsjkBFRP4 (this video is from Clevelan- landing shown in video may not have actually been tied to the launch shown in the video...LOL) 2 things- first- unless you do something weird and miss the pit, about the only thing that can hurt you is your bike- either land on it right or get away from it. Second- the hardest part of the foam pit is getting out of it- SHEESH, that'll wear you out in no time!
Rays has great hotel deals that you should take advantage of- For 4 people to cover 3 days of riding and 2 nights hotel- it's like $100. Stoopid cheap. Hotel Deal info on the wesite- We always stay at the Sheridan. VERY nice hotel with a hot tub in the pool area. And we take advantage of THAT after every ride, too.
Between Rays and the Hotel theres a pink restaurant (Family Table?) in front of a building that used to be a lowes- Good breakfasts- large portions- cause you're gonna need the energy!
My recommendation- take everyone in the family that rides. They will loan you all elbow and knee pads for free. Start easy and you will learn more skills in one day here than a whole season of riding trails. Seriously. This year at Rays, I learned how to ride my fatbike over a picnic table!! I also twisted a knee jumping from the big bowl to the little bowl and limped for 6 weeks! HA!
They also have rental bikes CHEAP if you don't want to take a chance on breaking yours, and you can demo BRAND NEW, SUPER SPENDY Treks while you're there. Pretty cool.
If you ride a shifter bike- bring spare derailer hangers!! And maybe an old derailer, just in case.
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