Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Sundays riding at Vassar Farms

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 15, 2007

The trees flowed past me uninterrupted except for a few thorny bushes which I had to kick out of my way with a hand while concentrating on the task ahead of me. Every few minutes I felt the squish and release of my suspension soaking up the inevitable hits that the trail threw at me. A root here, some scattered rocks and sometimes a fallen log all greeted me as I sailed through the woods super quickly, surprisingly quickly- I could not believe how smooth and fun these trails were. I felt as if I had hit jackpot and I hadn’t even found the jumps or obstacles yet.

I have been reading about these trails online for a long time- yet this was the first time I had decided to find them. I had just been riding this larger trail system in Pleasant Valley– when I felt over tired- but I figured I was near Poughkeepsie so why not. I drove through the streets of Poughkeepsie towards Vassar College, a Ivy League like institution made up of Gothic structures, imposing walls and greener then green lawns. Students just sitting idly by waiting for their trust funds.

I drove past the school and marveled at how the neighborhood instantly changed from Ghetto to beautiful mansions and old stones structures behind a wrought iron fence. I hit the intersection of 376 and Raymond avenue and there in front of me was Vassar Farms– a place I had read about numerous times.

Now I was flying through the woods making mincemeat of the trail as I gently rocked the trees and shrubbery as I past. Then suddenly I saw what I came for- North Shore obstacles ladders and bridges hovering high above the ground and allowing navigation by crazy folks on bikes over these equally crazy obstacles. For one who has never seen such oddities as the North Shore obstacles it is quite amazing. I have been to the actual North Shore of Vancouver where they get their name from. It is there that the rainforests are filled with these obstacles and the best mountain bikers in the world launch themselves over roads and ride on half inch wide planks over 2 feet in the air.

So I began to ride the lesser advanced obstacles and they had amazing flow to them. Instead of having to session one area I could ride and just keep riding wth the natural progression of the trail. I dropped off some rocks and kept riding marveling at the fluidity of the trail system. Everything lead into itself allowing multiple loops and non-stop fast riding.

Then I saw it- the holy grail- as if someone had started singing Hallelujah. A huge dirt jumping area. Not only was it huge- it was being ridden and fixed up by mountain bikers. Unfortunately in my days of old I have not been much of a dirt jumper- but nevertheless I still get chills and happiness whenever I come across such beauty. The burm turns and the flow of the mess of gaps and jumps made me want to ride so badly. I just stood there in awe promising I would come back with my other bike which is built for this kind of situation.

I sat on the hood of my car eating some protein snack and planning my next visit.


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