I was lucky enough to head down to Miami on the first extremely cold day in NYC. Even though the trip was only three days long it was a nice quick escape from 12 degree weather. Also, there’s nothing better than riding in shorts and getting your teammates jealous.
I have been hearing about mountain biking around Miami from friends for awhile now, but never took them seriously. How can you have nice mountain bike trails on sandy flat land? Well, I was wrong.
The first stop was Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trails which is 20 minutes away from Miami beach. I borrowed a full suspension Niner from a friend - not that you can't get by on a hardtail.
Virginia Key Bicycle Club did an amazing job putting these trails together. It’s very impressive how creative they are with what they have. This trail system (that's only around 5 miles) had everything you can think of except hard climbs. It’s full of super fast hairpin turns, berms, elevated bridge/flyovers with step-downs and they all come with the great views of the bay. There are many elements that I wasn’t used to like double jumps, but once you get a hang of it they are super flowy and fun.
On the second day, it was time to visit the infamous Markham Park. One of the well known parks in the region, it's located in Sunrise, FL which is around 45 minutes from Miami Beach. It's set on a park where there’s jet skiing, wake boarding, a shooting range and approximately 10 miles of mountain biking trail. It's an outdoor sports mecca.
Trails are one way and again flowy. There are a couple of junctions where they all meet, which is a nice touch. You can combine multiples of them or loop the sections that you like. There are logs, rocks, jumps, fast berms and steep technical climbs. I was more comfortable with the technical rocky sections which reminded me of riding around the Tri-State area. We did mostly the Sunday race course that they were setting up on Friday for a 100 miler. I wish I could have stayed for another 2 days so I that I could have done the race. It was perfect.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the trails in Miami and I don’t know why everyone doesn’t ride mountain bikes down there! To me it was definitely better than riding road bikes on the flat roads that I saw many people training on.
Daghan Perker is a creative director, photographer, and an athlete. You can see more of his work on his instagram handle @dperker He is also a founding member of tobedetermined.cc