I’ve set a lot of mountain biking goals for myself over the years. Some have been challenging, some have been easy. Some have been good ideas, and others turned out very badly. But one of the best goals I ever set was a truly simple goal that I kept to during most of 2014. Simply put, I resolved to ride at least one new stretch of dirt that I hadn’t ridden before, every week.
It didn’t have to be a brand-new trail system, or even a trail. It could be a dirt road. A doubletrack. An abandoned four wheeler route. Maybe even a packed-sand lake shore. Heck, fat biking a new stretch of snow qualified too. There were no length requirements, no location requirements… just one new stretch of dirt, every single week.
I discovered so many cool places last year as a result of that goal. Sure, I traveled far and wide for work, documenting destinations and epic trails. But some of the best spots that I uncovered were right in my hometown, hiding in plain sight. Simple stretches of singletrack between two points that I’d previously ignored. One of the many hundreds of 4×4 roads running through the nearby mountains, offering breathtaking views. Overgrown stretches of trail that had seemingly been forgotten. And yes, there were those truly-epic rides that were worthy of a top-10 list.
This goal of riding one new trail a week is the only mountain bike goal that I have any desire to roll over into 2015. Because it’s a good goal: it keeps me focused on the things that are important to me. Namely, it keeps me exploring new places and having fun on my mountain bike. Simultaneously, this goal takes the pressure off meeting mileage numbers, speed goals, or even having to travel to a distant place. Sometimes #1trailaweek feels easy, but no matter the simplicity of the new stretch of dirt, I’m always glad that I went there to check it out.
In 2015, I’ll try my best to share photos of these trails with you on Instagram, using the hashtag #1trailaweek. And I challenge you to join me. Go explore some new epic trails, or even some forgotten back roads. Get out of your routine. Get off the beaten path. And if you’re inspired, share your photos with us by using the #1trailaweek hashtag. If we see some tagged photos that we really love, we’ll even reshare them on the @Singletracks Instagram account (with full credit to the original photographer, of course).
So join in the fun. Do some exploring. Run a quick search in our trail database to see what trails are near you, or bust out a topo map to try something that we don’t have documented yet. Bonus points for squinting at a USGS quad and rediscovering a route that’s truly been forgotten.
However you choose to do it, just get out there and explore!