You may not know this, but mountain biking in Austin Texas can be extreme! Vancouver, Colorado, Arizona, California and many other mountain states may offer extreme trails, but Austin Texas can compete if you know where to go.
Austin Texas is home to all types and levels of bike riders, including, of course, one road biker in a yellow jersey. But, even Lance has been spotted on the milder mountain bike trails in the Austin area. The "inner circle" extreme mountain bikers love to gaffaw at him when they see him step off. Everyone else, I'm sure, just admires the guy for everything he's done for his sport, his charity, and for the Austin area. But extreme mountain bikers enjoy giving each other a hard time.
What are the extreme trails like in Austin? Single track winds through scrub cedar over and along caliche rock ledges. Some sections are littered with rubble-ly piles of limestone that turns to slippery marbles when wet. Most trails wind along creeks, which are either dried up or gushing, depending on whether Austin is in a drought or a flood. Extreme mountain bikers hate it when hikers or "regular" mountain biking folks "groom" the trail. "Grooming" is when novices or other intruders move rocks aside to keep the trail smooth. Almost all of the extreme trails in Austin were built by the "inner circle" extreme riders. They've worked hard to make the trails challenging and fun, so they don't appreciate when Sunday strollers and cruisers adopt their trails and change them.
If you're not in tip-top physical condition with a high-end bike, stay away from the extreme trails. You would spend most of your time walking and carrying your bike. Extreme mountain bikers in Austin ride approximately 20 miles of grueling up and down single track at least 3-4 days per week.
Kinder, gentler mountain biking trails can also be found in the Austin Texas area. The Barton Hills greenbelt, Walnut Creek greenbelt and many other areas provide miles of smoother trails with fewer rocks and ledges.