Monday, September 29, 2008

BFR3 update!

I got out to preride the BFR3 route today. All I can say is DAAAAAAYAMN! It's going to be hard to outdo myself after this one - it was that much fun. Even after riding it today, I can't wait to ride it again this weekend. I got to visit several of my favorite riding areas all in one ride. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Oh, I think it's prudent to mention that it also took a long ass time. 6 hrs 10 minutes to be exact. I don't have any more detailed stats because my GPS is on the fritz (again). I had to be home at 1pm to accomodate family so I busted it early AM. I was pedaling a little later than planned at 7am. Well, not too much later. It didn't get light out in the hills until about 6:30. I stayed at or in front of my guestimated time checks but was basically time trialing it to do so. I had a couple of map sessions, 1 lunch break, and 2 flats. I was freaking whooped when I got home.

Moral of the story is be prepared for a long ride. A really long ride. We'll probably be getting back around 4 or 5. A few years ago, a gal came on our ride (which I mentioned would be 'all day' ) and she got pissed because we weren't going to be back by 3. Please do not be this person :) When I say "all day" I mean it. Also, find a buddy and be self supported. The ride will probably be split into several groups. We'll have a sweep, though (I hope).

Here's a few images from the ride. Did I mention that Fall color was kicking ass, too? Should still be good on Sunday. Bring dark glasses if it's sunny. Them thar trees are bright.

Oh, one more thing. NOT a dog friendly ride.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

more Picture Rock

Let me know if you're sick of Picture Rock pics :) Today, I got out for a little recon mission. Mission - see how long it takes me to ride to LHOHV and back. Took about 1hr 50 min to get there and about 1 hr 20 min to get back. I made it to LHOHV and hit some of the very bottom singletrack. I ran into my time window and had to turn around so as to make it back to Lyons before dark. I boogied and made it back just before 7. Here's a few shots.

Man. Give them an inch and they take a mile. Wild Turkey trail was named so because of the turkeys that live up there. They're taking over the entire park now. This was taken south of the orignal trailhead on the road. I think there were probably 10 or so.

Back on the upper section of Picture Rock. It's rocky and narrow and good.
Lots of swoopy switchbacks.
Trail construction is top rate.
More swoopy. Still on the upper sections. This is one of a few greatly over engineered corners.
More smooth and swoopy.
I like the contrast with the red dirt.
History, too. And more narrow and rocky trail.
There it is. There it is. There it is. There it is.
Did I mention smooth and swoopy? A person could have a lot of fun out here with a fish eye lens, me thinks. Parts of the lower section are starting to set up quite nicely from the smattering of rains we got this weekend.
Good lookin' singletrack, eh? We're pushing hard to educate all trail users to pass on trail ala Fruita Singletrack Nazi style. Leave your wheels on trail and lean waaaay over to let folks thru still on trail. We worked our asses off on it. Let's keep this baby narrow and spread the word of the singletrack Nazi.
Tomorrow I'm off to do the preride for our 10/5 BFR3 Deathmarch. I'll report my findings on that when I regain the energy. Until then, I'm out.
See you all Tuesday at the shop at 5:30. Bring lots of lights - we're going to Ned. Let's shoot for the High School at 6:30. Getting back late, too, so say goodnight to the kids before you leave :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

like butter - homage to Nebraska

A story about my roots. The family had to get back to see friends and family in Lincoln, NE last weekend for a wedding. Although I have a lot of love for my Lyons home, Nebraska is still where a lot of my original riding crew is located. I was excited to see my buddy get married, but I was also really excited to get back during prime riding season. We've been back a few times over the last couple of years, but it seems like it's been dreary, cold, and snowy most of the time. Fall riding in NE is sweet. The dirt is perfect and the trees are just starting to change.

I used to ride often in Lincoln at a place called Wilderness Park. Wilderness was actually in Bike Magazine a couple of issues ago. You know, one of those issues that highlights "best ride in every state" type of thing. When I saw Wilderness in their for NE, I thought, "Pshaw, there's better riding in NE." Maybe familiarity breeds contempt on this one. I used to ride there all of the time and never quite took it seriously how good it was. Until now.

Here's one reason why it's great, for example. Saturday AM, beautiful fall day, and an empty trailhead. The park gets plenty of use from bikes, though. Probably 95% of all bike users ride the park from home. At furthest, it's only a 6 or so mile ride thru town to get to the park. Still, empty trailheads are good. This particular one is only a 5 mile gravel road ride from the in-laws house.
Wilderness is a 7 or 8 mile long river trail that flows from north to south along the Salt Creek. Hikers are on the east side of the creek, and bikers and centaurs each have their own trail on the west side of the creek. I guess we were spoiled back in NE. In all of my riding, I think I've only once ever seen a sign like this that wasn't in Wilderness. That's a good sign.
Lincoln Parks and Rec has also installed a couple of really nice suspension bridges over the creek for trail users. Really cool architecture that matches the scenery well, I think. Oh, this was also the first time I've ridden my Croll hardtail in about 2 years. I didn't exactly forget how sweet the ride was, but it was good to have a refresher. This Croll is one of my favorite bikes ever. It's also the only bike I've ever had custom made specifically for me, right down to the paint. For zipping around smooth singletrack on nice organic dirt, this bike is perfect. It's 11 years old and still sweet as ever.
Since I've moved away from Lincoln, they've added a couple of sections. Here's one of the only technical things in the whole park. It's a tributary that drains to the Salt Creek. There's a couple of rocks in the bottom of the water so you can ride across. Rocky streambeds don't really exist back there. Folks place rocks in the bottom because otherwise, it's a muddy, soupy mess. I put a foot down in the drink on the way back thru. Those muddy rocks get slippery.
Here's a couple pics of the trail. Smoove like butter. It's one of those trails that you lets you put it in the big ring while leaning back and forth, back and forth, as you navigate all the twists and turns. The dirt is super tacky and the singletrack is all about 12" wide despite the use the trail gets.
Smoove and fast. With nothing really technical in the park, it becomes a factor of how well you can take the corners. A good bike handler can easily walk away from someone with lesser handling skills just by taking the corners smoother.
Thought I'd take a picture of Lincoln's rural acreage development style. Take a cornfield, doze it, create some "lakes" then put a covered bridge over a drainage. The neighborhood is called "The Bridges." There's even a covered bridge over a paved bike path. Sheesh. And $600k for a custom house is a ton of money, especially in Nebraska.
The next day, I rode thru the park with homeboy Matty. It was good to hook up with an old buddy. Also good is that he's coming out for our deathmarch on October 5. We talked a lot about the Lincoln scene.
Lincoln isn't the first place you think about when mountain biking or cycling comes to mind. Hell, the residents don't think that either. What I've found, though, after living there and moving away, is that Lincoln has one of the strongest cycling scenes I've ever witnessed. There's lots of really good talented riders that have banded together over the years. There's events, races, and they even have their own Pirate Cycling League to conduct 100+ mile endurance grinders.

When I saw Wilderness highlighted in Bike Mag, I thought twice. After riding there again in perfect conditions, I'm inclined to say that Bike was right. It's not an epic destination or anything, but Wilderness is a prime example of perfect midwest singletrack, perfect midwest dirt, and it's surrounded and supported by a super strong cycling scene. What more could you ask for.

It'll be a while before we're back to Lincoln, but you can bet I'll be hitting the trail again when I make it.

nightriding on County land is bad

Just wanted to let all you blog readers know that fellow mountain biker, BMA member, and POSAC member, Jason Vogel just called from the County Commissioners board meeting on the Heil North Trailhead. Apparantly our good buddy Rudy called in to the county to complain about folks night riding at Heil so Jason called in to complain to me.

Night riding bad. Got it?


Tuesday Ride recap

Thanks for coming out for our inaugural Picture Rock Tuesday Ride. We barely had enough time for the entire trail but riding out by Braille wasn't too bad. Chris even ended up smelling minty fresh out of the deal. :)

That sure is a good looking sign.

And here's a short vid clip. One of several Great Wall of China switchbacks on Picture Rock. Boulder County certainly overengineered the switchbacks but they are definitely works of art.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture Rock! Tuesday Ride!

I was away this weekend and didn't get to ride much. In Colorado anyway. I was, however busy enjoying miles of super buff NE singletrack. Like butter, seriously. Anyway, I digress. More on that goodness later. It was with a tired and achy head that we rolled out of Lincoln, NE at 6:30am today. We had to get out of there early to make it back in time for the official grand opening of Heil Ranch's newest trail, Picture Rock. We rolled into Lyons just in time for me to change clothes, saddle up and head out. There were already tons of folks riding to the trail so I pedaled to the 'Rock.

Good thing Johnny Law was there. There were tons of folks protesting putting a trailhead (parking, etc) at this very location. At least they were well behaved. Not well behaved were other residents in the area that were shouting at us and spitting from car windows as they drove buy. Nice and classy.

There was a LOT of people there. Hikers, equestrians, and bike folk. As an aside, I heard equestrians today referred to as centaurs. I like that. Going to have to start using it.

Redstone represent!
Finally! After years and years and years. Those close to me know just how excited I was for this moment. Probably those not so close to me knew that, too. Can I get a F*ck Yeah, it's finally open!

Another funny thing. At the bottom, especially with the centaurs and hikers, I noticed absolutely no regard for the crushed rock thingy they're calling a trail at the bottom. People were everywhere. On the other had, at least with bike folk anyway, everyone extended outstanding courtesy. Almost everyone I passed stopped their bike, kept it on trail, and leaned over to make room. You know, Fruita singletrack nazi style. I like it. I extended the same courtesy when others passed me. Let's keep this beauty single y'alls.
See? Single. How long before it's 3' wide? Not to put a damper on it, but we all have to contribute keeping this buff and single. Spread the love, will you?
Also saw lots of signs like this. Caution. Narrow. Slow. ...Good :)
Narrow enough for bottlenecks when 200+ people are out on it. I wonder if Boulder County got a permit for this event?

The next two pics are from the same vantage point. I was helping a friend change a flat in the corner of a 180 degree switchback. First pic is the approach, second is the exit.

And here's the apex. Bike Patrol's John Perry was weilding a big ass smile. Me too.
So was MtbMike. We even got a thumbs up.
Just another pic I had of JV. This is a fine example of the smooth and flowy trail in the bottom section. There was lots of creative use of bench cut.

That was the trail. Picture Rock, as it is. We'll be riding it on Tuesday for those that missed Monday's affair. Expect lots of traffic and lots of fun. Bring a charged light, too. We'll be riding the Lyons ghetto singletrack after dark. See you at 5:30 :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

another beautiful day in paradise

Doug M and I got out for a good ride on Monday. We both had clearance to be gone from before when school starts to after bedtime. Had to make full advantage of that.

After 45 minutes of bushwhacking from the get go, we were able to hook up with some old forest roads that seem to see very little use. It was a good warm up to the day.
We hooked up with the Peaks Trail first. It was good.

we did.
looks like it'll be a loooong day. Our destination wasn't even mentioned.

I saw this blaze quite a bit whilst on the Colorado Trail. Anyone know what the "i" is?
It wasn't long before we started climbing in earnest.
The scenery was good.

Then came the snow. We had to get over the top of that. At this point, we said, "Well, we'll go to the top to see what it looks like. If it's crappy and snowy, we can call it a day and ride back from whence we came. At least it'll make a good descent."

A little closer now. Snow. Hiking.
A look back at Doug negotiating our first snow field. It's not mountain biking unless you're hiking.
Ah, the top! Well sort of. At least there wasn't any quantifiable amount of snow immediately ahead. We decided to press on. After lunch anyway. I had the secret ingredients in my bag. Sugar and burritos go a long way on a big ride. The next section was mostly climbing, but the trail was thoroughly enjoyable. We didn't have to hike until the very top (ish).

Onwards and more climbing util we were really at the "top." The real top. This is the view to the West. We couldn't have asked for clearer skies or a more beautiful day.

The view from the same spot. This time looking West. That's I70 and Copper Mountain down there.
The first big descent was a blast. 1500' goes pretty quick when it's straight down and above timberline.
We ducked into the trees for just a tad. The trail was spectacular.
Until we turned to go back up again. After 1/2 hour more of hiking/climbing, we could see the top. The saddle in the pic seems a lot farther away when you're 6 hours in on a ride and pushing a bike uphill.

Finally, the top. Wheeler Pass, 12460 feet.

Here's looking back at Wheeler Pass. See those zig zagging game trails? We had to take them. I didn't ride the switchbacks. If you screwed up, it was a long fall downhill.
The trail as it lay ahead. The snow was, on average, about 8" deep. What really made it suck was the combination of a couple of other factors. A)Dangerous side slope. B) crusty enough that we had to posthole. Bikes didn't push very well with that kind of snow. C) Cold. Not too much snow see's that bowl. Once we were in the shade, it got instantly colder. Guess that's what you get when the sun is waning and you're over 12,000' in the snow.
We finally made it across our snowy traverse to a jeep road on the other side. We came across this vehicle on the road. "Dude, if you go up the road a little bit, you can snowboad, brah." "We call it the 4th of July Bowl." Gnar dudes, right on. Don't tip over your truck on the way down. :)
We descended on rocky jeep roads to the top of the resort, and their most popular restaraount. We didn't eat - it was closed. We were plenty hungry, though. We had been out all day long.

The original plan was to hit town, then roll back to our car via singletrack. We didn't hit town until 6:30 or so, though. By our calculations, we wouldn't have enought time to ride the singletrack back and still make it out on time. We instead decided to hit the paved bike path. It wasn't the worlds most beautiful ride, but we were tired by that time. Wasted.
Good ride, though. It's not often that you embark on a ride at 10am and run out of daylight by the time the ride is over. It ended up being 9hrs and 15min. Talk about a big day. Not exactly an everyday thing, but you got to do it at least once per year. Gotta do it.