Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Fall Ride 5, Tuesday Ride, I raced for 8, etc

Going backwards in time here, we rode our annual-ish Rocky Mountain National Park ride. It was awesome. Full moon, perfect temps and zero need for lights on the entire ride. Up Fall River Road, and up and over Trail Ridge was all done in the dark. Very excellent. I even broke out the Bridgestone XO-1 for the occasion :)

I was a bike racer again last weekend at the most excellent Stone Temple 8 at Curt Gowdy State Park. ST8 is an 8 hour endurance race. I ended up racing solo and finishing 9th out of 18. I made 7 laps on a pretty technical (for a racecourse) course. Had a couple of mechanicals and I found myself on the ground a couple times, too. All in all, not too shabby for this fat out of shape non bike racer bike shop owning dad. Least I thought so.
So for future events, this Tuesday we're riding Coulsons. We're going close so we can go to the Redstone Tuesday Ride Grand Opening of Chubway in Lyons! Normally, Chubway will close around 8 or so, but I've got them convinced to stay open for us. Beer, BBQ and Burritos, here we come!

Oh, lastly, keep this Sunday 10/3 open. Wide Open. Big Fall Ride #5 is coming up! 8am at the bike shop. We'll be back around 6 or 7 to grill, drink beer, and pretty much have a good time. Yeehaaaaw!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gettin High, Goin Big and Takin it Back to the Beginning

"He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door"

Or at least that's how the late great John Denver puts it. For me, it was 22. Back in '95, my good friend Bryan and I road tripped (with bikes, of course) from Nebraska to Boulder over Labor Day Weekend. Bryan had lived in CO that summer so he knew his way around the Front Range relatively ok. One of the goals for that long weekend was to hit up a ride that Bryan had described as legendary, or something to that effect. It was Jenny Creek to Rollins Pass and back from Eldora. I was on my Tange Ultimate tubed, Judy SL forked ParkPre at the time and Jenny Creek was about as gnarly a trail as I had ever witnessed. Technically, JC is not a trail but a Jeep Road, but it's still something to be respected. I came away from that ride in love. In love with Colorado. And in love of a strange new way of riding. Hiking up boulder fields and root gardens to get the great view at the top. And then to bomb back down in the saddle. Ahh, memories.

I think it's safe to say that without that ride, without Jenny Creek, and without Rollins Pass, I may not have made it to Colorado. Definitely a game changer. How did John Denver put it? Oh yeah, "Comin' home to a place he'd never been before, He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again." That pretty much sums it up.

Over the past 15 years (has it seriously been that long?) I've managed to make the pilgrimage up to Jenny Creek every few of years. We've done it quite a few different ways, even starting in Nederland. Bummer about that one, as starting in Ned involves a poach on private property now (well, technically it always did, but we didn't know, and now the landowners cares). Unfortunately, I think the last time I was up to Rollins Pass was probably about 5 years ago.

I started getting the itch a few weeks ago. When I get the itch, I start pouring over maps, even though I know the route. It gets me hyped up, almost to the point where I can't get it out of my head. I know, I know, I'm and addict. Admitting is half the battle, right? :)

My time came today. It was a rare occurance where all the moons aligned for me. Kid's in school and at playdates til 3, then time for Z's dance class. I can do all that and still be home by 3, right?

The ride starts right at the gate of Eldora Ski resort. Why they don't build some trails for bikes to ride in the summer is completely beyond me. They could have some great riding there, even lift accessed. But I'm not going to rant on that too much today.

After a short grunt of a climb, a nice and beautifully rocky singletrack leads from Eldora Resort over into the Jenny Creek drainage.

After not too long on Jenny Creek, a spur trail goes up the Guinn Mountain Hut. I've actually not ever been up that one so, always having a mind for adventure, I decided to climb it.

The sign did not lie. I had to hike about 1/2 of the trail. But it was great. I finally made it to the hut. A quick trip thru a meadow and I dumped out on the pipeline trail. It's not really an official trail, but it follows the gas pipeline from Eldora up to the divide. It's narrow and wonderful and super steep. Not technical, just steep. Almost to the top...

And then views! Yankee Doodle Lake below. The tallest peak in the background is James Peak.

And the Needle's Eye Tunnel that collapsed in the 80s. Rollins Pass was, at one time, intended to get a little bit more traffic than it did.

From there, it was a major PUSH up to the twin trestles road and over to Rollins Pass. Probably not a good ride for folks that don't mind hiking thru scree filled old and closed jeep roads. Probably not a good ride for folks having issue with vertigo or heights, either. Or rickety old structures that creak eerily when you ride across them.

And FINALLY to Rollins Pass. After all these years, this area kinda feels like home to me.

I actually made it to Rollins Pass ahead of schedule, which meant I had time for more riding! The thought had crossed my mind earlier in the week, but I honestly didn't think I'd have time to do it. Rodgers Pass. The start of the Rodgers Pass trail was only a few miles down the road and I had never done it, even though it had been on my list for at least the last 10 years. There's no time like the present so it was down the road and past Mount Epworth and Deadman Lake. Outstanding views towards Winter Park, too.

Rodgers Pass Trail starts on the East side of Riflesight Notch. This is one trestle that is anything but safe these days.

Once on the Rodgers Pass trail and up out of the trees, the view towards Rodgers Pass was heartbreakingly cruel and discouraging. Nothing but a looooong, windblown and rocky switchbacked climb up the side of the mountain. I entertained thoughts of turning around. The one thing that kept me going, though, was that it had taken me over 10 years to get to this point and it would likely be another 10 before I made it again. Up! The final stretch to Rodgers Pass. That's James Peak again, too. Closer now.

And finally Pass Number Two of the day - Rodgers Pass, 11,860'.

Big Big views. Heart Lake.

And James Peak was looking pretty damn big at this point.

By now, of course, I was under the impression that I was running late, so I forewent my beer and lunch and made onward progress back down the mountain. And back down the Rodgers Pass Trail to Corona Road.

And back on Rollins Pass Road heading towards the trestles. It was easier to make time going down than up and I was quickly back on schedule.

A quick stop for that Dale's Pale Ale, then back down the pipeline.

This time, after rolling by the Guinn Cabin, I opted for the "other" Guinn trail back to Jenny Creek Rd. This trail went the less direct way and would allow me just a bit more enjoyment of Jenny Creek Road. It was all too short. A quick climb out of the Jenny Creek drainage (which felt way steeper on the climb out)

and I was back to the resort. Goodby Eldora,

and thanks again. My urge for the pilgrimage had once again been satisfied. I felt fulfilled like I had not been in a long time.

Oh, I made it home by 3, too. Everyone was happy with that one.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tuesday RMNP Cross Ride

The forecast for Tues looks great! So far, the plan for RMNP ride is a GO!

Meet up at the shop at 5:30p to caravan. We'll drive up to Estes and park at the start of Fall River Rd. We'll ride up Fall River Rd and back over and down on Trail Ridge. Most of this ride will happen in the dark.

You will need:

Change if clothes ( think cold descent, really cold )


Front light - a real bike light. At the speeds you'll hit on the descent, a camp light or commuter light will not cut it.


Cross bike

Friday, September 17, 2010

Boulder County Advocacy Alert/Opportunity!

Great news if we make it! I just returned from a Friday AM pre work ride on Picture Rock. I popped out of the trail at the trailhead on Red Gulch Rd. A volunteer was at the trailhead handing out user surveys and did I want one? Heck yes!

Here's the deal - she said they have about 30 volunteers that will be handing out surveys at various Boulder County trailheads thru Tuesday.

What you can do - if you visit a Boulder County Open Space Park between now and Tuesday, please go out of your way to look for someone handing out surveys to fill one out. I'm not telling you what to say, but the more feedback Boulder County gets, the more effectively they can manage our parks.

I did notice one funky question on there, though. It asked if I had experienced any conflict yes or no. The next question had me put a checkmark next to the type of conflict I experienced. I know that it makes it easier to survey that way, but it should've been an open ended question. Out of 10 of the conflict types, 4 of them were bike specific. One was poop specific and the others were pretty general. Cyclists were the only user group that was singled out in the survey. Other than that, I found the survey to be pretty fair.

Anyway, if you visit BCPOS between now and Tuesday, please look for a surveyor and complete a user survey. The more folks fill this out the more Boulder County will be able to use fact based decision making.

thanks for the help!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tuesday Ride 9/14!

You know you want some Lion Gulch goodness. :) Come on out and get some. Bike shop at 5:30 and we'll caravan shortly after that. Bring lights, you're going to need them!

The next Tuesday after, 9/21 will be our first attempt at our RMNP day/night ride. Get your cross bike ready!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Titus Racer X for sale

We just got in a very sweet Titus Racer X (large) on consignment. Check it out. It's got I9 wheels laced to Stan's ZTR355 rims

Magura Marta brakes, SRAM X9 shifter/rear der, Shimano XT crank and front der, Easton carbon bar and Thomson cockpit bits.
This is a VERY nicely built Racer X. Looking for $2500 and willing to entertain competitive offers.

Please take a minute to help with Boulder bike access

City of Boulder hasn't historically been the most friendly to bikes. In fact, seems like some of the extremists in Boulder don't like bikes at all. At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that, even though these folks are grown ups, they haven't learned how to share. Please read the following public service announcement from BMA, the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance...
It's been almost a year of discussing the future management of the Boulder mountain backdrop - including the possibility of a bike trail from Baseline Road to Doudy Draw and Marshall Mesa. Community Collaborative Group (CCG) members have spent the last 12 months in meetings, all the while pushing off the really big issues till later.
'Later' comes this Monday, Sept 13

Over the last twelve months, BMA has taken a low profile approach to the West TSA, minimizing our public rhetoric so the CCG can meet and collaborate as intended; with minimal noise from the court of public opinion.

Well, the same can't be said of the anti bike crowd who are dead set against even modest bike access in the West TSA. Click here and here to look at the anti bike propaganda being distributed at trailheads in the West TSA. The goal of this flyer is to inspire fear and get users to overwhelm the CCG mountain bike meeting this Monday. They think they can load the room up using fear tactics and outright distortions and win the day.

That's unlikely to happen. The CCG has heard all the arguments before, and the rules of the meeting severely constrains public input to 30 minutes. There simply isn't going to be an opportunity for the public to engage the CCG and OSMP in this meeting.
We here at BMA have worked hard to take the high road and not engage these scurrilous debates, and we are continuing that tactic. While there is a lot to said for showing up in numbers, we don't believe this type of reaction is productive to the process that OSMP and the CCG have struggled with for a year now.

It's for this reason that we encourage you to stay away f
rom this meeting. But you can still voice your support of modest access for mountain bikes in the Boulder mountain backdrop and your disappointment in the fear tactics and outright distortions of the anti-bike crowd.


It's not time to show up,
it's time to speak up.

Sign the petition here
Add whatever personal comments you would like and send. We will present the petition and signatures to the CCG

We at BMA care deeply about the outcome of this meeting and hope that the CCG will have the courage and determination to make the hard decisions the Boulder community requires.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tuesday Nite Smoke Recap

Last night, hoping to escape the fire smog belched forth from the Boulder/Fourmile Fire, we headed west and up to Miller Rock. It didn't help. We parked by Raymond only to see the smoke haze settling down into the canyons surrounding us. Despite the risk to our lungs, we opted to ride to the top of Miller Rock to see if we could see any fire activity from there. Miller Rock is one of the best views in this part of the front rage. 100 degree panoram from the Front Range to the Continental Divide. I was looking forward to the view.

It's a long technical jeep road climb up. Chad was rockin' on the ss, as usual.

Long and steep. And sorta technical. And long and steep.

The view from the top of the rock.
At the time, I thought the view was kind of a bust. No flames, no orange, nothing. That's a good thing, though. The smoke settling provides a far off serene sense compared to the raging blaze below. It was definitely a unique experience.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Tuesday Ride 9/7

5:30pm at the shop and we'll head up to Raymond. We've ridden Miller Rock a few times this year but still haven't been on Cerain St. Vrain. Seems like it was only a couple weeks ago when Lee led us on that wack night time adventure, eh?

Labor Day Ride!

I got a rare opportunity to get out of town with Chad and Jeremy today. Destination = long climb and long steep tech.. I look forward to Mondays of 3 day weekends. Typically my Mondays are solo affairs but when everyone else is off, too, I get that group ride thing in that most folk can do on Sat or Sunday. It was good to ride with good buds.

The climb up was pretty uneventful. Lots of dirt road. Lots of jeep road. LOTS of rocks. Then the view. Then the descent. I can't honestly think of the last thing I rode that was this consistently technical for it's entire route. Kinda like Crosier but without any of the smooth parts and not near as long.

Some of it was a blur.
And some of it required pretty extreme focus.

"You ok Chad?" "Oh. Yeah. I'm fine. I didn't wreck."
The rest of the descent was great - more insanely rocky and technical switchedback descent. Sooo good. The rest of the ride, on the other hand though, was kind of a bust due to unforseen circumstance concerning the location where the trail dumped us out. Fortunately, we were able to make it work and made it back to fresh beers at the truck.

Colorado. September. Get some!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Love me some Lyons, CO

Mary and the kids were at a friends house after work tonight.   That doesn't happen too often so, instead of rushing home, I took the long way via singlespeed.

I rode from the shop and headed towards the high school for a little Lyons getto singletrack action.  Even though it's short (really short), it's very sweet.  Beautiful, hardpacked, and narrow.   Fun and twisty.  Sure, it only takes 10 minutes, but it's worth it.  Kinda like that last drink of a cold beer on a hot day.  Not much, but super satisfying.

The high school was packed with fans, too.  It was cool to see all the pumped up Lyons fans.  From there, I hit up some more bike paths and took a buncho laps on the pump track.  It was serendipitous.   Flowing in a Zen state on the rollers and berms was just what the good Dr. ordered. 

Next stop was downtown.   The Outlaw and Tacos Don were packed with Friday nighters.  OB was hectic as usual.  There was live music outside at the Stone Cup.  Ma's Pizza was rockin.   The only thing missing was Chubway, but that'll be here soon enough.

I spent the rest of the ride pedaling towards home completely blissed out on this kickass town. Love me some Lyons, CO.  Can't wait to do the same thing tomorrow.    Ahhhhh.  Sometimes the short rides can open your senses the most.