First, a little history. We started the Big Fall Ride several years ago. BFR was set to be the annual end of the season blowout ride/party. I'll never forget the first one. We were to meet up at the world's smallest bike shop, drive up to Peaceful Valley and engage in some epic riding. The day came and I rose early only to find temps in the 50s and constant rain. blech. Out of sense of duty only, I got my gear together and made it down to the bike shop expecting to see no one. Much to my surprise, a handful of hardcore showed up with big smiles ready to ride. Cold rain and all. Exactly my kind of people. Fortunately, the storm was entirely a low elevation event. We drove up and out of the rain to a bluebird day west of the peak to peak. We rode, cooked out, dranks some beverages and pretty much had a grand old time.
Since then, we've had one really disgustingly rainy and cold Big Fall Ride, but for the most part, we've been blessed with great weather. 3 BFRs ago, we found ourselves in a new situation with the creation of Picture Rock at Heil Ranch. I had been dreaming of a big ride that could start west of the Peak to Peak and finish up in Lyons. Big Fall Ride in its current state was born. Since BFR3, we've done some fine tuning and minor tweaks on the route, but it's pretty much stayed the same.
Enter 2010. Big Fall Ride 5. I can't say 5th Annual cause it's not. We skipped a year, 2007, I believe. 8am meetup time. Time to start getting the bikes into vehicles. Uh Oh. Main shuttle vehicle not hear yet. Better LOAD UP the truck!
Turned out to be a thing of real beauty. I love to see a vehicle utilized at maximum capacity.
After some minor delays, it turns out that meetup time really meant 8:45am and our main shuttle vehicle for the day arrived. We got everyone and all the bikes loaded and ready to rumble. Up to the Peak to Peak we went, destination Bunce School Road. Even got to do a little off roading with the shuttle vehicles before we could unload :)
And we were off. Finally pedaling around 9:45ish. And it felt great. Temps were absolutely perfect and the sky looked like something out of a Simpsons cartoon. The colors were going off as well.
Bunce School Road turned out to be a perfect warm up before hitting the technical climbing on Sourdough. Technically, Bunce is a county road, but it sure feels like a USFS jeep road. Someone told a story about witnessing a non Outback Subaru Legacy on Bunce. I would liked to have seen that one.
On thru Peaceful Valley and up Sourdough, which never dissapoints. All smiles.
But then again, there is hiking. It's a tough climb. I used to be able to clean it but it seems like a lifetime ago. I still think it's in me, at least one more time. One of these days. It's not mountain biking unless you're hiking, right?
And then, even though we're climbing, it's all smiles again. Love me some Sourdough.
Just a little bit more climbing...
I had received some last minute beta suggesting that the South St. Vrain trail would be closed for tree removal. Kip and I volunteered to scout ahead to check to see if SSV was closed or not. If it was closed, I had a good plan B worked out and wanted to save the rest of the riders the inconvenience of dropping down to SSV, then climbing back out and backtracking. Fortunately, SSV was open for bidness. And what good bidness it was.
Turns out, they had done quite a bit of deforesting but weren't working this day. And that's pretty much all I've got to say about South St. Vrain. Except for the fact that it smelled pretty darn good on account of all the fresh cut trees:)
From SSV, we connected some dirt county roads over to Gold Lake (what used to be a) Resort. I should've taken a picture. The current property owners of the Gold Lake property have put a big ass sign up right in the middle of the road saying no admittance, closed, etc. Don't worry about it. It's just another case of idiot property owners trying to exersise their own domain on public property typical of the BS you encounter around rural Boulder County. FYI, the road is closed (gated) but only to motorized. It's still completely open to non motorized pursuits. We ignored the signs, went around the gate and were on our way. It was time for lunch!
Onward we pressed with Jamestown as our next destination. Some good descending was in store.
I was starting to get a little tired by this point and we still had about 15 miles to go. A little road time first...
Followed by a tiny little scramble up a rock or two...
And it was time for a little more singletrack.
And it was good.
Then a little more time on the road. Despite the fact that it was on the road, at the very least, it was A)downhill, B)fast, C)scenic and well... I guess that pretty much sums up good road riding, right? Only a couple of miles and it was time for our last obstacle, one last park. Heil Ranch. Only about 13 miles to the bike shop! I've said it before. Normally, the climb up Wapiti at Heil is not a biggie, but when you've alreay got several hours, several thousand feet of climbing, and a crapload of miles behind you, it's tough. And it starts with a mile+ on a slightly deceivingly gravel uphill. Before you get to the climb.
But Heil is close. Good singletrack and good views.
And everytime I get to this point
I think, "ahhh, home." I rode on ahead to get the grill setup so the rest of the riders could have some food with their frosty beverages when they were done riding. But some riders were still out and relishing in a day well spent on the bike.
I believe "spent" is entirely a good word.
Big Fall Ride 5 is in the books. What's next? I don't know... Right now, I'm tired, have had too many beers and want to go to bed. All I know is that this was a long post and I think I killed about 50 flies in the bike shop during the time I took to write this. Oh, riding? don't know... Stay tuned!
Extra huge, big, major special thanks to Oskar Blues restaurant and brewery for providing beer and shuttle service. Da' Blues Bus never dissapoints and neither does the beer! You guys are awesome!!!!!