Sunday, April 24, 2011

Taking what Mother Nature (and old age) give us

Last Monday the weather for this weekend looked awesome:  predicted sun and temps in the 60s.  By Thursday the forecast had changed to a 40% chance of rain on Saturday and a 50% chance on Sunday.  So Friday afternoon I headed out for an after-work ride to make sure that Ellie the bike and I got some one-on-one time together before the rain hit.  We were a mile into our ride when Ellie started to make a bizarre noise.  It took me a few minutes of checking derailleurs, cranks, chains, etc., before discovering this:

Ellie's stay broke away right where the seam was welded.
After a long hike back to the car and some sadness on my part for the loss of a wonderful bike frame to old age, I felt ok.  I'd called a super awesome friend, A, who was going to let me borrow her bike for the weekend, so all was going to be alright.  Until we woke up to this sort of weather:

Hwy 65 headed back towards Mesa, CO

Oh okay Mother Nature.  That's how you want to play this.  It's Easter weekend!  I had plans to bike!  Today was not a planned lie-around-the-house day!  No!  I have to do something...we have to go do something!  (I tend to freak a tad bit when my plans get messed up for reasons beyond my control).  Soon though, we realized that rain here most likely meant snow at the closed-for-the-season ski resort.  Which meant...untracked creamy spring snow!

We gathered backpacks and snacks, beer and ski skins, and pulled out the ski wear (mine hadn't been used in a month almost).  Peanut butter and honey sandwiches fueled us as we headed up a run with the most consistent fall line:  Wonderbump.

It was warm, but super snowy the whole day! This is Voodoo biker on his way up.

The snow was great.  The crust underneath was soft, and the 4 or 5 inches on top were creamy.  Great skiing!

It just goes to show that sometimes you have to take the good with the bad...sure Ellie was broken and I had to shell out some $$$ for a new bike frame, sure it rained all day down here (and looks to do the same today), but we had the entire ski resort to ourselves.  Yes, the slog up to the top was painful, but half-way down I was screaming, "This is so much fun!!!!"

Monday, April 18, 2011

New trails bring humility

It never think you're a super awesome rider until you tackle a trail you've never ridden before.  Then you remember...oh, maybe I'm just average after all.  Yesterday we tackled Troy Built, a trail out near the Mack exit that is technically part of the Loma/Kokopelli system.  Voodoo Biker has ridden it several times and knew it would be less crowded than the more popular Mary's/Horsethief Loops.  We rode it as an out-and-back; the highlighted  (blue) portion here shows our route. 
The section from the start to the Kokopelli cut off is the toughest, technically.

The first portions of the trail (about the first 1/2 mile especially) can be tricky if you've never seen the trail before.  Random rocks in the way, narrow gaps to navigate...then there is a long descent down to the Kokopelli junction before a short exposed uphill.  After this the trail gets really fun, with some technical stuff, some awesome rolling singletrack, and a few portages thrown in just to keep you on your guard.  We stopped where Troy Built meets the hill up to Lion's Loop and turned back.  The ride back was just as fun and actually seemed easier (except for the long uphill that was a fun downhill on the way out...).  I'd definitely ride this one again, especially during high bike tourist season.  We only saw about 12 or 13 other people, as opposed to the 40 or so we'd have seen on Mary's or Horsethief.

View from the parking area for Troy Built

Crazy slickrock portion towards the beginning of the ride.  Super fun going down it at the end!

Junction of Salt Creek and the Colorado River

Our stopping point: The junctions of Lions and Troy Buit.  Lion's continues up the hill and involves several switchbacks.

View from the top of the big hill just before the descent to the Kokopelli junction (on the way out).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Week of Little Rest and lots of fun!

View back down Prime Cut from Chutes and Ladders

This has been a week of fitness if ever there was one for me.  Sunday I biked (and blogged about it) Mary's and Wrangler out in Loma.  Monday I took off from working out.  It's my usual rest day.  Tuesday I walked the Riverfront trail (3 miles of it) with my friend K from work, on our lunch break.  Wednesday I walked with K and R at Sherwood Park, again, 3 miles, then biked after work with my friend A.  We did a short ride out at 18 Road:  Prime Cut/Kessel. 

Thursday I walked again with R and then jogged an extra mile. Friday Voodoo Biker and I headed up Mary's to the Wrangler trailhead and biked that in about an hour.

View of the Colorado River from Wrangler

This morning we fueled up on French Toast and turkey sausage and headed out to Lunch Loop for a quick Clunker, Miramonte Canyon, Ali-Ali, Holy Bucket loop.  We even saw a coyote!  Tomorrow we've yet to determine where we're biking, but since we both have the day off you can be it will be a 2-3 hour ride! 
View of Mt. Garfield and Grand Junction from Lunch Loop

Monday, April 11, 2011

Out and Back awesomeness

Sunday I was intent on riding at Loma.  The Loma trails are my favorites around here--partly for their views, and partly for the variety of terrain: double track, single, technical, rolling--it's all there!  I started up Mary's Loop and thought maybe I'd ride Horsethief.  My wrist had been bugging me though and I wasn't sure the large amount of portaging required was a good idea.  I decided to do Mary's.  I made it out to Pizza Point (where Steve's intersects with Mary's) after about 40 minutes.  I was pleased with what I'd been able to ride, but really didn't feel like riding Steve's or heading towards the frontage road for a boring 3 mile return to the car.  I decided to turn around--why not?  So I rode Mary's backwards until I got to Wrangler.  Wrangler is a great little trail that gets very little love from other riders.  I don't know why.  It allows you to ride more single-track while sort of paralleling Mary's.  You get some awesome technical downhill, and still bomb down the Mary's hill at the end.  This was a great 2-hour ride!  Not too difficult, but difficult enough to make me nap later ;)