Written by Keith Reynolds Tuesday, 01 September 2015 17:18
In short, my wife Emily put together a jam packed MTB riding itinerary around her work conference in Colorado Springs, CO. The plan was to visit with friends and family along with working remotely. We packed up the bikes along with a Saris rear trunk mount (older model which travels great). Last year we found out this model was very good for breaking down and fits easily in a bike box.
The great: Lunch Loops in Grand Junction. This place was killer with free-ride type options along with very technical terrain. Really fun climbs while you felt like you were on the moon. Gypsum and Eagle, CO - First day here we rode up "Boneyard", down Pool and Ice Rink. The second day was a killer climb to "Mike's Night Out" named after a rider who was stranded by his friends, overnight. Both were amazing; flow, speed, and views abound. Neither were overly technical or very steep, except the final loose climb up to Mike's. We also hit some of the Colorado Trail outside of Denver. This was super fun with moderate climbs and a late breaking thunderstorm in the distance to keep us honest. Directly from CO Springs we hit the Open Space area and found a local who showed us to Buckhorn/Captain Jack's combined with Columbine descent. This was so worth it that I rode it twice. Most of the rides had a solid 1 plus hour of sustained climbing with rewarding descents. The riders were very friendly and always obeyed trail etiquette of a climbing rider having the right of way.
The Okay: Kokopelli trails in Fruita, CO. We were scorched with the heat hitting 104F, so the expected ride of 3 hours turned into 4 with the lack of signage at a critical moment. Next day at 18 Road made up everything with signature trails like Chutes/Ladders and Zippedey-doo-da. Later we stopped in Salida where we had hoped to do the Monarch Crest trail; due to the late season snow this was out and we opted for the Rainbow trail. Beware, some of it is very loose and consult with maps/descriptions over the local knowledge; avoid any trails that allow motors as they churn it into loose rock.
The bonuses: I have a friend who went to the Paralympics in Beijing for track and he lives in CO Springs with his wife and son. We reconnected and watched a training race at the track but later in the week we rode for the first time together on his now home turf, the CO Springs Velodrome! There was also a UCI MTB (US Cup) race going on in the other part of town on the same sunny and hot day, so I picked Emily up after the track session where we saw the women's winner, Catherine Pendrel, come across the line along with Nash and others in hot pursuit who we follow back at home. I also got to catch a good part of the men's race. From my viewpoint, the best part of the race was seeing the pros in person and cheering for our local New England racers; the terrain was nothing special and a totally exposed course with zero shade; something our New England race courses offer.
Nothing eases packing up like coming home with less. In the midst of planning, I decided to bring a bike that I was ready to sell and had traveled with a cardboard box. With two days left to the trip, I listed it on craigslist and the calls came in the day before leaving. With a couple of hours to spare, it had a happy new pilot!
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