Monday, September 7, 2015

Good Sam Bike Jam

My first road bike ride went about as well as expected.  Having ridden nearly 20 of the toughest miles on a mountain bike the day before, I was just worried about finishing.

The day was a huge success!  Colorado sure knows how to run a bike ride; the Bike Jam was well supported with 9 aid stations all along the route offering snacks, water, bike pumps and first aid kits for all the riders.  The sag support and motorcycle marshals gave the ride a tour-like feel and the Jam area was a welcome sight after a long ride. 

I signed up for the 62 mile route which began innocent enough out of the parking lot of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette Colorado.  The ride was far less taxing than the abusive route of the previous day up until the climb up Lee Hill Road.  I'm a mountain biker and I was desperately missing that third ring up front but I managed to reach the top without interruption.  The ride down was exhilarating as I pounded on the pedals down Left Hand Canyon Road.  The last few miles were up and down on gentle grades but felt long under a scorching sun.

As part of the 62 mile group, I received a timing chip and to my astonishment came in 78 out of 139 riders. It was a great day and take a peek at the route profile, will make a great training ride in the off season.

Click here for the route profile and thanks to all those volunteers who made this all possible.  If you've ever felt like giving back to your community and enjoy riding your bike, you absolutely need to sign up for the Good Sam Bike Jam.  As the good folks at Good Sam say; Take A Ride, Change A Life...see you next year!  (Good Sam Bike Jam)

Dirt Life

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sourdough | Beast Mode

"Will cannot be quenched against its will." - Dante Alighieri

His spectacular ability for devouring up extra yardage when it seems all but impossible, Marshawn Lynch digs deep and blasts through the line taking anyone who dares to bring him down along for the ride.  With sheer determination, the star running back for the Seattle Seahawks knows only one gear; non-stop!  Sourdough by most accounts is not for the weary, the abundance of rocks and roots will certainly quell the enthusiasm of any fat tire pilot, add to that loose gravel and an unrelenting climb and you will come to know what it means to go Beast Mode.

The climbs alone aren't difficult but the loose tread, abundance of rock and roots make these climbs torturous for the novice and intermediate rider.  There's no real relief until the 3.8 mile mark but hang on because the rocks and roots gain strength along this section. The Caribou Classic coming up later this month includes Little Raven via Lefthand Reservoir Road which is a brutal climb up a very loose and dusty rocky road to the Little Raven trailhead; 2 miles of agony after Sourdough.

Sourdough Trailhead

Little Raven
Little Raven is like Sourdough except for one huge distinction; tons-o-traction!  Most of this trail is over 9900 feet in elevation, and nestled within an intimate pine forest the ground is slow to dry which allows for an unbridled indulgence of passions.  The roots and rocks seem larger and some parts are simply unrideable but add the sweetness of pine and moist Dirt and there can be only one word to describe it; intoxicating.  You eventually spill out onto Brainard Lake Road to complete the lollipop loop.  Click here for the route and profile to this classic Rocky Mountain ride.

If you do not possess the skill, strength and endurance for high altitude riding, Sourdough-Little Raven will beat you up.  But don't despair, drive up to Brainard Lake and if you can make it up Lefthand Reservoir Road, catch Little Raven down to Brainard Lake Road, you will absolutely love it!

Thanks for clicking in and I hope to see you on the trail.

Dirt Life

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Centennial Cone: Relativity

In 1953, M.C. Escher dazzled the eyes with Relativity.  With this piece of mathematical art, Escher explored 3 sources of gravity which continues to amaze the eye and perhaps can somehow explain the path to school was uphill both ways!

Centennial Cone by most accounts is a long and strenuous ride and like the M.C. Escher drawing, it feels uphill in both directions.  Of course that's just an illusion, Centennial Cone offers up some of the best and most rideable downhill singletrack in the area but the climbs feel long and of course the descents feel "Relatively" short.

Our group started at the Mayhem Gulch trailhead just off Hwy 6 or Clear Creek Canyon Road. Quick tip; get there early to grab a parking spot, before 8:00 am if possible and be prepared to lather up with your choice of SPF because there isn't a lot of cover but the scenery is awesome!

Our route cleared just over 16 miles on well maintained and often loose singletrack.  It can get busy on weekends and there are a ton of blind turns so keep your speed in check, sliding a rear tire on those narrow ledges is one sensation you won't soon forget.

Centennial Cone isn't for everyone, you'll need more endurance than skill and a light bike wouldn't hurt either.  Click here for the trail profile and give the Cone a try, you'll be so glad you did.

Thanks for clicking in and I hope to see you on the trail.

Dirt Life

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park: Emerald Lake

I had the pleasure of meeting up with some folks for a Sunday afternoon ride up from Lyons Colorado to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park Colorado.  The motorcycle ride was fantastic and to include a hike along the way was incredible.

We had planned to do the hike ahead of time so we came prepared, some better than most - I brought only energy bars while the others showed a bit more savvy by bringing lunch; lesson learned!

The hike was gorgeous and the company certainly topped off the afternoon.  I brought along my Garmin 64 to map our hike to help you get an idea of the type of hike you're in for.  You'll first reach Nymph Lake, followed by Dream Lake and then your final destination, Emerald Lake.  The scenery is unbelievable and we were so lucky to have bright sunshine the whole day.

Click here for the trail route and try clicking on the "Player" tab on the top right of the map, you'll be able to view our progress throughout the hike.  

I hope you enjoy the hike as much as we did and thanks for clicking in!

Dirt Life

Nymph Lake
Dream Lake
Emerald Lake

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hall Ranch | Bitterbrush, Antelope trails

The Sister City relationship between the citizens of Boulder and Dushanbe was born during the Cold War and has survived the break-up of the Soviet Union, civil war and the painful birth of a new nation.  With goals of international friendship, peace and understanding, the people of Dushanbe gave Boulder a magnificent Tajik Teahouse.  The Teahouse is now a Boulder institution and is visited by more than 100,000 people annually. (

So what's Dushanbe Tajikistan have to do with Hall Ranch you ask?  Well, nothing except that the average temperature this time of year in Dushanbe is just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and lately here in Boulder County its felt more  like Mawsynram, India - the wettest place on earth.

The horizon looked great this weekend so I headed up to Heil Ranch only to find it was closed due to the recent rainfall - shocker - so rather than turning around I decided to head to Hall Ranch - I guess I don't have enough body parts aching!  This was my second trip up here this year and locals know Bitterbrush is not your everyday ride but I wanted to map the Antelope trail so as Cosmo Kramer would say "From pain comes pleasure!"

All the stories about Hall Ranch are true so before you tackle this relentless trail take a peek at the map and expect a good helping of boulder hopping and no one would blame you for padding up - rocks hurt and yes they don't move!  The brutality begins around 1 mile into your ride and for the next mile you will be tortured by boulders and roots and beware on wet tires, roots and wet rubber is not a friendly combination.

If not for all the rocks and roots, the climb isn't bad.  This ride peaks in elevation at about 2 miles.  Descend down to the Antelope Trail on well-groomed and exhilarating single-track to the Antelope trail split.  Head right and enjoy the ride down to the Antelope Trail trailhead.  There are some great switchbacks and tight turns that are sure to give any mountain biker a thrill. Antelope is also accessible off Apple Valley Road but get there early because there is very limited parking.  Click here for the route and map.  Upper Bitterbrush will require exceptional skill and you must pass this section to reach the Nelson Loop.  You could walk your bike up the service road if you wish to bypass this section or you can come up Antelope Trail just remember that parking is very limited and your best bet is to park down in Lyons and ride up to the trailhead.

The rain continues but don't let that stop you, thanks for clicking in and I hope to see you on the trail.

Dirt Life