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Colorado Springs // Colorado
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People smoking (tobacco or weed) on the trail
Trail users of any type who can’t hear over their earbuds
People blasting music on the trail
For me it’s not about roots creating challenge…. I love challenge and I’m not at all keen on smooth trails.
But there’s fun technical and theres annoying technical and relentlessly rooty trails can be annoying even if I can ride it as a skilled rider.
I made peace with roots when I lived in Virginia, but I much more appreciate it here in Colorado with less roots and more big… and entertaining…. rocks as features.
Best E ticket rides? Moab, but then St. George and Sedona are just a tiny notch behind.
Best scenery? Definitely Sedona, hands down. But the other two certainly don’t suck.
Greatest number of “must rides?” IMO, St. George.
Best off the bike options? St George. Sedona has the best dining, but St. George is a larger city with more options and they’ve upped their game in recent years. And St. George has Zion, which is truly like no other place on earth.
And lastly…. crowds. Moab gets very busy and Sedona gets positively swarmed, while St. George is surprisingly laid back and the trails never get overrun.
If someone’s never been to Moab, that’ll almost always be my recommendation. But life you’ve done Moab/Fruita, I say definitely give one of the others a spin.
I just got back from a St. George trip and we drove from Colorado Springs in a single day each way. 10.5hrs. It’s an hour less to drive from Denver. And you can always stop along the way for a ride and not miss a day of riding.
Beware though, St George is a lower desert and is actually slightly hotter than Moab. Even in September, you may need to hit the trail early and wrap up the ride by midday.
St. George is also close to Cedar City and Brian Head with great high altitude rides that will not only be cool, but also add to your available variety.
Sedona, on the other hand, is 45 min from Flagstaff or Prescott which will also give you some higher elevation rides on world class singletrack.
Drive a little further south… just past Castle Rock and hit Dawson Butte. Its beginner friendly and much more attractive than the rides closer to the city.
The one trend that truly needs to be reversed has nothing to do with tech specs on bikes. It is the accelerating loss of backcountry riding opportunities, especially in Western States where Recommended Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas are now being treated as actual Wilderness Areas and where new Wilderness Areas are being created thus eliminating cycling access which has been enjoyed for decades without resource degradation.
While riding, I have come upon:
Deer, elk, moose, bighorn, mountain goat, fox, coyote, bobcat, black bear, and all manner of rodents and reptiles.
All encounters were cool, but none particularly remarkable.
Except the birds. Rolled up to a flock of wild turkeys one day and instead of scattering, they all surrounded me. It was kind of menacing at first but then they just clocked their little turkey heads at me as I walked my bike through the flock.
Last week I was five bombed by a small hawk.
But its not the wildlife that concerns me. I’ve been bitten by dogs three times, two of which drew blood, and one of which required stitches.
I’ve also been threatened by homeless dudes camping along trails on the edge of town.
I second the Chuckwagon recommendation. Great trail, a genuine Sedona experience, and quite ridable for a lower intermediate or better rider.
You can also make a nice loop out of the Bell Rock and Llama trails, but Bell gets a lot of hikers.
August 26, 2018 at 10:12 pm in reply to: Advice for Climbing Technical Hills on a Trail Bike #245659
Head Over Handlebars is on the right track.
It’s all about timing the wheelie and the subsequent weight shift.
But the key to being able to execute that is looking beyond the obstacle. If you get target fixation on the obstacle, that’s just how far you’re likely to go, not beyond.
I gotta’ admit, when it comes to summiting major mountains, it’s something I generally do on foot. Or if it’s with the bike, there’s likely to be a shuttle or lift involved.
Good ones I’ve actually earned by my own quad power include:
Bergen Peak, Evergreen CO. This is a Colorado Front Range favorite classic. Many people just do the basic loop and skip the short spur to the peak, but it’s well worth it for the 360 degree views from the top. From the bottom, it’s a long, relentless climb.
Sandia Peak, Albuquerque, NM. On summer weekends, lifts run, but any other time one must earn ones elevation and it’s a pretty tough climb. The view at the top is pretty unique, looking over the entire crest of the Sandia Mountains and the New Mexico desert beyond.
Atayala Peak, Santa Fe, NM. Not a terribly long climb but definitely steep. Very nice trail most of the way in a great pinion-pine forest. Killer views of Northern New Mexico. Best to hit at an off-peak time since it’s so popular with hikers.
Lewis Peak, Ogden, UT. This is a three mile spur off the Southern Skyline trail with a couple killer grunts to get to the summit of Lewis Peak overlooking Ogden and the northern Great Salt Lake Valley. It”s especially tough since the start of the spur comes after 2,800 vertical feet of climbing on the Skyline Trail.
Reddish Knob, Harrisonburg, VA. One of the bigger climbs out east, and a nice long plummet back. Some people shuttle, and some people ride the road up, but a mostly singletrack loop is possible and IMO preferable even if it is a serious grunt to get up.
Between the two, definitely Copper. First, it’s about 2 hrs closer. Second, by then, Ark could be wicked hot and muggy.
But Copper is limited. It’s awesome, but not a place I could ride for more than two days back to back. I recommend choosing a base camp somewhere back down the peninsula a bit and day tripping from there. Marquette has two great trail systems. I’m with Jared; Harlow is special. Just be ready to do a little route finding. If you use the commercial shuttle at Copper, you can get the equivalent of 3 or 4 days riding in just one!
I also like the idea of hitting Duluth on the way. If you haven’t already ridden Brewer Park yet, I think you’d really like it.
If you do head south, stopping at Kansas City’s Swope Park is a 100% must ride.
One more suggestion: Rapid City/Black Hills. It’s still an hour closer than Ark, and it will give you a completely different experience. It’s truly western geography, very much like the middle elevations in the Rockies. Weather should be prime and if it does get hot, it’s a nice, dry heat, do it’s less physical drain and discomfort. Tons of great trails there that meet your criteria.
For sit downs during epic backcountry rides, it’s Clif Bars or sometimes a good old fashioned PBJ sandwich.
While riding or for short stops, it’s Clif Shots, Honey Stinger Chews, and Honey Stinger Waffles.
I also go for beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruits (especially peaches and apricots)
Whoa! I knew about the cold weather you face, but dust storms too? You definitely have it tougher than most.
I’d love to contribute to your thread, but the year so far has been unremarkable; coulda’ been better, coulda’ been worse. We’ve had an unusually warm, dry winter, so weather has not kept me off the bike, but that has largely been offset by health (or more accurately, lack thereof).
I did really enjoy my month testing the awesome Fatback Corvus which really had me wishing we had more snow.
I also had a couple excellent rides on the new trails in the Royal Gorge system. I think you’d really like them… would be happy to sho you round them next time you’re in Colorado.
February 28, 2018 at 8:38 am in reply to: New Bike questions – Intense Spider Trek Fuel Ex 8 #235798
If you want a 29er that climbs like a mountain goat and is full of playfulness and agility, consider the Orbea Occam TR
Also, if you like your Element and the Thunderbolt, but want to go with a more trail oriented 29er, have you considered Rocky’s Instinct line? Of all the 29er trail bikes I’ve ridden, that one has by far the broadest performance envelope, being quite excellent both up and down.
No man made features. No wooden bridges, skinnies, etc. Not even any man made berms.
Maximum incorporation of natural features. If a curve is on the inside of a hill, that’s a natural berm right there. But mostly rocks. Lots of rocks. Big step ups and lots of huck downs. Rock gardens that require a variety of skills. Rocks especially on climbs so that the technical fun keeps my mind off the pain of climbing. And some seriously steep, butt-way-behind-the seat, you’re-gonna’-be -castrated-if-you-don’t-have-a-dropper-post steeps.
January 17, 2019 at 10:19 pm in reply to: Mountain bikers are poaching trails during the gov’t shutdown #254898
Since cycling causes no more impact than hiking and far less than equestrian use, this has nothing to do with “not respecting the land.”
It does indicate not respecting the law, which is a potential problem itself.
Thanks for the report. Glad you enjoyed it!
Outerbike is where companies try to push their high profit goodies so yeah, there will be lots of e-bikes.
They’ve actually been a fixture at Outerbikes for a few years now.
Ashley Korenblat, former IMBA director who now owns Western Spirit and runs Outerbike, has completed the transition away from access advocacy to full fledged corporate schill.
Too many worthy entries in that broad area.
But I’d have to say Hepler is helpful here. If you’re looking for reasonably easy trails that are still fun, that area with Fair Hill, White Clay/Middle Run, and Brandywine, is a nice concentration of good trails.
I’m a 200+ pound, bull-in-a-china-shop type rider. I’ve broken just about every thing on a bike you can imagine, including three frames now. My friends are always amazed at the damage I inflict. “I’ve never seen that before” is a constant comment.
I’ve never broken a QR axle.
I do like thru axles as I can feel a difference in performance and I like a front end that tracks exactly as I want it to, but on the other hand, I like the ease of maintenance that comes with a QR. But that’s really a minor difference, so overall, I prefer thru axles. But I still have two bikes with QRs, and I’ve never felt the need to upgrade the fork/wheel or replace the bike just because of that.