Summer Mountain Biking Trip #1, Day 1

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It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I’ve ridden a mountain bike in Colorado and I was anxious to see if the altitude would kick my butt the way it did when I first moved to Colorado Springs in 2000. On Saturday morning I got an early start driving the family truckster from Atlanta to Boulder and I made it to Lawrence, Kansas in time for dinner that night. I decided to scope out the local trails (using the handy “local trails” feature on the singletracks mobile website) and found that Clinton State Park was just a few short miles from my motel. The reviews I read said there were “serious climbs” and “technical rocks and roots” and I was curious to see how this was possible in Kansas of all places.

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Roots and rock gardens – in Kansas!

Since it was getting dark and I didn’t bring any lights I decided to keep the bike in the car but I did manage to make it to the trailhead in time to snap some low light cell phone pics. After walking just a few feet into the trail I was amazed at the rocks and roots and the densely forested singletrack. In Kansas. Next time I’ll have to get into town early and won’t leave the bike in the car!

On Monday (yesterday) I took a quick trip up to Betasso Preserve a few miles outside of Boulder to get my first ride in. The reviews on this one were mixed – mostly 3 and 4 star ratings but there seemed to be some disagreement about whether this was a beginner or intermediate trail. At just 3 miles it seemed like a good warm up for Tuesday’s trip to Trestle at Winter Park and I found the trails in great condition. Fast and flowy with a thin layer of pea sized gravel on top of hardpack, this is what I remember about riding in Colorado. This was also the first time I had ridden a 29er in the state and I gotta say this is the type of riding big wheels are made for.

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Groomed singletrack at Betasso.

Betasso Preserve isn’t far from downtown Boulder (just 7 miles or so) and it seems like the Boulder County Parks Department still isn’t too sure about mountain bikers. The main loop is completely off-limits to mountain bikes on Wednesdays and Saturdays and all bikes must travel the same direction around the loop (I’m told the particular direction alternates from month to month). Yesterday I rode the loop clockwise which flowed really well, though I would have loved to have tried riding the opposite direction to compare.

Just one trail in and clearly I need to get to Colorado more often (my new rule: at least 2 weeks every summer). Can’t wait to check out more trails this week!

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