This past weekend, Jesper and I got out on our first big long SS ride. We brought a friend, Mike, even though he had nine gears. We intended to be out for at least 5 hours of riding. First, we rode some new trail up near Loveland in the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. We did a loop up to a trail called the Power Line Trail. Warning to those not familiar with Power Lines - they go straight up the sides of mountains! We walked a few sections.
We finally reached the top and hit the Ginny Trail. This was totally worth the brutal climb up the Power Line! The Ginny Trail was very technical and rocky and bizarre like a strange moonscape. There had been a large fire up there in 2000 to add to the strangeness of the landscape and to allow for spectacular views of the mountains to the west. I found my mojo and was rocking it! Mike nicknamed me "Techno-Mama". Jesper was in the Zone too, just cranking through some tricky rock sections. Mike did great, especially considering that he's a roadie and doesn't get out on his mountain bike much. We finished up the 10 mile ride, hopped in the car and drove to our next destination - Lory State Park.
We began part two of our day's ride near Inlet Bay and made our way north up to the park's terminus via the West Valley Trail (I think). This was an easy flowing trail. Then we turned around and took the Timber Trail which looked to provide a loop that would eventually dump us back onto the West Valley Trail further south. The Timber Trail was marked FOR EXPERT MOUNTAIN BIKERS AND EQUESTRIANS ONLY!, so we thought it would be perfect.
And at first it was. The trail began by climbing (a lot) on smooth tacky dirt. Then it finally showed some of the rocky sections that gave cause to the warning sign we had seen. These sections were tricky and usually on very exposed ledges. The ramifications of taking a bad line or biffing would be a long, nasty fall WAY down. So, in other words, it was fun! The trail then showed us another face as we entered a pine forest that unfortunately took us up a series of north-facing switch backs. North-facing in Colorado in April means SNOW. So, despite the 60 degree-ish temps, we found ourselves slogging our way up mushy snow on what would have been a very technical uphill. Although it seemed to go on forever, it was probably something between 1 and 2 miles.
We finally topped out but still had some snow to slog through. We were a tad concerned about how we were going to get back down to the West Valley Trail, as the trail map we had did not seem to have trail that allowed mountain biking to complete the loop. Fortunately for us, the trail map is somewhat outdated. Howard's Trail provided a very fun and pretty technical downhill. We dumped back onto the West Valley Trail and rode a zippy pace back to the car.
The final total was almost 28 miles and a gazilion feet of climbing (my GPS said almost 6000 feet but Jesper's said "only" 4000 feet). Here are more pics I took of the boys: http://picasaweb.google.com/COIttyBittyBetty/MonsterSSRide
Check out Jepser's post and more pics (some of me!!) here: http://jesperperl.com/words/long-ride-on-new-trails/