August 19, 2007

Denver Dirt - Colorado Trail via Waterton Canyon

Start off with a flat 6 mile ride up Waterton Canyon (dirt road - closed to cars). This is a popular section with Denverites and you'll see all kinds of crazy characters from big haired powerwalker ladies decked out in neon lycra to sideways hat-wearin' punk kids on BMX bikes stopping to get high at every cottonwood grove. This stretch can get HOT....even though it follows the South Platt the entire way - ya, and there's usually a headwind - this is one of those wierd rides where it does not matter which direction you are headed, it will always be a headwind - just gotta deal with it.

At the 6 mile mark there is a huge Dam on the right - this is where most people turn around. This is also the start of the Colorado Trail. The road gets steep here and after another 1/2 mile or so, turns into singletrack. It's a steep switchbacky climb through the woods - but it's not too long. Several years ago when I used to do a bit of racing I was doing this as a training ride - well, some guy passed me on the climb wearing cut off jeans, tube socks pulled way up and riding a hoop-dee WalMart bike - I heard him coming up fast and, without looking, I pulled over to let him motor through. I thought: "What the.....?"

I caught him later on the climb - but only because he had stopped to smoke a cigarrette.

Anyway, the trail tops out in a saddle where there is a homemade bench dedicated to some dude named Lenny. If you keep going strait you'll end up in Durango (in about a week)......or take the trail to the left and climb a bit more and you will eventually circle back around and end up back at the dam. This left hand option includes probably the best 2 mile stretch of singletrack around - swoopy banked corners, water crossings - super fun......and since everybody does this loop the same counterclock wise direction - you can let it go without much chance of meeting somebody coming from the opposite direction. Last week when I was running this stretch I found a really nice CO2/mini pump combo that somebody had dropped. The person that dropped it was probably having such a good time on this downhill he probably said "screw it" and kept riding. I'm serious, they could charge admission for this section.

You'll eventually drop down through a technical section and back onto the gravel road, right near the dam - back into that hot-ass canyon.

Only 6 miles of headwind to go back to the car where (if you were smart) you have that cooler full of cervezas. Ride total: about 17 miles
Oh - but there is still one nasty nasty little climb on the back loop as you are headed "down" - and it's up this little U-shaped-valley-of-a-trail full of debris - it's a tough one
Post ride beers and raw stuff

August 16, 2007

Taos Dirt - The Ride That Tried - Elliot Barker

Mr. Will-Cocks and I tried to ride and we ended up boozin' instead.

We had intended to meet the Tuff Riders for an epic day on the South Boundary Trail - however due to my inability to comprehend the english language and a standard 12-month calendar; it didn't work out.

We waited for 30 minutes at the rendevous point (the Bean Coffee Shop in Taos) for the Tuff Riders to show up ....and nobody did and I was cussin' and we motored and did our own thing. (I later found out the ride was actually scheduled for the following Saturday and that I'm a complete dumb-ass).

Anyway, JW and I decided to do an epic Elliot Barker SBT half-moon-super-gnarl-bad-ass-manly-man ride... ..... but, the easy way. Jen agreed to drive us up to Palo Flechado Pass saving a 1.5 hour climb on the highway.

Yes, my friends, the trail was angry that day and it had it out for us from the beginning.....and after only about an hour of muddy climbing....SNAP-PING (shit)....Johns chain breaks. No problem, we have a chain tool - we'll just fuze that mutha back together and keep crankin'. Ah.... but this is one of them-there shitty-ass Shimano chains and Johnny Dub don't have the magic black pin required for a Shit-mano fix..........(crap).

Simultaneous to the chain break (and the fact that J-Dub was powering up that steep climb with his Tom Platz-like telephone-pole legs, literally warping the topography as he rode)....the edge of the broken chain caught on the front derailleur and that massive force jacked that all up too. (Oh jeez).

OK - to finish the ride with no front derailleur is not big deal but a gimpy chain might be a problem. We remove the derailleur and fix the chain the best we can and continue climbing up to the SBT trailhead and breaks again (sigh).

We still had a long haul and figured it would be best to wheel the 15 miles back into town (almost all downhill) ..........and start boozin'. And so it was.

Checking their watches, confused tourists were just finishing breakfast as we ordered IPAs. Ya see, it's a happy ending.

August 06, 2007

A Wheeler Peek

Wheeler Peak is the highest in New Mexico - but it's actually one of the easier climbs around....maybe 4 hours RT. Big Horns, Marmots and some Jackass packing a huge gun. Ya, this is New Mexico
And there were flies - lots of em

Deer Creek Slop

Oh ya - this is REAL good for your drive train.

During a recent visit to the North Country (Denver) I decided to head up to Deer Creek Canyon - on of the classic after work rides along the front range. 15 minutes into the ride - rain. Keep going, sans raincoat - "it's only water you pussy". People are bailing - nobody heading up except me. Big time lightning - no big deal the entire trial is though big thick trees. I forgot though, the lower part of this trail is big-time clay and by the time I realize this the bike weighs about 400 pounds - can't carry - must ride (and slide). Shifting gears is out of the question and the only lube on the chain is being supplied by those sweet-ass VanDerWals Bonds that clay is known for. An hour and a half later I'm pumping quarters into the machine at the Octopus Car Wash washing about half of Deer Creek Canyon down the drain.

August Random 10

Pixies - Hangwire

Jad Fair and To La Tengo - Clumsy Grandmother Serves Deliciuous Desert by Mistake

Jack O' Fire - Hate to See You Go

Fugazi - Joe #1

Paco Pena - Solea

Takako Minekawa - Flash

Martin Denny - Escales

Elliot Smith - Clementine

Javier Solis - He Sabido Que te Amaba