Dave got a healthy fix of 70milers on the roadbike this weekend including multiple laps up the Monument and a great Sunday afternoon group ride with the cats from the BikeShop. Thanks to the manmade miracle of daylight saving time I got out for a quarter century on the grid Sunday evening after work and, although, I always favor the trail, the road conditions are spectacular and the longer days a welcome training gift!
Today we finally got to ride together and what a great ride it was. Parking at the east parking area we avoided the connestoga scrum in fullswing at the main Loma/ Kokopelli trailhead and the dreaded salmoning certainly going down on Mary's Expressway. The plan was to get both base miles and interval anaerobic bursts by riding Lion's to Troy's, Troy's to the Frontage and back up Lion's to Mack Ridge for a little YEE-HA. This route is about single (as in genuinely single) track, exposure, technical shenanigans and plenty o' climbing (which of course means plenty o' sweet descending as well)
Climbing Lion's Loop from the west we get to see the tiers of Loma single track below- note Steve's on the edge of the lowest rim and the Steve's run-out (Or run-in, I suppose) halfway up the ridge. The singletrack in the background is the end of Mary's.
Troy's is a beautiful piece of well designed, well constructed singletrack making good use of the natural contours and features of the desert and, thankfully, with enough altitude gain (from either direction) and grunt portages to discourage 40# trail crushing rigs.
***I know, I know bikes don't jack up trails, people jack up trails****
A little kooky and off camber, Troy's is a heads up kinda ride forcing one to meditate intently on the feel of the bike beneath you and the trail beneath the bike- perfect for clearing the mind of the haunting pressures of the workplace.
No La-La-La'ing around out here, that is for sure.
and then comes the super grin of the golden rock halfpipe overlooking the I-70 and the eery subdivision we affectionately refer to as, "the not quite as promised land".
The ride back up Lion's from the frontage road totally sucks- there is no sugar coating it. This is a 15-20% grade 4-wheel track that will make you question just how much you really want the YEE-HA downhill from Mack Ridge.
We always want the YEE-HA, especially in the spring and the fall when the temps are cool and one does not have to fear death in the desert quite so much while tackling lung and leg burning ascents.
Today was perfect- we saw only 2 ranchers on 4 wheelers who pulled off the road, smiled, shook their heads and waved as we passed- Dave standing and powering through each single speed pedal stroke and me, red faced, spitting, sputtering and spinning the Granny Gear.
We stood on the ridge top, exposed to the wind off the Colorado far below until we could breathe again, then, pointed it downhill and laughed our way through the rock gardens descending Mack Ridge.
Yessirree- these are glory days in the Grand Valley!