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  1. #1
    Bikecurious
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    CO riding vs VA riding

    Hey guys,
    My girlfriend and I are looking into moving to the Denver area (probably a little west of the city) from Harrisonburg VA in about a year. I was just wondering how the trails in that area compare to the ones here in the Shenandoah Valley, if anyone has had experience riding both. We have some pretty great riding out here, but the mountains are mosquito bites compared to CO. We've got some pretty rocky and technical riding, and pretty much every ride involves at least a 2 mile sustained climb (I'm in pretty crappy shape so a 2-3 mile climb pretty much kicks my ass). Any input on how this compares to riding around the Denver/Boulder and what kind of riding I might be looking atwould be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    skillz to pay billz
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    you'll probably feel right a home with the climbing, once you acclimatize to the altitude

  3. #3
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    Had a buddy that used to ride in KY (that is as close as I can get to riding in VA). A lot of front range rides are good climbs up (some pretty technical stuff all over). He always said the rides were a little rockier and longer climbs up.

  4. #4
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    It's dry here.... really dry in the summer so you won't be riding over wet tree roots that often.

  5. #5
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    CO vs.WV

    I'm familiar with West Virginia, which is probably similar to Virginia in terrain. Your technical skills should be in good shape from that kind of riding. CO will have less mud, fewer wet rocks, less mossy tree roots, more views and longer climbs, although it looks like you're hitting some big climbs for the east. It'll take a couple of months (minimum) for your body to get used to the lower amount of oxygen, so the climbing will seem harder at first.

    The other big difference is the weather. In the east, if you get caught in a summer thunderstorm, it's no big deal. The rain is often warm and it can provide some relief from the heat. Out here, the summer thunderstorms are cold and dangerous. You can be riding along in 80 degree heat and then, WHAM - it's 45, hailing and lightening is striking all around you. Always pack a rain jacket and be ready to head down to safety when you see the clouds building up.

  6. #6
    Living the High Life
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    Or just ride in the rain anyway, it usually will only last 5 minutes, then continue on!

    I was on lifts at Keystone when lightning hit the back side of the mountain, they got everyone off the lift FAST. I didn't think a lift could go that fast, kinda spooky.

  7. #7
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    paging VAhardtail

    shoot VAhardtail a PM.

    -
    .And following our will and wind . . .
    . . .We'll ride the spiral to the end
    and may just go where no one's been.

  8. #8
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    A fellow JMU Duke? I went to JMU then lived in Arlington for a few years. Now live in Denver after having bounced around the state for a few years. I used to ride Reddish Knob, Mudpond, Elizabeth Furnace and some other places in GW Natl Forest and then around DC like Patapsco, Gambrill, Accotink, etc...

    But...to your question. Get ready to have even more fun. There is definitely harder climbing (not so much fun), harder techy rock sections (lots more fun), more trails, and drier trails. One weird thing that sticks out in my mind is there were lots of log ramps in VA. Don't see much of those in CO. Random thought I know.

    Really though it's Colorado. I wouldn't worry about whether or not the riding is good. There is tons of it so you can find what you like.
    Yield to downhill

  9. #9
    Who said Punisher?
    Reputation: VAhardtail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g-bus
    Hey guys,
    I was just wondering how the trails in that area compare to the ones here in the Shenandoah Valley, if anyone has had experience riding both. We have some pretty great riding out here, but the mountains are mosquito bites compared to CO. .
    Well....I lived in Blacksburg for 10 years--including attending Virginia Tech and then loving the area so much that I stayed and got a job. I rode all over that area--NOVA, Harrisonburg, Winchester, MD, PA, WV, NC, TN....and so on. In Bburg I rode the NFS trails right out my front door and they rocked! Trails in Hburg are super awesome too and one of my most favorite ares is Eliz Furnance for sure--so rocky! I have lived here in Boulder area for about 6 years now. Riding at both places is amazing. They are two different types of riding for sure and either way, a blast. There are a lot more rocks here to play on and of course you can find the rooty wet stuff--but you have to try hard! Not as many stream crossings but the alpine rides have views that make it hard to pedal your bike. I came out west for the bigger mountains and more climbing--which there is plenty of here for sure.

    I will be back in Bburg may 9th to 14th to attend graduations and ride with friends--may also hit the New to climb some rock one day. If you are around during that time, you should come down and we can hang out, talk more etc.. and of course ride the local trails there--Its only about 1:45 on 81. Anyway, it would be great to hook up--we can probably even find a place for you to stay for free since there is a big group of us and many of our friends live in Bburg now.

    On the co front, plenty of people to ride with here--in fact way more than there and TH's are super crowded--I miss the fact that in VA, I was usually the only one on the trails and even at the TH on the weekends.

    If you want to talk more, send me a PM..we can talk on the phone, whatever. And keep the bburg thing in mind, in fact when I am on my way back to Nova, I may just stop and ride Reddish knob so maybe that will work out. I will spend the 15th to the 18th riding in MD if that is also of interest.

  10. #10
    Bikecurious
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    PuraVida,
    Yep JMU alumn, class of '02. Actually back in now working on my teaching licensure, so planning on moving out to CO after I finish here. Glad to hear there's even more climbing out west (I was being sarcastic by the way). I really just got back into riding last year after too many years off, so the climbs are still killing me, but I'm getting better. Rode about halfway up Reddish Knob in Oct via Timber Ridge (I think). I plan to tackle the whole thing this spring, but I think I'll take the road up first. Funny you mention the log ramps. I came about 6 inches from getting chomped by a timber rattler on one of those climbing up Mud Pond (which I now refer to as Snake Pond) a few months back. I definitely look down a lot more when I ride now! BTW, they finally put some trails in town. They built about 3+ miles of trails in the woods at Hillandale park. Pretty flat but some fairly techy rock parts. Nice to have a place close finally.

    VAhardtail,
    Thanks for the offer, I might take you up on that. Even if we can't hook up for a ride maybe we can grab a beer if you're riding around H'burg so I can pick your brain about CO a bit.

    Here's another question for you guys: what kind of critters that can kill me do I need to watch out for when riding out in CO? Killer bees, rattlers, mtn lions, werewolves, sasquatch? Just curious.

  11. #11
    Now with 20% more fat!!
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    Your biggest fear riding in Colorado is being shot by Lyle Crumbstorm. Carry a gun for defense. Other than that, riding here rules!

  12. #12
    skillz to pay billz
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    Quote Originally Posted by g-bus

    Here's another question for you guys: what kind of critters that can kill me do I need to watch out for when riding out in CO? Killer bees, rattlers, mtn lions, werewolves, sasquatch? Just curious.
    watch out for the infamous 'Rocky Flats' Voles down by marshall mesa. They'll sneak up on ya.

  13. #13
    That's what she said
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSD303
    Your biggest fear riding in Colorado is being shot by Lyle Crumbstorm. Carry a gun for defense. Other than that, riding here rules!



  14. #14
    Bad Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOby
    watch out for the infamous 'Rocky Flats' Voles down by marshall mesa. They'll sneak up on ya.
    And the cattle

  15. #15
    Singletrack Daydreamer
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    Ridding on the flats around the front range you might see a rattler once in a while, but if you don't step on them, they'll leave you alone. You won't see any above 7,500' for the most part. Mountain lions exist, but we don't have even a fraction of the problem with them that So Cal does. Bears exist, but really don't pose a threat unless you get between a sow and her cub or sleep with bacon in your shorts when camping. That's about it for critters.

    As IttyBitty pointed out, the real threat is weather. It changes fast and probably 70-80% of mountain fatalities in the summer are weather related (most are hypothermia). I don't ride without a disposable rain poncho in my jersey pocket and I'm sure there's folks that think I'm a bit paranoid doing that.
    Train 'til you puke. Cheat to win. Party like a rockstar. We miss you, Jan!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
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    We the people ... note to self:

    ...stop sleeping w/ bacon in shorts.



    edit: oh wait, you said while camping... i'm good then (front door has deadbolt).

    Quote Originally Posted by rockymtnway
    Bears exist, but really don't pose a threat unless you get between a sow and her cub or sleep with bacon in your shorts when camping.

  17. #17
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    I would say there are some really big differences. You have herd about the weather and the heat. I moved out here from the PHILLY area a year and a half a go. The big adjustments I have had to make are the trails. They Are just really different. Donít expect That tight twisty single track from the east cost. For the most part here every thing is vary wide open and almost no trees. And were there are woods its nothing like the east cost. For any one thatís never ridden in the east cost all I can tell you is in the summer its like riding in a thick rain forest. The other big change is how vertical evry thing is. A lot of the technical stuff I see is do or get really messed up. You have to be on your game out here. The rocks arenít that different just much more up and down and the chance to really get hurt is just a lot higher. If your moving out here because you have herd its like mountain bike heaven I would come out and ride a little and see if you like it. Im not saying I donít like riding here I just havenít adjusted to it I guess. I really miss some of my old places and all the green.

  18. #18
    how heavy are you ??
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    pulser i moved here from chi town about 5 years ago....

    And I was way more used to tight and twisty single track (and MUCH less of it) and I did some riding in New England too. I know what you are talking about. And to tell you the truth I was a really crappy rider being from Chicago. And the biggest reason why I moved here was the riding. So when I realized I was in way over my head I thought "fu*k I moved here and I have to walk most of this "Trail"???. But stick with it will come to you. It’s all about managing the pain
    Scott

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottay5150
    And I was way more used to tight and twisty single track (and MUCH less of it) and I did some riding in New England too. I know what you are talking about. And to tell you the truth I was a really crappy rider being from Chicago. And the biggest reason why I moved here was the riding. So when I realized I was in way over my head I thought "fu*k I moved here and I have to walk most of this "Trail"???. But stick with it will come to you. Itís all about managing the pain
    Scott

    Yea i know what meen. I got the same feeling the first time i road out here. And there are still places i dont like to ride. Dont get me wrong there is nothing like climping up over 9000ft and back down agen its really cool. I just dont get the same feeling inside that i use to get at my home trails back home. I miss French creek and the Wiss like you cant belive. I think i need to fly home for some eastcost love.

  20. #20
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser
    Yea i know what meen. I got the same feeling the first time i road out here. And there are still places i dont like to ride. Dont get me wrong there is nothing like climping up over 9000ft and back down agen its really cool. I just dont get the same feeling inside that i use to get at my home trails back home. I miss French creek and the Wiss like you cant belive. I think i need to fly home for some eastcost love.
    You could always move back there.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles
    You could always move back there.

    No way the weather sux and the people are crazy.

  22. #22
    Old, stale, negative
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    My wife went to James Madison and she does pretty well here. Come, go big, get in shape, live happy. Good luck. There are trails for every level and **** I can't do after many years of trying. Plus you are close enough to Moab to feel like you have to get strong. Make the move, you'll love it.

  23. #23
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    pulser,

    being an ex-Philly and Northern Virginia mountain biker I hear some of what you are saying about missing the riding back east. Try riding the Indian Creek trail here, picking it up at Waterton Canyon. You can ride out to the campground and back (actually it is one big loop). You will love it. Creek crossings, rocks, roots, forrests, twisty tree lined singletrack just like on the east coast. But, the trail also has dry dusty cactus lined singletrack, mountain vistas, abandoned old shacks, and lots of other cool stuff. This may help provide you with a fix of some really awesome riding! I'm sure the trail's not ridable yet as much of it is shaded but when it's thawed, you really ought to try it.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by squishy
    pulser,

    being an ex-Philly and Northern Virginia mountain biker I hear some of what you are saying about missing the riding back east. Try riding the Indian Creek trail here, picking it up at Waterton Canyon. You can ride out to the campground and back (actually it is one big loop). You will love it. Creek crossings, rocks, roots, forrests, twisty tree lined singletrack just like on the east coast. But, the trail also has dry dusty cactus lined singletrack, mountain vistas, abandoned old shacks, and lots of other cool stuff. This may help provide you with a fix of some really awesome riding! I'm sure the trail's not ridable yet as much of it is shaded but when it's thawed, you really ought to try it.

    O cool were is that? Im in Ft collins.

  25. #25
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    Down south of you beginning at waterton canyon (C470 and Wadsworth road exit). Probably a 1.5 hr drive from Ft. Collins. It is a long ride and you have to put-up with 6 miles of dirt road riding to begin, but after that it gets progressively better. Check out the Indian Creek trail descriptions on the MTBR trail reviews for Colorado Front Range. There are two places that you can start. Waterton Canyon or the Indian Creek Trailhead which is west of Castle Rock.

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