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  1. #1
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    Denver/Golden in comparison to Bend, Or

    Hi all,

    I am an avid MTBR (and I like skiing as well and live in Bend where mountain biking is very good. I have long wished to live in CO (up in the mountains), but recently I was asked about a business opportunity which would require me to move in or near Denver.

    I know Denver is not Bend, but is there anything anyone can tell me which would make me believe I would like it as much living over there? Someone suggested Golden as a good alternative.

    How are the trail systems in and around there? Are there lots to choose from? I'm guessing the riding is similar to Bend around Golden?

    How far is it from there to more serious high elevation rides that CO is so known for?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  2. #2
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    Do you like city living at all?

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    Golden is nothing like Bend as far as riding goes. I lived in Bend a long time ago and I am sure it has changed, but I moved to Golden/Denver right after.

    In Golden, most rides are long sustained steep climbs, not much rolling up and down stuff.

    Golden is great access to the high country, about an hour to Breckenridge and vicinity. Lots more options for skiing, but lots more traffic if you are weekender.

    Personally, I loved Bend, but its somewhat limiting career wise and I found the mountain biking to be very one dimensional (again, that may have changed).

    Certainly a move here would be a big change, but with an open mind you might find you love it.. I did and I was really a small town guy (gunnison, bend)..

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Golden - the trails are drier and rockier (is that a word?) and the beer is better...and I'm NOT referring to anything Coors produces.

  5. #5
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    Thanks all.

    @SkaredShtles I moved to Bend from Portland so I am used to a city. However I prefer a smaller town. Hate the traffic thing.

    @Josie7 Good info. Yeah Bend is somewhat one dimensional I would tend to agree. Probably better than when you lived here before, but Bend has a great deal of XC trails which are fairly rolling, not many very steep climbs. A few sustained climbs, but the highest you will climb around here is 3500 feet in a ride once the higher country trails are free of snow. Not a great deal of big views here either.

    @calzonical Have you been to Bend? Bend is pretty dry. And rocky in some sections, although I am sure CO is rockier in general. I love technical riding and rock gardens, so no problem there.

    Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list

    cheers!

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    You are basing beer selection in CO on one bar in Vail?

    Riding in colorado is based on what you want and how far you are willing to drive. Golden has the easiest accesible out the door rides.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    ...Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list ...
    Yeah, you didn't wind up somewhere that was pouring anything good. Ranger is not awful in my book, just kind of cookie cutter--sort of a mix of sweet and hoppy. Kind of the Bud Light of microbrews, available anywhere. New Belgium is pushing the limits of the definition of microbrew. They are big. But I buy their products sometimes just because they are such a great steward of community stuff. They sponsor lots of stuff here in the dinky town where I live.

    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    1) Elevation Brewing in Poncha, 5 miles from where I sit right now
    2) Ska brewery in Durango
    3) Amicas (also right here in Salida)
    4) Phantom Canyon
    5) Del Norte Brewing Co.
    6) Oskar Blues

    Denver/Golden is bigger than Portland. Feels busier. Getting up into the mountains on weekends is a full-on rat race.

    Rocky as a description of Front Range riding I think tends to be more granitic, dense rock. Often you'll find heavy babyhead rubble. From what I remember of the riding I did in bend, lots of the rock was pumice. Low density sand-papery foam rock and lots of really fine dust.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  8. #8
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    You won't have a problem finding good beer, seems every day there is a new brewery around here..

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    I put Boneyard Brewing up against anything in Golden, heck even colorado and we have some incredible places! I think Bend has 20 breweries now.

    Quote Originally Posted by calzonical View Post
    Golden - the trails are drier and rockier (is that a word?) and the beer is better...and I'm NOT referring to anything Coors produces.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    ...
    @calzonical Have you been to Bend? Bend is pretty dry. And rocky in some sections, although I am sure CO is rockier in general. I love technical riding and rock gardens, so no problem there.

    Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list

    cheers!
    Yes, was out in Oregon for a 14 day tour in '97. we hit up Sisters, Bend, Hood river, Mt Hood, Portland and the west coast from Seaside down to the dunes. enjoyed Deschutes National forest. Most of riding I did near Bend was close to Mt Bachelor. So no I'm not an xpert on Bend trails. but I prefer the trails we have here.

    And really you're going use Vail's beer selection as a direct reflection upon colordao microbrews - Really. As TomP points out Colorado has some fine brews, but that can be settled over a pint or two or three when you move here Happy trails!

  11. #11
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    I forgot to comment on the riding Golden vs Bend. I spend a few weeks in Bend every summer and quite familiar with the trails. I agree with Cal that the riding in Golden is better IMO.

    Bend does a fabulous job with what they have at in town. Whoops and all the trails that they made to ride like a bmx track is awesome and i love all the obstacles that they have incorporated into the trails but they lack the technical and big climbs and downhills that Golden has to offer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    Thanks all.

    @SkaredShtles I moved to Bend from Portland so I am used to a city. However I prefer a smaller town. Hate the traffic thing.
    Hmmm...

    Might be a deal-breaker for you. Unless you can get away with a reverse commute wherever you are working. Although that won't help you with the heinous traffic on weekends.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post


    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    1) Elevation Brewing in Poncha, 5 miles from where I sit right now
    2) Ska brewery in Durango
    3) Amicas (also right here in Salida)
    4) Phantom Canyon
    5) Del Norte Brewing Co.
    6) Oskar Blues
    No mention of Great Divide...


  14. #14
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    "'Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list"

    Huh?

    Ummm beer---Vine Street Pub and Brewery
    Golden City Brewery
    Breckenridge Brewery Falling Rock Tap Room
    I went to Renegade Brewing Company Saturday
    Avery Brewing
    Great Divide Brewery Tour

    And that's just a start.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by calzonical View Post
    ... Colorado has some fine brews, but that can be settled over a pint or two or three when you move here Happy trails!
    I know Oregon in general and Bend in particular have an incredible culture of good beer. As I pointed out in the previous Bend-related thread, way back in olden times, 1991 if I'm not mistaken, I tasted my first microbrew beer. It was a Full Sail in Corvallis.

    But CO has a pretty remarkable microbrew culture. You'll find out if you move here as calzonical points out.

    That said, one of my routine buys at the local package store is half a dozen glass receptacles of Deschutes Inversion IPA. Imported from Or Ee Gahn. I find it quite tasty, and it's actually a few pennies cheaper than lots of the CO stuff, including Oskar and New Belgium.

    EDIT: I know it's supposed to be pronounced Or-ih-gun. Just a little joke--midwesterner talk.
    Last edited by TomP; 12-24-2012 at 10:32 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  16. #16
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    Smile

    Plenty of places for you to live within 30 min of denver, you would need to fly out and look for yourself and see what you like, you could end up 30 min north, south or west of denver. With a big variety of change. Where to ride is endless and depends on where you want to ride. You can ride all year round, and ride the well known places like ski resorts, buffalo creek, curt gowdy, boulder area, golden area and endless other great trails within 2 hours. As everyone has stated the weekends at the ski areas are very busy but you can make it work. In my opinion CO is unmatched.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=TomP;10003540

    That said, my Colorado favorites tend to be beers from:

    [/QUOTE]

    Missed a couple. The best ones.

    Odell IPA - Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO - BeerAdvocate

    Myrcenary Double IPA - Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO - BeerAdvocate

  18. #18
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    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?
    I like your style

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    "'Regarding the beer, you must not know a lot about bend! I was in CO in June and was very disappointed in the beer selection. I stayed in Vail, and there was 1 single IPA available which was a Ranger from New Belgium. And New Belgium is not on my good brewery list"

    Huh?

    Ummm beer---Vine Street Pub and Brewery
    Golden City Brewery
    Breckenridge Brewery Falling Rock Tap Room
    I went to Renegade Brewing Company Saturday
    Avery Brewing
    Great Divide Brewery Tour

    And that's just a start.
    Glad somebody mentioned Avery. They've always been one of my favs!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    CO is a pretty fantastic place. The traffic can stink at times, but obviously a lot of people feel the end justify the means or the traffic wouldn't stink. I don't know how the beer and the rides stack up to Bend as I know nothing about Bend, but I also know that I love it here so much that I could really care less. Please don't take that in a snide p*ssing contest way.

    In 30-60 minutes drive I can find just about any type of trail I want to ride from flow to tech.

    In 120 minutes drive I have weekend rides that are "vacations" for a large number of riders.

    In a 5 hour drive and I have a weekend getaway to places like Creste Butte, Taos, Moab, etc.

    I can get a solid Mar-Nov MTB season in, and also Oct-Apr ski season in. October, November, April, May, and June are "take what the weekend gives me" months and I love that. Maybe I'll ski today, maybe I'll MTB, and sometimes I do both that day.

    The people are great, the beer is great (except Vail I guess), and it's a good place to enjoy life. If you've already found this someplace else, why move?
    Nicely said, agree 100%

  22. #22
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    we could turn this into a beer thread..haha..

    my favorite CO brews..lately..

    Oskar Blues
    Ska
    Renegade
    Prost
    River North
    Hops and Pies (well not a brewery, but best taphouse)

    Never really had a Beer from Bend I really liked, but Oregon has quite a few good choices..

  23. #23
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    I'm moving to the Lakewood/Golden area from Seattle. I've ridden Dakota ridge before and love that style of riding. Reminds me of what I was used to back in the Appalachian part of Virginia (rocks, rocks, rocks). The PNW is all about the Flow and there is definitely some bad ass riding here. You can also get the really gnarly rocky stuff if you drive to eastern WA or down by Crystal Mountain.

    I'm looking to meet up with some people who know what's up trailwise in the area. I checked out Bergen Peak on the tube and it looks to be right up my alley. Anything like that near golden besides the top of Dakota Ridge?

    Thanks! I'll be there in mid-January btw and will be looking to build up a Mojo HD. Anyone have any opinions on the shops in Golden? I went to PedalPushers last week when I was there for Christmas and they seemed rad. Anyone have any experience? Golden Bike Shop seems rad too I just didn't get a chance to check it out.

  24. #24
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    What I noticed most when I moved here from northern AZ several years ago was that there are a lot of people. They like to recreate here and it is rare to find uncrowded places near the metro area. Also, not as many trail networks. Seems like more driving to a trailhead and doing the ride rather than having multiple options to change up the route. I know there are some of those places like Nederland and Buffalo Creek (Duder Draw and Marshall Mesa DON'T count) and not looking to start that debate, but that is what my thoughts are. The high country riding is absolutely amazing and not always as crowded as the front range. As far as beer, liquor stores don't exclusively sell local beer. I'm not a "craft beer enthusiast" however, likes me some Busch and PBR just fine. As far as Coors goes, I thinks it costs too much and isn't that great, but Sam Elliot likes it and I doubt any of you could match his mustache credibility.
    Tequila tonight, tomorrow we ride!

  25. #25
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    Hey now, I wasn't the one who started this beer debate!

    Someone posted beers were better than in Bend so I feel like I needed to say something. Bend beer culture is huge. Yeah I know one town in CO is not a good indication on what beers are in CO in general. Just was sad I wasn't able to test them out is what my point was.

    Back to biking.

    I think a trip over is in order for sure. I don't mind a little drive for a ride but that traffic over there is pretty brutle. Less than 30 minutes is doable. Anything more and it just eats too much time for daily rides.

    Regarding the "reverse commute" thing, what exactly is this referring to? People who go to Denver from the mountains on weekends?

    Or people who live on Denver and work in the mountains?

    I would assume traffic midweek isn't that bad but there is probably a good % or people living in the hills who commute into Denver.

    Thanks again!

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