First of all, I'd like to apologize for not attempting to hook up with anyone from the area. I, the Mrs, her sister & BIL, and her parents were up there this weekend visiting other relatives and I didn't think there would be any time for riding so I didn't do any research nor bring any of my gear. I always try to contact the locals and get the inside scoop as well as possibly a guide. Oh, well... such is life.
Normally, I'd have video from my GoPro and maybe even some stills for the trip report. But, like I said, didn't think I'd be riding so most of the gear was left at home. Except, the Mrs rememberd to bring the new helmet I got her. A pretty pink Uvex. A pretty pink Uvex I had to wear on the second ride with the BIL 'cause I failed to get two rental helmets with the two bikes. So, if you were one of the many riders out on the Red Rock/Morrison loop trail Sunday that saw my dumbass riding a white Giant Trance with a pretty pink hemlet you now know who you were looking at. Totally straight, BtW
We were staying out in the Chief Hosa campgrounds and venturing out here and there through the area including the Red Rock area, Morrison, Lakewood, Golden. Friday we got up and hiked the Castle Trail in Mt Falcon Park. A little over 3 miles up with +/- 1600' of elevation gain according to my Oregon. It was a good, tough hike. And, after seeing all the terrain on the way up I was seriously contemplating trying to make a trip up on the bike just so I could bomb down that thing. Looked like loads of fun.
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The following day we got up and headed into Genesee hoping that we could rent bikes at the shop in Genesee and there would be trails nearby to hit with as little vehicle commute as possible. That didn't pan out but the young cat behind the counter was plenty helpful in pointing us in the right direction for trails. The Mrs. enjoys riding but isn't technical at all and for as many times as I've told her "if you are pedaling up you don't stop for riders coming down" she still freaks out, gets flustered and stops when traffic is coming at her. "They can't stop going that fast," she says. "If they can't ride the trail and be able to control their bike given the conditions (weather, terrain, field of view) then they deserve to take a trip the hard way down the side of the mountain," I tell her but she won't listen to me.
So, we were looking for an easy trail and decided on Lair O' the Bear trail since we were told it was fairly easy and also in the shade quite a bit. We got a later start that I normally would have and apparently brought a boatload of our Arizona heat with us so the shade would be welcomed.
The shop in Genesee didn't have bikes to fit us so we headed into Golden and got a couple Trance X2s from Peak Cycles. We'd had pizza at Woody's the night before and I'd stopped in Peak to check it out. The Trance seemed like a decent bike. A little steeper than my Pitch but for a rental they worked out really well.
We started at the parking lot and rode the easy trail for the .75 miles or so. When I saw the trail turn back on itself and start climbing I figured I wanted to go that way but wasn't sure if the Mrs wanted any part of it. She OKd it so up we went. That's when she started getting nervous. There were several riders coming down that section as we were going up. Some scooting pretty quickly, some just moseying. But, it was pretty narrow single track and she didn't care for it. I pushed her until it started getting a little rocky and technical and as I rounded a corner I heard her yell from behind me to see her tumble down the side of the trail ten feet or so. Apparently she tried to stop for some reason and didn't want to get off the saddle to put her feet down. Of course, if your seat is set properly you can't put your feet down so it was a slow lean turning into a fall. Pretty funny. She was laughing the whole time. After checking a couple scrapes on her shin I verified she was ready to head back.
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The following day the BIL was ready to have some fun. We've ridden quite a few times and while he's not quite as technical a rider as me he's not afraid to try anything. He's smart enough to get off when he's uncomfortable. And he's got legs that are 15 years younger than mine, runs a good amount a couple times a week, and plays soccer once a week, so he has no problem outpedaling me uphill. I have to use the DHs to keep the distance between us
I really wanted to hit the Castle Trail again on the bike so I could wail down it. But, it was a little warm and we got started later than I'd like (10amish) and I am on vacation so I didn't want to kill myself. We knew we could make it but would it be worth it? If I was able to ride it anytime I'd do it fairly often, but one day and one opportunity we opted for something a little easier. Some fun but nothing that would kill us. The Red Rock & Morrison Slide trails looked like it would have a nice warmup followed by some climbing and then some descending. All in a nice ~6 mile package. That would be decent. Plus, the rest of the family could hike the easy part if they wanted to.
We took the easy section and wasn't sure when we got to the fork if we were supposed to head up that first set of steps but decided that looked like the fun route and went. Encounted a quite a few technical sections of steps and drops and ledges and tight switchbacks. Man, were some of those switchbacks TIGHT. I'm not a great rider and switchbacks are definitely not a strength but some were REALLY TIGHT. I made a few switchbacks, a lot of the step ups and, to the best of my recollection, all of the drops. I think I made everything I thought I could make and made a few that surprised me. Missed a few and even took a little spill down the side of the mountain on the south side as we started to descend. And that's why I wear knee & elbow/forearm pads every ride. A little bruise and some scrapes on the left knee but nothing serious. Alex got some scrapes and scratches on his forearm for his reward.
Coming down that south face there were several sections that I was just waiting to bail. Some good-sized drops followed by better-sized drops and then again... There was one sections that had 4 or 5 big drops in succession and I wasn't sure if I was gonna clean it. Rode it out as far as I could reach behind the seat then then took a deep breath. I knew my buddy would be following soon and felt I needed to warn him but figured if I tried: 1. he would not hear or understand me; 2. I would take his attention from the task at hand and he'd certainly fail. I let him ride it out and he cleaned it as well. I was pleasantly surprised. I think it was in a spot that he didn't have much of a choice. Once you start it you gotta finish or you fall hard.
We both were happy at the end of the ride. He said he cleaned some obstacles up & down that he didn't think he would and even on the steeper bike I felt like I was really letting the bike choose it's path and letting the suspension of the Trance do it's job. Coming from a 3" hardtail to my 6" Pitch the biggest adjustment for has been to stop worrying about choosing the "best" line. Just Fing bomb it and let the bike do it's job. And at that task I felt like I was really letting to bike work it's magic. A couple times I found myself bouncing around waiting to be pitched off only to roll on easily. It's easy to tell yourself how easy something is from the top or bottom of it. There's always some uncertainty when you're right in the middle of it. But, the ride was a WIN for both of us.
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Since we've got family in the area we'll definitely be back. And prepared to ride!
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