I've long been a fan of Jenny Creek and Rollins Pass. Before I ever lived in Colorado a good friend of mine and I came out to Boulder to ride over Labor Day weekend. The best ride of that weekend (in 95 I think?) was from Eldora to Rollins Pass and back. From that very first ride up to Rollins Pass, I've always wanted to ride from Eldora to Winter Park, just was never able to put it together. Mostly out of difficulty lining up a place to stay or a ride back, or maybe I was just to lazy to organize a mulit day effort.
Since then, I've made the pilgrimage up to Rollins Pass every year or two, always back to Ned or Eldora. I hadn't been up in a few years until last year. Went from Eldora to Rollins and Rogers Pass and back. And realized that it really wasn't that big of a ride. So I got to thinking, just how long would it take really, to make my Eldo to WP dream a reality, but to do it all in one day. I pow wowed with my significant other/co-scheduler and got a day to work. The planning and dreaming was becoming a reality. And the closer to reality it got, the more I thought, why not add a downhill run at Trestle Bike Park, just to say we did. Cherry on top. And thus the idea was born. Eldora to Winter Park to Trestle and back to Eldora. I threw the invite out to bike shop customers, friends, and mtbr folk.
Winter Park DH run, the Redstone way
None of us new what to expect. Hell, I didn't even have a clue of how many people to expect. I was stoked when 11 other riders showed yesterday morning, all of them proven solid riders. I knew it would be a good day.
We started pedaling at 7:45 am, pretty good for our crew especially given that we are generally not timely or early morning friendly. The route was over and thru Eldora to the Jenny Creek Trail, then Jenny Creek Rd for a bit, then up to the Guinn Mt Hut and up to the divide via the pipeline trail and the old wagon road.
Jenny Creek Trail is rocky. Really rocky. It's great actually, but is still really, really rocky. Talking to Kevin on the way up, I mentioned that it was very Sourdough-esque. Kevin replies, "Yep. Maybe even moreso." I had to laugh. After connecting over to Jenny Creek and brief stint on the jeep road, we started the long uphill slog up to the Guinn Mountain hut. There was hike a biking (even if it doesn't look steep, it was)
And there was some really excellent narrow singletrack.
Up nearing the hut, the terrain ceases to look like typical front range scenery. It's lush and green with loamy soil. OBJeremy remarked that he could feels the sponginess in the soil. It's true.
It was also wet and muddy and full of roots. Very much not typical front range desert but oh so good. After the hut, it was thru the trees and on with the big mountain views.
Once we caught up with the pipeline trail, it was more up, but the views in every direction were absolutely fantastic. And the singletrack was narrow.
The pipeline catches up with the old wagon road. It's fun jeep road but it IS more hiking.
And it's not mountain biking unless you're hiking, right?
It's worth it, though. After you tee into the road coming out of the tunnel, there's a couple of options. We opted for the route with less climbing, but more exposure. The trestles on the old railroad line are a thing to behold.
Especially after you ride over them and hear every single board and railroad tie creak and groan. I wonder how long they are going to hold out.
We stopped for a quick break on Rollins Pass. A couple of WP locals had a mini park set up on a small glacier.
It was cool to watch as we downed a tasty beverage and soaked in the view.
11,600' high point and it was back down Corona Rd for a few miles. Not too many, though, and it was singletrack time. From here, we pretty much hit singletrack the entire way back into Town. First, at Riflesight Notch
Then another shortcut that included some swamp buggy action.
Only one person completely fell in the bog, but that was pretty funny, so it was worth it. Then, Broken Thumb and finally some lower level WP social trails. Only they weren't that social. Having only been on them many many moons ago, I was surprised to find them now a legit, marked and numbered system. Well, most of them anyway.
And into town. By this time, we'd been out for about 4 hours and were pretty hungry. Time for beers and food. Fortunately for all of you Dale's Pale Ale lovers, it flows freely on draft at The Library in Winter Park. Guess where our next stop was?
6 pitchers of Dales Pale Ale later...
and we were on our way to Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park resort. Skies were ominous.
About half of us opted for the one downhill run cherry on top option. The other half took a nap. It rained at the top and about 1/2 way down. Still entirely worth it, though. The run was quick and completely non technical but super duper fun. Shy-Ann/Rainmaker/Jury Duty was a good way down, especially for this tired guy. The booters on Rainmaker were extra fun. It worked, too, it did. Rainmaker made us some more rain. Quite a bit actually. Not the downpour kind, but the steady misting even rain kind that feels good at first, but chills you as it soaks in.
We started the long, long, long climb back up to Rollins Pass with intermittent rain. It was shaping up to be a long 2600' and 14 miles. We opted for the road instead of any singletrack options so we could save what was left in our legs. Which were starting to burn at this point.
Fortunately, the thunder and lightning passed on, as did the rain, once we neared timberline again. Thank you weather gods. We were not looking forward to a sketchy lightning filled ride over the pass.
As we turned and said goodbye to Winter Park
There were still a few more miles of up left. Fortunately some "we're almost up" adrenalin was starting to kick in and the views were improving.
After a short break at the top of the pass while we waited to collect everyone we were off again. It was cold up there and felt good to pedal again. Back thru the trestles
and back down thru the scree
It was more surfing rock than riding. Good stuff.
The climb that took 2.5 hours was barely a blip on the radar on the way down. Back down thru the great singletrack and thru the rocks.
And back down to Eldora. One happy crew.
All in all, it was something like 7000' of climbing and just over 50 miles. 11 hours door to door including lunch, lifts, and beer. Good stuff. The only mechanical we had was a flat tire. No major medical issues and no broken anything else. Lots of beer consumed. Many smiles.
I think this will be an annual thing. Who's in?
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