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  1. #1
    My bike is my happy place
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    Visiting Ft. Collins, need insights

    Hi, I'm hoping to visit Ft. Collins this summer for a few weeks, probably sometime in August. It'll be a work trip with evenings and weekends free for some riding. Need to figure out what trails to ride and what group rides I might find. I read about Devil's Backbone and Horsetooth, which sound cool. But I'm coming from Chicago, so I don't know how I'll fair out there. Not looking for super technical/freeride trails, but I do want something to keep my 5" of travel happy.

    So... what do I need to know? I've been told that you need to acclimate to high elevation trails before riding them. Is that true for the Ft. Collins area?

    Thanks!
    Life is a bowl of fruit, and I am trying to not bite into the mold.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: sgltrak's Avatar
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    Fort Collins sits at 4900' and Horsetooth Mountain Park ranges from 5600' to 7200'. Depending on your conditioning, you may need a bit of adjustment time, but not nearly what you would need for mountain riding. Great riding in HTMP and good riding on the front side of Horsetooth Reservoir, also. There are various groups that ride in the evenings around here. Most are informal. When you nail down the dates, post here and I'm sure you will be able to hook up with some folks to show you around. I ride with a few others on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, depending on my wife's riding schedule and my kids' sports schedules.

    As far as the big bike: be aware that most everything around here involves quite a bit of climbing.

  3. #3
    Time is not a road.
    Reputation: chad1433's Avatar
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    I came from MI a few years ago and it took me a while to get used to the altitude and climbing lengths. But, there are trails around that won't kill you too fast. You'll just have to give it time.

    This is a dry climate, unlike the mid-west, so hydration is very important. The weather will be probably still pretty warm (90s -100s if current weather is any indication) and the sun will always shine - you'll enjoy that!

  4. #4
    btx
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    I am new to the sport, and I enjoy the climbs more than anything--and that's good, because both the service road and radio towers at horsetooth are outstanding. I still haven't made it to the top of towers without stopping, but last time it was my lack of technical ability and poor line choices on the sandy stuff that kept me from the goal (not the lungs or legs--two small pauses trying to avoid falling over in my clips)...this week, we'll see . If you want to stay close to town, google horsetooth mountain park, coyote ridge open space, and devil's backbone open space for more information. The bone is the furthest from town, but even it is only about ten miles away. Each has spots easy enough for newbs such as myself...
    Last edited by btx; 06-20-2006 at 01:27 PM.

  5. #5
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    Lot's of nice trails here close to Fort Collins. Elevation will initially be a problem. And so might be the pretty rocky trails. Lot's of baby heads, gravel, rock and hard pack. Plus steep climbs. But you'll love it and rule back in Chicago.

    In addition to the mentioned trails for after work riding: Blue Sky (New and nice beginner), Hewlett Gulch (streneous climb and 5" worth of decent).

    Weekends: Old Flowers Road (long one), Palmer Park in Colorado Springs (technical!), Rollins Pass (long and high) and many more. Resorts close by include Winter Park and Keystone. Plenty of nice single track.

    Just post when you get into town.

    Klaus

  6. #6
    Mojo0115
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    I have always enjoyed Young Gulch as a fun poudre canyon ride. (poudre canyon is close to fort collins - about 30min drive to trailhead would be a rough guess)

  7. #7
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    Reputation: onbelaydave's Avatar
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    You can ride to a great trail in <15 min from most places in town !

    The "Foothills Trail" complex on the E side of the Res. will be just a few minutes away and is a great evening ride w/something for any level rider, gnarly to groomed, and no "big" climb. I'd try it your first couple of nights in town.

    You can't go wrong at Horsetooth Mountain Park, if you are looking for something bigger, including the climbing. The climb to the Rock is more than the elevation of IL.

    Weekends, the "Gulch Trails", Hewletts,Youngs and Dadds up the Poudre are super fun, no 'big" climbs, but a lot of water crossings, (maybe, we've been in a horrendous drought this year) and lot's of somewhat "level" techy sections thrown in.

    If you really "want" to max out your suspension, head up to Crosier Mtn. just E of Estes Park. You can make it as "huge" as you want.

    I grew up near Chicago but have lived here in Ft. Collins since '73. Altitude will be a factor, even up at Horsetooth your first couple of days and can even be lethal if you try to push it too fast higher up. I wouldn't try to ride any higher than 8,000' your first 3-5 day's here if you really want to enjoy your riding. As has been mentioned, it will be HOT ! 90-100, and dry. Devil's Backbone, Blue Sky, and the Foothills Trail have no shade at all. Figure at least a quart of water an hour on your rides. Another thing to consider, is that August is the monsoon season and many evenings may be a rainout. Higher rides are best done in the early AM as the risk of an electrical storm/downpour gets "likely" after about 1 PM. If you do decide to go high, it can snow any given day of the year, so be prepared for changable conditions.

    Another thing, don't stay here too long or you'll be wanting to leave Chicago fast.
    Last edited by onbelaydave; 06-20-2006 at 05:34 PM.

  8. #8
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    All you need to know is that Fort Collins is home of the two best brewerys (breweries?) in the world, and one giant mediocre brewery. New Belgium, O'dells and Budweiser. If you do nothing else, visit the New Belgium brewery and take the tour. Pretty impressive and oh so delicious!
    Biker? I don't even know her.

  9. #9
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    ... and if we just ... Thanks!!!

    Thanks for all the tips, guys!! I'll be sure to try the easier trails to gauge my body's reaction to the altitude. But I'll bank on the "it's a DRY heat" to allow me ride without suffering too much thru those temps. I did one ride last year here where we got a humid 105 degrees. I managed because of the breeze and the shaded trails. Otherwise, 100+ degrees sounds brutal!

    Definitely looking forward to the trip.
    Life is a bowl of fruit, and I am trying to not bite into the mold.

  10. #10
    btx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy D
    Thanks for all the tips, guys!! I'll be sure to try the easier trails to gauge my body's reaction to the altitude. But I'll bank on the "it's a DRY heat" to allow me ride without suffering too much thru those temps.
    DO NOT do that...90+ will murder you reguardless of the humidity. Remember, the front range of colorado is essentially desert. We have signifigant night to morning temp swings (. Ride before 10AM, and you won't have many issues dealing with heat...)

  11. #11
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    http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs....VIDEO/60610002

    Should keep you busy for a while.

    Bring lots of sunscreen and fluids - 95% of our riding you are exposed to the sun and it can be very dangerous if you are not properly outfitted. Be sure to get out at 7-8 and be done by early afternoon unless you are accustomed to riding in very hot weather (unless it is cloudy).


    Youngs Gulch and Hewlett's gulch offer a bit more shade and is located in the Poudre Canyon about 30 miles NW of FtC. Ride Hewletts early (more sun exposure) then save Youngs for the late morning or afternoon.

    Have fun!
    Niner Bikes employee. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Niner-...3652275?ref=ts
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