A project popped up at work and I was put on alert that I would have to do some traveling through November. The places benig thrown around were such exotic locales as Indianapolis, Chicago, Tampa, etc. I reluctantly agreed. When the first request came to me, the destination was Denver. I felt like Brair Rabbit. "Please don't send me to Denver - don't you know it's so cold there!"
The art of turning work into a mountain bike trip involves lots of logistics. In fact making the bike happen is often more difficult and takes more focus than the work you set out to do in the first place. Questions like When to fly in, how to score a bike, what clothes to bring, what kind of car to rent to tote the bike scramble through your brain.
So like any dedicated worker, I packed one set of work clothes, two sets of casual wear, and enough riding gear to handle riding conditions ranging from blizzards to sunshine. As luck would have it, Icegeek was able to hook me up with a great 6" travel specialized test bike. Thanks for that. I owe you much IPAs! Also, the rental car is key. I rented with National who allows you to pick any car on the lot. I arrived at DIA at 7:50am on Wednesday and my strategery fits nicely as I grab the mom-mobile Chrysler minivan.
Now off to Wheat Ridge Cyclery via REI and Einstein Bagels. Should I buy that Garmin Edge 500 to track the great rides? Nah - the phone will do just fine. Should I go with egg and cheese or santa fe wrap? These are important questions!
Okay okay - back to riding....
Day 1 - Arrival - Falcon LOB - 20 miles - 2700 feet climbing.
I hit the Mt. Falcon climb up to Lair of the Bear. Originally I was going to do this as an epic out and back but it was so windy and cold, that I was done at the end of LOB.
Nothing like a stiff climb up Falcon to kick the cobwebs out of the lungs - especially after waking up at 3:30 mountain time to fly here.
Leaving the city behind. I always appreciate the contrast of nature and city when the skyline is juxtaposed against the foothills.
Snow on Evans, at 14,000 feet but the 7,800 feet is just perfect!
Winter is just around the corner on the front range. Cradled by the back section of Lair of the Bear, the cares of the city are far far away
Day 2 - Chimney Gulch to Apex/Enc Forest - It's an EVEN DAY! 13 miles - 2300 feet climbing
Great ride - one of the front range classics - albeit controversial of late. Nestled in Golden, you climb up Lookout Mountain and look down upon Coors, School of Mines, etc.
School of mines in the background as this rider is about halfway down to Golden
View from Windy Saddle - hwy 6 slicing the clear creek canyon. I always see this and think of some idyllic city in the cpu game SimCity. 180 degrees from this view you see the city and the dust/smog/pollution layer as denver fades into the plains.
Some color still left back in the Enchanted Forest. This is also a great place to see Elk. How many other metro areas have elk 20 miles from downtown!
Apex is normally the epicenter of user conflict on the front range, EVERYONE was uber social and pleasant on the trails because of the 70 degree day. Runners and hikers insisted that I get back on my bike and pass them. Even this guy was congenial!
Another view of the city from Sluicebox
The sun sets early on Golden thanks to the foothills. With it that comes chillier temps and a changing set of colors.
Day 3 - Buffalo Creek - 23 miles - 3,000 feet of climbing
Buffalo creek is perfect during the shoulder seasons. Situated about 40 miles from Denver it the perfect place to get away for some epic riding. You can get all you want on the vast network of trails. In fact this year the Bailey Hundo race took place over 100 miles of riding in the area. Several big fires over the last 10-15 years has decimated the area and eroded the top soil so the riding is buff and on pea gravel / crushed granite. Sometimes you are in the woods, sometimes you are looking at a vast wasteland of burned out pines.
Gratuitous self portrait on slick rock feature.
So that is how you get three days of epic riding in three days in the mile high city. Oh and I worked for most of Thursday too. Amazing how much great riding that there is near Denver. I didn't even hit Bergen, Alderfer, Golden Gate Canyon, White Ranch, Deer Creek, Waterton, etc. There's so much riding that you could do a destination vacation just to the front range.
Speaking of that, all of you front rangers better not take all this for granted. It's another glorious fall day in Denver - go ride... NOW!
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