Friday, October 9, 2020

Mt Evans

I started my ride by Echo Lake, at about 10,600ft MSL.

I started there because that is where the road is closed to motor vehicles. With COVID happening and parking at the top being limited and trails narrow, the road has remained closed all season, which makes it a dream to ride up.  

Looking north, the Williams Fork fire continues to burn.  

Bighorn sheep I think?, just the females.

Looking south and getting higher

Summit lake just below 13k.

Some snow that must spend most of its time in the shade.

Finally the parking lot at 14,160ft. Not so bad really, a pretty easy grade most of the way and I must be well adjusted to the elevation.

Meyer-Wobble Observatory soon to be decommissioned. 

I didn't realize this road is the highest paved road in the US. Since I'd ridden my bike, I was wearing my road shoes which are rubbish to walk in. I decided to bare foot the remaining 105ft to the real summit. It was worth it for the views, the high light of the ride really, I imagine a regular summers day would be crowded. 

Mountain goats just walking around, they are a wild species, but introduced from Montana in 1947. 

Jefferson Valley to the South. Virga was starting to fall and the temperature was dropping rapidly, time to get off the mountain. The ride down was surprisingly unfun with ruts every 40 feet or so. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Brain, Andrew and I headed out early Sunday Monday to ride what is locally know as the figure-8 up near Brainerd Lakes. It starts at 8700ft near the Boy Scout camp and heads up the Sourdough Trail to Brainerd Lakes, west across Little Raven at 10,500ft and back down the bouncy South St Vrain Trail. Quite fun on these new long travel mountain bikes.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Villa Grove

A big turn-out! ~160 pilots I think I heard. From the LZ looking up at launch and the Sangre de Cristo Range

I didn't have sufficient time to do my homework for this trip. I thought the swifts fly in was a Hang Gliding class5 event -Ha Nope! Anyway I had decided to take it easy and not be too ambitious since I've barely flown in 16 months. Over launch looking south ~13k.

Over launch looking down at Villa Grove.

Over launch about 15k looking north toward Salida.

Over Villa Grove looking down on the LZ and Launch. A place I've heard about for years, but hadn't managed to visit until now.

Valley is around 8k feet MSL Peaks around 13.5k, previous day I flew down to the corner and back, flying the Freedom as I'm really out-of-practice. This glider is much easier to land and more forgiving of mistakes.

Looking south down toward the Great Sand Dunes National Park. What a great fun weekend, so nice to see (at a distance) so many friendly faces I've not seen in months/years. Somehow I was so busy catching up I didn't take a single group shot.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Niwot Ridge

Here's a ride I've been eyeballing a while, uncertain as to the condition of the road and level of difficulty. The map at least showed it's a legitimate bike trail, however without going one would know the size and lose-ness of the rocks in the trail bed up from the Mountain Research Station.

The trail starts at 9500' MSL. Here's looking south toward Eldora ski resort and Silver lake down in front.

Looking south-east to Boulder reservoir and the Flatiron range.

Around 11,500' MSL just another 700' climb to go.

Just peaking over Niwot Mountain.

And finally the top at 12,250'. Time to go check out the hard earned views. Perfect temperature, no wind or storms.

Isabelle Glacier at the southwest end of Brainard Lakes, under Shoshoni and Apache Peaks.

The trail passing Isabelle lake.

All downhill on the way back...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mt St Vrain

Time for a wonder in the hills. This time Mount St. Vrain, a relatively short and steep hike ~3.5hrs

I went up the rocky creek route, the trail is sometimes tricky to follow, of course easy with a GPS. The wild flowers were out in full. 

Still a little snow in north facing pockets, but definitely well passed max melt.

Leaving the house the temps were ~90'F on top blowy and ~50'F. great views even though it was hard to stand up in the gusts. This is looking south at Paiute Peak across Peaceful valley and Coney flats.

Ogalalla Peak (left) Copeland center, and Isolation peak back right.

Longs Peak (left) and Meeker (right).

Buchanan pass trail. Pettingell peak in the back ground.

Paiute peak and Shoshoni over its shoulder.

Yellow paintbrush just below Vrain peak.

Looking over the Flatirons and boulder onto the plains. Beaver reservoir in the foreground.

Scarlet paintbrush in an alpine meadow with some daisies. Back down to the truck from here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bikes over the years

My First mountain bike, a Sturmey-Archer hub 3-speed. My Dad put this together, I recall he built the back wheel with the new hub and the old rim. Probably 1982-ish. A few years later I had a 5-speed Euro-star mountain bike. The gears were external with derailleur, a huge improvement. It had the triangle in the handle bars, it had significant flaws too, the forks were weak and bent a few times, I recall, and the brakes were terrible. 

Then there was the Emmelle ~1989, I don't recall the model, but it was the first bike I ever bought with my own money. It was a 3x6, had center pull brakes and quick release wheels.  

I took it to France on a week long mountain bike vacation with some firemen I had met while Mountain Biking at Col de Forclaz. I recall braking the rear axle, but continuing to ride on the skewer. It ruined the hub, and the chainset wasn't too long behind. My Dad fixed it up but then it got stolen from the locked Garage a few years later.

Then there was the Claude Butler 1992 ? - same kind of bike but much better quality. I still have pieces of this bike. If it hadn't cost more to fix than a new bike I would have done it. I turned it into a few novelty bottle openers in 2018 after riding it as a commute bike for 6 years in California, and that's after 6 years of muddy mountain biking in the west Midlands, Chilterns, and a tour to the south of France. Many many miles on this bike.

Arriving in California 1997 I was ready for a new stead. Full suspension was worth the upgrade and v-brakes were brand new.

I broke the rear triangle, and while it was covered under the lifetime (3 year) warranty, the geometry changed and the bike never rode the same again. Which was too bad in its day it was one of the best mountain bike money could buy. The front suspension collapsed in Texas 2011 and the bike was stolen from the front door shortly after. Being low on cash it was 20 months before I got another bike and I was riding the Claude-Butler again.

The KHS204 has been a great bike and has plenty of life left in it. Disc brakes, tubeless tires and 120mm travel front and back. This bike made the Texas hill country swiss cheese limestone fun again. And it has been a great workhorse pulling Maddys tag along trailer over some significant terrain! -I still use it for that. However Colorados rocky Rockys are too much for its 26" wheels. I demo'ed a bunch of bikes, Santa Cruz - Hightower, Rock Mountain - Instinct, didn't much care for those, and I really wanted to like the Santa Cruz. I also tried the Yeti SB140 and the Pivot Firebird 29". The Firebird seemed in a league of its own, I was sold. Look at the side by side, notice the wheel size, the fork angle, the 1x12 drivetrain, and the dropper post. It's really amazing how differently the two bikes ride. The 180mm of travel is a significant upgrade along with the stiffness due to the frame and through axles. Giddy-up!