Friday, August 07, 2009

My own Breck Epic- day 2

Map and ride info

The start of day 2 looked a bit on the chilly side. I thought for sure I was going to need some extra warmth, so I donned my arm warmers and jacket. Our first stop was a small pump track up on Boreas Pass road where we all tried (and failed) to make it around the entire track without pedalling. We got pretty close, but I didn't see anyone make the one big bump without needing a little extra oomph.

Heading towards the pump track:

After playing around and warming up a bit, I knew the jacket was going to be over the top for sure. We started up the singletrack out of the pump track parking lot and headed up. We road some urban singletrack through some more populated areas and eventually wound our way out to Highway 9 and paralleled it for a bit. We finally came to the turnoff to head up Boreas Pass Road and found ourselves confronted with the choice of another section of singletrack (going straight up) or road to ride. After a bit of discussion, we hit the dirt and headed up. Pretty quickly it became evident that hike-a-bike would most likely be the best case scenario for these flatlanders as the trail turned from fun climbing to steep and less than ridable (for us). A few sprinkles starting hitting us in this section and we took a collective vote that we were here to ride whether that meant pavement or singletrack rather than push our bikes up hills. We turned and headed back to the pavement. I was treated to a pretty cool switchback climb that headed up and up until we got to the park service road at the top.

I rolled in a few minutes after Kyle and was nothing but smiles:

From the park service road we jumped back on singletrack through some sections of the Colorado trail that Andy had led the guys through earlier in the week. This was probably some of the sweetest track we ran while I was out there. It had a bit of everything from flat, to climbs, to rocks and roots. Kyle and I checked out a bit on some of these sections and had time to stop and ponder the scenery at a couple points as we waited to regroup.

Old mining ruin on the climb up:
As we crested the climb, we were treated to more downhilling. Sitting on my hardtail, I was faster than the previous day, but still no match for the full suspension bikes so we stopped once more to regroup on the way down.

Overlooking Breck on the way down:

From here we hit a nice switchbacked road and the boys really let loose. I hit a little over 30 mph, but they had to be closing in on 40 as they accelerated out of site. From here we hit some nice black diamond sections of trail. Supposedly this is the more advanced stuff, but other than being tight and twisty (think Denman's on a downhill with rocks and roots), it really wasn't that bad. Somewhere in here, the other Rick lodged his foot between a rock and a hard place- literally. It didn't stop him or pop him off the bike, but the damage was definitely done as his foot swelled and turned nasty colors during the remainder of our trip. The guys also made sure to drag me through the "north shore" section of elevated trails that had been built as a bit of a playground. I'm not much on skinnies or elevated platforms, but with enough goading, I gingerly made my way up and through the easy section.

North shore style:

As evidenced by my heart rate jumping 20 beats per minute just going through that, I wasn't too excited about doing it again. Once through was plenty for me and fun to say I'd done it once. By then, it was closing in on lunch time and looking like possible rain again. We dropped back into Breck on this wild track that seemed to resemble a luge track more than singletrack. The grade was steep, the turns were complete bowls and if you had the balls, you could absolutely fly. Let's just say I get my nuts firmly in check on that descent, but still had fun!

Lunch was beckoning us:

Lunch time brought a brief shower through the area, but nothing to keep us off the trails. We decided to check out Burro Trail after lunch since Taylor had ridden it previously and thought it was pretty fun. The start was just up from the condo and some nice lady even managed to point out the trail head we were searching for. The lower section was sweet pine track with some good rooty sections and as we gained elevation, it turned to rocks. We started hitting some nice rock gardens and then the challenge was put down. Kyle and Taylor remembered this big rock garden from a previous trip that had them both trying again and again to get through. As well as I'd been riding the rocks (thanks 29'er), they wanted to see if I could tame this section of trail.

Almost to the top:

Apparently, there used to be two large log crossings in here as well. In any case, I cleaned it the first pass and then Taylor decided since he didn't see it, I should do it again. The 2nd pass was cleaned as well. I was definitely digging on the rocks. As we kept on climbing, the route would alternate between steep and long sections of all rock uphills and then flatten out for a bit with less rocks and more dirt. I was really enjoying this section of trail as it was challenging and technical, but definitely ridable. However, along this point, lunch decided it was time to make it's 2nd calling for the day.

Good riding fuel, bad pass through timing:

I definitely wasn't feeling the love by the time we flattened out and came to a fork in the road. With a possible wild descent coming up, I decided it was time to make like a bear in the woods. I garnered a bit of flack for it, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Wow, what a load off my mind!

At this point, the rain and clouds were threatening again, and worse yet, threatening to turn the descent nasty. We decided it was time to call it a day and let the fun really begin. To someone who's never been there or done it, it's hard to describe how fun, thrilling, and wild, careening down the side of a mountain as fast as your brake fingers will let you go can be. The upper sections were a bit slow, but as we hit the pine forest below, most of us were flying and grinning from ear to ear. It was an absolute blast that left a smile plastered on my face the rest of the day.

We wound our way back to the condo to wind down the day with some pizza at Fatty's (6 of us devoured 3 large pizzas) and some brews. Another cap to an amazing day.


Courtney said...

That looks cool I don't think I would have made it through the long turning bridges though.

Iowagriz said...

Good job on the skinnies. Sure sounds like a fun trip.