Entries in heil ranch (4)
The snows have gone and the flowers are blooming. Time for the fat tires. Time for smiles with friends.
It's safe to say that the epics are on like Donkey Kong to quote my main man Dave Towle. 4.5 hours yesterday with some of the other fellas on the ride we linked up with out for 6. We're getting snow out here in Boulder which is great, but it's amazing how quickly it melts and gives us perfectly tacky and miraculously dry conditions. The best of all worlds.
The crew hooked up at Heil, some riding there, Matty an I driving due to time constraints (even though Bobby thinks we're getting soft). We had, Rob Batey, Matt Opperman, Bobby Noyes, The Longest Man, Jason Vogel and last but certainly not least, the wonder twin powers of the Torrance brothers.
The ride we did is basically a truncated version of the "Boulder Epic"...which would start typically in Boulder and traverse Eagle Trail etc to get you to Heil Ranch, then on the way into the woods. Today, for Matty and I anyways, would be a section Heil Ranch which included the full length of the Wild Turkey Trail, we intersect with the new Picture Rock Connector trail dump out into Lyons CO and then meander over to the Antelope climb of the Hall Ranch trail system where we'd do a loop of the Nelson Loop at the top and descend Hall's notorious rock garden descent. From there it's back up the Picture Rock connector, into Heil and home.
The conditions of the trails were insane. Nice and tacky. The reality is (and anyone who rides the Heil/Picture network frequently will say the same), it's unbelievable rocky. Glacial till and exposed rock make the ride less 'flowy' but more a sustained series of shocks to the body. You actually do have to flow as best as possible to be smooth and keep momentum over the trail system as its entire length is like a technical challenge. I do this ride often but the pace we were going yesterday and the frequency of hauling the bike up and over the rocks challenges by yanking on the bars to table up and over these things and I feel like Mike Tyson beat the snot out of me.
The beginning half of the day I felt no chain. Rolling nicely....and it's no wonder as my ride lengths up to yesterday have been like in the 1.5-2 hour range. Yesterday truly broke the cherry! Matty Opp and I railed on our 29'ers through all of the stuff at break neck pace with the Torrance bros and Batey railing in tow. By the time we got to Hall, my bike literally started to come undone, XTR brakes (pieces of shit...and I need to upgrade to Avid soon!) effectively clamping down on my rotors. Oh, and the body felt it was doing the same! I had all the food in the world and felt no bonk, but the legs were so loaded it was incredible by the 3rd hour. Bobby (here's your shout out Bobby) literally had to say 'on your left' as he dropped me at Hall. Don't worry sports fans, he gets his.
On the way back up Picture Rock at roughly hour 3.5 I'm going psychotic with my rotors going scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing with that high pitched rub. I wanted to huck the thing. I'd get off and literally YANK the rotor as I swear I think they bowed with the amount of action they got. By this time Bobby, who decided to turn the screws to the stragglers suffering some bike lengths behind with an all out attack, has a leg implosion (I swear I heard it through the woods...sort of like a 'pop!') and we see him essentially dead, buzzards circling above. I leave him with a Gu and some words of advice on how to survive in the wild overnight, and we leave his ass. (HA!...kidding...on the leaving part).
We all get back to Heil ~4.5 hours later, legs baked and toasty. Bike basically steaming. Matty Opp is way too fit for this time of year (start drinking Matt) and the Torrance bros couldn't tag team to reel the kid in. Batey I think wants revenge for getting dropped by the T's as well. Don't worry Batey, they're not half as good looking as you are, so you've got that going for you.
So that's it. Recovery ride today and we begin more of these character building assaults on our bodies from here on in. Also. some crappy YouTube. I ran out of free HD time on Vimeo this week.
Today is MLK Day, a National Holiday. For many it is a day off of work, for others it's business as usual. Pete and I both had to punch in to the clock at our respective quarries today but not before we got in a little pre-work ride in the still insane January weather out here in Boulder: 65 and sunny!
We hit Picture Rock Trail, having started from Heil and it was spicy. Dry and flowy and epic. Perfect. Pete was instrumental in the development of Picture Rock and now Valmont Bike Park as one of the most sought after trail designers in the country. It's great riding with him as he'll tell you everything on the history of the land, to the challenges in getting approvals for trails, to the type of rock we're riding over to making trails sustainable. Long live IMBA!
It's upon us. Spring. Flora popping everywhere and temps that require no warmers of the leg and arm variety. I'll just state this for the record: We're past the snows at least at 5-7K feet. Yum. Should it snow, I'll buy you a beer. '
The proud papa clan, otherwise known as Team We Ride Alone dot Com, got our game on . Pete and Dave or the Webber 'varietals' and yours truly. All with kids and wives who need their time so we jumped through the window and got our fat tired grins on.
The three of us jammed up to Heil and proceeded to do the fun stuff. Tires too close to each other as we swooped and zoomed the single track. Pete showing us the sites, including his 'optional lines' as he built the trails with the IMBA and BMA crews. It's getting better and better every time. I am CRAVING the Picture Rock connector trail that will link Heil and Hall Ranch! This will be a 100% certifiable epic that will give me a 6 hour or so epic from my door. No cars. buff single track. The BMA trail crew has been out in force and en masse. You see, instead of hiding all the great singletrack, here you have a situation where great trail builders are advertising and getting great support through tons of volunteers. They're literally breaking rock and cutting sweet single track into the area in between Lyons and the Wild Turkey Trail off of the Heil network.
Anyways, Spring is here and my plan to spend more time in the dirt this year is paying off. The road bike has dust on it.