After riding in Loma, I headed back to Bailey where my Aunt lives. I stopped in New Castle for a quick ride on the way. It was afternoon and I only had a few hours of light left. This is a beautiful town and the aspen looked awesome with their yellow leaves. I decided to ride on some trails to north of Riverside Middle School. My ride went up into the hills and came down near Lakota Canyon Golf Club.
I parked at an athletic field parking lot. It was a quick ride to the trail entrance from there. The ride started off incredibly steep and then mellowed out to a more comfortable incline. The bottom of the trails were a little wet but the further up I went the dryer it was. This looked like cougar country! Every turn I went around looked like it could have a cougar waiting for me.
I saw some deer bones piled up in the woods. I wonder if a cougar killed the deer and the someone found the leftovers and stacked them. Always gives me the willies seeing bones!
Near the top of the trail system I saw a fellow cyclist. Always nice to see someone else out there on the trails. They seemed to be in crushing it mode so I didn't chat with them too long. They did mention I was doing the trails in reverse and they would be more fun the other way. It was a tough climb up and although it mellowed in the middle got steep again at the top. Awesome terrain with completely different trees and dirt at the top than the bottom.
On the way out of the trail system I rode along a golf course. Seemed like an awesome course but looked really out of place in the dry mountainous environment. Bright green against brown everywhere else. It's an award winning golf course though! Looked tricky with a lot of elevation changes.
The following day which I believe was October 27th, 2015 I started of by riding in Buffalo Creek. I've been here before and it was as fun as I remember. Maybe even more fun since I had a map and could cover more terrain. The trails are primarily fast and flowy. The kind that make you feel like an amazing rider because they are built so well. The terrain is crumbled granite, shaded forest, and exposed rock (which I didn't do in this ride).
My next ride of the day was near my Aunt's house at Staunton State Park. My Uncle suggested I ride with this friend and this is his local trails. We rode from his neighborhood. This is a newer park and contained all machine built trails. I was a little out of my zone not being accustomed to the elevation but it felt good to push it. At the highest point of the riding zone it started to snow. I'm glad I wore my Jublo glasses as they not only adjust based on the light outside but naturally blocked the flakes from hitting my eyeballs! Riding in this new terrain along with snow was great! I started to get a bit cold being slightly under dressed so we took a quick route back instead of backtracking on the trails. Also an excuse for me to wimp out!
In the evening I hung out with my Aunt, Uncle, and Rosie. Rosie is a beautiful and kind boxer named after my grandmother who my Uncle loves. He actually just drove cross country to spend two weeks with her (my grandmother). I think he brought Rosie the dog too. He is on his way back as I type. In the evening we played Settlers of Catan but Rosie didn't like my strategy and we lost. I started to feel kind of funky for whatever reason. My appetite was down but I ignored it.
The following day I rode at White Ranch near Denver. I felt sick with what turned out to be some sort of one day stomach thing. I rode really slow with almost no energy. I kept looking for a place to lay down and sleep. Probably should have just rested all day...but there are so many trails that need to be ridden! White horse ranch has a ridiculously chunky climb called beltcher hill and then downhills full of water bars. I don't mind a tough climb for some awesome descending but i didn't find the steep water bar trails much fun on the hard tail. There were a few sections of awesome singletrack as well and I think I was just feeling wimpy because I was sick.
Lots of awesome signs and things to read (and watch out for) in this park!
I woke up Thursday morning feeling about 100% again. I was worried about heading out too soon after the low energy the previous day but drove to Salida anyway. Wow! What awesome trails. Every trail system has it's own personality and Salida's trails exemplify this. The trails are divided into stuff north of town as well as south of town. The town has this road that spirals up around a mountain that I really wanted to ride but it wasn't part of my plan. I ended up hitting it on the way back. I started north of town and then rode through town to the southern trails. After that back through town and more of the northern trails.
The trail systems in this area have all these donation tubes. After putting some money in because I'm such a good person, I wondered how they get the money out of the tube. I felt bad just for looking behind the donation tube! I saw lots of cyclists on the northern trails but not many on the southern stuff.
Another awesome thing about Salida is the amazing views you have on almost your whole ride. The area is chock full of glacial rock and old lava flows. Falling off your bike could be terrible as all the rock is so sharp! Much different than the front range riding which is more fractured granite that you slide around on. So much to look at in colorful Colorado. Just writing about it makes me want to get outside and see more.