The Steeps

While most in Colorado associate ‘steeps’ with snow, this years’ skiing for me can be written off as  N/A. After much anticipation of backcountry exploring, the reality of rotten snow and daily reports of deaths and injuries in Avalanches across the state steered me firmly away from the high country.

Unlike last year, when I would awake at 6am just to check the powder totals, the lack of buzz from ski resorts hasn’t affected my enjoyment of the low country; my road bike has taken a beating, and as a result I’m fitter than I’ve ever been.

But sooner or later, I knew I was going to run out of enthusiasm for pounding the pedals in straight lines across the plains. Luckily, my new Scalpel showed up just it time for our early spring, and as a result, Bryan and I have begun our annual re-exploration of the quieter corners of Boulder county.

Roads around here can get steep, but not really steep. To find stem chewing, gear grinding, dont-fall-or-you’ll-tip-over-backwards steep, you have to use some imagination.

The fact that walking might be faster should not be considered.

The challenge of cleaning the ups, for me, is just as satisfying as cleaning the downs.

Lefthand OHV trails are all connected off of a couple dirt roads, meaning loops can be made depending on how much masochism you have stored up.

Unfortunately, the reward of finishing a singletrack descent has a certain way of ensuring that you’ll turn around and grind your way back up again.

The trails aren’t exactly flowy smooth ribbons of tacky singletrack, but more chiselled chutes of rocky doom. Choke stones are always lurking, ready to catch your front wheel.

It takes a certain degree of skill, combined with the flexibility of negotiating a 78cm seat height without enduring physical and psychological injury, to master these trails. Created and destroyed by Motor bikes, the lowly mountain biker is just one step in the life cycle of these trails.

Although Boulder county really needs the rain and snow that hasn’t fallen this year, I am happy to be insular in my enjoyment of the mountain biking that is available at the moment. The trails are going to suffer, but I will do my small part in protecting them by riding the ones that no-one else knows exists.