When BIKE magazine approached us about the “Heavy Pedal Tour” (Confused? check this out) we jumped at the notion. And when we found out that a good portion of the tour would be in Colorado, we were stoked! We were in Colorado last fall and were blown away by the golden aspens and grand beauty that this part of the country has to offer. Unfortunately, last summer Trey broke his leg while mountain biking, and we were unable to ride while here in the rockies.
Now, we’re back and with a vengeance! We are ready to shred the best trails that Colorado has to offer.
FIRST STOP ON THE TOUR:
Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park, CO.
We had heard of Trestle in the past and were super psyched to be there for their freeride festival. Good timing! There's no better spectator sport, than watching pro free riders sending it over the craziest jumps with style for miles!
We were impressed by the variety of trails, and are pretty sure we rode all of them. We quickly had our favorites picked out. We would spend the first lap together to get warmed up on "Shy Ann" to "Free Speech". Both are flowy (Blue) trails with a couple of small tabletop jumps and wood features. Bob Holme (the bike park manager) was excited about Trestle's newest (Double Black) trail called "Cruel & Unusual". So, we accepted our punishment without hesitation and loved every minute of it. "Cruel & Unusual" requires some commitment from it's rider, but doles out pure adrenaline with ladder berms to hip drops and step downs with a nice size gap to earn some frequent flyer miles.
Natty's Trestle Favorite:
"Search & Seizure"( Single Black diamond with rocky, rooty, gnar, and rock drops).
Trey's Trestle Favorite:
Tie between "Cruel & Unusual" and "NoQuarter" (Double Black Diamond with Ladder bridge step downs and Ladder gaps).
We should mention the freaky rain and lightening storms that occurred everyday while we were there. It wouldn’t be a trip without the rain. If you know us, then you know that a rain cloud follows us from the Pacific Northwest. Just about everywhere we have been over the last year has had unusual amounts of rainfall. There was not a single day that went by without rain and lightening. However, the trails benefited greatly from the frequent watering resulting in "tacky" trail conditions. Thank you mother nature.
On one very special day we decided to check out the alpine slide they offer in the village. We took a lift to the top and sure enough the rain and lightening followed. We ran from the downpour, took shelter, and then hopped on a bus back down to the base of the mountain. A few hours later the clouds parted and we were able to try again this time with screaming success! Trestle Bike Park offers so much to anyone who comes to visit. IPA's, margaritas, ice cream, pizza…what else could anyone want?
SECOND STOP ON THE TOUR:
Granby Ranch (aka, Sol Vista Bike Park), CO.
Next on tap was Granby Ranch, formerly known as Sol Vista Bike Park. Only a 30-mile drive from Trestle, this place is a hidden gem. “Rowdy” was our key word of choice to describe the trails at Granby. We were shocked by the fact that there were so few people there. Maybe because it was the middle of the week, but we had the mountain almost to ourselves. We almost feel like keeping it a secret and moving there just so we can ride all day, everyday, our very own lift with fantastic trails!
The riding here is true to its trail colors. You do not want to get caught on a double black diamond and not have the skills to successfully launch your bike at least 15 feet through the air. Having said that, the trail "Silky Johnson" lives up to it's name and flows down the mountain like soft serve ice cream. Berm, jump, jump into berm, jump out of berm…you get it. There's more where that came from on "Tron", only on a larger scale with ladder drop to gap to wooden berm to a gap-tastical finish!
Natty’s Granby Favorite:
“Silky Johnson” (Blue)
Trey’s Granby Favorite :
“Tron” & “Drifter” (Black)
Dan O’Connell, the trail director at Granby, took us out one day on a lift-assisted XC ride. Calling it an XC ride is very generous in that it's a leisurely 80 percent descent back down to the bottom of the trail. These trails weave in and out of Aspens and offer views that are spectacular! You can rip these trails or pack your lunch and take it easy.
One thing that we really thought was cool is we were able to take the lift up for a “last run” and cut over to ride back down right to the condo door for celebratory brews in the hot tub. Sweet! And for pedal junkies, you are more than welcome to ride designated trails to the top and take the lift down. Not my cup of tea, but there are folks out there who love that kind of thing, so there you have it.
THIRD STOP ON THE TOUR:
Next up Keystone! No complaning here. Yet another awesome bike park and only 80 miles drive from Granby. Colorado rocks. And, lucky for us, the the annual Bluegrass & Brews festival! More good timing! We got right to work at this park.
We met with Evin and Matt. Evin is the mountain patrol supervisor and Matt is a rad sidekick. They were ready to show us around and take us to their favorite spots on the mountain. First, We want to mention the chairlift that takes you to over 11,600 feet. Whoa! This was BIG MOUNTAIN riding at it’s best. Amazing views from the top of Lake Dillon below. We warmed up on a green run. The run is so long (7 miles) that you only need half the trail before you are ready to move to a blue or black run.
From the top you can ride “Milky Way” a sweet black track that offers drops, tables, and rock-gnar descents. They recently worked on this trail and we can see why they beam with pride over it. The other trail that Evin and Matt wanted to take us on was “Paid in Full”. Apparently this trail used to be a straight shot down the mountain, but now it sweeps to the right, pumps you up, offers a jump, and lowers you back down. Not only is it cool to see from a distance, it’s also a blast to ride.
Keystone has a very unique “corkscrew” ladder bridge feature that you don’t see too often. We went straight for it to get some photos and video. These guys have some serious trail building skillz.
Our second day on the mountain led us to a black diamond trail aptly named “TNT”. Variety was descriptive for this trail. Variety in terrain and especially in features with tabletop jumps, a cool wall ride, and sick ladder drop options.
Natty’s Keystone Favorite : “Paid-n-Full” & “TNT”
Trey’s Keystone Favorite : “TNT” & “Money”
The good folks (thanks, Laura) at Keystone Resort hooked us up with tickets to the Bluegrass & Blues Festival. So, we had to take advantage of the live music and all the Colorado Craft Beer Brewers on hand. Thanks to the guys at Rail Yard Brewery for stocking our fridge with a few six packs. Beer never tasted so good after shredding the mountain with good friends! So, to top it off, we headed back to our condo for a quick soak in the hot tub and “Big-Kid” antics on the pool slide. You gotta check out our video footage on this one! Let’s just say we all slept good that night.
The mountain biking dream is alive and progressing exponentially in Colorado. We are super impressed with the variety of terrain, the close proximity of these rad mountain bike parks, and the friendly people at all of the resorts above. Riders could easily craft a mountain bike vacation that covers Trestle, Granby, and Keystone for a grand trifecta of awesomeness!