Winter Park Bike Trip
I'm sitting in the Steamboat Springs Starbucks because they're open, I have money on a gift card, and there's free internet biking. I've been on the road for exactly 12 hours now. I left Heber then, driving along through the country side of Utah and Colorado. I reached Vernal in good time and picked up my remaining supply needs. Leaving for Colorado put me back into territory that I haven't seen in about 4 years, almost exactly 4 years since Mitch and I drove out to Steamboat to pick up his first Audi wagon.
That particular trip we drove about the same time of day, night. We went through those towns of Craig and Hayden about the same time of night. I kept thinking about that trip. While driving down the dark road, we hit an owl. Who hits an Owl? Honestly. Then we pulled into a camping/RV park and slept for about 5 hours. But this time I slept under the shell of my truck in a rest stop between those two towns. I didn't sleep much because of the noise from the road and got somewhat chilled about 5:00 am. So I hit the road this morning and drove through the beautiful Yampa river bottoms. I drove through these towns trying to determine the economic structure for them. Turns out it was energy.
I'm on my way out to visit my friend Kerri T. She has a place near Winter Park. I have two bikes in the truck ready to do some riding. A lot of it. while I hate to see so much money go to gas companies, it's worth it to see these places and drive this drive to ride these bikes. It's getting to be that time of year again where the trade shows are picking up too. Next week is Dealer Camp. In two more months there's Interbike which I hope to document a little better this year.
Driving into Steamboat early in the morning is a gorgeous experience. The water here seems thermal, just steaming into the summer morning air. But what a cool little town.
Waking up this morning in Kerri's family cabin on a beautiful lake is a unique experience. This picture is from the deck out back, over looking the lake. The cool mountain air is unbelievably refreshing. It invigorates you and you can't stay in bed. Hence the hour. Given that the previous night's sleep left me a little exhausted I feel refreshed for the most part this morning.
This lake is unique as well in that it is the first damming of the Colorado river. This is as fresh as this water can ever be. Its headwaters are only a few miles up stream. In driving here from Steamboat I found myself in a canyon, a very old place and one that had been cut by the mighty Colorado. Earlier in the season I was in Moab with my old roommates and this river was full, to the brim, and flooding in several places. And even here, it is running high. Not that this affects my bike trip at all, but it is super cool to see.
Pulling into Winter Park yesterday was breath taking. The town was as little as it gets and absolutely inudated with east coasters. Well, maybe. There were a lot of people from wherever running around and walking and just simply enjoying the rustic elegance of the small town. Further up highway 40 I came to Winter Park Resort. Immediately from the parking lot I could see the makings of the Crankworx jumps. Everything about that is insanely big!
So this funny thing happened: My camera has this amazing battery that rarely needs charging. So about the time I arrive in Hot Sulphur Springs the battery loses it's charge. And I can't take any more pictures. So, the pictures here are from my phone... pardon the quality.
The Crankworks course is really cool and it seems the smallest gap is at least 18 feet or so. But these guys, they just throw down. They're competing in Whistler right now and next weekend they'll be here to hit all this. The course is obviously closes to patrons. Most people wouldn't be able to ride this stuff anyway.
As for the riding here... Yes, make the trip. There are some really cool features here. If you are into crazy, techy descents you have the Trestle trail and if you're into just getting down with minimal air then you've got Boulevard. I loved Trestle. The upper part of Boulevard is how I decided to start most of my riding yesterday. It intersects with a lot of really cool trails and puts you on top of lines that have super cool air and super high, fast rolling burms.
I wish I had video of it all because you can go so fast through the burms. There's a lower section, Bear Arms, each burm accelerates you into a long table, that if you don't feather your brake will set you up perfectly to clear it. I was, admittedly, a little chicken having never ridden this stuff. I'm excited to come back and ride again, hopefully this year. Most of the trails are designed to be fast and quick, super poppy (you need to set your suspension up for lips, ramps, and burms. After stiffening up my suspension I felt a little better and started to air things a little smoother.
So I spent all day up there and didn't realize that it's called Trestle Bike Park. Check out the site and map here. Lift passes were $37.00 but completely worth it. They've got a bunch of restaurants, bathrooms, and a Starbucks there. If you need gear they have package rentals, some sick packages, too. Also, getting there is crazy. Coming from the west and up Highway 40 you'll want to not get too excited because you'll be turning onto whatever road looks suspect. Wait until you can see the resort base on your right, then come to a stop light on the highway that looks to be the highest entrance to the base, turn right there. Map