The Pearl & I
The days are getting longer, the Front Range trails are slowly drying, and the high country snowpack is transforming into spring snow conditions. The sun is high and dry (hey, there's a Def Leppard song in there), 60 Fahrenheits are scattered about and the Black Pearl is chomping at the bit to roll. It's Waterton Canyon time!
The majority of the Waterton Canyon Service road is dry. Above Strontia Springs Reservoir, plowed snow still lines the road.
Nonetheless, the snow is melting fast. The forecast is for a rain/snow mix. If there is a lot of rain on snow, the higher trails will melt out quicker - good for the Pearl and I. If it snows, more waiting for mountain biking.
I make a left onto the combined Trail 800/Colorado Trail (CT), and start grinding up the singletrack. I'm happy as a clam! I feel good, the bike quick and nimble beneath me. We're on a mission. The forest is dead silent. Occasionally, I hear brush movement, but that's it. Drifts of snow are here and there, still frozen hard. Mud portage is minimal, and I spend a lot of time riding versus carrying the Pearl (to mitigate potential trail erosion). Not long after passing "bear camp" (a segment of trail where I occasionally see bears), I come to a halt up against drift snow. The snow covering the trail isn't overly deep, rather it's packed down and icy. Yet, this 100-foot drift usually doesn't melt out until late April. Depending on the number of wheels/feet, it is often rideable.
Panting hard, I soon find myself pedaling Trail 800 south from its junction with the CT. I climb over little ridge and roll up to a stop at the intersection of Trail 800 and the Roxborough Loop Trail. Either direction will be snow, and quite possibly high discharge stream flows, albeit a bit early in the year for that. Although the Roxborough Trail is calling my name, I know better and start heading back to the barn.
The CT's siren seizes my attention as I join back up with it. My bucket list includes participating in the Colorado Trail Race (CTR) someday. The CTR is an unsanctioned mountain bike race along the CT, from Denver to Durango. It's a self-supported race, meaning no help from anybody for anything, including no caching anything along the route. Fast guys do it in about 4 days, including about 4-hours of sleep (seriously). Mortals do it in 7 to 10 days, sleeping a bit each day.
Minutes later the little Bavarians, or rather barbarians, show up and immediately begin showing off their bike handling skills. One such skill is cliff hucking. Not just anybody can do this. I once entertained an age where I may have tried hucking cliffs, but not anymore. Dieter and Wolfgang rub it in every chance they get.